"There is a cat under the table."
Translation:Es ist eine Katze unter dem Tisch.
Good question. :)
'Es gibt eine Katze unter dem Tisch' sounds like the cat is always under the table, not just sitting or standing there, but rather existing there.
(There are images of a cat affixed to the lower part of a chair or the lower side of the table board on my mind now...
Subtle differences in meaning are great, but poor kitty. :D )
'Es ist eine Katze unter dem Tisch' on the other hand sounds more like the cat is there now, but maybe just for the moment.
(As a native speaker and in a casual conversation I'd probably use 'Da ist eine Katze unter dem Tisch.' with the local indication 'da' ('there'), seems more natural to me than 'es ist'.)
You are right. It is different from English. The full rule is "TeKaMoLo", which means "temporal (time), causal (cause/reason), modal (manner), local (place).
But note that this holds only for those adverbial determinations which directly follow one another.
The most prominent case is that -- different from English -- time precedes place:
"Wir gehen heute ins Kino" vs. "We go to the cinema today".