The second musical number in the show, "The Naming of Cats" introduces us to the concept of a Jellicle Cat, having just heard so much about them in "Jellicle Songs for Jellicle Cats".
Rather than sung, the number is recited in unison by the cast. In some productions, many of the cast leave the stage and make intense eye contact with members of the audience as they recite the lyrics.
"Jellicle Songs for Jellicle Cats" ends abruptly, as Asparagus interrupts:
There's a man over there, with a look of surpriseMunkustrap adds:
As much as to say, well, how about that?
Do I actually see with mine own very eyes
A man who's not heard of a Jellicle Cat?
At this, the entire ensemble gathers to quietly, intensely, explain in unison about The Naming of Cats.
Many of the names of the ensemble characters are drawn from the names mentioned in the poem; in fact very few of the names mentioned are not attached to a character in at least some productions.
The naming of cats is a difficult matter
It isn't just one of your holiday games
You may think at first I'm as mad as a hatter
When I tell you a cat must have THREE DIFFERENT NAMES
But I tell you a cat needs a name that's particular
A name that's peculiar, and more dignified
Else how can he keep up his tail perpendicular
Or spread out his whiskers, or cherish his pride?
But above and beyond there's still one name left over
And that is the name that you never will guess
The name that no human research can discover
But the at himself knows, and will never confess
When you notice a cat in profound meditation
The reason, I tell you, is always the same:
His mind is engaged in a rapt contemplation
Of the thought, of the thought, of the thought of his name
- His ineffable effable
Deep and inscrutable singular Name.