|Creator:||Andrew Lloyd Webber|
|Date(s):||1981 (West End), 1998 (TV film)|
|Country of Origin:||England|
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Cats is an extremely popular Andrew Lloyd Webber musical based on Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T. S. Eliot. For better or for worse, it is one of the first megamusical productions and is considered a staple of the musical theater repertoire that has been produced in over 30 countries and 15 languages. The original West End production ran for 21 years and the original Broadway production ran for 18 years. Since those productions, Cats has been produced by smaller local theater companies, revived for new productions, and parodied in pop culture. Some fans have seen the show live in its many years on Broadway or the West End, while others have encountered it through the 1998 filmed production.
In 2016, it was announced that Tom Hooper (known for directing the 2012 Les Miserables movie) would be directing a Cats movie. The movie, which was released in December 2019 and featured Taylor Swift among others, received mostly negative reviews. 
Like many musical fandoms, canon is a slightly fluid concept given that there can be significant changes between stagings of a show. The 1998 Adelphi Theatre filming of Cats, for example, cuts Growltiger's Last Stand and changed or altered many lyrics while the 2019 film introduced a romance between Mr. Mistoffelees and Victoria, as well as cutting Of The Awefull Battle of The Pekes And The Pollicles and changing lyrics to multiple other songs.
There are also regional variants of Cats, with the Japanese Shiki Theatre Company production possibly being the most different from any other version. It features specifically redesigned costumes, Gilbert, a character that's unique to the Japanese production, and the change from Rumpus Cat being a relatively minor character to an ensemble character.
The net effect that this fluid canon has on fanworks is usually that the ensemble will be filled out with whoever the author believes to be the "minor" characters in Cats, which can vary based on production. Multiple cats have different names depending on the production, while fulfilling the same role and having similar costumes, such as Jemima/Sillabub, Carbucketty/Pouncival, Bill Bailey/Tumblebrutus and Admetus/Plato.
Headcanons and Ships
Due to the differing canons in each production, and the fact that very few character relationships are stated in the text, headcanons for each character vary wildly. Some more popular headcanons include Munkustrap, Macavity, and The Rum Tum Tugger all being brothers, and Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer being twins. Popular ships include Tuggoffelees, a slash pairing between Mr. Mistoffelees and The Rum Tum Tugger, Demestrap a het pairing between Munkustrap and Demeter, and Demelurina a femslash pairing between Bombalurina and Demeter. 
While the show has a fandom of its own, it is notable for being a case such as Shrek where memes are sometimes more prevalent than sincere fannish content. In particular, people often joke about Cats not having a particularly complex plot or much of a plot at all:
If you're unfamiliar, here's a synopsis of CATS
-We're cats-CATS!- @TheAliciaKraft on Twitter
-Cats cats cats, that's us
-This one's lazy
-This one FUCKS
-One's a fallen woman??
-Evil cat who also FUCKS
-This one likes trains
-A wizard cat!
-Slut cat sings so good she dies, but it's cool
- Day 213: Grizabella and Victoria, fanart by ladiesoftheatre, August 1, 2016 (Direct link)
- they luv each other, fanart by rumplteazer, March 24, 2020 (Direct link)
Links & Resources
- US Cats The Musical Tour Website. Accessed 30 Sept 2019.
- List of the longest-running West End shows on Wikipedia. Accessed 30 Sept 2019.
- List of the longest-running Broadway shows on Wikipedia. Accessed 30 Sept 2019.
- Tom Hooper to milk Cats musical for movie version. Posted 6 May 2016. Accessed 30 Sept 2019.
- 'Cats' Movie Adaptation Sets December 2019 Release Date. Posted 31 Aug 2019. Accessed 20 Sept 2019.
- Review Roundup: CATS Hits The Big Screen - See What The Critics Are Saying!. Posted 18 Dec 2019. Accessed 28 March 2020.
- COVER STORY; Broadway's 'Cats': Restaged for Eternity (And We Thought They Were Kidding!). Posted 1 Nov 1998. Accessed 30 Sept 2019.
- CATS - Official Trailer [HD]. Posted 18 July 2019. Accessed 30 Sept 2019.
- Cats Is Still Big, Weird, and Furry in Japan. Posted 30 July 2019. Accessed 30 Sept 2019.
- Mr. Mistoffelees/Rum Tum Tugger tag on the Archive of Our Own
- Demeter/Munkustrap tag on the Archive of Our Own
- Bombalurina/Demeter tag on the Archive of Our Own