After the overture, the cats gather on stage and describe the Jellicle tribe and its purpose ("Jellicle Songs for Jellicle Cats"). The cats (who break the fourth wall throughout the show) then notice that they are being watched by a human audience, and proceed to explain how the different cats of the tribe are named ("The Naming of Cats"). This is followed by a ballet solo performed by Victoria to signal the beginning of the Jellicle Ball ("The Invitation to the Jellicle Ball"). At this moment, Munkustrap, the show's main narrator, explains that tonight the Jellicle patriarch Old Deuteronomy will make an appearance and choose one of the cats to be reborn into a new life on the Heaviside Layer.
Practical Cats, as the show was then called, was first presented as a song cycle at the 1980 summer Sydmonton Festival. The concert was performed by Gemma Craven, Gary Bond and Paul Nicholas. Eliot's widow and literary executor, Valerie, was in attendance and brought along various unpublished cat-themed poems by Eliot. One of these was "Grizabella the Glamour Cat" which, although rejected from Eliot's book for being "too sad for children", gave Lloyd Webber the idea for a full-blown musical. He explained:
Life in proximity to humans and other domestic animals has led to a symbiotic social adaptation in cats, and cats may express great affection toward humans or other animals. Ethologically, the human keeper of a cat may function as a sort of surrogate for the cat's mother, and adult housecats live their lives in a kind of extended kittenhood, a form of behavioral neoteny. The high-pitched sounds housecats make to solicit food may mimic the cries of a hungry human infant, making them particularly difficult for humans to ignore.
The original London production received mostly rave reviews, with critics hailing it as a watershed moment in British musical theatre. 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. 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", 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".
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. It closed in January 2001 after 15 years, having played over 6,100 performances to 6.2 million audiences. 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. 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.
Cats can be infected or infested with viruses, bacteria, fungus, protozoans, arthropods or worms that can transmit diseases to humans. In some cases, the cat exhibits no symptoms of the disease, However, the same disease can then become evident in a human. The likelihood that a person will become diseased depends on the age and immune status of the person. Humans who have cats living in their home or in close association are more likely to become infected, however, those who do not keep cats as pets might also acquire infections from cat feces and parasites exiting the cat's body. Some of the infections of most concern include salmonella, cat-scratch disease and toxoplasmosis.
Following the closure of the original West End production, a nationwide tour embarked in 2003 with Chrissie Hammond starring as Grizabella, until Dianne Pilkington took over the role in 2006. Hammond reprised the role on tour again from 2007 to 2008. A UK tour of Cats launched in February 2013 at the Edinburgh Playhouse with Joanna Ampil as Grizabella, running through 2014 before transferring to the West End. In between its limited West End runs, the musical returned to the Blackpool Opera House Theatre in 2015, this time starring Jane McDonald as Grizabella. After the second West End revival, the production toured the UK in 2016 with Anita Louise Combe as Grizabella and Marcquelle Ward as Rum Tum Tugger.
Felines are natural carnivores and do not intentionally consume large quantities of carbohydrates. The domestic cat's liver has adapted to the lack of carbohydrates in the diet by using amino acids to produce glucose to fuel the brain and other tissues. Studies have shown that carbohydrate digestion in young kittens is much less effective than that of a mature feline with a developed gastrointestinal tract. Highly digestible carbohydrates can be found in commercial kitten food as a source of additional energy as well as a source of fiber to stimulate the immature gut tissue. Soluble fibre such as beet pulp is a common ingredient used as a fibrous stool hardener and has been proven to strengthen intestinal muscles and to thicken the gut mucosal layer to prevent diarrhea.
Public attitudes towards feral cats vary widely, ranging from seeing them as free-ranging pets, to regarding them as vermin. One common approach to reducing the feral cat population is termed 'trap-neuter-return', where the cats are trapped, neutered, immunized against diseases such as rabies and the feline Panleukopenia and Leukemia viruses, and then released. Before releasing them back into their feral colonies, the attending veterinarian often nips the tip off one ear to mark it as neutered and inoculated, since these cats may be trapped again. Volunteers continue to feed and give care to these cats throughout their lives. Given this support, their lifespans are increased, and behavior and nuisance problems caused by competition for food are reduced.
Just kitten around Third baseman Eduardo Escobar is not a cat person, and teammates David Peralta, Wilmer Flores and Ildemaro Vargas love that about him. — Jenna Ortiz, azcentral, "Diamondbacks starter Luke Weaver's latest MRI reveals good news," 24 June 2019 Kitten in car wheel: Iverson St., 2500 block, Temple Hills, June 3. — Jillian S. Jarrett, Washington Post, "Prince George’s County Animal Watch," 20 June 2017 Things start cooking when Keanu disappears, forcing Rell and Clarence to play detective while chasing leads and kitten tail. — Manohla Dargis, New York Times, "With ‘Keanu,’ Key & Peele Break Into Feature Films — Kittens in Tow APRIL 20, 2016," 28 Apr. 2016
Many cultures have negative superstitions about cats. An example would be the belief that a black cat "crossing one's path" leads to bad luck, or that cats are witches' familiars used to augment a witch's powers and skills. The killing of cats in Medieval Ypres, Belgium, is commemorated in the innocuous present-day Kattenstoet (cat parade). In medieval France, cats would be burnt alive as a form of entertainment. According to Norman Davies, the assembled people "shrieked with laughter as the animals, howling with pain, were singed, roasted, and finally carbonized".
Cats has been referenced and satirised many times on screen; from the films Six Degrees of Separation and Team America: World Police, to the sketch comedy Saturday Night Live, and animated series like Family Guy, The Simpsons and BoJack Horseman, as well as live action comedies including The Golden Girls, Caroline in the City, Glee and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. 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".