Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Culture
19 July 2019updated 13 Oct 2021 2:44pm

The cats in Cats look normal, actually

By Anoosh Chakelian

There is “widespread horror”, and indeed “concern for the state of civilisation”, in response to the trailer for a new, celeb-stacked CGI movie version of the musical Cats.

Apparently, shrinking an awkward collection of national treasures and popstars into computerised feline versions of famous humans wearing furs, with visible breasts, looks “wrong”, and is “an abomination”.

To this, I ask, have you ever even dragged your humanoid arse down to the local theatre to see Cats the musical? Have you even once used your non-night vision eyes to read TS Eliot’s anthology of poems about, falsely advertised, “practical cats”?

Because if so, you’d know that the entire Cats premise and franchise is unashamedly weird. The name of their cat tribe is “Jellicle”, for god’s sake. Like genital. For no reason. Also what is a cat tribe? Their quest is to go to the “Heaviside Layer”. What is that? Why is it called that? And they decide which cat gets to go at a “Jellicle Ball”. The musical version is all of this but with often highly sexualised dancing and actors in leotards crawling around way too close to the audience.

And you’re freaked out by a trailer with Judi Dench in it? Bloody snowflake generation.

Sign up for The New Statesman’s newsletters Tick the boxes of the newsletters you would like to receive. A weekly round-up of The New Statesman's climate, environment and sustainability content.
I consent to New Statesman Media Group collecting my details provided via this form in accordance with the Privacy Policy

Here are the bits that ring entirely true to me.

Leotard-encased cat wams. Normal.

Content from our partners
When it comes to climate change, politics is not always a dirty word
Planet-positive should be profit-positive
Automated image analysis: A route to transforming healthcare?

Hench cat shoulder. Normal.

The knowing smile of Judi Dench, nestled in a disproportionate mane of quivering white fur. Normal.

An infestation of tiny human cats with elongated limbs. Normal.

Tiny. Hind leggéd. Wams a-perky. Normal.

The bristling whiskers of Ian McKellen, costume model’s own. Normal.

Epic cat ballad. Normal.

Tiny cat knee slide on tiny cat knees. Normal.

Also Jason Derulo’s in it. Normal.


Watch the whole thing here, and accept that in 2019 Britain, this is what a cat looks like.

Topics in this article: