‘Cats’ Has Plunged Us All Into a Horrifying, Ceaseless Fever Dream

Photo: Universal Pictures

The Cats press tour has been so robust and so few people actually went to a theater and saw the film during its opening weekend that it’s likely no two people’s idea of what Cats is like is remotely similar. What unites us, then, is the feeling of Cats, which is like a fever dream of feline breasts and tufted celebrity faces that grows even stranger upon waking.

Every day I try to conduct myself with a modicum of human dignity, and yet every day, it seems, I come across some fucked-up news about Cats that plungers my soul into an alternate reality where chairs are too large for me to scamper atop. “Memory” plays eternally as I attempt to recount the trail of bizarre cast interviews and CGI glitches that led me to this moment. Here are some of the strangest so far:

Dame Judi’s Human Hand

Apparently the people who made this infernal movie are having to digitally retouch it as it’s in theaters, due to some last-minute suggestions, like that Judi Dench’s character Old Deuteronomy (unquestionably a cat) should not suddenly, for a single shot, have a human hand with a wedding ring on it.

Jason Derulo’s Cat Bulge

When I learned Jason Derulo had been cast in the role of Rum Tum Tugger I didn’t ask questions; I was humbled. Likewise, when Derulo revealed in an interview with Andy Cohen earlier this month that his cat-junk was shrunk down in postproduction I did need clarification — but, anyway, we all got it. In an interview with BuzzFeed News’ AM to DM, several other Cats cast members protested that they too had their crotches digitally smoothed. “Everyone was gone!” said Robbie Fairchild (who plays Munkustrap). “Nobody had a bulge!”

I hope this has nothing to do with the plot of Cats.

The Erotics of Cats

The reviews of Cats constitute their own genre of entertainment teetering on the edge of horror and romance. As my colleague Amanda Arnold recently wrote, “It’s genuinely hard to fine a write-up [of Cats] that doesn’t include the word ‘erotic,’ or ‘sexual,’ or ‘horny,’ or anything of the like. A review at The Guardian by Catherine Shoard, for instance, describes a scene that features “cats writhing ecstatically on the floor, erect tails rising and quivering as one.” And at Collider Matt Goldberg writes, “Cats always feels like it’s two seconds away from turning into a furry orgy in a dumpster.” Which is not a bad description, either, of watching the reactions to the film pour in.

Cats Has Plunged Us All Into a Horrifying Fever Dream