25 days of cats

An Interview With the Deeply Chaotic Cats Twitter Account

Hard at work tweeting. Photo-Illustration: Vulture and Aaron’s Animals/Facebook

Seemingly in keeping with the spirit of the proceedings, the social-media presence of the movie Cats can only be described as “chaotic.” In time for the release of the movie’s second trailer, the Cats Twitter account pivoted from generic movie promotion into embracing the movie’s meme-ability, and began replying to everyone who ever mentioned the movie in a tweet — well, if they had reasonably large followings and/or blue checkmarks. Given how central the Twitter account has become to the movie’s growing status as an internet in-joke, we thought it was only right to interview the voice behind the account itself. According to Universal, the “Twitter cat purrfers to remain anonymous” for now, but if it’s any consolation, as you might assume, their responses were just as strange as their Tweets.

You, the Cats Twitter account, have started becoming a lot more — how do I put this? — sassy on Twitter, embracing memes and replying to people more often. How did you decide to make that pivot?
Thanks for noticing! It wasn’t so much a pivot as it was just ramping up the campaign. The trailer came out in July and the Twitter campaign didn’t really kick in until the fall. I think it’s important in social campaigns that you actually be social. Interact with people the way they interact with each other. It’s hard to pay attention to an ominous “we” brand that’s just broadcasting content. That’s why I make a point to tweet in the first person, too. It was also important that people understand that I’m aware of what Twitter’s been saying about the movie, and lean into that to an extent.

For a long time, the pinned tweet on the account was a response to a Taylor Swift fan asking about the plot of the musical. Why pin that tweet?
Normally you’d follow the talent and pin the trailer, all very marketing-y. Pinning something irreverent made people pay attention to it. They screenshot and shared it. It showed anyone stopping by for the first time that we don’t take ourselves too seriously. Also, I just thought it was funny!

Can you explain the plot of Cats in any further detail?
It’s about cats!

What are the limits on what you can post or interact with in order to promote this movie?
My general rule of … paw … is “what would happen if this made a headline?” I use my better judgement on what to interact with and what to avoid. I want to stay respectful to the film and musical, and everyone who worked so hard on it. I don’t interact with people who just have nasty things to say, but I don’t hesitate to throw a sassy comeback from time to time.

How many times a day does someone refer to you as an “intern”?
All day, every day. If people like what I post then “the intern deserves a raise!” If they don’t like what I post then it’s, “I feel bad for the unpaid intern being forced to tweet this” or “the intern should be fired.” I am just like, “At least they think I’m young!” But to clear up all the rumors once and for all, I am not an intern!

What is your favorite meme about the movie Cats that you did not create?
I really get a cackle out of the Charlize Cat. I died when I saw the Cat Cab running over the Joker.

How often do people tag you in their cat photos by accident?
Not that much on Twitter. On Instagram people tag us in their cat photos, not accidentally.

In terms of time spent interacting with accounts on Twitter, do you spend more time interacting with gay Twitter or Taylor Swift stans?
I try to interact with everyone equally. I spend a lot of time lurking on people’s profiles, looking for the right opportunity to engage. You’ve had a lot of tweets this year about Cats, Jackson! This guy Joe tweeted about being in Cats in high school. I did some light googling and dug up his Cats performance and tweeted it back at him. It’s a different approach, very singular, but I think it’s much more rewarding. One fan at a time!

What are the most common questions that people @ you with, aside from asking to explain the plot of Cats?
Everyone was just dying to know when we were going to drop the latest trailer. Most tweets were asking for that. Now they want me to take them to the premiere. I think that would be fun!

How much time did you spend giving out Jellicle Cat names?
OMG. It was an all-day thing and then a few hours the next few days. I’m still handing them out to people who tweet about not getting one. But I also like withholding it if they ask too much. I love the people who made it their Twitter name. Shoutout to Jinglepatty!

What do the lyrics of the song “Beautiful Ghosts” mean to you?
When Taylor sang “All that I wanted was to be wanted,” I felt that! I want to be wanted. I’m really excited to see the song within the context of the film.

What is your favorite non–Jennifer Hudson performance of “Memory”?
Betty Buckley’s Tony performance. I watch it at least once a month. I get chills every time she stands and belts “TOUCH ME!” Betty actually liked the pinned tweet you mentioned, and I GASPED when I saw the notification.

Which Jellicle Cat’s identity best matches the spirit of the Cats account?
Rum Tum Tugger! Chaotic, charismatic, and here for a good time. And much like he sings, there’s no doing anything a-bow-wow-wow-about it!

Please give Vulture dot com a Jellicle Cat name.
Crunk Upon, the cat that has fun, in this dancery.

An Interview With the Deeply Chaotic Cats Twitter Account