We Asked Our Parents What the Plot of 'Cats' Is

One of the most popular musicals of all time is headed to the big screen, so we asked the folks who would remember the original frenzy around it what it's about.
Leslie Horn
New York, United States
July 19, 2019, 7:04pm
cats movie musical
Images via YouTube; Photo illustration by Peter Slattery

Cats: what is it about? It’s hard to say. Wikipedia says "the musical tells the story of a tribe of cats called the Jellicles and the night they make the 'Jellicle choice,' deciding which cat will ascend to the Heaviside Layer and come back to a new life," which, honestly, does very little to clear up anything.

A cursory search suggests it follows a ragtag group of felines as they try to decide which one of them will be reborn, because cats have nine lives, which seems completely reasonable. The Andrew Lloyd Weber musical starring creatures with honest to God names like “Rumpleteazer” and “Munkustrap” is coming to a movie theater near you this December, but it first hit Broadway in 1983, which was clearly a pretty weird moment. When it finally left Broadway in 2000, it was the longest-running musical of all time. Because it’s hard to tell from the first trailer, which features Taylor Swift in her final form (giant orange cat) and James Corden (unfortunately), we decided to ask our parents to parse the plot of Cats for us, because they came of age during its rampant popularity. The answers explain almost nothing.

Jason Koebler, Editorial Director of Motherboard


Casey Johnston, Editorial Director of Lifestyle

Casey's mom says: "Wow. That’s a good question Casey. I saw it on Broadway about 30 years ago and I remember the makeup and costumes being exquisite. The acting was good, meaning that in my opinion, the actors portrayed the cats in amusing ways. I did not remember the plot at all until I just looked it up. Overall, I remember liking it and left the theatre with a good feeling."

River Donaghey, Contributing Editor


Peter Slattery, Senior Social Editor


Rachel Pick, Senior Social Editor

Rachel's mom says, "I can’t even remember, but your father and I almost walked out of it, it was so stupid. There’s no plot line really. It’s a bunch of grown people dressed up as cats."

Anna Iovine, Social Editor


Katie Drummond, SVP of VICE Digital

Katie's dad says, "Never seen it. 11 on Sunday for FaceTime is perfect. XOXO"

Drew Schwartz, Staff Writer

Drew's mom:


Drew's dad: