How many lives can this book get? First poems, then a play, and now a movie made specifically for sexually frustrated Furries too ashamed to show their faces on a comic convention floor. Truly remarkable. I’m sure he would be proud.
Practical Cats consists of short verse profiles of 15 rambunctious felines with fanciful names, including Rum Tum Tugger and Growltiger. It stands in a classic tradition of catty nonsense, reaching back through The Owl and the Pussy-Cat (Edward Lear) and the Cheshire Cat (Lewis Carroll) to Christopher Smart’s “My Cat, Jeoffry”, an 18th-century epic that Eliot himself regarded as the Iliad of cat literature. Yet, despite the fact that he had such a pedigree, literary critics of the time couldn’t help feeling that Eliot, who was not only the author of Practical Cats but, by virtue of his job at Faber, its publisher, too, had misjudged the nation’s mood. At this very moment many families were contemplating euthanising their pets for fear of not being able to feed them properly once wartime rationing kicked in. Death and destruction were clearly on their way, and here was one of the country’s leading intellectuals writing stuff for kids. The view that the book was a significant indiscretion was shared in Eliot’s native US where John Holmes of the Boston Evening Transcript snapped that Practical Cats “should have been prevented”.