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Cats: Some people mummify them so that they can function as their private secretaries to the gods; some people are afraid they’re going to suck all the breath out of their babies; some people are allergic to them.

However you feel about or breathe around cats, we can all agree that if Taylor Swift were given a steel box containing a cat, a small amount of radioactive substance, a glass vial of cat-killing hydrogen cyanide, a Geiger counter outfitted with a hammer that would smash that vial if and when it detected the decay of even one atom, and also an hour, at the end of that hour that cat would still be both living and dead inside that box, Taylor Swift not having opened it given the risk of finding inside a definitively dead cat, because Taylor Swift is a cat lover.

Who better to appear in the upcoming film adaptation of the musical “Cats” (in theaters December 2019)? That’s a question we have neither time nor space to answer here, as well as rude and beside the point at this late stage. A better question: Which oversize domestic cat will Taylor Swift embody on screen?

Would you like to read an essentially random list of personalities and names a man ascribed to imaginary cats nearly 100 years ago and are you Canadian? If yes to both, the text of “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats” is part of the public domain in Canada.

The verses were originally composed to entertain Mr. Eliot’s godchildren. (Despite having no particular plot and containing many nonsensical lines, they still convey a marked distaste for Chinese people — “heathen” being among the kinder descriptors deployed. In one poem, a pirate cat is described as having vowed “his hatred” to “cats of foreign race.” He is eventually killed by a “horde” of cats referred to in the original text by a baldfaced Asian slur, replaced in the musical by “Siamese.”)

Mr. Eliot’s widow, Valerie, gave Mr. Lloyd Webber permission to adapt the work on the condition that the meandering poems serve as lyrics, rather than a mere jumping-off point for a conventionally plotted musical script. In 2012, The New York Post estimated that “Cats” had earned the Eliot estate “nearly $100 million.” (Worldwide, the musical has earned billions.)

Valerie Eliot married her husband in 1956, when he was 65 and she was 30. Previously, she was his secretary. She had, in fact, become a secretary so that she could be his secretary. Her obituary in The Guardian recounted a story that, as a schoolgirl, she “told her head teacher that she knew precisely what she wanted to become: secretary to T.S. Eliot.” Before becoming Mr. Eliot’s secretary, she did occasional secretarial work for Dylan Thomas who, according to a volume of Mr. Eliot’s letters Valerie edited, once, before visiting Mr. Eliot, asked her “What is it worth to you if I push his secretary down the stairs?” As the executor of her husband’s estate, Valerie claimed copyright on the private diaries of his first wife, Vivienne, who died in a private asylum, in 1947. Accounts differ on whether her husband or Vivienne’s brother had her committed.

The role of Rum Tum Tugger will be played by Jason Derulo.