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]

The first Australian production ran from July 1985 to August 1987 at the Theatre Royal in Sydney. The original Sydney cast included Debra Byrne as Grizabella, Marina Prior as Jellylorum, Jeff Phillips as Rum Tum Tugger, David Atkins as Mistoffelees, and Anita Louise Combe as Sillabub.[118][230] It then moved to Her Majesty's Theatre in Melbourne where it played from October 1987 to December 1988, with Femi Taylor as Bombalurina and Seán Martin Hingston as Plato/Macavity.[118][231] From 1989 to 1990, the company toured the Festival Theatre in Adelaide,[232] His Majesty's Theatre in Perth,[233] Civic Theatre in Newcastle, Lyric Theatre in Brisbane, and the Aotea Centre in Auckland.[118] This was followed by a second national tour from 1993 to 1996,[234] during which Delia Hannah made her debut as Grizabella in 1994.[235] A professional circus adaptation of Cats, titled Cats Run Away to the Circus, had a national tent tour from 1999 to 2001, with Hannah once again starring as Grizabella.[236][237] Hannah reprised her role for another production that toured Australia and Asia in 2009 and 2010.[238]
An event called the Jellicle Ball was referenced by Eliot in the poem "The Song of the Jellicles", while a cat version of heaven known as the Heaviside Layer was mentioned in one of his unpublished poems. Nunn expanded on these concepts by conceiving the Jellicle Ball as an annual ritual in which the cats vie to be chosen to ascend to the Heaviside Layer, thus giving the characters a reason to gather and sing about themselves in the musical. He also added the element of rebirth as a play on the idea that cats have nine lives.[1]
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]

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]


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
Here in eight lines Eliot was describing an intensely recognizable character with powerful human resonances, while introducing the themes of mortality, and the past, which occur repeatedly in the major poems. We decided that if Eliot had thought of being serious, touching, almost tragic in his presentation of a feline character, then we had to be doing a show which could contain that material, and the implications of it. Furthermore, we would have to achieve the sense of progression through themes more than incidents.[17]
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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]
Additionally, Cats was the first Broadway and West End show to capitalise on merchandising as a major revenue stream. Stalls were set up in the theatre lobbies to sell souvenirs ranging from toys and watches to coffee mugs, all of which were emblazoned with the cat's-eyes logo. The official Cats t-shirt became the second-best-selling t-shirt in the world in the 1980s, second only to the Hard Rock Cafe t-shirt. Merchandising has since become an important source of income for the industry.[313][323]
A kitten is a juvenile cat. After being born, kittens are totally dependent on their mother for survival and they do not normally open their eyes until after seven to ten days. After about two weeks, kittens quickly develop and begin to explore the world outside the nest. After a further three to four weeks, they begin to eat solid food and grow adult teeth. Domestic kittens are highly social animals and usually enjoy human companionship.
^ 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.
^ 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.
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]
Nunn was also adamant that the orchestra for Cats be hidden backstage — out of the audience's view — so as not to break the immersion.[90] Adding to the experience, the show usually includes a lot of audience interaction, such as during the overture when the cast don flashing "green eyes" as they make their way through the audience in the darkened theatre.[80][91] In the original Broadway production, catwalks were built to connect the stage to the boxes and balcony so as to give the cast access to the entire auditorium during the show.[92]
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,[136] and adult housecats live their lives in a kind of extended kittenhood,[137] 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.[138]

The musical returned to the West End in 2014 for a planned 12-week limited run at the London Palladium. Beginning on 6 December, the revival starred Nicole Scherzinger as Grizabella, and featured the original creative team, with direction from Nunn, choreography by Lynne and design by Napier.[62] Lloyd Webber was also involved and rewrote "The Rum Tum Tugger" and "Growltiger's Last Stand" for the revival.[101] The run was later extended through April 2015 and an additional 100,000 tickets were released, with Kerry Ellis replacing Scherzinger as Grizabella.[68] The musical returned once again to the London Palladium for another limited run lasting from 23 October 2015 to 2 January 2016, starring Beverley Knight as Grizabella.[102]


