Cats have relatively few taste buds compared to humans (470 or so versus more than 9,000 on the human tongue).[91] Domestic and wild cats share a gene mutation that keeps their sweet taste buds from binding to sugary molecules, leaving them with no ability to taste sweetness.[92] Their taste buds instead respond to acids, amino acids like protein, and bitter tastes.[93] Cats also have a distinct temperature preference for their food, preferring food with a temperature around 38 °C (100 °F) which is similar to that of a fresh kill and routinely rejecting food presented cold or refrigerated (which would signal to the cat that the "prey" item is long dead and therefore possibly toxic or decomposing).[91]
Steven Spielberg's Amblimation had planned an animated adaptation of the musical in the 1990s. The film was to be set in war-torn London during World War II, but the project was abandoned with the studio's closure in 1997.[290] The following year, a direct-to-video film was released. The film was directed by David Mallet and was shot at the Adelphi Theatre in London. It starred Elaine Paige as Grizabella, John Mills as Gus, Ken Page as Old Deuteronomy, and Michael Gruber as Munkustrap.[291]
The stage production of Cats has undergone several revisions since its London opening. When the show transferred to Broadway, several cuts and rewrites were made with the intention of appealing more to an American audience.[385] Additionally, a song entitled "Cat Morgan Introduces Himself" was cut during initial development. Lloyd Webber performed this song at the show's 6,138th Broadway performance, when it broke the record to become the longest-running Broadway show.[105]
Steven Spielberg's Amblimation had planned an animated adaptation of the musical in the 1990s. The film was to be set in war-torn London during World War II, but the project was abandoned with the studio's closure in 1997.[290] The following year, a direct-to-video film was released. The film was directed by David Mallet and was shot at the Adelphi Theatre in London. It starred Elaine Paige as Grizabella, John Mills as Gus, Ken Page as Old Deuteronomy, and Michael Gruber as Munkustrap.[291]
Shortly after the Sydmonton Festival, Lloyd Webber began setting the unpublished poems he had been given to music, a few of which were later added into the show.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:
Similar to the original London staging, the set of the 1,200-capacity CATS Theatre is built on a revolving stage floor such that during the overture, the stage and sections of the stalls revolve approximately 180 degrees into place.[160][166] In 1998, the Japanese production underwent major revisions to the choreography, staging and costume designs.[167] Following further revisions in 2018,[168] the current incarnation features 25 named cats, including both Jemima and Sillabub (who have evolved into two separate characters), and an original character named Gilbert.[169]
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]
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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
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]

Part of the kitten's immune system is the mucosal immune system, which is within the gastrointestinal tract. The mucosal immune system is largely responsible for coordinating proper immune responses by tolerating innocuous antigens and attacking foreign pathogens.[27] In order to optimize kitten health and increase chances of survival, it is important to optimize the link between the gut-associated lymphoid tissue and the microbiota of the gastrointestinal tract. Lasting health and longevity can be accomplished partly through proper nutrition[28] and establishing a healthy gut from birth through utilizing colostrum.[29]


It was long thought that cat domestication was initiated in Egypt, because cats in ancient Egypt were venerated from around 3100 BC.[11][12] However, the earliest indication for the taming of an African wildcat (F. lybica) was found in Cyprus, where a cat skeleton was excavated close by a human Neolithic grave dating to around 7500 BC.[13] African wildcats were probably first domesticated in the Near East.[14] The leopard cat (Prionailurus bengalensis) was tamed independently in China around 5500 BC, though this line of partially domesticated cats leaves no trace in the domestic cat populations of today.[15][16]
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