The Deutabella Family (1)
So a while back I thought about sharing some of my Cats headcanons (extended editions) here, and since then I’ve been trying to compile them all into a document, which feels more a bit like herding unruly sheep. But I finally finished part 1 of many more to come :) So here’s my headcanons for the Deutabella family! All hcs in this little series will be pre-canon, if we accept the musical as the present day canon, if that makes sense. It’s basically my take on the characters’ past. Pls enjoy! (they won’t all be this long probably)
Old Deuteronomy and Grizabella are former mates, who had Macavity, Munkustrap and Tugger together. They got together and became mates at a young age. At that time young Old Deuteronomy was a lot more like present-day Tugger than Munkustrap. For a while they were happy, but when Old D became the tribe leader he had less time to spare. He changed a bit when he took on the leadership role, becoming more serious and less free-spirited and Griz became lonely. She never really had a lot of close friends within the tribe, she never really felt like she fit in and she always had big dreams of fame and fortune outside of the Junkyard which her peers just didn’t get. She always liked attention, but with her mate so busy all the time she begins to crave it in a less healthy way. When she wasn’t performing and basking in the limelight, she became sullen, withdrawn and moody.
Things got better for a while after she had her kittens. She never let go of her dreams of fame, but she had a distraction, somewhere to direct her restless energy. First came Macavity, then 3 years later Munkustrap, then Tugger 5 years after that. Grizabella loved her kittens, but gradually her brooding moods began to come over her again. Her dissatisfaction with her life grew and grew, and so did her itchy feet and panic that she was wasting her best years. The thought that she’d never be anything more than Old D’s mate eventually became unbearable to her and one day, not long after little Tugger was born, she snapped. She packed her bags and left with only the briefest goodbyes. Later in life, this lack of full farewells/explanations would be what haunted her the most. She didn’t mean to be cruel or to hurt anyone, she was only thinking of herself and her own happiness.
Old Deuteronomy never realised how neglected she felt until it was too late. He never meant to hurt her or make her feel alone, but being the tribe leader had taken over a lot of his time. A gap had slowly and subtly been growing between them, but he didn’t notice how truly bad it had gotten until she told him she was done. Grizabella’s departure sent their whole family into a tailspin, and none of them dealt with it really well. Old D felt it strongly, their strained mating bond began causing him pain, and he missed her dearly. Once she left there was a hole in his heart, one that no one else could ever fill. He felt guilty for pushing her away, and for his children losing their mother. Although he tried his absolute best to keep it together for them, he felt horrible and weak all the time, and thus withdrew a lot to try and shield them from it. This sure did not have the effect he wanted.
Little Tugger basically never knew his mother, and grew up only ever hearing how terrible a thing she did from the other adults and this was only ever countered by Macavity. He was raised by the tribe and so grew up with a great deal of respect for his father, but never had a particularly close bond with him until later on. He was closest with his two brothers, Macavity in particular. Tugger loved Macavity’s magic, especially how he could levitate him so high it felt like flying and then drop him and catch him in his arms. Munkustrap, bless him, was a bit of a wimp (once a stressed-out worrywort, always a stressed-out worrywort) who never enjoyed the “dangerous” games, but always seemed to end up having fun after being dragged along. As he grew, Tugger was caught between the tribe and Macavity. While the tribe was generally negative about Grizabella (although never to his face they avoided talking about her and brushed him off, never said anything more than “she did a bad thing”), Macavity would talk about her all the time and tell him how great she was and how when she came back for them she’d be a big star. However as time passed, Macavity began to realise his mother wasn’t coming back, and that began to push him down a dark path.
Macavity gradually went off the rails after Grizabella left. He had been his mum’s little star, and was the closest one to her. Griz was always very supportive of Mac, and adored the magic tricks he could do when his powers began to show. Unfortunately (and unintentionally) she leant on him a bit too much. Mac always wanted to spend all his time with her and not with the other kittens his own age (he knew she was lonely) and she let him, and as a result he never really learned how to interact with his peers or form any real friendships. He learned how to put on a fake smile and act at his mother’s knee. Griz would often vent to him; although he never quite understood how she was feeling, and he understood it as being with the Jellicles made her sad. When she left, he blamed his father and the tribe for it and began to grow angry and bitter, which would build until the events of the day of his banishment.
Munkustrap was the first one to see the change in Macavity. Tugger hero-worshipped his oldest brother, but Munkustrap was always the responsible one of the three. He saw that Macavity’s smiles had turned to sneers, that his jokes became more cruel than funny, that his little tricks became nasty. He saw that whenever Tugger went to play with Macavity he’d return worse for wear, but never thinking anything of it. Other adults wrote it off as the result of typical kitten rough and tumble play, but in truth Macavity began to bully Tugger, take advantage of his trusting nature and take his bad moods out on him (under the guise of “helping him grow big and strong”), but Tugger wouldn’t realise this until much later. Of the three of them, Munkustrap was the closest to his father, his natural maturity and steady/calm nature being a comfort to Old D, and he brings his concerns to him.
