People love cats. Cat calendars, cat books, cat YouTube videos and cat cuddly toys.
And people love CATS - Andrew Lloyd Webber's 35-year-old musical based on T S Eliot's witty and lyrical Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats.
I was there at the New London Theatre in 1981 when it first opened, and at the Manchester Opera House last night to witness the latest reincarnation from the Heaviside Layer.
From the initial invitation to the Jellicle Ball in John Napier's rubbish dump CATS lovers are in their element with a cacophony of caterwauling heralding the special date in the feline calendar when Old Deuteronomy, a suitably stalwart Kevin Stephen-Jones, will make his choice.
And I have reached the conclusion that the musical is just like a cat calendar on stage. There is no 'story'. We are just allowed a peek into the Jellicle world for a day and introduced to all the colourful characters that inhabit it - from Matt Krzan's spectacular storytelling Munkustrap to the dastardly duo of Joe Henry's Mungojerrie and Emily Langham's Rumpelteazer.
Andrew Lloyd Webber stated recently that his favourite Grizabella was Nicole Scherzinger who for 12 weeks trod the boards at the London Palladium as the dishevelled has-been - mine is Elaine Paige. Whoever is your favourite, you will not be disappointed by Anita Louise Combe's powerful and moving rendition of Memory.
Life doesn't stand still in musical theatre and whilst I was mentally singing along (intonation included) with much of the show, the energetic, charismatic Marcquelle Ward threw me off course with his rapping Rum Tum Tugger. Originally a rock 'n' roller, the wily bad boy has been hurled into the 21st century to strut his stuff. The dancing was fantastic but the rap didn't do justice to Mr Eliot's poetry. I may have to listen again.
And it is that dancing that does it for me. Gillian Lynne's choreography is timeless and the ensemble in Manchester were spell binding although I sometimes yearned for the expanse of the stage at the original New London Theatre. There were times when the dancers looked a little cramped although no one put a foot wrong.
Producer Sir Cameron Mackintosh, in an interview with The Telegraph recently, has put things in place so that money makers can't 'mess' with his productions after his death.
Before you go Sir Cameron, may I suggest you (and Messrs Lloyd Webber and Rice) consider a new character for your feline fantasy. Could Brutus the Morrisons Cat perhaps join Gus the Theatre Cat and Skimbleshanks the Railway Cat. I am sure he is a Jellicle Cat.
Musical dissenters often quote their inability to embrace the genre is because actors 'just burst into song'. Be warned, these CATS don't speak - they sing, they dance, they fight, they purr, they pad, they scare, they steal, they disappear.
Make sure they don't all disappear before getting a ticket to the Jellicle Ball at the Manchester Opera House - until February 13.