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The Furry Fandom Is Conflicted About the 'CATS' Trailer Just Like You

KITTIES

The trailer for the live action film CATS is a bit insane. We’ve said this already. You know it, you’ve seen it. But if there’s one group of people that everyone thought would be into it — and by everyone, we mean everyone on Twitter — it was the furry community. In fact, the idea was so pervasive that the term “Furries” became a trending topic globally on Twitter not long after the trailer went live. People joked and speculated about how furries might finally feel represented or how this was likely an incarnation of their wet dreams. But like … was it?

We decided to call up five members of the furry fandom, a community that includes people who create and wear anthropomorphic costumes as well as draw anthropomorphic art (plus their fans of course). Out asked them about their thoughts about CATS, the original Broadway production, what their reaction was to this new trailer, and whether they would eventually see the film. 

Spoiler alert: the reactions were sometimes not pretty!

MARTIN

I’ve never actually seen CATS. I knew about the play growing up but I think I was too young for it and my parents didn’t want to see it, so I never did. I heard that the live-action was coming out but I didn’t think much about it. In the furry fandom, at least the people I follow and talk to, we weren’t buzzing about it until like yesterday when the trailer came out.

I thought the trailer was kind of cool. Obviously the CGI was a little strange and perplexing but I kind of like strange things so it was cool to me. At some points in the preview the face doesn’t seem to match the bodies and it sort of slides a little bit which was creepy. But I’m always down for creepy so I liked it — a lot of people were critical of that and have made memes. 

The characters are anthropomorphic beings so I guess you could throw it under furry, but it’s not furry-centric really. Fursuits almost always cover your face, but in this, you can recognize the actor’s faces. I think that takes away from it for most people in the furry fandom, because they want it to be more toony or just like a wolf face or cat face, no human face at all. But the cast is pretty cool so I’ll probably go see it. 

OPAL

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When I was little I was fortunate enough to go see the original play of CATS on Broadway and I absolutely loved it. It changed my life. It actually made me want to become a furry. I had a wild imagination as a child and whenever we got back home I immediately wanted to start dressing up as a cat. I loved the costumes from the original production. I thought they were great for stage. 

You have different levels of fursuits: you have morphe suits which are these skin tight costumes, digi costumes which have more padding, the quad suit which is a person on all fours walking around, and stuff like that. And those are very different than what was in the play.

I was really looking forward to the new live action movie when I heard about it. I actually thought that they might use furries; real people dressing up. I thought they would make it more modern by using actual fur costumes and instead we get this CGI crap. It looks like someone is trying to do Avatar, but with cats. It’s awful. You can throw as many big names on the project as you want to but it doesn’t mean it’s going to be any good. I think they would have done better using people of the fandom. They’ve really ruined a timeless classic. 

I don’t really want to see the film now. Funnily enough, a few months ago CATS came to my town and I spent the money to go see it and I took my 10 year old son to go see it. And he loved it, especially with me being a furry. And whenever he saw the trailer he was like, “Mom, they ruined it.” And like, yeah, they really did. 

What I have gathered from my local community is that nobody is really happy, but they are willing to give it a chance. But this is not really furry, it’s CGI and there is a difference. These actors and actresses didn’t put on a suit they just have a little makeup and maybe some paws. It’s not the same. 

CLATTER BUCK

I actually went to see the original production when I was in high school. It was  my first time going to see a Broadway show in New York. I loved it. I thought it was amazing. I don’t think I had ever seen a musical before so I was really blown away. Afterwards I used to listen to the soundtrack all the time. That was also the first time I had ever seen that kind of costume before. In hindsight, maybe that contributed to me becoming a furry later in life. I never really thought about that until just now. 

I remember this one character in particular, Rum Tum Tugger. He was very macho aggressive cat. So it was this guy in a leotard, very sexy but with full cat makeup on. It was …. very interesting for me to see that as a child. I was a young kid who had just realized I was gay and so seeing that on Broadway I was like, “Hmm I like the look of this.”

 

I actually was not aware the live action version was even in production. The first I found out about it was when I was seeing the trailer. I was impressed. There’s definitely sections of the trailer of where it gets into the uncanny valley where the CGI of the faces on the bodies don’t quite match but I’m hoping they clean that up before the movie comes out. At some point it sort of looks like a high schooler edited the face on. That was kind of cringey. But for the most part I was excited and can’t wait for it to come out. 

For me it has an appeal as a furry, I think more because of my history with the musical. To see it done in this way with actual actors playing them and the design of actual anthropomorphic cats was of interest to me. But I will say after watching the trailer and scrolling through to see what my Twitter friends had to say, a majority of them are really unhappy. They think it looks terrible, don’t want to be associated with it, and while they appreciate the trending furry tag on Twitter, really don’t want to be associated with it because they are very unhappy with what it looks like. 

ZEEK

 

I never got to see the show on Broadway but I have seen clips of it online. At the time I didn’t really have a reaction to it because I’ve always been a dog person. Cats aren’t really my thing. The costumes were people basically dressing up with make up in sort of like a Halloween set up which wasn’t too bad. But it definitely didn’t influence me to dress up as a dog. I didn’t look into the furry fandom until much later when I was like 23. 

I hadn’t really heard about the film before. I’m sure some of the cat furries probably know all about it. The furry fandom isn’t necessarily segregated officially, but usually the people who like dogs follow the people in dog costumes or draw dog art, and the same for cats. 

The trailer looked actually really good to me. I think it had everything a furry would like: animals that can talk, so anthropomorphic. It was really popular back in the day too so you know it has that name recognition. One of the problems though is that it’s old and so much of the furry fandom is like around or under 21 years old, so most of them probably don’t know what it is. But I think if they like cat’s they are still going to go see it because whenever there’s an animal movie like even Zootopia, people want to see it. I’ve also seen people say stuff like oh when CATS comes out we should get a group to go watch in our fursuits. And a bunch of people are making memes about it.

ANGEL

I didn’t ever see the original because it was too far away but I did see some videos on YouTube. I really enjoyed it because of the bright colors and it’s so many people and so much going on. It was very interesting. I kind of loved the costumes as well. They were really colorful of course, and I like how they used the fake fur to make them cats. Furries are different colors so I loved how they made these cats all different colors too. 

I didn’t really know about the film until I saw the trailer. But, I thought it was very interesting. I couldn’t really tell the story from the trailer, but I thought it was interesting to see the different characters and these little scenes. I will go watch the film for sure. The CGI looks ok but my favorite was the one cat who was clothed. 

Online I’ve seen people [in the community] mostly hesitant. They’ve all been sort of commenting about the animation. A few people didn’t like that they had human faces instead of animal faces. Other people felt that it was like the Sonic movie: that the problem is that they tried to use some human parts with animal parts in the animation so it doesn’t look right.

 
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