Old D could never acknowledge that Macavity had gone dark and evil, but he did recognise that a huge gap had grown between him and his son. He immediately began trying to bridge it, but he was never able to get through to Macavity. He tried really hard, but his eldest was too far gone, and threw all his efforts back in his face. Macavity, as the eldest, was supposed to be Old D’s heir, but the two always ended up arguing, and Mac would always end up yelling how Old D had neglected Grizabella and pushed her away and that he was the reason he no longer had a mother. The more Old D tried to reach out to him, the further away Macavity got. He began to push his magic deeper and darker, shirking his duties and lashing out at other Cats. Eventually he went too far.
One morning not much later, Old Deuteronomy named Munkustrap his heir. Macavity had become too unstable for the job. Macavity didn’t take this well. That afternoon he snapped, and when Tugger came up to play with him, he magically threw him away so hard he crashed through a large pile of garbage and was badly hurt. Munkustrap went ballistic, and he and Macavity got into a massive fight before Old Deuteronomy stepped in and physically separated them, and banished Macavity.
It broke Old D’s heart to banish his son. He spent some time with his younger two and successfully managed to salvage his relationship with them (loving, although still somewhat distant), but once Munk was fully set up as the heir he began spending less and less time in the Junkyard. He feels guilty for not seeing the signs sooner, for not listening to Munkustrap, for allowing Tugger to get hurt, and the pain of losing both his mate and now his son, too.
Tugger ended up blaming Grizabella for Macavity’s fall - he knew that her not coming back hurt Mac, and maybe if she had none of this would have happened. This was the first time he really felt alone and abandoned since she left. He barely knew her, but Macavity had adored her, and Tugger connected his upset about his brother with her. His relationship with Munkustrap also went downhill after the latter was named heir, and wouldn’t see improvement for a long time. Macavity would continue to try and hurt Tugger after his banishment; whenever he attacked and caused havoc in the Junkyard, he’d send visions and voices to scare his youngest brother, which leads to Tugger’s current knee-jerk reaction to run and hide whenever Macavity makes an appearance.
Although he had never developed any real relationships with other Cats his age, Macavity was a master of lies and manipulation. On the day of his banishment, before she knew what had happened, he convinced the kind Demeter to feel sorry for him and to elope with him. He paints a picture of rejection and sadness that he was passed over for Munkustrap, lying by saying that Munkustrap turned on him when it happened, telling him to leave, and that he feels so scared and alone and that he hadn’t done anything wrong. He tells her that she has always been so kind to him and that he has fallen in love with her. In reality he doesn’t give a crap, but he knows that Munkustrap has secretly been in love with her for ages but was always too shy to tell her. Demeter, unaware of the attacks, feels for him and agrees to the elopement. She was always a shy queen who never felt as pretty as her big sister Bombalurina, and so was overwhelmed by Macavity’s carefully constructed flattery. Bomba falls for it too, to an extent, and follows to protect her sister. However, by the time they realise the truth of what Macavity is, they’re both trapped in his web. They’re both his prisoners, and stick together as much as they can. They try to come up with plans to escape back to the Jellicles, but aren’t able to manage it until they’re joined by another one of Macavity’s tricked captives, a young tom just out of kittenhood, Mistoffelees.
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The cast of the 2019 US tour of CATS needs your help!
Yesterday (April 15 2021), in a three-hour-long video, they and others in the Broadway community published the ‘receipts’ of the shady and downright cruel way that the production company for the tour and the Actors’ Equity Association have been collaborating at the actors’ expense.
This is, apparently, a long-standing problem and has affected many other touring productions: the AEA, which ought to be protecting them, sides with the powerful businesses or producers to screw over the performers.
In this instance, the actors are owed months of back pay and COVID relief; but what they’re primarily fighting for is transparency and accountability, and some serious changes to the culture of the AEA and the Broadway industry.
Brandon Michael Nase (Deuteronomy) appears in the video - speaking also about the racism he's experienced from management - and others such as Dan Hoy (Munkustrap) and Giovanni DiGabriele (Skimbleshanks) have spoken up loudly in support on social media.
Please signal boost and sign, even if you're not in the CATS fandom. This is a battle over a problem facing the whole of the music theatre industry in the US, and they need fan and audience support: the actors can't fight it alone.
(And remember not to donate via the change.org website or the money goes to change.org! If you do want to contribute anything financially, please consider Broadway Cares, which actually does help look after actors in need.)
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