Lloyd Webber began setting Eliot's poems to music in 1977 and the compositions were first presented as a song cycle in 1980. Producer Cameron Mackintosh then recruited director Trevor Nunn and choreographer Gillian Lynne to turn the songs into a complete musical. Cats opened to positive reviews at the New London Theatre in the West End in 1981 and then to mixed reviews at the Winter Garden Theatre on Broadway in 1982. It won numerous awards including Best Musical at both the Laurence Olivier and Tony Awards. Despite its unusual premise which deterred investors initially, the musical turned out to be an unprecedented commercial success, with a worldwide gross of $3.5 billion by 2012.
Cats have relatively few taste buds compared to humans (470 or so versus more than 9,000 on the human tongue). 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. Their taste buds instead respond to acids, amino acids like protein, and bitter tastes. 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).
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 musical has also been translated and staged nationally in Asia. From September 2008 to January 2009, a Korean-language production performed at the Charlotte Theatre in Seoul, with Shin Youngsook and Ock Joo-hyun alternating as Grizabella, Kim Jin-woo and Daesung alternating as Rum Tum Tugger, and Kim Bo-kyung as Rumpleteazer. This production was revived and toured South Korea from 2011 to 2012, with Insooni and Park Hae-mi taking turns to portray Grizabella. The first Mandarin-language production toured various cities in China in 2012.
^ Jump up to: a b Driscoll, C. A.; Menotti-Raymond, M.; Roca, A. L.; Hupe, K.; Johnson, W. E.; Geffen, E.; Harley, E. H.; Delibes, M.; Pontier, D.; Kitchener, A. C.; Yamaguchi, N.; O'Brien, S. J.; Macdonald, D. W. (2007). "The Near Eastern Origin of Cat Domestication". Science. 317 (5837): 519–523. Bibcode:2007Sci...317..519D. doi:10.1126/science.1139518. ISSN 0036-8075. PMC 5612713. PMID 17600185.
Kittens are so cute, it’s understandable that cat owners sometimes wish their kittens could stay kittens forever. This is the when you, as the pet parent, lay the foundation for your cat’s future health and behavior. Not to mention, it’s the stage where you have to decide what food to buy, what vet to visit, and where to place the litterbox. Fortunately, all of your hard work during these first few months is compensated by loads of snuggling and adorability.
Cats has received many international awards and nominations. The original London production was nominated for six Laurence Olivier Awards in 1981, winning two awards including Best New Musical. Two years later, the original Broadway production won seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical, out of eleven nominations. The London and Broadway cast recordings were nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album, which the latter won. In 2015, the London revival was nominated for — but did not win — two Olivier Awards, including Best Musical Revival.
Female cats are seasonally polyestrous, which means they may have many periods of heat over the course of a year, the season beginning in spring and ending in late autumn. Heat periods occur about every two weeks and last about 4 to 7 days. Multiple males will be attracted to a female in heat. The males will fight over her, and the victor wins the right to mate. At first, the female rejects the male, but eventually the female allows the male to mate. The female utters a loud yowl as the male pulls out of her because a male cat's penis has a band of about 120–150 backwards-pointing penile spines, which are about 1 mm long; upon withdrawal of the penis, the spines rake the walls of the female's vagina, which acts to induce ovulation. This act also occurs to clear the vagina of other sperm in the context of a second (or more) mating, thus giving the later males a larger chance of conception.
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.
Beyond the megamusical, Cats also led the Broadway trend for musicals aimed at families and tourists, which would later take the form of the Disney Theatrical Productions and jukebox musicals. The marketing campaigns for the musical targeted family audiences at a time when this demographic was not a consideration in the industry. Composer Joe Raposo said of family musicals in 1986: "Cats is a wonderful proof of what an audience is out there, untapped. People do want a theatrical experience for their children." Thanks to its easily accessible spectacle, the original Broadway production also tapped into the then-burgeoning tourist boom in New York and its audience shifted increasingly towards foreign visitors in its later years. Billington also specifically traces the rise of the jukebox musical genre back to Cats, citing the latter's disregard for dramatic text in favour of an all-encompassing theatrical experience.
The sex of kittens is usually easy to determine at birth. By six to eight weeks they are harder to sex because of the growth of fur in the genital region. The male's urethral opening is round, whereas the female's urethral opening is a slit. Another marked difference is the distance between anus and urethral opening, which is greater in males than in females.
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.
