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I Watched “Cats” And WTF?

Did anyone who worked on Cats meet an actual cat??

Posted on December 20, 2019, at 4:29 p.m. ET

Photo Credit: Universal Pictures

Taylor Swift as Bombalurina in Cats, cowritten and directed by Tom Hooper.

Look, Cats is already being ravaged by reviewers. I don’t necessarily need to pile on.

But after attending a screening last night, where at one point a man said to his girlfriend, “If we can survive this, we can survive anything,” I emerged from the theater with a few questions:

Why are these cats so fucking small? The proportions of these creatures make no sense. They appear to be only as tall as maybe half a tombstone, they’re too short to reach a chair, and their wrists are apparently small enough to fit inside a ring. If the cats are the size of a small loaf of bread, then does that mean that the mice are the size of a human finger? Why are the cockroaches so sexy?

When Taylor Swift’s character pours a martini shaker full of catnip onto the other cats, is it a human-sized martini shaker or is it a cat-sized martini shaker? What company is making martini shakers for cats? Why are all the businesses in the movie — which appear to be built for humans with human-sized bodies — marketed only to cat consumers, like the milk bar with cream on tap?

When the railway cat (What? WHAT??) is wearing pants, does that mean the other cats are naked? If Rebel Wilson’s character is able to unzip her fur to reveal more fur underneath and her cat tits, does that mean the fur is all just clothing? Why does Dame Judi Dench still have her rings on in the movie? Why do some of the cats have boobs and the other ones do not have boobs? How did they decide who got to have boobs?

Why do some of the cats have boobs and the other ones do not have boobs? 

The cats appear to have some kind of hybrid people–kitty hand situation. Do the cats have thumbs? Thumbs on a cat would mean they would truly surpass us as superior creatures. Just tell me if I need to worry. Why do some of the cats have gel manicures? Where did the cats get their gel manicures? Is there a cat gel manicurist somewhere? How do they pay for their gel manicures?

Did no one consider whether or not the cats have genitals? They all appear to be sexless, which is fine, except that there are multiple gags where the male cats get hit in the crotch, and they groan, which suggests that they do indeed have balls. Where are their balls?

Why did they give Idris Elba blue contact lenses? What is it about all the naked, shiny cat bodies that felt so...unwholesome? Did Ian McKellen kill someone, and did the director find out, and blackmail him into appearing in this film? HE IS A SIR.

But perhaps worst of all, it appears as if the makers of this movie have woefully misunderstood what cats are actually like. Have the film’s creators ever fucking talked to a cat? Cats are assholes. This movie would be better served if they let the cats do things that cats actually do: scream at the ghosts in your apartment, rip up your vintage coat, poop everywhere when they decide they’re mad at you. When the cats break the fourth wall and speak directly to the audience — which I’m going to assume they know are humans — why don’t they do what most cats do when a person is looking at them and turn around and show off their anus? Cats ends with a seeming anti-dog screed, and even as a cat owner and lover myself, it was pretty heavy-handed.

Did Ian McKellen kill someone, and did the director find out, and blackmail him into appearing in this film? HE IS A SIR.

I know that a big chunk of the first half is dedicated to explaining why the cats have the names that they do, but none of them appear to have actual cat names. “Rum Tum Tugger?” What the fuck is that? Real cats are named things like “Squid” or “Martin” or “Sylvia Plath the Cat the First” or “Mordecai Richler.” Cats don’t stand for any of this cutesy, “Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer” bullshit. Elba’s work in Cats might be deeply upsetting but at least his interpretation of a cat is the most accurate: a sociopath who’s only out for himself and is maybe a witch? I don’t know. I don’t understand anything that happened in this movie.

But maybe I’m being too harsh. If Cats is anything, it’s a community builder. When I watched it last night, people were screaming at the screen, laughing raucously, demanding to know what the fuck was happening. My editor, who joined me at the screening, screamed “NERD” at the magician cat and assumed every female character was Taylor Swift. When the cats nuzzled, she shouted, “DISGUSTING.”

Within an hour, I took my phone out to record the mayhem because why the hell not. No one cared. We were just white-knuckling it through Cats’ daunting 110-minute runtime. I’ve never heard of a movie becoming a cult favorite on opening day, an entire auditorium full of people refusing to watch it sincerely, but here we are. When it ended, someone in the theater yelled out, “Jesus CHRIST.” We all clapped.

Anyway, if you want to watch a movie that ruins an entire species for you, I have some great news. ●

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.