EXIT STAGE LEFT: GOOD-BYE TO 18 YEAR OLD "CATS":
- On June 25, 2000 the New York Broadway musical "Cats," based
on T. S. Eliot's book of poems called "Old Possum's Book of
Practical Cats," will come to a close after 7,397 performances.
Over the past 18 years the charming, colorfully costumed
"cast of cats" has delighted more than 10 million audience
members in a celebration of the Jellicle cats and their
antics with beautifully orchestrated feline movements
In 1983 the show won seven Tony Awards, including best musical.
It also won a Grammy for the Best Show Album, with music
composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber in the same year. The "Cats"
album sold more than 2 million copies. The best known song
from the album is "Memory."
The 35 member cast went through a lot of make up and costumes
through the years, such as:
- 270 gallons of make up remover
- 2,558 pounds of hairpins
- 28,148 wig caps
- 58,000 condoms, yes, really! They are used to
- protect the many body microphones!
Good-bye to Elvis cat, Gus the theater cat, clown cats, and
all the rest - as you hang up your tails. Thank you for
your grand tribute to the cat. We'll miss you!
TAKE TO TOP!
JUST WHAT IS CATNIP ANYWAY?
- We've all purchased at one time or another some sort of
catnip toy for our cats, or even a bottle of the loose leaves,
and couldn't wait to try it out on our unsuspecting cats.
Our great hope was to see our cat respond to it and give us
a good show of uninhibited funny behaviors. I've always wondered what
this stuff is and why it makes cats behave the way they do.
- Catnip, also known as catmint, catrup and catwort, is a plant
from the mint family. It is found native from the eastern
Mediterranean region to the eastern Himalayas and has become
widely introduced in North America - and can be found even as
far north as Alaska.
The generic name for catnip, Nepeta, is named after the town
Nepete, Italy, where it was was once largely cultivated.
Catnip was first grown for cats by the classical Greeks and
Romans, and by 1265 it was a familiar herb of kitchen gardens
in England. During the early medieval period the leaves and
young shoots were used as a seasoning.
In 15th century England, catnip leaves were used for rubbing
meats before cooking, and also sprinkled in mixed green salads.
Before modern Chinese tea became widely available, catnip tea
was frequently consumed for its assumed calming effect.
Catnip, of course, is best known for inducing euphoric responses
in cats. Any branches or leaves that have been bruised or
broken will emit the active ingredient, hepetalactone, which
affects the brain of a sensitive kitty by "turning them on"
just as some drugs affect people. The response is a 10 minute
frenzy of pleasure: They lick, chew and claw the catnip, rub
their heads and bodies against it, and roll in it in ectasy.
They will purr, meow, and jump in apparent sheer delight.
(Oh, how undignifed for some!)
While most cats are affected to some degree by catnip, not
all are "nipaholics". About 20% of cats seem to be "immune"
and do not respond to it at all, and whether or not your cat
will respond has to do solely with genetics. Also, kittens
less than 2 months old usually do not react to it and some
cats do not react until after 3 months of age.
So if your cat is older than 3 months and does not have
the slightest interest in those catnip mouse toys you spent a
fortune on for Christmas, don't be disappointed. Just accept
the fact that it's just not in her genes! Pass the toys on to
a friend with a catnip sensitive cat for their enjoyment.
So, there's your education in catnip-ology. Now you're an
expert on the subject!
TAKE TO TOP!
- PURR FACTS: THE MYSTERY OF THE PURR:
What is that wonderful whirring sound a cat makes that we all
love so much? It is so soothing and comforting, and seems to
be the epitome of serenity and happiness. Cats purr not only
when they are happy (a cat's equivalent of a smile), but also
when they are stressed, such as when they're being poked and
prodded at the vet's office, or when they are in physical pain,
when ill or injured.
Purring has always been a mystery, and much has been written
about it in folklore. An old Breton folktale tells how cats
developed the ability to purr after spinning 10,000 skeins of
linen thread to help a princess break an enchantment. Today
through research, we've figured out the real story behind the
purr, although it is much less charming than the folktale.
