Even in places with ancient and numerous cat populations, such as Western Europe, cats appear to be growing in number and independently of their environments' carrying capacity (such as the numbers of prey available). This may be explained, at least in part, by an abundance of food, from sources including feeding by pet owners and scavenging. For instance, research in Britain suggests that a high proportion of cats hunt only "recreationally", and in South Sweden, where research in 1982 found that the population density of cats was as high as 2,000 per square kilometre (5,200/sq mi).
Here in eight lines Eliot was describing an intensely recognizable character with powerful human resonances, while introducing the themes of mortality, and the past, which occur repeatedly in the major poems. We decided that if Eliot had thought of being serious, touching, almost tragic in his presentation of a feline character, then we had to be doing a show which could contain that material, and the implications of it. Furthermore, we would have to achieve the sense of progression through themes more than incidents.
Cats are naturally carnivores and require high amounts of protein in the diet. Kittens are undergoing growth and require high amounts of protein to provide essential amino acids that enable the growth of tissues and muscles. It is recommended that kittens consume a diet containing approximately 30% protein on a dry matter basis for proper growth.
Cats debuted on Broadway on 7 October 1982 at the Winter Garden Theatre with a record-breaking $6.2 million in ticket pre-sales. Most of the original creative team remained, with Martin Levan replacing Jacob as the sound designer and Stanley Lebowsky replacing Rabinowitz as music director. The musical was co-produced by the original London production team, along with David Geffen and The Shubert Organization. It was the most expensive Broadway show ever mounted at the time with a production cost of $5.5 million, though it recouped its investment in less than 10 months. On 19 June 1997, Cats overtook A Chorus Line to become the longest-running show in Broadway history with 6,138 performances. At the time, the musical was found to have had an economic impact of $3.12 billion on New York City and had generated the most theatrical jobs of any single entity in Broadway history. A June closing date was announced in early 2000 but was subsequently pushed back after a resulting surge in ticket sales. The show closed on 10 September 2000 after a total of 13 previews and 7,485 performances. One actress, Marlene Danielle, performed in the Broadway production for its entire 18-year run. Its Broadway-run record was surpassed on 9 January 2006 by The Phantom of the Opera, and Cats remains Broadway's fourth-longest-running show of all time. Overall, the original Broadway production grossed approximately $388 million in ticket sales.
Cats redefined musical theatre in the German-speaking part of the world, turning an industry which then consisted of repertory theatre towards privately-funded big-budget open-ended productions. The success of the Vienna and Hamburg productions sparked a "musical boom" in the region that saw numerous musicals being launched not just in Germany but also in countries like Switzerland. It also led to a "construction boom" in Germany as new theatrical venues were enacted all around the country. Germany has since grown to become the third largest musical market after the US and UK, with Hamburg as its "musical capital".
Meanwhile, the Carré Theatre in Amsterdam, Netherlands, staged the musical in 1987 (with Ruth Jacott as Grizabella), 1988 and from 1992 to 1993. Cats made its French debut at the Théâtre de Paris from February 1989 to April 1990, with an original cast that included Gilles Ramade as Old Deuteronomy. The show was also produced in Zürich at the ABB Musical Theatre from 1991 to 1993, while a production by Joop van den Ende and the Royal Ballet of Flanders was staged at the Stadsschouwburg Antwerpen in Belgium in 1996. An English/German-language "Eurotour" production also toured the region from May 1994 to December 1995.
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.
Lynne choreographed the original London production with a dance crew consisting of her assistant Lindsay Dolan, the dance captain Jo-Anne Robinson, and cast members Finola Hughes and John Thornton. The resulting choreography blends ballet, modern dance, jazz and tap, interspersed with acrobatic displays. Lynne also trained the cast to evoke the movement, physicality and behaviour of actual cats. These feline traits were incorporated into the movement and choreography so as to create an "anthropomorphic illusion". Lynne considered the 13-minute "Jellicle Ball" dance to be the crux of the show, noting that in order to work as a dance-driven musical, Cats "had to succeed there or die". She recalled the difficulty she faced in persuading Lloyd Webber to add the extended dance break, culminating in her and her dance crew having to dance all the parts in the "Jellicle Ball" to convince him.