After the Jellicle Ball, Old Deuteronomy contemplates "what happiness is", referring to Grizabella. However, the cats do not understand him, so he has Jemima (or Sillabub, depending on the production), the youngest of all Jellicles, sing it in simpler terms ("The Moments of Happiness"). Gus – short for Asparagus – shuffles forward as the next cat to be introduced ("Gus: The Theatre Cat"). He was once a famous actor but is now old and "suffers from palsy which makes his paws shake". He is accompanied by Jellylorum, his caretaker, who tells of his exploits. Gus then remembers how he once played the infamous pirate captain, Growltiger a.k.a. the Terror of the Thames ("Growltiger's Last Stand"). Gus tells the story about the pirate captain's romance with Lady Griddlebone, and how Growltiger was overtaken by the Siamese and forced to walk the plank to his death.
The musical was scheduled to open on 30 April 1981, with previews starting on 22 April. Shortly before tickets went on sale in mid-February, Nunn revealed to the alarmed producers that he was struggling to write the script for the musical. Despite still having no established book or score, rehearsals began on 9 March 1981 in a church hall in Chiswick, London. The original music director, Chris Walker, became so frustrated with the unfinished score that he quit by lunchtime and was replaced by the film conductor Harry Rabinowitz. The situation improved later that day when Lloyd Webber, Mackintosh and Nunn met with Stilgoe, a musician known for his ability to improvise lyrics on the spot, in hopes that Stilgoe could write an opening song for the musical. By the next evening, Stilgoe had produced a draft for "Jellicle Songs for Jellicle Cats". However, "Memory", an 11 o'clock number for Grizabella that Nunn insisted the show needed as its "emotional centre", still had no lyrics at this point. Lloyd Webber's former writing partner Tim Rice was brought in to write a lyric for the song, but his version was rejected by Nunn for being too depressing. The lyrics for "Memory" were not completed by Nunn until well into the previews.
To aid with navigation and sensation, cats have dozens of movable whiskers (vibrissae) over their body, especially their faces. These provide information on the width of gaps and on the location of objects in the dark, both by touching objects directly and by sensing air currents; they also trigger protective blink reflexes to protect the eyes from damage.:47
Spanish and Portuguese-language productions of Cats have been staged in South America, with productions in Argentina in 1993 (with Olivia Bucio as Grizabella), in Chile in 2006 (at the Arena Santiago) and 2014, in Colombia in 2009, and in Brazil in 2010 (with Paula Lima as Grizabella). Other countries that the musical has been performed in include South Africa (2001–2002), Lebanon (2002), Qatar (2003, 2017), Turkey (2013), Israel (2014), and the United Arab Emirates (2017).
^ 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.
Back in the present, after Gus exits, Skimbleshanks is seen sleeping in the corner ("Skimbleshanks: The Railway Cat"). He is the cat who is unofficially in charge of the night train to Glasgow. Skimbleshanks is considered vital to the rail operations, as without him "the train can't start". Within his song, a whole steam train engine is assembled out of objects in the junkyard.
When cats become aggressive, they try to make themselves appear larger and more threatening by raising their fur, arching their backs, turning sideways and hissing or spitting. Often, the ears are pointed down and back to avoid damage to the inner ear and potentially listen for any changes behind them while focused forward. They may also vocalize loudly and bare their teeth in an effort to further intimidate their opponent. Fights usually consist of grappling and delivering powerful slaps to the face and body with the forepaws as well as bites. Cats also throw themselves to the ground in a defensive posture to rake their opponent's belly with their powerful hind legs.
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. 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.
An event called the Jellicle Ball was referenced by Eliot in the poem "The Song of the Jellicles", while a cat version of heaven known as the Heaviside Layer was mentioned in one of his unpublished poems. Nunn expanded on these concepts by conceiving the Jellicle Ball as an annual ritual in which the cats vie to be chosen to ascend to the Heaviside Layer, thus giving the characters a reason to gather and sing about themselves in the musical. He also added the element of rebirth as a play on the idea that cats have nine lives.
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. In Norse mythology, Freyja, the goddess of love, beauty, and fertility, is depicted as riding a chariot drawn by cats. In Jewish legend, the first cat was living in the house of the first man Adam as a pet that got rid of mice. 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. 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. Although no species are sacred in Islam, cats are revered by Muslims. Some Western writers have stated Muhammad had a favorite cat, Muezza. He is reported to have loved cats so much, "he would do without his cloak rather than disturb one that was sleeping on it". 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. One of the companions of Muhammad was known as "Abu Hurayrah" (Father of the Kitten), in reference to his documented affection to cats.
Several natural behaviors and characteristics of wildcats may have preadapted them for domestication as pets. These traits include their small size, social nature, obvious body language, love of play and relatively high intelligence.:12–17 Captive Leopardus cats may also display affectionate behavior toward humans, but have not been domesticated.