The sound of the cat's purr is caused by the vibration of the
muscles around the larynx. Researchers have also discovered
that cats begin purring when a specific part of the brain is
Newborn kittens begin to purr at about one week after birth
as they snuggle up close to mama cat for warmth and suckling.
As they mature, purring becomes more complex. A young cat
tends to purr in monotone, while adults can purr in two or
three notes, and sometimes as many as five!
Cats can purr continuously for hours at a time, even while
eating and sleeping (sometimes considered to be a form of
"snore.") It is common for a cat to drool and purr at the
same time. The combination of salivating, purring, and paw
kneading ("making biscuits" or "doing the milk walk") in an
adult cat is a tiny regression to feeding time in kittenhood.
That explains the "what" of the purr, so what about the "why?"
The purpose of the purr is less understood and not as easily
explained, except that it may simply be the sound of the finely
tuned motor that runs your cat.
But do try to get your ear in tune to your own kitty's personal
purr, so that you know the difference between the purrs of
happiness and the purrs of distress. If you notice a definite
change from the normal the purring sounds, it could signal pain
or illnesses that need to be recognized and treated.
TAKE TO TOP!
SAVE A LIFE IN JUNE: ADOPT A SHELTER CAT!
- June is Adopt A Shelter Month. If it's time for you to add
another, or maybe even get a first pussycat, adopting a shelter
cat would be a good way to go. There are many good reasons
to adopt from a shelter, but the best reason is this:
- Approximately 8 to 12 million cats and dogs are brought into
shelters in the U. S. each year. Of these cats, approximately
70 PERCENT are euthanized. That's a staggering figure. So
many precious lives are being destroyed without someone to
love or to love them.
- Why are there so many?
- Too many cat owners fail to neuter their pets, resulting
in overwhelming numbers of unwanted kittens. Others simply
abandon their pets when it's no longer convenient to keep
them in their lives. By June the shelters are bursting with
homeless cats and kittens. Workers and volunteers labor
extra hard during this month to locate suitable homes.
- Why adopt a shelter cat? There are many good reasons:
- --Shelter workers say that the cats in their care seem to be
more loving and appreciative, knowing that someone has rescued
them from the many dangers that homeless cats face - from
abuse to disease.
- --The volunteers can also assist you in choosing the right cat
for your lifestyle. Do you want a lap cat or a busy inquisitive
one? What color or breed do you prefer? There is a cat to
- --Normally the cat you chose has already been neutered and had
its shots. Your donation will go to feeding, neutering and
vaccinating other animals that come in.
- --Once you've adopted the cat, and taken him home, a space
is left for another one to be rescued, cared for and adopted.
- --Someone like you could be a kitty's last hope for
a second chance at a life filled with love, care, and security.
TAKE TO TOP!
TRAIN YOUR CAT TO SIT? YES, IT CAN BE DONE!
"Here kitty, kitty! Now sit! That's a good girl!" This
is not a sentence I have ever said to my cat, nor did I even think about saying it. But according to
CatNips (an e-mail newsletter), who knows and reads a lot about cats,
you can teach any cat to sit if you really want to.
The key to success with this lies in repetition, consistency,
and little patience on your part. Of course, to the cat
it's all about food.
Here's the drill:
Put your cat on the table or counter top, with her back
facing the wall. Have in your hand the "bribe," a favorite
food morsel or cat treat (my kitties love Pounce.)
When she gets a good whiff of the treat and shows interest,
raise the treat in a line from her nose to just between her
ears. Speak her name and then give the command "sit."
Hopefully, she will sit - maybe with a little help at first.
Then you can reward her with the treat as you praise and pet
her, and tell her how smart and wonderful she is.
If she isn't interested in the treat, there's no use in
pursuing it at the moment. She may not be hungry, or maybe
you're raising it up too high, or perhaps the goodie just
isn't appealing enough for her.
If you persist often and regularly, say for 10 minutes a day,
your trainable puss will eventually sit for you whenever she's
in the mood for a treat, which may be often if you've got the
right goodie. Then you can impress your friends by showing
them how your trained cat can sit on command.
Now that's a great accomplishment. Don't stop at "sit" - there's "roll over,"
"play dead," and even "fetch!"
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