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]
In isolated landmasses, such as Australasia, there are often no other native, medium-sized quadrupedal predators (including other feline species); this tends to exacerbate the impact of feral cats on small native animals.[214] Native species such as the New Zealand kakapo and the Australian bettong, for example, tend to be more ecologically vulnerable and behaviorally "naive", when faced with predation by cats.[215] Feral cats have had a major impact on these native species and have played a leading role in the endangerment and extinction of many animals.[216]

^ Kitchener, A. C.; Breitenmoser-Würsten, C.; Eizirik, E.; Gentry, A.; Werdelin, L.; Wilting, A.; Yamaguchi, N.; Abramov, A. V.; Christiansen, P.; Driscoll, C.; Duckworth, J. W.; Johnson, W.; Luo, S.-J.; Meijaard, E.; O’Donoghue, P.; Sanderson, J.; Seymour, K.; Bruford, M.; Groves, C.; Hoffmann, M.; Nowell, K.; Timmons, Z.; Tobe, S. (2017). "A revised taxonomy of the Felidae: The final report of the Cat Classification Task Force of the IUCN Cat Specialist Group" (PDF). Cat News. Special Issue 11: 21. Archived (PDF) from the original on 30 July 2018. Retrieved 21 December 2018.


Purring may have developed as an evolutionary advantage as a signalling mechanism of reassurance between mother cats and nursing kittens. Post-nursing cats often purr as a sign of contentment: when being petted, becoming relaxed,[143][144] or eating. The mechanism by which cats purr is elusive. The cat has no unique anatomical feature that is clearly responsible for the sound.[145] It was until recent times,[when?] believed that only the cats of the Felis genus could purr. However, felids of the genus Panthera (tiger, lion, jaguar, and leopard) also produce non-continuous sounds, called chuffs, similar to purring, but only when exhaling.[146]

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]

^ Kitchener, A. C.; Breitenmoser-Würsten, C.; Eizirik, E.; Gentry, A.; Werdelin, L.; Wilting, A.; Yamaguchi, N.; Abramov, A. V.; Christiansen, P.; Driscoll, C.; Duckworth, J. W.; Johnson, W.; Luo, S.-J.; Meijaard, E.; O’Donoghue, P.; Sanderson, J.; Seymour, K.; Bruford, M.; Groves, C.; Hoffmann, M.; Nowell, K.; Timmons, Z.; Tobe, S. (2017). "A revised taxonomy of the Felidae: The final report of the Cat Classification Task Force of the IUCN Cat Specialist Group" (PDF). Cat News. Special Issue 11: 21. Archived (PDF) from the original on 30 July 2018. Retrieved 21 December 2018.


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]
The cat (Felis catus) is a small carnivorous mammal.[1][2] It is the only domesticated species in the family Felidae and often referred to as the domestic cat to distinguish it from wild members of the family.[4] The cat is either a house cat or a farm cat, which are pets, or a feral cat, which ranges freely and avoids human contact.[5] A house cat is valued by humans for companionship and for its ability to hunt rodents. About 60 cat breeds are recognized by various cat registries.[6]
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