Preview of Coming Attractions

Over the next several months, I will be traveling across the country in search of cat stories, visiting innovative cat rescues and shelters, interviewing eccentric cat lovers, leading vets and behaviorists and so much more. To view my travel schedule and learn more about my Cat Behaviorist business, please visit http://www.thecatbehaviorist.com/ . If I will be in your area and you feel you have some interesting cat stories to share, please don't hesistate to contact me via my website.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Epiphany


Plagued by a search for meaning, the first two-thirds of Cats! confounded me. Who were these cats—these bedraggled and frankly rather ugly Cats! ? Their costuming and the sets were the first stumbling block—very Madonna circa Lucky Star (you know, fashionably tattered) and all sporting Leg Warmers. Yes, it was the 25th anniversary tour, but I would have thought in twenty-five years we would have enjoyed some costume updates.

The words were stirring, jocular and occasionally incomprehensible but they seemed to jar with the staging. And there was nothing catlike about most of the pseudo-modern jazz dancing. What was it all about? Was it actually about cats? At intermission, I overheard middle aged women espousing feline devotion with little girls wearing painted whiskers and flamboyant gay men who had seen the original Broadway production. The entire 2500 seat theatre was sold out to an audience that offered standing ovations and ‘Bravos’ at curtain call.

But what was it about? And then suddenly during Grisabella’s spin-tingling wail of “Touch me! It’s so easy to leave me! All alone with my memories of my days in the Sun!” the entire thing fell into place for me.

Who were these ugly, aging cats who gather in the ruins of a garbage dump to sing songs about their glory days by the hearth?

New Orleans. The stage looked like the ravages of New Orleans. And the cats were Katrina cats. The left over, unneutered cats that have been mating into third and fourth generations. Only the aging cats remember what it was to be a hearth cat—and then be left behind. That is who these singing cats represent. Thousands of untended cats. Rescuers say that there are so many colonies that they can only get to some of them once a week to provide fresh water and some food.

For the rest of the play, all the brittle, spiky hair spoke of dehydration. The description of Grisabella as having sand in her coat and a crooked eye spoke of cats so malnourished that they stop grooming and become aggitated and aggressive. Each note was a call, an invitation to go to New Orleans to touch these very real cats.

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