Cats started the megamusical phenomenon, establishing Broadway as a global industry and directing its focus to big-budget blockbusters, as well as family- and tourist-friendly shows. Its profound but polarizing influence also reshaped the aesthetic, technology, and marketing of the medium. The musical was adapted into a direct-to-video film in 1998, with a feature film adaptation by Tom Hooper set to follow in 2019.

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]
The Japanese-language production of Cats by the Shiki Theatre Company has been playing continuously since November 1983. This production is a "slow tour" with engagements lasting for several years in each of the nine cities it has visited.[158][159] The musical premiered in a purpose-built tent theatre in Shinjuku, Tokyo,[158] with a Japanese script translated by Keita Asari, the founder of the Shiki Theatre Company.[160] There had never been a long-running stage production in Japan prior to Cats,[158] and the huge success of this production led to what the local media termed a "musical boom" in the 1980s, with other Broadway musicals quickly following suit and opening in Japan.[161]
Cats started the megamusical phenomenon, establishing Broadway as a global industry and directing its focus to big-budget blockbusters, as well as family- and tourist-friendly shows. Its profound but polarizing influence also reshaped the aesthetic, technology, and marketing of the medium. The musical was adapted into a direct-to-video film in 1998, with a feature film adaptation by Tom Hooper set to follow in 2019.
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.[66]:47
Serious damage is rare, as the fights are usually short in duration, with the loser running away with little more than a few scratches to the face and ears. However, fights for mating rights are typically more severe and injuries may include deep puncture wounds and lacerations. Normally, serious injuries from fighting are limited to infections of scratches and bites, though these can occasionally kill cats if untreated. In addition, bites are probably the main route of transmission of feline immunodeficiency virus.[153] Sexually active males are usually involved in many fights during their lives, and often have decidedly battered faces with obvious scars and cuts to their ears and nose.[154]
As well as being kept as pets, cats are also used in the international fur[238] and leather industries for making coats, hats, blankets, and stuffed toys;[239] and shoes, gloves, and musical instruments respectively[240] (about 24 cats are needed to make a cat-fur coat).[241] This use has been outlawed in the United States, Australia, and the European Union.[242] Cat pelts have been used for superstitious purposes as part of the practise of witchcraft,[243] and are still made into blankets in Switzerland as folk remedies believed to help rheumatism.[244] 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's ability to thrive in almost any terrestrial habitat has led to its designation as one of the world's most invasive species.[203] As it is little altered from the wildcat, it can readily interbreed with the wildcat. This hybridization poses a danger to the genetic distinctiveness of some wildcat populations, particularly in Scotland and Hungary and possibly also the Iberian Peninsula.[56]
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.[57]:12–17 Captive Leopardus cats may also display affectionate behavior toward humans, but have not been domesticated.[54]

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.[268] This production was revived and toured South Korea from 2011 to 2012, with Insooni and Park Hae-mi taking turns to portray Grizabella.[269] The first Mandarin-language production toured various cities in China in 2012.[270]
Following its Broadway debut, Cats has been staged extensively across North America. The first US national tour, Cats National I, launched at the Shubert Theatre in Boston in December 1983 and closed in November 1987. The opening night cast included Laurie Beechman playing Grizabella and Charlotte d'Amboise playing Cassandra; later replacements included Victoria Clark and Jessica Molaskey both playing Jellylorum/Griddlebone. This production was a "slow tour" that had lengthy engagements lasting for several months in each of the nine cities it visited.[112][113] Cats National II, a separate sit-down production at the Los Angeles Shubert Theatre, ran from January 1985 to November 1986, and starred Kim Criswell and George de la Peña in the roles of Grizabella and Mistoffelees respectively.[114][115] A third US touring company, Cats National III, ran for two years from September 1986 to September 1988. Notable performers in the third tour included Jonathan Cerullo as Skimbleshanks (1986) and Bill Nolte as Old Deuteronomy (1987).[116]
The scientific name Felis catus for the domestic cat was proposed by Carl Linnaeus in the 10th edition of Systema Naturae published in 1758.[1][2] Felis catus domesticus was a scientific name proposed by Johann Christian Polycarp Erxleben in 1777.[3] Felis daemon proposed by Konstantin Alekseevich Satunin in 1904 was a black cat specimen from the Transcaucasus, later identified as a domestic cat.[38][39]
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