The London production ran for 21 years and 8,949 performances, while the Broadway production ran for 18 years and 7,485 performances, making Cats the longest-running musical in both theatre districts for a number of years. As of 2019, it remains the sixth-longest-running West End show and the fourth-longest-running Broadway show. Cats has since been revived in the West End twice and on Broadway once. It has also been translated into multiple languages and performed around the world many times. Long-running foreign productions include a 15-year run at the Operettenhaus in Hamburg that played over 6,100 performances, as well as an ongoing run in a purpose-built theatre in Japan that has played over 10,000 performances since it opened in 1983.
The domestic cat's ability to thrive in almost any terrestrial habitat has led to its designation as one of the world's most invasive species.[203] As it is little altered from the wildcat, it can readily interbreed with the wildcat. This hybridization poses a danger to the genetic distinctiveness of some wildcat populations, particularly in Scotland and Hungary and possibly also the Iberian Peninsula.[56]
According to a myth in many cultures, cats have multiple lives. In many countries, they are believed to have nine lives, but in Italy, Germany, Greece, Brazil and some Spanish-speaking regions, they are said to have seven lives,[279][280] while in Turkish and Arabic traditions, the number of lives is six.[281] The myth is attributed to the natural suppleness and swiftness cats exhibit to escape life-threatening situations. Also lending credence to this myth is the fact that falling cats often land on their feet, using an instinctive righting reflex to twist their bodies around. Nonetheless, cats can still be injured or killed by a high fall.[282]

^ Jump up to: a b Loss, Scott R.; Will, Tom; Marra, Peter P. (29 January 2013). "The impact of free-ranging domestic cats on wildlife of the United States". Nature Communications. 4. Article number 1396. Bibcode:2013NatCo...4.1396L. doi:10.1038/ncomms2380. PMID 23360987. We estimate that free-ranging domestic cats kill 1.4–3.7 billion birds and 6.9–20.7 billion mammals annually.

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.
Lloyd Webber began composing the songs in late 1977 as a songwriting exercise, partly because Eliot's book had been a childhood favourite and partly to see if he could write music to predetermined lyrics. The compositions were performed privately for friends but Lloyd Webber had no further intentions for them at the time. After his song cycle Tell Me on a Sunday was televised by the BBC in early 1980, Lloyd Webber began to consider using his musicalizations of Eliot's poems in the same vein for a televised concert anthology.[8] He approached producer Cameron Mackintosh to discuss possible avenues for the songs.[9]

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]
Cats are ready to go to new homes at about 12 weeks of age, when they are ready to leave their mother.[184] They can be surgically sterilized (spayed or castrated) as early as 7 weeks to limit unwanted reproduction.[185] This surgery also prevents undesirable sex-related behavior, such as aggression, territory marking (spraying urine) in males and yowling (calling) in females. Traditionally, this surgery was performed at around six to nine months of age, but it is increasingly being performed before puberty, at about three to six months.[186] In the US, about 80% of household cats are neutered.[187]
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.[121] 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).[122] To summarize: cats do not have high levels of this enzyme leading to the cleavage and oxidation of carotenoids not taking place.[120]

Some of the same factors that have promoted adaptive radiation of island avifauna over evolutionary time appear to promote vulnerability to non-native species in modern time. The susceptibility of many island birds is undoubtedly due to evolution in the absence of mainland predators, competitors, diseases, and parasites, in addition to lower reproductive rates and extended incubation periods.[231] The loss of flight, or reduced flying ability is also characteristic of many island endemics.[232] These biological aspects have increased vulnerability to extinction in the presence of introduced species, such as the domestic cat.[233] Equally, behavioral traits exhibited by island species, such as "predatory naivety"[234] and ground-nesting,[231] have also contributed to their susceptibility.

Kittens develop very quickly from about two weeks of age until their seventh week. Their coordination and strength improves. They play-fight with their litter-mates and begin to explore the world outside the nest or den. They learn to wash themselves and others as well as play hunting and stalking games, showing their inborn ability as predators. These innate skills are developed by the kittens' mother or other adult cats, who bring live prey to the nest. Later, the adult cats demonstrate hunting techniques for the kittens to emulate.[11] As they reach three to four weeks old, the kittens are gradually weaned and begin to eat solid food, with weaning usually complete by six to eight weeks.[12] Kittens generally begin to lose their baby teeth around three months of age, and have a complete set of adult teeth by nine months.[13] Kittens live primarily on solid food after weaning, but usually continue to suckle from time to time until separated from their mothers. Some mother cats will scatter their kittens as early as three months of age, while others continue to look after them until they approach sexual maturity.[14]
The Japanese-language production of Cats by the Shiki Theatre Company has been playing continuously since November 1983. This production is a "slow tour" with engagements lasting for several years in each of the nine cities it has visited.[158][159] The musical premiered in a purpose-built tent theatre in Shinjuku, Tokyo,[158] with a Japanese script translated by Keita Asari, the founder of the Shiki Theatre Company.[160] There had never been a long-running stage production in Japan prior to Cats,[158] and the huge success of this production led to what the local media termed a "musical boom" in the 1980s, with other Broadway musicals quickly following suit and opening in Japan.[161]
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]
About 250 heritable genetic disorders have been identified in cats, many similar to human inborn errors.[286] The high level of similarity among the metabolism of mammals allows many of these feline diseases to be diagnosed using genetic tests that were originally developed for use in humans, as well as the use of cats as animal models in the study of the human diseases.[287][288]

One of Nunn's stipulations for agreeing to direct Practical Cats was that actress Judi Dench would be cast in the musical. Lloyd Webber was happy to oblige given her credentials and so Dench joined the company in the dual roles of Grizabella and Jennyanydots. Former Royal Ballet principal dancer Wayne Sleep was offered the part of Mr. Mistoffelees after Lloyd Webber and Mackintosh attended a performance by his dance troupe, one of the many dance showcases they saw in preparation for the musical. Casting for the other roles began in November 1980, with auditions held across the UK for dancers who could also sing and act. There was an initial disagreement over the casting of Nicholas as Rum Tum Tugger; Nunn had misgivings about the actor's laid-back attitude but eventually yielded to Lloyd Webber, Mackintosh and Lynne, all of whom were keen on Nicholas for the role. Sarah Brightman, who had already made a name for herself with the chart hit "I Lost My Heart to a Starship Trooper", arranged a private audition and was cast in an as-then undecided role. By December, the full cast had been assembled.[18]
Cats have seven cervical vertebrae (as do most mammals); 13 thoracic vertebrae (humans have 12); seven lumbar vertebrae (humans have five); three sacral vertebrae (as do most mammals, but humans have five); and a variable number of caudal vertebrae in the tail (humans have only vestigial caudal vertebrae, fused into an internal coccyx).[64]:11 The extra lumbar and thoracic vertebrae account for the cat's spinal mobility and flexibility. Attached to the spine are 13 ribs, the shoulder, and the pelvis.[64] :16 Unlike human arms, cat forelimbs are attached to the shoulder by free-floating clavicle bones which allow them to pass their body through any space into which they can fit their head.[65]
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