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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 and songs.
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!



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!



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 stimulated.
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.



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 suit everyone.
--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.



"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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