Many of the ensemble characters were created by the original cast through extensive improvisation sessions held during the rehearsal process. Said Nunn: "[O]n day one of rehearsals what we had was 15 poems set to music and five weeks later we had a show with characters, relationships and stories running from beginning to end." The production faced a last minute mishap when Dench snapped her Achilles tendon during rehearsals for "The Old Gumbie Cat" and had to pull out one week before the first preview. Her understudy Myra Sands replaced her as Jennyanydots, while Elaine Paige agreed to take over the role of Grizabella. Opening night was pushed back to 11 May, but Mackintosh refused to postpone the previews as he wanted to dispel the industry rumours that the production was an impending debacle.
"It was the custom to burn a basket, barrel, or sack full of live cats, which was hung from a tall mast in the midst of the bonfire; sometimes a fox was burned. The people collected the embers and ashes of the fire and took them home, believing that they brought good luck. The French kings often witnessed these spectacles and even lit the bonfire with their own hands. In 1648 Louis XIV, crowned with a wreath of roses and carrying a bunch of roses in his hand, kindled the fire, danced at it and partook of the banquet afterwards in the town hall. But this was the last occasion when a monarch presided at the midsummer bonfire in Paris. At Metz midsummer fires were lighted with great pomp on the esplanade, and a dozen cats, enclosed in wicker cages, were burned alive in them, to the amusement of the people. Similarly at Gap, in the department of the Hautes-Alpes, cats used to be roasted over the midsummer bonfire."
During a fall from a high place, a cat reflexively twists its body and rights itself to land on its feet using its acute sense of balance and flexibility. This reflex is known as the cat righting reflex. An individual cat always rights itself in the same way during a fall, provided it has sufficient time to do so. The height required for this to occur is around 90 cm (3.0 ft). Cats without a tail also have this reflex. Several explanations have been proposed for this phenomenon since the late 19th century:
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. 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. Kittens generally reach sexual maturity at around seven months old. A cat reaches full "adulthood" around one year of age.
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. Cats also tend to play with toys more when they are hungry. 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. Owing to the risks posed by cats eating string, it is sometimes replaced with a laser pointer's dot, which cats may chase.
In the 1980s, the success of local productions of Cats in Tokyo, Sydney, Vienna, Hamburg, and Toronto were turning points that established these cities (and their respective countries) as major commercial markets in the global theatrical circuit. The musical was also a boon for the Broadway touring industry. In 1997, The New York Times credited the regional and touring productions of Cats with "almost single-handedly reviv[ing] the sagging road business". Cats revolutionised the touring business by introducing the now commonplace practice of extended touring engagements that can last several weeks or months in a single city, as opposed to the typical one-week or ten-day tour stop. Mackintosh's insistence that all touring productions of Cats replicate the Broadway production also resulted in the expansion and upgrading of regional theatre venues to accommodate the musical's demanding logistical requirements, as local theatre owners did not want to miss out on the opportunity to host the lucrative show.
Paul Dean is a writer. In addition to co-founding the board games site/show Shut Up & Sit Down and co-creating the latest edition of the Paranoia RPG, Paul has also contributed to or been featured in publications and outlets as diverse as The Telegraph, Eurogamer, IGN, How We Get to Next, The New Statesmen, The Guardian, RockPaperShotgun, and BBC Radio. (He’s even got a Cadbury’s Children’s Poetry Collection.) Later this year his scenario “We’ll Temporarily Have Paris” will appear in the Feng Shui 2 adventure anthology Have Fist, Will Travel.
The original Viennese cast included Ute Lemper who played Bombalurina, Steve Barton who played Munkustrap, and Robert Montano who played Pouncival. Pia Douwes was also a member of the cast from 1987 to 1989, covering several different characters including Grizabella. The Vienna production also performed limited runs at the Komische Oper Berlin in East Germany in 1987, and at the Moscow Operetta Theatre in the Soviet Union in 1988.
As well as being kept as pets, cats are also used in the international fur and leather industries for making coats, hats, blankets, and stuffed toys; and shoes, gloves, and musical instruments respectively (about 24 cats are needed to make a cat-fur coat). This use has been outlawed in the United States, Australia, and the European Union. Cat pelts have been used for superstitious purposes as part of the practise of witchcraft, and are still made into blankets in Switzerland as folk remedies believed to help rheumatism. In the Western intellectual tradition, the idea of cats as everyday objects have served to illustrate problems of quantum mechanics in the Schrödinger's cat thought experiment.
The domestic cat is a significant predator of birds. UK assessments indicate they may be accountable for an estimated 64.8 million bird deaths each year. A 2012 study suggests feral cats may kill several billion birds each year in the United States. Certain species appear more susceptible than others; for example, 30% of house sparrow mortality is linked to the domestic cat. In the recovery of ringed robins (Erithacus rubecula) and dunnocks (Prunella modularis), 31% of deaths were a result of cat predation. In parts of North America, the presence of larger carnivores such as coyotes which prey on cats and other small predators reduces the effect of predation by cats and other small predators such as opossums and raccoons on bird numbers and variety. The proposal that cat populations will increase when the numbers of these top predators decline is called the mesopredator release hypothesis.
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. The 2015 Australian tour and 2015 Paris production also used the new version of the character; however, the 2016 Broadway revival did not.
Domestic cats are generally smaller than wildcats in both skull and limb measurements. Adult domestic cats typically weigh between 4 and 5 kg (9 and 10 lb), although many breeds have a wide range of sizes, with male American Shorthairs ranging from 3 to 7 kg (7 to 20 lb). Some cat breeds, such as the Maine Coon, occasionally exceed 11 kg (24 lb). Very small cats, less than 2 kg (4 lb), have been reported. The world record for the largest cat is 21 kg (50 lb).[self-published source] The smallest adult cat ever officially recorded weighed around 1 kg (2 lb). Feral cats tend to be lighter, as they have more limited access to food than house cats. The average feral adult male weighs 4 kg (9 lb), and the average adult female 3 kg (7 lb). Cats average about 23–25 cm (9–10 in) in height and 46 cm (18 in) in head/body length (males being larger than females), with tails averaging 30 cm (12 in) in length.