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EVERY EVENING for the few hours before and after sunset, Key West's Mallory Square is the place to be. Always chaotic and vibrant, the square and surrounding piers are brimming with giddy green-flash seekers, mojito-happy tourists and resident street performers-the fellow who swallows knives, the guy who dresses his golden retriever in ladies' underwear, the bagpiper soulfully playing "Amazing Grace" to another pink sky. It is here amid the pushy jewelry vendors, tightrope walkers and setting sun where a certain Catman does a certain cat show.

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You can hear his high-pitched laugh from afar, before you see the hoops of fire or the cats, before you actually try to decipher the thick French accent. His signature cackle rises up from a swarm of spectators, and there in the center of the circle, with it cat ...
comfortably perched on his shoulder and a grin spread across his face, is Dominique Lefort, the Catman-shaggy-haired, whiskered and wiry, almost cat-like himself. It's just after 8:15 on a Wednesday night and Dominique is already on his second show.
Though the sun has set and the crowd is not as large as the normal 150-person audience, it's showtime, and Dominique is on. He screams and cackles and mimes and dances with his seven cats for 30 minutes straight. Oscar leaps from one red cloth-covered platform to another. Cosette, exactly on cue, unlocks her cage and struts out to the elaborate setup of platforms, metal wires and stools that Dominique designed and built himself. Once there, she flies through a tiny metal ring from platform to stool to platform again.