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''Cats,'' the spectacular musical version of T.S. Eliot's cat poems, has been criticized for failure to base its cat characters on closely observed feline behavior. This may be akin to breaking a butterfly on a wheel, as that other poet Alexander Pope said. But it does dramatize how much attention is being paid to feline behavior these days compared to those in which the fog came in on little cat feet, and that was about as far as anyone cared to go.

Now there are cat cartoons, cat commercials, cat care books ad infinitum. Can cats stand this kind of scrutiny? Will their secrets of how to tyrannize the human race be exposed? Will some future musical portray cat behavior realistically - and have to close quickly in a chorus of catcalls?

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