Cats has been referenced and satirised many times on screen; from the films Six Degrees of Separation[293] and Team America: World Police,[341] to the sketch comedy Saturday Night Live, and animated series like Family Guy, The Simpsons and BoJack Horseman,[342] as well as live action comedies including The Golden Girls, Caroline in the City, Glee and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.[343][344] An episode of the musical television series Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, titled "I Need Some Balance", parodied Cats by having all the songs sung by anthropomorphic cats who "introduce [themselves] over '80s Broadway beats".[345]
The first UK and Ireland tour opened in May 1989 at the Opera House Theatre in Blackpool. The cast for this tour included Marti Webb as Grizabella, Rosemarie Ford as Bombalurina and John Partridge as Alonzo.[120] Following a six-month engagement in Blackpool that broke the theatre's box office record and was seen by around 450,000 people,[142] the production moved to the Edinburgh Playhouse for three months, before closing in May 1990 after another two months at the Point Theatre in Dublin.[120] A second national tour launched in June 1993 at the Bristol Hippodrome,[143] featuring Rosemarie Ford as Grizabella, Robin Cousins as Munkustrap, Simon Rice as Mistoffelees and Tony Monopoly as Old Deuteronomy.[144] The tour closed at the Manchester Opera House in December 1995.[145]
By 2012, the royalty payments from Cats to the Eliot estate had totaled an estimated $100 million.[294] Valerie Eliot used a portion of this money to establish the literary charity Old Possum's Practical Trust, and to set up the T. S. Eliot Prize which has since become "the most coveted award in poetry".[337][338] Cats also turned things around for the independent British publishing house Faber and Faber. As the publisher of Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats, royalties of up to £1 million annually[316] kept the then-struggling Faber afloat during the 1980s.[339] Moreover, the musical led to a surge in the sales of Eliot's book.[1] The success of Cats led Faber to turn another of their literary properties, Ted Hughes' The Iron Man, into a 1989 musical of the same name.[340]
Cats have relatively few taste buds compared to humans (470 or so versus more than 9,000 on the human tongue).[91] Domestic and wild cats share a gene mutation that keeps their sweet taste buds from binding to sugary molecules, leaving them with no ability to taste sweetness.[92] Their taste buds instead respond to acids, amino acids like protein, and bitter tastes.[93] Cats also have a distinct temperature preference for their food, preferring food with a temperature around 38 °C (100 °F) which is similar to that of a fresh kill and routinely rejecting food presented cold or refrigerated (which would signal to the cat that the "prey" item is long dead and therefore possibly toxic or decomposing).[91]

The 2014 London revival introduced several modernizations to the show. Rum Tum Tugger was reworked and changed from a ladies-man rockstar to a breakdancing street cat. His eponymous musical number was also turned into a rap.[389][390] The 2015 Australian tour and 2015 Paris production also used the new version of the character; however, the 2016 Broadway revival did not.


After the fight, Rum Tum Tugger calls upon the magician Mr. Mistoffelees for help ("Magical Mr. Mistoffelees"). Known as the "original conjuring cat", Mr. Mistoffelees can perform feats of magic that no other cat can do. He displays his magical powers in a dance solo and uses them to restore the lights and bring back Old Deuteronomy. Now, the Jellicle Choice can be made.

