In ancient Egypt, cats were sacred animals, with the goddess Bast often depicted in cat form, sometimes taking on the war-like aspect of a lioness.[265]:220 Killing a cat was absolutely forbidden[4] and the Greek historian Herodotus reports that, whenever a household cat died, the entire family would mourn and shave their eyebrows.[4] Families took their dead cats to the sacred city of Bubastis,[4] where they were embalmed and buried in sacred repositories.[4] The earliest unmistakable evidence of the Greeks having domestic cats comes from two coins from Magna Graecia dating to the mid-fifth century BC showing Iokastos and Phalanthos, the legendary founders of Rhegion and Taras respectively, playing with their pet cats.[266]:57–58[267]
Most of the lyrics in Cats were taken from Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats with very minor alterations. Supplementary verses from unpublished poems by Eliot were adapted for "Grizabella: The Glamour Cat" and "Journey to the Heaviside Layer", while the song "The Moments of Happiness" was taken from a passage in Eliot's The Dry Salvages. Cats director Trevor Nunn and lyricist Richard Stilgoe provided the remaining lyrics, namely for the opening number "Jellicle Songs for Jellicle Cats" and the most famous song from the musical "Memory". The former was written by Nunn and Stilgoe and was modelled after an unpublished poem by Eliot titled "Pollicle Dogs and Jellicle Cats", while the latter was written by Nunn based on another Eliot poem titled "Rhapsody on a Windy Night".[1]
Domestic cats use many vocalizations for communication, including purring, trilling, hissing, growling/snarling, grunting, and several different forms of meowing.[7] By contrast, feral cats are generally silent.[140]:208 Their types of body language, including position of ears and tail, relaxation of the whole body, and kneading of the paws, are all indicators of mood. The tail and ears are particularly important social signal mechanisms in cats;[141][142] for example, a raised tail acts as a friendly greeting, and flattened ears indicates hostility. Tail-raising also indicates the cat's position in the group's social hierarchy, with dominant individuals raising their tails less often than subordinate animals.[142] Nose-to-nose touching is also a common greeting and may be followed by social grooming, which is solicited by one of the cats raising and tilting its head.[131]
Reactions to the original Broadway production were mixed.[302] In his review for The New York Times, Frank Rich noted that the main draw of the show was that it "transports the audience into a complete fantasy world that could only exist in the theater". He attributed much of this "wondrous spectacle" to Nunn's direction, Napier's set and costume designs, as well as the talented cast. Rich found many of Lloyd Webber's songs to be "cleverly and appropriately" pastiche, and was impressed with how Lynne and Nunn distinguished each character through personalised movement. However, he panned Lynne's choreography and felt that the musical failed in its vague attempt to tell a story. Overall, he wished that the show had more "feeling to go with its most inventive stagecraft."[303] Clive Barnes of the New York Post concluded his review saying: "Its importance lies in its wholeheartedness. It is a statement of musical theater that cannot be ignored, should prove controversial and will never be forgotten."[304]
Vitamin D3 is a dietary requirement for cats as they lack the ability to synthesize vitamin D3 from sunlight.[123] Cats obtain high levels of the enzyme 7-dehydrocholestrol delta 7 reductase which causes immediate conversion of vitamin D3 from sunlight to 7-dehydrocholesterol.[124] This fat soluble vitamin is required in cats for bone formation through the promotion of calcium retention, along with nerve and muscle control through absorption of calcium and phosphorus.[124]
Cats can be infected or infested with viruses, bacteria, fungus, protozoans, arthropods or worms that can transmit diseases to humans.[262] In some cases, the cat exhibits no symptoms of the disease,[263] 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.[262][264] Some of the infections of most concern include salmonella, cat-scratch disease and toxoplasmosis.[263]
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.[306] Two years later, the original Broadway production won seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical, out of eleven nominations.[307] The London and Broadway cast recordings were nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album, which the latter won.[308][309] In 2015, the London revival was nominated for — but did not win — two Olivier Awards, including Best Musical Revival.[310]
As of 2017, the domestic cat was the second-most popular pet in the U.S. by number of pets owned, after freshwater fish,[17] with 95 million cats owned.[18][19] As of 2017, it was ranked the third-most popular pet in the UK, after fish and dogs, with around 8 million being owned.[20] The number of cats in the United Kingdom has nearly doubled since 1965, when the cat population was 4.1 million.[21]