Growing up in a family of musical theater lovers, I’ve been deeply familiar with the “Plot” of Cats for pretty much as long as I can remember. Growing up, we had VHS tapes of Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera, Joseph and his Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and honestly most of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical catalogue. As such, I’ve been deeply familiar with the songs of Cats, since long before the recent release of the movie adaptation.
Now, you know how sometimes you grow up with songs from a young age, and don’t really process the lyrics? Like, you know the songs word for word, but you never make the mental connection about their implications? Well, that happened with me sitting down to watch Jason Derulo and Judy Dench sing about picking which cat gets to finally be euthanised, up on the big screen. Watching it all unfold in a new terrifying adaptation, I finally took note of a line sung in regards to Idris Elba’s cat Macavity.
“He’s broken every human law, he breaks the law of gravity”
Now, I get what they were going for with this line of the song. Macavity is not only morally evil, but also possesses literal magical powers. It’s meant to be the audience’s justification as to why we don’t want to see him granted the sweet embrace of death, and an explanation of how he might try to cheat his way into victory. It’s a throwaway line, but one I can’t stop thinking about.
Macavity hasn’t just broken a few human laws, he has broken every human law. Every single one. That’s a LOT of very hyper-specific laws to break. Let stop and process the image of naked furry Idris Elba committing some of these crimes because, I think once we’re done, you’ll agree this kitten needs to be granted the death he so desires.
Now, I want to put some limits on the laws Idris Elba has broken, because human laws contradict each other depending on where in the world you are, and when in history you are. We know for a fact that the musical Cats is set in London, which narrows down our search of laws considerably. In terms of WHEN the musical is set, while we have no definitive date mentioned in the movie, I think it’s a fair assumption that the musical is set no later than 1939, the year in which T. S. Elliot published Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, the book of poetry on which the musical is loosely based.
So, let’s consider Cats as being set in 1939 London. This means we can discount a bunch of more modern laws from Macavity’s illegal repertoire. He hasn’t been downloading illegal movies from torrent sites, because that would be ridiculous with his lack of opposable thumbs. Still, that does leave him with a LOT of crimes to commit in his feline lifetime.
Let’s start with the general basic categories of crimes. Starting off light we have property crimes, which basically governs anything relating to personal possessions. Sexy furry crotchless Idris Elba has committed burglary, arson, theft of a motor vehicle, sprayed graffiti on homes, committed armed robbery for small goods, pickpocketed small goods, deliberately damaged people’s homes, and torn up valuable artworks, just as a few basic examples. Cat Elba doesn’t respect your right to feel safe in your own home, or to keep the things you have worked hard to accumulate.
Stepping up in severity, Macavity is also a white collar criminal, a category of crime that basically covers any illegal acts done by rich powerful people in suits. We’re talking wide scale tax evasion, corporate espionage, underpaying workers, ignoring health code violations, embezzling funds, insider trading, bribery, copyright infringement, money laundering, identity theft, and forgery.
Now, for the white collar crime, I’m not super surprised by the fact he did the crimes themselves, I’m honestly more impressed that a literal cat managed to get high enough up the corporate ladder to be in a position of power where he was able to commit these crimes. Say what you will about Macavity, but he doesn’t mess around in his quest for capitalist domination.
Next up is consensual crime, a category of crime I honestly didn’t know existed before researching Macavity’s criminal record. Otherwise known as victimless crimes, these are basically the crimes that a person can consent to doing, and could occur with nobody being harmed, or even anyone being unhappy about them occurring, but are still considered illegal. Examples of Consensual crimes include taking illegal drugs, engaging in sex work, or drinking alcohol while underage. Now, putting aside whether I think these things should be crimes in the first place, we can pretty easily research what laws were in place for these sorts of acts in 1939 London, to get a sense of what Macavity was up to in this regard.
In the UK, Cocaine use was made illegal in 1912, at least in theory, even if it wasn’t strictly enforced. Sex work hadn’t been truly criminalised in the UK yet in 1939, with the only stipulation being that you needed a license before becoming a sex worker, to help limit the spread of STD’s, so we know Macavity skipped that registration process. This was also around the time Opium became illegal in the UK, so you can add that to the list of magical substances this cat was consuming. I give these three examples, because I’m pretty sure the 2019 movie version of Cats is what you get if you mix coke, opium, and paying money to see sexual gyration.
Macavity also drank while underage, gambled while underage, basically did anything age limited before turning 18, which makes sense, because cats rarely live to that ripe an age.
Last up, let’s talk about the most notable CATegory of crime Macavity has been involved in, violent crime. Violent Crime doesn’t just mean crimes where you physically attack someone, but also crimes of indecency, and threats of violence. This is probably the category of crime where Macavity racks up the worst list of offenses. He has committed murder, assault, vehicular manslaughter, indecent exposure, sexual harassment, bigoted hate crimes, sexual assault, kidnapping, bank robbery, terrorism, torture, and a whole bunch of other unspeakable acts.
But, that’s not even the end of our list of crimes yet. Considering Cats is set in 1939 London, we actually have another category of crimes introduced that year to consider, war crimes. Yes, World War 2 was starting to get underway in 1939, and UK parliament passed several laws that year specifically aimed at the fact we were a nation at war.
Looking through a list of laws and amendments during that year, Macavity broke the official secrets act by transmitting sensitive British war data to our international enemies, aiding the opposing side of WW2 with war secrets. He also engaged in trade with Nazi Germany, refused to pay back UK citizens whose land was claimed during the war, and fed misleading information to the UK that hampered the war effort.
I think this does a decent job of setting the tone of Macavity’s crimes. We all need to be a little bit less concerned that he’s trying to cheat in a tournament to win euthanasia, and more concerned with the fact he is a murderous child kidnapping rapist who helped the Nazi’s during World War 2.
Macavity should have been offered death, because the longer he stays living, the more evil he’s inflicting on the world. I don’t even know where he found the time in his short cat lifespan. Amazing what you can achieve when you have literal magic on your side.