A comprehensive history of Taylor Swift’s cat family
Illustration by Michelle Simpson
With the release of Taylor Swift’s Midnights, she’s been on the lips of most everyone with an internet connection. Combining her sold-out Eras tour with the highly acclaimed album, it seems like we’re on our way to Swift World Domination. Does that mean her cats will rule with her?
Swift is a proclaimed “cat lady,” citing the cuddly animal as what inspires her in an interview with TIME. “Number one for me, most influential factor in my life is cats. I have cats. I’m obsessed with them,” she shared back in 2019. “They’re really great. They’re very dignified. They’re independent. 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.”
According to Swift, she’s felt this way since childhood. Growing up, she had two Siamese-Tabby mix cats named Indy and Eliehsen, who were said to have a deep connection with the pop singer. While in her late teens, Swift would call up her friends who were away at college so they could hear Indy and Eliehsen purr over the phone.
In 2011, Swift introduced the world to Meredith Grey, a Scottish Fold named after Ellen Pompeo’s character in Grey’s Anatomy. She was adopted on Halloween of that year, and since then, the cat has been solidly ingrained in Swift’s life, appearing in social media posts, merch, and a cameo in the “ME!” music video. In 2018, she was even featured in Ryan Reynolds’ Deadpool 2 through a custom shirt with her face on it.
Her latest appearance was during Swift’s TikTok series Midnights Mayhem With Me, where she unveiled the track titles for her then-upcoming album. Meredith, of course, made for a perfect co-host and meowed right on cue.
The next addition to the Swift family was in June of 2014, with the adoption of another Scottish Fold named Olivia Benson. This furry friend is also named after a television character, this time being from long-running crime drama, Law & Order: SVU.
Olivia Benson has also appeared in many of Swift’s projects, including a Diet Coke commercial, the “Blank Space” music video, and exclusive “Taymojis” in the now-defunct “The Swift Life” app. Sounds like Miss Benson has been working hard! In fact, she’s been so busy, that the “Ultimate Pet Rich List” names Olivia as the third richest pet in the world with a net worth of a whopping $97 million dollars.
Benjamin Button, a bicolour Ragdoll cat, is the “baby brother” of Olivia and Meredith. Swift met him on the set of the “ME!” music video, when co-star Brendon Urie handed him to her as an on-screen gift. After a few seconds of his purring, Swift decided that she didn’t want to just adopt him in the music video, she wanted to adopt him in real life.
“He was just a cute kitten who didn’t have a home,” Swift said on an Instagram live, later covered by People magazine. “He was part of a program that tries to get cute kittens adopted by putting them in commercials and stuff. The handler handed me this tiny cat and he just starts purring and he looks at me like, ‘You’re my mom, and we’re going to live together.’ I fell in love. I looked at Brendon and he’s like, ‘You’re going to get the cat, aren’t you?”
Since his adoption, “Benji” has appeared in more music videos, an ad for Amazon Music, and even an exclusive wristwatch from the Taylor Swift Merch store. Although he may not have the enormous income of his big sisters just yet, he’s well on his way to stardom, with a solid place in Swift’s heart. “I’ve never had a cat love people this much,” Swift said about Benjamin in a behind-the-scenes video of “ME!”. “I know kittens are cute, but that kitten is special.”
Although Swift hasn’t shared any plans to adopt any more felines, it’s safe to assume that cats will remain in this “cat lady’s” life forever. As she once said in an interview with Capital radio, “They can say whatever they want about my personal life because I know what my personal life is, and it involves a lot of TV and cats and girlfriends.”