Owing to the close similarity between play and hunting, cats prefer to play with objects that resemble prey, such as small furry toys that move rapidly, but rapidly lose interest (they become habituated) in a toy they have played with before.[174] Cats also tend to play with toys more when they are hungry.[175] String is often used as a toy, but if it is eaten, it can become caught at the base of the cat's tongue and then move into the intestines, a medical emergency which can cause serious illness, even death.[176] Owing to the risks posed by cats eating string, it is sometimes replaced with a laser pointer's dot, which cats may chase.[177]
Another poorly understood element of cat hunting behavior is the presentation of prey to human guardians. Ethologist Paul Leyhausen proposed that cats adopt humans into their social group and share excess kill with others in the group according to the dominance hierarchy, in which humans are reacted to as if they are at, or near, the top.[163] Anthropologist and zoologist Desmond Morris, in his 1986 book Catwatching, suggests, when cats bring home mice or birds, they are attempting to teach their human to hunt, or trying to help their human as if feeding "an elderly cat, or an inept kitten".[164][165] Morris's hypothesis is inconsistent with the fact that male cats also bring home prey, despite males having negligible involvement with raising kittens.[161]:153
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]
Kittens require a high-calorie diet that contains more protein than the diet of adult cats.[43] Young orphaned kittens require cat milk every two to four hours, and they need physical stimulation to defecate and urinate.[6] Cat milk replacement is manufactured to feed to young kittens, because cow's milk does not provide all the necessary nutrients.[44] Human-reared kittens tend to be very affectionate with humans as adults and sometimes more dependent on them than kittens reared by their mothers, but they can also show volatile mood swings and aggression.[45] Depending on the age at which they were orphaned and how long they were without their mothers, these kittens may be severely underweight and can have health problems later in life, such as heart conditions. The compromised immune system of orphaned kittens (from lack of antibodies found naturally in the mother's milk) can make them especially susceptible to infections, making antibiotics a necessity.[46]

^ Glen, A. S.; Dickman, C. R. (2005). "Complex interactions among mammalian carnivores in Australia, and their implications for wildlife management" (PDF). Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society. 80 (3): 387–401. CiteSeerX 10.1.1.452.7854. doi:10.1017/S1464793105006718. PMID 16094805. Archived (PDF) from the original on 22 September 2017.


Lloyd Webber began composing the songs in late 1977 as a songwriting exercise, partly because Eliot's book had been a childhood favourite and partly to see if he could write music to predetermined lyrics. The compositions were performed privately for friends but Lloyd Webber had no further intentions for them at the time. After his song cycle Tell Me on a Sunday was televised by the BBC in early 1980, Lloyd Webber began to consider using his musicalizations of Eliot's poems in the same vein for a televised concert anthology.[8] He approached producer Cameron Mackintosh to discuss possible avenues for the songs.[9]
Meanwhile, the first Canadian national production premiered in March 1985 at the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatres in Toronto, Ontario. It moved to Montreal two years later and then toured other parts of Canada. By the time the production closed in August 1989, it had become the most successful Canadian stage production of all time with a box office of $78 million from nearly 2 million tickets.[118][128] A second Canadian touring company began in 2013, 28 years after the first one launched.[129]

Cats redefined musical theatre in the German-speaking part of the world, turning an industry which then consisted of repertory theatre towards privately-funded big-budget open-ended productions. The success of the Vienna and Hamburg productions sparked a "musical boom" in the region that saw numerous musicals being launched not just in Germany but also in countries like Switzerland.[173][180] It also led to a "construction boom" in Germany as new theatrical venues were enacted all around the country.[181] Germany has since grown to become the third largest musical market after the US and UK, with Hamburg as its "musical capital".[173][180]


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.

