A definitive ranking of the cats that matter from “Cats,” the movie no one should have to see.


Teagan Kimbro

Bailey Tomlinson, Columnist

Teagan Kimbro

The premise behind the infamous “Cats” (2019) is simple: a group of cats called the Jellicle Cats meet once a year. They have a song and dance based competition called the Jellicle Ball, where they must explain who they are and why they deserve to be reborn. The winner will get to ascend to the “Heaviside Layer” to be reborn into a better life. From worst to best, I’ve ranked each cat’s individual performance in both the Jellicle Ball and the movie as a whole.

  1. Bustopher Jones, the St. James Street Cat. Played by James Corden, Bustopher Jones takes a firm last place. His character is made up entirely of being heavier than the other cats and how he got that way by eating in trash cans. I originally gave him some points in his favor for wearing clothes, since many of the cats upsettingly don’t, but halfway through his musical number he takes them off.


  1. Rum Tum Tugger, the Curious Cat. Jason Derulo’s Rum Tum Tugger is less curious and more indecisive. His performance is just four and a half minutes of him saying that he always wants what he can’t have. If the entire character were cut entirely, it wouldn’t affect the movie at all.


  1. Jennyanydots, the Gumbie Cat. Played by Rebel Wilson, Jennyanydots’ performance consists of her training (and eating) mice and roaches just to have something to do. At the very least, she has a couple solid comedic moments. Beyond that, however, she doesn’t undergo any character development and ultimately does nothing.


  1. Taylor Swift. There is no point in the entire six minutes that Taylor Swift is onscreen that her character’s name gets said. According to Google, she plays Bombalurina, the right-hand cat to the main antagonist of the film. She is in a total of one scene, in which she sings a song that isn’t even about herself, it’s about the main antagonist. After this scene she is never seen again and the movie never addresses what happens to her.


  1. Asparagus “Gus” the Theatre Cat. Played by Ian McKellen, the song Gus sings reaches a point where it’s almost a downer. His character revolves around how old he is, reminiscing slightly incoherently on his glory days as the star of stage shows and mourning the loss of old media in the stead of newer productions. There’s an implication in his song that he now spends his days recounting old stories to young people and drinking. 


  1. Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer, the Notorious Couple of Cats. I had to pair these two, because there’s no point in the movie where they’re apart. They even share a song. Played by Danny Collins and Naoimh Morgan respectively, they’re petty thieves with a pretty catchy tune. The first half of the movie builds them up as sympathetic characters, while the second half shows them working with the antagonist to sabotage the Ball, which is a confusing twist. This is only ever addressed in one line, where one of them explains they were just trying to have fun by ruining the huge event that only happens once a year. They’re fun characters, but were neglected as far as the story goes and could have been so much more. 


  1. Macavity, the Mystery Cat. Played by Idris Elba, Macavity is the antagonist of the movie. He’s magic, which is never addressed, but accepted by every non-magic cat in the movie as entirely normal. He spends the movie enacting a plot to win the competition by trapping every other contestant on a barge. In the song sung about him by Taylor Swift, she states he’s broken every human law, which has terrifying implications. 


  1. Grizabella, the Glamour Cat. Jennifer Hudson’s Grizabella sings arguably the most powerful song in the movie and is crowned the winner of the Jellicle Ball. She’s a disgraced cat forced to live in the wasteland after running around with Macavity’s crowd, which is never explained in any more detail than that. Despite this banishment, we see her several times throughout the movie in the middle of the town the Jellicle cats all inhabit, crying and sitting on the ground. She isn’t even given enough agency in the movie to compete in the Jellicle Ball of her own volition, she only sings for it after being prompted by the main protagonist of the film. Her incredible vocal work carries what would otherwise be an unfortunately forgettable character.


  1. Skimbleshanks, the Railway Cat. Played by Steven McRae, Skimbleshanks is entirely a side character, but his song is such a bop. It’s even coherent musically with the theme of his character in a movie that feels like a fever dream. Skimbleshanks tap dances throughout his entire number, mimicking the way a train sounds going along the tracks. He has flair, passion and frankly was one of the most enjoyable parts of the movie for me.


  1. Mr. Mistoffelees, the Magic Cat. Played by Laurie Davidson, Mr. Mistoffelees is one of the only characters that actually has an identifiable character arc. He starts the movie as a clumsy, awkward cat who can barely perform cheesy tricks. By the end of the movie he’s performed actual magic, saved the entire Jellicle Ball and gotten himself a girlfriend. His song is one of the catchiest songs in the movie and is oddly touching, beginning with him singing about himself and ending with the entire clan of Jellicle cats singing along in support of him. At the showing of the movie I attended, the audience actually clapped at the end of his performance. Mr. Mistoffelees feels unintentionally like the crux of this movie and is getting ranked in first place because of it.