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]
Cats are unusually dependent on a constant supply of the amino acid arginine, and a diet lacking arginine causes marked weight loss and can be rapidly fatal.[115] Arginine is an essential additive in cat food because cats have low levels of the enzymes aminotransferase and pyrroline-5-carboxylate which are responsible for the synthesis of ornithine and citrulline in the small intestine. Citrulline would typically go on to the kidneys to make arginine, but because cats have a deficiency in the enzymes that make it, citrulline is not produced in adequate quantities to make arginine. Arginine is essential in the urea cycle in order to convert the toxic component ammonia into urea that can then be excreted in the urine. Because of its essential role, deficiency in arginine results in a buildup of toxic ammonia and leads to hyperammonemia.[116] The symptoms of hyperammonemia include lethargy, vomiting, ataxia, hyperesthesia and can be serious enough to induce death and coma in a matter of days if a cat is being fed an arginine-free diet. The quick onset of these symptoms is due to the fact that diets devoid in arginine will typically still contain all of the other amino acids, which will continue to be catabolized by the body, producing mass amounts of ammonia that very quickly build up with no way of being excreted.[citation needed]
Domestic cats, especially young kittens, are known for their love of play. This behavior mimics hunting and is important in helping kittens learn to stalk, capture, and kill prey.[172] Cats also engage in play fighting, with each other and with humans. This behavior may be a way for cats to practice the skills needed for real combat, and might also reduce any fear they associate with launching attacks on other animals.[173]
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The domestic cat is a significant predator of birds. UK assessments indicate they may be accountable for an estimated 64.8 million bird deaths each year.[155] A 2012 study suggests feral cats may kill several billion birds each year in the United States.[222] Certain species appear more susceptible than others; for example, 30% of house sparrow mortality is linked to the domestic cat.[223] In the recovery of ringed robins (Erithacus rubecula) and dunnocks (Prunella modularis), 31% of deaths were a result of cat predation.[224] In parts of North America, the presence of larger carnivores such as coyotes which prey on cats and other small predators reduces the effect of predation by cats and other small predators such as opossums and raccoons on bird numbers and variety.[225] The proposal that cat populations will increase when the numbers of these top predators decline is called the mesopredator release hypothesis.
Cats, like all mammals, need to get linoleic acid, an essential fatty acid, from their diet. Most mammals can convert linoleic acid to arachidonic acid, as well as the omega 3 fatty acids (eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid) through the activity of enzymes, but this process is very limited in cats.[121] The Δ6-desaturase enzyme eventually converts linoleic acid, which is in its salt form linoleate, to arachidonate (salt form of arachidonic acid) in the liver, but this enzyme has very little activity in cats.[121] This means that arachidonic acid is an essential fatty acid for cats as they lack the ability to create required amounts of linoleic acid. Deficiency of arachidonic acid in cats is related to problems in growth, can cause injury and inflammation to skin (e.g. around the mouth) decreased platelet aggregation, fatty liver, increase in birth defects of kittens whose queens were deficient during pregnancy, and reproductive failure in queens.[121] Arachidonic acid can also be metabolized to eicosanoids that create inflammatory responses which are needed to stimulate proper growth and repair mechanisms in the cat.[125]
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]
Domestic cats select food based on its temperature, smell and texture; they dislike chilled foods and respond most strongly to moist foods rich in amino acids, which are similar to meat.[113][133] Cats may reject novel flavors (a response termed neophobia) and learn quickly to avoid foods that have tasted unpleasant in the past.[133] They may also avoid sugary foods and milk. Most adult cats are lactose intolerant; the sugars in milk are not easily digested and may cause soft stools or diarrhea.[133][166] They can also develop odd eating habits. Some cats like to eat or chew on other things, most commonly wool, but also plastic, cables, paper, string, aluminum foil, or even coal. This condition, pica, can threaten their health, depending on the amount and toxicity of the items eaten.[167][168] See also Animal psychopathology § Pica.
House cats seem to have been extremely rare among the ancient Greeks and Romans;[267] Herodotus expressed astonishment at the domestic cats in Egypt, because he had only ever seen wildcats.[267] Even during later times, weasels were far more commonly kept as pets[267] and weasels, not cats, were seen as the ideal rodent-killers.[267] The usual ancient Greek word for "cat" was ailouros, meaning "thing with the waving tail",[266]:57[267] but this word could also be applied to any of the "various long-tailed carnivores kept for catching mice".[267] Cats are rarely mentioned in ancient Greek literature,[267] but Aristotle does remark in his History of Animals that "female cats are naturally lecherous."[266]:74[267] The Greeks later syncretized their own goddess Artemis with the Egyptian goddess Bast, adopting Bastet's associations with cats and ascribing them to Artemis.[266]:77–79 In Ovid's Metamorphoses, when the deities flee to Egypt and take animal forms, the goddess Diana (the Roman equivalent of Artemis) turns into a cat.[266]:79 Cats eventually displaced ferrets as the pest control of choice because they were more pleasant to have around the house and were more enthusiastic hunters of mice.[268] During the Middle Ages, many of Artemis's associations with cats were grafted onto the Virgin Mary.[268] Cats are often shown in icons of Annunciation and of the Holy Family[268] and, according to Italian folklore, on the same night that Mary gave birth to Jesus, a virgin cat in Bethlehem gave birth to a kitten.[268] Domestic cats were spread throughout much of the rest of the world during the Age of Discovery, as ships' cats were carried on sailing ships to control shipboard rodents and as good-luck charms.[265]:223
The Dutch live entertainment company Stage Entertainment has been responsible for several European productions of Cats. The company produced the musical at the Coliseum Theatre in Madrid from December 2003 to January 2005, with a cast that included Víctor Ullate as Mistoffelees.[210][211] They then staged a Russian-language production at the Moscow Palace of Youth from 2005 to 2006, with a cast that included Ivan Ozhogin as Munkustrap.[212][213] A Dutch production under the same company toured the Netherlands and Belgium from 2006 to 2007,[205][214] featuring several performers in the role of Grizabella including Pia Douwes and Anita Meyer.[215][216] A Paris revival by Stage Entertainment ran at the Théâtre Mogador from October 2015 to July 2016. This production was based on the 2014 London revival and also featured a new song written especially for the French show by Lloyd Webber.[217][218]
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]
Though it’s not something you have any control over, your kitten’s age is more than just a number. In fact, it’s crucial that you learn it. Kittens have very specific developmental needs for the first 10 weeks of their lives in terms of nourishment, warmth, socialization, and excretion. For this reason, most breeders and shelters typically wait until their kittens are of age before they’re put up for adoption. If you, by chance, find yourself in a situation where you need to care for an orphaned kitten under 10 weeks old, consult your vet for special instructions.

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]


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]
Kittens develop very quickly from about two weeks of age until their seventh week. Their coordination and strength improves. They play-fight with their litter-mates and begin to explore the world outside the nest or den. They learn to wash themselves and others as well as play hunting and stalking games, showing their inborn ability as predators. These innate skills are developed by the kittens' mother or other adult cats, who bring live prey to the nest. Later, the adult cats demonstrate hunting techniques for the kittens to emulate.[11] As they reach three to four weeks old, the kittens are gradually weaned and begin to eat solid food, with weaning usually complete by six to eight weeks.[12] Kittens generally begin to lose their baby teeth around three months of age, and have a complete set of adult teeth by nine months.[13] Kittens live primarily on solid food after weaning, but usually continue to suckle from time to time until separated from their mothers. Some mother cats will scatter their kittens as early as three months of age, while others continue to look after them until they approach sexual maturity.[14]
^ Jump up to: a b Driscoll, C. A.; Menotti-Raymond, M.; Roca, A. L.; Hupe, K.; Johnson, W. E.; Geffen, E.; Harley, E. H.; Delibes, M.; Pontier, D.; Kitchener, A. C.; Yamaguchi, N.; O'Brien, S. J.; Macdonald, D. W. (2007). "The Near Eastern Origin of Cat Domestication". Science. 317 (5837): 519–523. Bibcode:2007Sci...317..519D. doi:10.1126/science.1139518. ISSN 0036-8075. PMC 5612713. PMID 17600185.
Shortly after the Sydmonton Festival, Lloyd Webber began setting the unpublished poems he had been given to music, a few of which were later added into the show. He also composed the overture and "The Jellicle Ball", incorporating analog synthesizers into these orchestrations to try to create a unique electronic soundscape.[11] Meanwhile, Mackintosh recruited Nunn, the then artistic director of the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), to direct Practical Cats. Nunn was an unusual choice as he was considered "too high-brow" for musical theatre,[12] but Mackintosh felt that a "pedigree" director was needed to ensure Valerie Eliot's approval of the project.[13] After much persuasion, Nunn came on board and was joined by his fellow RSC colleagues, choreographer Gillian Lynne and set and costume designer John Napier.[9][14] Nunn initially envisioned Practical Cats as a chamber piece for five actors and two pianos, which he felt would reflect "Eliot's charming, slightly offbeat, mildly satiric view of late-1930's London".[15] However, he relented to Lloyd Webber's more ambitious vision for the musical.[15] Nunn was also convinced that for the musical to have the wide commercial appeal that the producers desired, it could not remain as a series of isolated numbers but instead had to have a narrative through line.[14] He was therefore tasked with piecing the self-contained poems together into a story.[16] Nunn wrote about the significance "Grizabella the Glamour Cat" had on the construction of the narrative:
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.
A film adaptation directed by Tom Hooper for Universal Pictures and Working Title Films is scheduled to premiere on 20 December 2019. The film will star Jennifer Hudson as Grizabella, Taylor Swift as Bombalurina, James Corden as Bustopher Jones, Judi Dench as Old Deuteronomy, Jason Derulo as Rum Tum Tugger, Idris Elba as Macavity, Ian McKellen as Gus, Rebel Wilson as Jennyanydots and Francesca Hayward as Victoria.[292]
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A film adaptation directed by Tom Hooper for Universal Pictures and Working Title Films is scheduled to premiere on 20 December 2019. The film will star Jennifer Hudson as Grizabella, Taylor Swift as Bombalurina, James Corden as Bustopher Jones, Judi Dench as Old Deuteronomy, Jason Derulo as Rum Tum Tugger, Idris Elba as Macavity, Ian McKellen as Gus, Rebel Wilson as Jennyanydots and Francesca Hayward as Victoria.[292]
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]
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