Jason Bradley Thompson's illustrations and maps have appeared in Dungeons  & Dragons, Call of Cthulhu and many other roleplaying games. He has also worked as a manga editor for Viz, co-designer of the tabletop games Cartooner and Mangaka, a DMsGuild content creator, a comics artist (HP Lovecraft's Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath), and a story artist on Minions: The Rise of Gru. His map of Hot Springs Island is nominated for a 2019 ENnie Award for Best Cartography. He is currently working on a Dreamland tabletop RPG. (Click here to see a full-size version of his previous cartography work as shown below.)
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]
Although wildcats are solitary, the social behavior of domestic cats is much more variable and ranges from widely dispersed individuals to feral cat colonies that gather around a food source, based on groups of co-operating females.[130][131] Within such groups, one cat is usually dominant over the others.[132] Each cat in a colony holds a distinct territory, with sexually active males having the largest territories, which are about 10 times larger than those of female cats and may overlap with several females' territories.[87] These territories are marked by urine spraying, by rubbing objects at head height with secretions from facial glands, and by defecation.[87] Between these territories are neutral areas where cats watch and greet one another without territorial conflicts. Outside these neutral areas, territory holders usually chase away stranger cats, at first by staring, hissing, and growling and, if that does not work, by short but noisy and violent attacks. Despite some cats cohabiting in colonies, they do not have a social survival strategy, or a pack mentality and always hunt alone.[133]
Cats can synthesize niacin, but their breakdown exceeds the rate that it can be synthesized and thus, have a higher need for it, which can be fulfilled through an animal-based diet.[24] Pyridoxine (vitamin B6) is required in increased amounts seeing as it is needed to produce amino acids.[24] To continue, vitamin B12 is an AAFCO-recommended vitamin essential in the metabolism of carbohydrates and protein and maintains a healthy nervous system, healthy mucous membranes, healthy muscle and heart function and in general, promotes normal growth and development.[42] Choline is also a AAFCO recommended ingredient for kittens, which is important for neurotransmission in the brain and as a component of membrane phospholipids.[24] Biotin is another AAFCO-recommended vitamin to support thyroid and adrenal glands and the reproductive and nervous systems.[24] Kittens also require riboflavin (vitamin B2) for heart health, pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), and folacin.[42]
Cats is considered the quintessential megamusical, because it reconceived, like no other show before, theatrical space as an immense affective encompasser, that transforms the viewing experience into a hypercharged thrill-ride and the spectator into an explorer of new and challenging aural and visual sensations. Its unprecedented success paved the way for even bolder hyperspatial configurations, made the set designer a proper environment builder and raised light and sound design into the status of art in their own right. It also paved the way for the constant revolutionization of stage technology.[320]
Beyond the megamusical, Cats also led the Broadway trend for musicals aimed at families and tourists, which would later take the form of the Disney Theatrical Productions and jukebox musicals.[315][324] The marketing campaigns for the musical targeted family audiences at a time when this demographic was not a consideration in the industry.[324] Composer Joe Raposo said of family musicals in 1986: "Cats is a wonderful proof of what an audience is out there, untapped. People do want a theatrical experience for their children."[325] Thanks to its easily accessible spectacle, the original Broadway production also tapped into the then-burgeoning tourist boom in New York and its audience shifted increasingly towards foreign visitors in its later years.[321][314] Billington also specifically traces the rise of the jukebox musical genre back to Cats, citing the latter's disregard for dramatic text in favour of an all-encompassing theatrical experience.[326]
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]

One of Nunn's stipulations for agreeing to direct Practical Cats was that actress Judi Dench would be cast in the musical. Lloyd Webber was happy to oblige given her credentials and so Dench joined the company in the dual roles of Grizabella and Jennyanydots. Former Royal Ballet principal dancer Wayne Sleep was offered the part of Mr. Mistoffelees after Lloyd Webber and Mackintosh attended a performance by his dance troupe, one of the many dance showcases they saw in preparation for the musical. Casting for the other roles began in November 1980, with auditions held across the UK for dancers who could also sing and act. There was an initial disagreement over the casting of Nicholas as Rum Tum Tugger; Nunn had misgivings about the actor's laid-back attitude but eventually yielded to Lloyd Webber, Mackintosh and Lynne, all of whom were keen on Nicholas for the role. Sarah Brightman, who had already made a name for herself with the chart hit "I Lost My Heart to a Starship Trooper", arranged a private audition and was cast in an as-then undecided role. By December, the full cast had been assembled.[18]

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.


Dance plays a major role in Cats as the creative team had specifically set out to create "England's first dance musical".[81] Before Cats, the industry-wide belief was that British dancers were inferior to their Broadway counterparts. The risky hiring of a British choreographer, Lynne, for a British dance musical was described by one historian as "a vivid and marvellous gesture of transatlantic defiance".[82] Making Lynne's job more challenging was the fact that the music in Cats is unceasing and the majority of the cast remains onstage throughout nearly the entire show.[82]
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]
^ 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.
^ 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.
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
Cats are naturally carnivores and require high amounts of protein in the diet. Kittens are undergoing growth and require high amounts of protein to provide essential amino acids that enable the growth of tissues and muscles.[30] It is recommended that kittens consume a diet containing approximately 30% protein on a dry matter basis for proper growth.[35]

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Once your vet has cleared your kitten as free of disease and parasites, it’s safe to let your new kitten explore its new surroundings and other pet roommates. Handling and playing with your kitten at least once a day will help him form a strong emotional bond with you. If you have children, monitor their introduction to the new kitten to make sure it’s a positive experience for both the kitten and child.
For the first several weeks, kittens cannot urinate or defecate without being stimulated by their mother.[6] They also cannot regulate their body temperature for the first three weeks, so kittens born in temperatures less than 27 °C (81 °F) can die from hypothermia if their mother does not keep them warm.[7] The mother's milk is very important for the kittens' nutrition and proper growth. This milk transfers antibodies to the kittens, which helps protect them against infectious disease.[8] Newborn kittens are unable to produce concentrated urine, and so have a very high requirement for fluids.[9] Kittens open their eyes about seven to ten days after birth. At first, the retina is poorly developed and vision is poor. Kittens cannot see as well as adult cats until about ten weeks after birth.[10]

Cats have seven cervical vertebrae (as do most mammals); 13 thoracic vertebrae (humans have 12); seven lumbar vertebrae (humans have five); three sacral vertebrae (as do most mammals, but humans have five); and a variable number of caudal vertebrae in the tail (humans have only vestigial caudal vertebrae, fused into an internal coccyx).[64]:11 The extra lumbar and thoracic vertebrae account for the cat's spinal mobility and flexibility. Attached to the spine are 13 ribs, the shoulder, and the pelvis.[64] :16 Unlike human arms, cat forelimbs are attached to the shoulder by free-floating clavicle bones which allow them to pass their body through any space into which they can fit their head.[65]
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