Kittens require a high-calorie diet that contains more protein than the diet of adult cats. Young orphaned kittens require cat milk every two to four hours, and they need physical stimulation to defecate and urinate. Cat milk replacement is manufactured to feed to young kittens, because cow's milk does not provide all the necessary nutrients. Human-reared kittens tend to be very affectionate with humans as adults and sometimes more dependent on them than kittens reared by their mothers, but they can also show volatile mood swings and aggression. Depending on the age at which they were orphaned and how long they were without their mothers, these kittens may be severely underweight and can have health problems later in life, such as heart conditions. The compromised immune system of orphaned kittens (from lack of antibodies found naturally in the mother's milk) can make them especially susceptible to infections, making antibiotics a necessity.
It was long thought that cat domestication was initiated in Egypt, because cats in ancient Egypt were venerated from around 3100 BC. However, the earliest indication for the taming of an African wildcat (F. lybica) was found in Cyprus, where a cat skeleton was excavated close by a human Neolithic grave dating to around 7500 BC. African wildcats were probably first domesticated in the Near East. The leopard cat (Prionailurus bengalensis) was tamed independently in China around 5500 BC, though this line of partially domesticated cats leaves no trace in the domestic cat populations of today.
The original London production received mostly rave reviews, with critics hailing it as a watershed moment in British musical theatre. Michael Billington of The Guardian lauded Cats as "an exhilarating piece of total theatre". Billington praised the show's "strong framework" and the ease in which the poems were integrated. He was also very impressed by Lloyd Webber's fitting compositions, Napier's environmental set, Lynne's effective and at times brilliant choreography, and Nunn's "dazzling staging" that makes use of the entire auditorium. The show received similarly glowing reviews from The Sunday Times' Derek Jewell and The Stage's Peter Hepple. Jewell proclaimed it to be "among the most exhilarating and innovative musicals ever staged", while Hepple declared that with Cats, "the British musical has taken a giant leap forward, surpassing in ingenuity and invention anything Broadway has sent us".
Preformed vitamin A is required in the cat for retinal and reproductive health. Vitamin A is considered to be a fat-soluble vitamin and is seen as essential in a cat's diet. Normally, the conversion of beta-carotenes into vitamin A occurs in the intestine (more specifically the mucosal layer) of species, however cats lack the ability to undergo this process. Both the kidney and liver are contributors to the use of vitamin A in the body of the majority of species while the cats liver does not produce the enzyme Beta-carotene 15,15'-monooxygenase which converts the beta-carotene into retinol (vitamin A). To summarize: cats do not have high levels of this enzyme leading to the cleavage and oxidation of carotenoids not taking place.
The first Australian production ran from July 1985 to August 1987 at the Theatre Royal in Sydney. The original Sydney cast included Debra Byrne as Grizabella, Marina Prior as Jellylorum, Jeff Phillips as Rum Tum Tugger, David Atkins as Mistoffelees, and Anita Louise Combe as Sillabub. It then moved to Her Majesty's Theatre in Melbourne where it played from October 1987 to December 1988, with Femi Taylor as Bombalurina and Seán Martin Hingston as Plato/Macavity. From 1989 to 1990, the company toured the Festival Theatre in Adelaide, His Majesty's Theatre in Perth, Civic Theatre in Newcastle, Lyric Theatre in Brisbane, and the Aotea Centre in Auckland. This was followed by a second national tour from 1993 to 1996, during which Delia Hannah made her debut as Grizabella in 1994. A professional circus adaptation of Cats, titled Cats Run Away to the Circus, had a national tent tour from 1999 to 2001, with Hannah once again starring as Grizabella. Hannah reprised her role for another production that toured Australia and Asia in 2009 and 2010.
The origin of the English word cat (Old English catt) and its counterparts in other Germanic languages (such as German Katze), descended from Proto-Germanic *kattōn-, is controversial. It was thought traditionally to be a borrowing from Late Latin cattus, 'domestic cat', from catta (used around 75 AD by Martial), compare also Byzantine Greek κάττα, Portuguese and Spanish gato, French chat, Maltese qattus, Lithuanian katė, and Old Church Slavonic kotъ (kot'), among others.