'Cats' Musical Wiki

"Bustopher Jones: The Cat About Town" introduces the titular Bustopher Jones. He is the St. James's Street cat - an area in London that features many upper class clubs. Bustopher "belongs" to multiple clubs and is presumably fed by all of them. His song is primarily sung by Jennyanydots, who is clearly very fond of him.


The preceding number, "Grizabella the Glamour Cat", ends with Grizabella being rejected by the tribe. She exits the stage, leaving behind a sombre atmosphere. Just then however, Bustopher Jones approaches, providing a welcomed change of topic. The "Matinee Lines" include Jennyanydots saying: "Pay no attention to her!" as she tries to steer the younger cats' attention away from Grizabella.

Bustopher Jones makes his way onto the stage, introduced by Jennyanydots, Bombalurina and Jellylorum. He is greeted with respect by the older male cats, while the kittens mess about. He is provided with a "chair" in the form of a top hat, from which he explains his choice of clubs, and where the best food might be found.

Bustopher is a dignified gentleman, however like many real cats, that dignity is undermined in unfortunate situations, such as falling backwards off his chair, or heading in the wrong direction. He is genial and avuncular, but we see the tribe on "Best behavior" trying to impress him.

Having greeted everybody, made a polite social visit, he leaves, one can presume on his way to another club's kitchen. Often he is still onstage when we hear glass crash and sirens - Demeter cries out "Macavity?!". Bustopher can be heard muttering about "Macavity? Oh, no no." as he leaves through the auditorium.


The original 1981 London production double-cast Brian Blessed as Bustopher Jones and Old Deuteronomy. This required a quick change for the actor between Bustopher Jones' entrance and Old Deuteronomy's.

The Broadway production in 1982 instead doubled Gus, the Theatre Cat, with Bustopher Jones, with subsequent productions following suit. The second and third quatrains of Bustopher's solo were also cut in the original Broadway show. In the 2016 Broadway revival, the solo remained shortened, but with the first and second quatrains cut instead. This revival also changed the Broadway staging of this number to include a dance break, as well as a large number of food-related props to entertain Bustopher Jones, similar to the staging in the long-running Japanese production.

The lyrics for the song are taken entirely from the T S Eliot poem of the same name from Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats (1939). The clubs mentioned in the poem are all veiled references to real 1930s London establishments, with Eliot parodying the culture of the Gentleman's Clubs. "Clubs" in this context are not a euphemism for "adult entertainment", but rather social clubs. It was against "club etiquette" at the time to belong to more than one club, and Bustopher describes himself as a "bounder" - an immoral, wild, decadent character, similar to modern "off the rails" celebrities. This is quite an over-statement for a portly, well-fed cat.

Bustopher Jones is referred to as "The Brummell of Cats" - a reference to Beau Brummell, who was a style icon in the 18th Century and whose concepts of men's fashion are still current today. "White Spats" are shoe covers, highly fashionable in the past, and one can conjecture they refer to Bustopher Jones being a black cat with white paws.


The silence that follows Grizabella's exit is interrupted by the opening notes of "Bustopher Jones".[1] The score notes the beginning of the song is to be played "a little tentative, as if the orchestra is changing subject" to reflect this abrupt shift in the mood.

"Bustopher Jones" opens with Jennyanydots, Bombalurina and Jellylorum introducing the titular Bustopher. The trio's verses are lighthearted, with a moderate tempo of 104 beats per minute ("moderato"). The toms then join in and sing the chorus. This section of the song, labelled in the score as "Tempo 1", is composed in the key of E major and set in common time (4/4).[2]

The middle section of the song is sung by Bustopher himself and is a slowed-down version of the trio's verses. This section has a tempo of 92 beats per minute ("slower - pompously") and is composed in the key of F major in common time. As the music builds up, the key changes to Bb major. After Bustopher's verses, the song reverts to the more upbeat Tempo 1 led by Jennyanydots.[2]

Overall, Bustopher's vocal range spans from B2 to F4.

Bustopher sheet music excerpt

Excerpt from "Bustopher Jones"


Bustopher Jones is not skin and bones,
In fact, he's remarkably fat.
He doesn't haunt pubs, he has eight or nine clubs,
For he's the St. James's Street Cat!

He's the cat we all greet as he walks down the street
In his coat of fastidious black:
No commonplace mousers have such well-cut trousers
Or such an impeccable back.

In the whole of St. James's the smartest of names is
The name of this Brummell of cats;
And we're all of us proud to be nodded or bowed to
By Bustopher Jones in white spats!

My visits are occasional to the Senior Educational
And it is against the rules
For any one cat to belong both to that
And the Joint Superior Schools.

For a similar reason, when game is in season
I'm found not at Fox's, but Blimp's;
I am frequently seen at the gay Stage and Screen
Which is famous for winkles and shrimps.

In the season of ven'son I give my ben'son
To the Pothunter's succulent bones;
And just before noon's not a moment too soon
To drop in for a drink at the Drones.

When I'm seen in a hurry there's probably curry
At the Siamese or at the Glutton;
If I look full of gloom then I've lunched at the Tomb
On cabbage, rice pudding and mutton.

In the whole of St. James's the smartest of names is
The name of this Brummell of cats;
And we're all of us proud to be nodded or bowed to
By Bustopher Jones in white,
Bustopher Jones in white,
Bustopher Jones in white spats.

So, much in this way, passes Bustopher's day,
At one club or another he's found.
It can be no surprise that under our eyes
He has grown unmistakably round.

He's a twenty-five pounder, or I am a bounder,
And he's putting on weight every day:
But I'm so well preserved because I've observed
All my life a routine; and I'd say

I am still in my prime: I shall last out my time.
That's the word from this stoutest of cats.
It must and it shall be spring in Pall Mall
While Bustopher Jones wears white,
Bustopher Jones wears white, 
Bustopher Jones wears white spats!


International Versions[]





  1. The Megamusical, Indiana University Press (2006). Page 158. ISBN 978-0-253-34793-0.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Cats: Songs from the Musical, Hal Leonard (May 1, 1982). Pages 34-40. ISBN 978-0881882001.