Despite mixed reviews when Cats opened in New York in 1982, critics agreed that it was innovative and visually spectacular in ways that Broadway had never seen before.[304] The musical became a cultural phenomenon and has had a profound influence on the medium.[312] Cats established musical theatre as a global commodity,[313][314] marking the beginning of a new era in the industry that is characterised by huge global stakes for potentially even huger global profits.[313] It led the shift in the Broadway market towards big-budget blockbusters and shows that appeal to families and tourists,[88][315] which in turn left smaller productions struggling to compete.[314] Cats also ushered in a "golden age of British musicals" which saw West End exports dominate the industry for nearly two decades.[316][317] Musical theatre historian Vagelis Siropoulos asserted that its "seminal Broadway opening" was "comparable only to Rodgers and Hammerstein's Oklahoma! thirty nine years ago."[313]
Cats, like dogs, are digitigrades. They walk directly on their toes, with the bones of their feet making up the lower part of the visible leg.[69] Cats are capable of walking very precisely because, like all felines, they directly register; that is, they place each hind paw (almost) directly in the print of the corresponding fore paw, minimizing noise and visible tracks. This also provides sure footing for their hind paws when they navigate rough terrain. Unlike most mammals, when cats walk, they use a "pacing" gait; that is, they move the two legs on one side of the body before the legs on the other side. This trait is shared with camels and giraffes. As a walk speeds up into a trot, a cat's gait changes to be a "diagonal" gait, similar to that of most other mammals (and many other land animals, such as lizards): the diagonally opposite hind and fore legs move simultaneously.[70]
Life in proximity to humans and other domestic animals has led to a symbiotic social adaptation in cats, and cats may express great affection toward humans or other animals. Ethologically, the human keeper of a cat may function as a sort of surrogate for the cat's mother,[136] and adult housecats live their lives in a kind of extended kittenhood,[137] a form of behavioral neoteny. The high-pitched sounds housecats make to solicit food may mimic the cries of a hungry human infant, making them particularly difficult for humans to ignore.[138]
Feral cats can live in forests, grasslands, tundra, coastal areas, agricultural land, scrublands, urban areas, and wetlands.[204] Their habitats include small islands with no human inhabitants.[205] The close relatives of the domestic cat, the African wildcat (Felis lybica) and the sand cat (F. margarita) both inhabit desert environments.[42] Domestic cats still show similar adaptations and behaviors.[103]

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.[173][180] It also led to a "construction boom" in Germany as new theatrical venues were enacted all around the country.[181] Germany has since grown to become the third largest musical market after the US and UK, with Hamburg as its "musical capital".[173][180]
The original staging of Cats at the New London Theatre was considered revolutionary[85] and "one of the first truly immersive theatrical experiences".[34] Instead of a conventional proscenium, the theatre was quasi-in-the-round with a central revolving stage.[15][86] Nunn and Napier had sought to create "an environment rather than a set",[17] and around $900,000 was spent remodelling the New London in preparation for the show.[9] This included mounting sections of the stalls onto the theatre's 60 ft (18 m)[87] revolve such that the audience moved along with the stage.[16] When the show was brought to Broadway, the Winter Garden Theatre was given a similar $2 million makeover;[88] its proscenium stage was converted into a thrust, and a part of its roof was torn through to allow for the effects of Grizabella's ascension to the Heaviside Layer.[89]
Just kitten around Third baseman Eduardo Escobar is not a cat person, and teammates David Peralta, Wilmer Flores and Ildemaro Vargas love that about him. — Jenna Ortiz, azcentral, "Diamondbacks starter Luke Weaver's latest MRI reveals good news," 24 June 2019 Kitten in car wheel: Iverson St., 2500 block, Temple Hills, June 3. — Jillian S. Jarrett, Washington Post, "Prince George’s County Animal Watch," 20 June 2017 Things start cooking when Keanu disappears, forcing Rell and Clarence to play detective while chasing leads and kitten tail. — Manohla Dargis, New York Times, "With ‘Keanu,’ Key & Peele Break Into Feature Films — Kittens in Tow APRIL 20, 2016," 28 Apr. 2016

Domestic kittens are commonly sent to new homes at six to eight weeks of age, but it has been suggested that being with their mother and litter-mates from six to twelve weeks is important for a kitten's social and behavioural development.[16] Usually, breeders and foster/rescue homes will not sell or adopt out a kitten that is younger than twelve weeks. In many jurisdictions, it is illegal to give away kittens younger than eight weeks of age.[18] Kittens generally reach sexual maturity at around seven months old. A cat reaches full "adulthood" around one year of age.[19]
Several ancient religions believed cats are exalted souls, companions or guides for humans, that are all-knowing but mute so they cannot influence decisions made by humans. In Japan, the maneki neko cat is a symbol of good fortune.[269] In Norse mythology, Freyja, the goddess of love, beauty, and fertility, is depicted as riding a chariot drawn by cats.[270] In Jewish legend, the first cat was living in the house of the first man Adam as a pet that got rid of mice.[271] The cat was once partnering with the first dog before the latter broke an oath they had made which resulted in enmity between the descendants of these two animals.[271] It is also written that neither cats nor foxes are represented in the water, while every other animal has an incarnation species in the water.[271] Although no species are sacred in Islam, cats are revered by Muslims. Some Western writers have stated Muhammad had a favorite cat, Muezza.[272] He is reported to have loved cats so much, "he would do without his cloak rather than disturb one that was sleeping on it".[273] The story has no origin in early Muslim writers, and seems to confuse a story of a later Sufi saint, Ahmed ar-Rifa'i, centuries after Muhammad.[274] One of the companions of Muhammad was known as "Abu Hurayrah" (Father of the Kitten), in reference to his documented affection to cats.[275]
Owing to the close similarity between play and hunting, cats prefer to play with objects that resemble prey, such as small furry toys that move rapidly, but rapidly lose interest (they become habituated) in a toy they have played with before.[174] Cats also tend to play with toys more when they are hungry.[175] String is often used as a toy, but if it is eaten, it can become caught at the base of the cat's tongue and then move into the intestines, a medical emergency which can cause serious illness, even death.[176] Owing to the risks posed by cats eating string, it is sometimes replaced with a laser pointer's dot, which cats may chase.[177]
The domestic cat is a member of the Felidae, a family that had a common ancestor about 10–15 million years ago.[45] The genus Felis diverged from the Felidae around 6–7 million years ago.[46] Members of this genus include the jungle cat (F. chaus), European wildcat (F. silvestris), African wildcat (F. lybica), Chinese mountain cat (F. bieti), sand cat (F. margarita) and black-footed cat (F. nigripes).[47] Results of phylogenetic research confirm that these wild Felis species evolved through sympatric or parapatric speciation, whereas the domestic cat evolved through artificial selection.[48]
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