Another unusual feature is that the cat cannot produce taurine,[note 1] with a deficiency in this nutrient causing macular degeneration, wherein the cat's retina slowly breaks down, causing irreversible blindness.[103] This is due to the hepatic activity of cystinesulfinic acid decarboxylase being low in cats. This limits the ability of cats to biosynthesize the taurine they need from its precursor, the amino acid cysteine, which ultimately results in inadequate taurine production needed for normal function. Deficiencies in taurine result in compensated function of feline cardiovascular and reproductive systems. These abnormalities can also be accompanied by developmental issues in the central nervous system along with degeneration of the retina.[118]
After Hamburg, the German production transferred to Stuttgart where it played from 2001 to 2002.[182][183] Stage Entertainment took over the production mid-2002 and moved the show to Berlin (2002–2004)[184][185] and later Düsseldorf (2004–2005),[186] before touring other cities until 2006.[187][188] Mehr-Entertainment launched a separate tour of Cats that ran from December 2010 to June 2013, performing in a travelling purpose-built tent theatre.[180] Besides Germany, this company also made stops in cities in Luxembourg, Switzerland and Austria.[189]
Vitamin D3 is a dietary requirement for cats as they lack the ability to synthesize vitamin D3 from sunlight.[123] Cats obtain high levels of the enzyme 7-dehydrocholestrol delta 7 reductase which causes immediate conversion of vitamin D3 from sunlight to 7-dehydrocholesterol.[124] This fat soluble vitamin is required in cats for bone formation through the promotion of calcium retention, along with nerve and muscle control through absorption of calcium and phosphorus.[124]
The original London production received mostly rave reviews, with critics hailing it as a watershed moment in British musical theatre.[295] 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.[296] 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",[295] 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".[297]
Influenced by the show's success in Vienna, a German production by Stella Entertainment premiered in April 1986 at the newly-renovated Operettenhaus in Hamburg.[173][179] It closed in January 2001 after 15 years, having played over 6,100 performances to 6.2 million audiences.[179][180] Cats was the first stage production in the country to be mounted without any public funding and was also the first to run for multiple years; its success established the medium as a profitable venture in Germany.[180] The musical was also a huge boost for tourism in Hamburg, particularly the subdivision of St. Pauli where it accounted for 30% of all tourists. The number of overnight visitors to the city increased by over one million per year within the first five years of the show's premiere.[179]
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After Hamburg, the German production transferred to Stuttgart where it played from 2001 to 2002.[182][183] Stage Entertainment took over the production mid-2002 and moved the show to Berlin (2002–2004)[184][185] and later Düsseldorf (2004–2005),[186] before touring other cities until 2006.[187][188] Mehr-Entertainment launched a separate tour of Cats that ran from December 2010 to June 2013, performing in a travelling purpose-built tent theatre.[180] Besides Germany, this company also made stops in cities in Luxembourg, Switzerland and Austria.[189]
The show was staged at the Det Ny Teater in Copenhagen, Denmark, in the 2002–2003 season.[201] This Danish production was translated by Adam Price and was one of the largest theatrical productions ever mounted in the country at the time with 100 performers, musicians and stagehands.[202] The first non-replica production of Cats was approved for a Polish production at the Teatr Muzyczny Roma in Warsaw.[203] Set in an abandoned film studio instead of a junkyard, the Polish version opened in January 2004 and closed in 2010.[204][205][206] The Gothenburg opera house staged a production with a Swedish-language script by Ingela Forsman; this version was reimagined to take place in an abandoned fairground and played from September 2006 to February 2007.[207] Other productions were also staged at the Divadlo Milenium in Prague from 2004 to 2005,[188] and a Norwegian revival at the Chat Noir in Oslo in 2009.[208] The first Italian-language production toured Italy in the 2009–2010 season.[209]

A few attempts to build a cat census have been made over the years, both through associations or national and international organizations (such as the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies's one[245]) and over the Internet,[246][247] but such a task does not seem simple to achieve. General estimates for the global population of domestic cats range widely from anywhere between 200 million to 600 million.[248][249][250][251][252][253]

Shortly after the Sydmonton Festival, Lloyd Webber began setting the unpublished poems he had been given to music, a few of which were later added into the show. He also composed the overture and "The Jellicle Ball", incorporating analog synthesizers into these orchestrations to try to create a unique electronic soundscape.[11] Meanwhile, Mackintosh recruited Nunn, the then artistic director of the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), to direct Practical Cats. Nunn was an unusual choice as he was considered "too high-brow" for musical theatre,[12] but Mackintosh felt that a "pedigree" director was needed to ensure Valerie Eliot's approval of the project.[13] After much persuasion, Nunn came on board and was joined by his fellow RSC colleagues, choreographer Gillian Lynne and set and costume designer John Napier.[9][14] Nunn initially envisioned Practical Cats as a chamber piece for five actors and two pianos, which he felt would reflect "Eliot's charming, slightly offbeat, mildly satiric view of late-1930's London".[15] However, he relented to Lloyd Webber's more ambitious vision for the musical.[15] Nunn was also convinced that for the musical to have the wide commercial appeal that the producers desired, it could not remain as a series of isolated numbers but instead had to have a narrative through line.[14] He was therefore tasked with piecing the self-contained poems together into a story.[16] Nunn wrote about the significance "Grizabella the Glamour Cat" had on the construction of the narrative:

Cats are similar in anatomy to the other felid species, with a strong flexible body, quick reflexes, sharp teeth and retractable claws adapted to killing small prey. They are predators who are most active at dawn and dusk (crepuscular). Cats can hear sounds too faint or too high in frequency for human ears, such as those made by mice and other small animals. Compared to humans, they see better in the dark (they see in near total darkness) and have a better sense of smell, but poorer color vision. Cats, despite being solitary hunters, are a social species. Cat communication includes the use of vocalizations including meowing, purring, trilling, hissing, growling and grunting as well as cat-specific body language.[7] Cats also communicate by secreting and perceiving pheromones.[8]
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