Napier began designing the set in November 1980, wanting "a place where cats might congregate together, which also included maximum room for dancing".[93] The set of Cats consists of a junkyard filled with oversized props to give the illusion that the cast are the size of actual cats;[94] it remains the same throughout the show without any scene changes. Over 2,500 of these scaled-up props were used to fill the whole auditorium in the original Broadway production.[16][95]
The first UK and Ireland tour opened in May 1989 at the Opera House Theatre in Blackpool. The cast for this tour included Marti Webb as Grizabella, Rosemarie Ford as Bombalurina and John Partridge as Alonzo.[120] Following a six-month engagement in Blackpool that broke the theatre's box office record and was seen by around 450,000 people,[142] the production moved to the Edinburgh Playhouse for three months, before closing in May 1990 after another two months at the Point Theatre in Dublin.[120] A second national tour launched in June 1993 at the Bristol Hippodrome,[143] featuring Rosemarie Ford as Grizabella, Robin Cousins as Munkustrap, Simon Rice as Mistoffelees and Tony Monopoly as Old Deuteronomy.[144] The tour closed at the Manchester Opera House in December 1995.[145]
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.
^ Zorro, the last cat of a colony at the Merrimack River in Newburyport, Massachusetts, died in 2009 at age 16. "Trap-Neuter-Return Effectively Stabilizes and Reduces Feral Cat Populations: Trap-Neuter-Return Humanely Stabilized and Reduced in Size the Merrimack River Colony" Archived 5 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine, Alley Cat Allies, accessed 18 August 2014; an earlier article in the LA Times was written when Zorro was the last remaining living cat: "Advocates report success with trap, neuter, return approach to stray cats" Archived 6 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine, Los Angeles Times, 29 September 2009.

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.[39] Studies have shown that carbohydrate digestion in young kittens is much less effective than that of a mature feline with a developed gastrointestinal tract.[40] 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.[41]


The musical also features an unusual amount of "group-description" numbers. According to musicologist Jessica Sternfeld, such numbers are usually relegated to the prologue and nothing more, as seen in "Another Op'nin', Another Show" from Kiss Me, Kate and "Tradition" from Fiddler on the Roof. Cats on the other hand features four Jellicle-defining songs: "Jellicle Songs for Jellicle Cats", "The Naming of Cats", "The Jellicle Ball" and "The Ad-Dressing of Cats". These numbers allow the cats to celebrate their tribe and species as a whole, in between the ones that celebrate individual members.[80]

^ Jump up to: a b Cameron-Beaumont, Charlotte; Lowe, Sarah E.; Bradshaw, John W. S. (2002). "Evidence Suggesting Pre-adaptation to Domestication Throughout the Small Felidae" (PDF). Biological Journal of the Linnean Society. 75 (3): 361–366. doi:10.1046/j.1095-8312.2002.00028.x. Archived from the original (PDF) on 9 June 2011. Retrieved 29 September 2009.
Cats is based on T. S. Eliot's 1939 poetry book Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats, with the songs in the musical consisting of Eliot's verse set to music by Andrew Lloyd Webber.[1] The musical is unusual in terms of its construction; along with Eliot's poems, music and dance are the main focus of the show at the expense of a traditional narrative structure.[2] Musicologists William Everett and Paul Laird described Cats as "combining elements of the revue and concept musical".[3] The plot centres on a tribe of cats called the Jellicles, as they come together at the annual Jellicle Ball to decide which one of them will ascend to the Heaviside Layer (their version of heaven) and be reborn into a new life.[4] The bulk of the musical consists of the different contenders being introduced, either by themselves or by other cats.[5]
Cats are obligate carnivores: their physiology has evolved to efficiently process meat, and they have difficulty digesting plant matter.[103] In contrast to omnivores such as rats, which only require about 4% protein in their diet, about 20% of a cat's diet must be protein.[103] A cat's gastrointestinal tract is adapted to meat eating, being much shorter than that of omnivores and having low levels of several of the digestive enzymes needed to digest carbohydrates.[111] These traits severely limit the cat's ability to digest and use plant-derived nutrients, as well as certain fatty acids.[111] Despite the cat's meat-oriented physiology, several vegetarian or vegan cat foods have been marketed that are supplemented with chemically synthesized taurine and other nutrients, in attempts to produce a complete diet. Some of these products still fail to provide all the nutrients cats require,[112] and diets containing no animal products pose the risk of causing severe nutritional deficiencies.[113]

Female domestic cats can have kittens from spring to late autumn, with litter sizes ranging from two to five kittens.[9] Domestic cats can be bred and shown as registered pedigreed cats, a hobby known as cat fancy. Failure to control the breeding of pet cats by spaying and neutering, as well as abandonment of pets, has resulted in large numbers of feral cats worldwide, contributing to the extinction of entire bird species, and evoking population control.[10]
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