We investigate the history of Taylor Swift’s devotion to not just her own cats, but the species as a whole – and how they’ve permeated her professional life, including the release of her new album (out August 23), Lover.
“Are you a sabre-tooth tiger cub? Are you my baby wolverine? Are you the Princess of Meow-Town?” If you’re a Taylor Swift fan you’ll know these are the pressing questions the popstar had for her Scottish Fold cat Olivia in June 2017, in one of myriad adorable posts she’s shared of her feline darlings.
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Swift is unabashed about her love; in a recent interview with Time (for her inclusion in the magazine’s Top 100 Most Influential People of 2019), she named cats as her #1 life influence.
“I have cats, I’m obsessed with them,” she smiles. “They’re just a real joy to live with. And I love my cats so much that when a role came up in a movie called Cats, I just thought, ‘I gotta do this… this is my calling in life.’ So I went to cat school – which they have on set, readily available for us – and learned how to be as much like a cat as I possibly could.” Swift will play Bombalurina in the upcoming musical film, which also stars Dame Judi Dench, Sir Ian McKellen, Rebel Wilson, Jason Derulo, Jennifer Hudson, James Corden and Idris Elba.
After the release of the splendid video for ME! – the first single Swift shared from her brand new album Lover, out on the 23rd of this month – the musician gushed about the kitten featured in the clip, revealing that she’d adopted the animal into her brood, making it three-strong.
“He was just a cute kitten who didn’t have a home,” she explained in an Instagram Live video. “[The handler] handed me this tiny cat and he just starts purring. He looks at me like, ‘You’re my mum, and we’re going to live together.’ I fell in love.” She named the ragdoll kitten Benjamin Button. “He’s just the best boy,” she said. “He’s the best little guy.”
Benjamin joins previously mentioned Olivia – full name Olivia Benson, named for actress Mariska Hargitay’s starring character in the television series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit – and Meredith (also a Scottish Fold), who is named for the lead character in series Grey’s Anatomy, Meredith Grey (portrayed by Ellen Pompeo).
Swift’s reverence for cats expands right into her wardrobe: she has displayed a proclivity for award-winning British luxury brand Charlotte Olympia, whose ‘Kitty’ collection of purses and shoes Swift has been wearing since 2012. Meanwhile, Swift’s video clips repeatedly include feline paraphernalia – check out the cat-ear tiara from 22 (2012), appearances by the two actresses for whom she named her Scottish Folds in Bad Blood (2014), the kitten masks her crim girl gang wear while robbing gold bar-laden vaults in Look What You Made Me Do (2017), and the pink cat-faced watch Swift wears in Lover clip You Need to Calm Down.
We are, of course, on board, because cats rule. “They’re very dignified, they’re very independent,” Swift attests. “They’re very capable of dealing with their own life. And if you fit into that, on that day, they’ll make some time for you – maybe. I just really respect it.”
Lover by Taylor Swift is out August 23 via Universal.
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