Ms. Fluffle Stilt Skin had some choice words for Swifties.
In the days since Taylor Swift released her re-recorded album Red (Taylor’s Version), the internet has been preparing for an all-out cat-fight between her and her ex-boyfriend Jake Gyllenhaal. The plot twist came Tuesday Nov. 16 when Gyllenhaal’s rumored cat — I’ll get to that in a second — posted to Instagram indirectly asking Swift fans to “clam [sic] down and stop cyber bullying,” transforming what was once a metaphorical cat-fight into a literal one.
OK, wait. Gyllenhaal has a “rumored cat?” Yes. Since 2019 Gyllenhaal has been playing a coy little game of, well, cat and mouse with fans who adamantly believe that Ms. Fluffle Stilt Skin — a cat on Instagram with nearly 50,000 followers — is his pet. Gyllenhaal, cheeky man that he is, refuses to say one way or another.
Feline antics aside, all eyes have been on Gyllenhaal since Swift released the album and the accompanying video for her song “All Too Well,” which is thought to be a commentary on their three-month-long relationship, their nine-year age gap, and, of course, the ethics of holding onto an ex’s item of clothing for an entire decade after you break up.
Gyllenhaal hasn’t offered any comment on the album, their brief relationship, or whether or not he is still in possession of Swift’s famed red scarf. (Although Gyllenhaal’s sister, Maggie, did tell Andy Cohen on Watch What Happens Live that it’s “possible” the scarf is somewhere in her Park Slope brownstone.)
In an interview with Yahoo! News in 2019, Gyllenhaal was interrogated about his connection to this squish-faced feline. He gave the camera a wink before evading the question with the skill of a well-polished politician.
“Let’s just say I have met Fluff. She’s amazing,” he told the interviewer. “She’s really truly one of the cutest cats I’ve ever seen.”
Though it’s never been proven, Swifties are convinced Ms. Fluff is Gyllenhaal’s cat. Some outside observers have theories tying Fluff to Gyllenhaal, based mostly on the frequent presence of niche art books and indie-looking records stacked in the background of some of Fluff’s most memorable Instagram cameos.
In several of the songs on Red (Taylor’s Version), Swift references her ex’s proclivity for such erudite pursuits. In “I Bet You Think About Me,” one of the vault tracks on the album, Swift sings: “Well, I tried to fit in with your upper-crust circles / Yeah, they let me sit in back when we were in love / Oh, they sit around talkin' about the meaning of life / And the book that just saved 'em that I hadn't heard of.”
Another verse in the same song points to the “cool indie music concerts” that her ex supposedly attended every week. Therefore, according to some fan theorists, any cat that’s as cultured as Ms. Fluff must belong to someone with Gyllenhaal’s tastes.
Still others theorize that Fluff belongs to Bryan Ling, a music manager and longtime friend of Gyllenhaal’s, who manages musician Mike Hadreas of Perfume Genius. Notably, Hadreas is the only human featured in any of Fluff’s posts.
Swift and Gyllenhaal dated for a few short months in 2010. If Swift’s 2021 version of “All Too Well” is any indication, Gyllenhaal ended their relationship because of their age difference (Swift was 21, Gyllenhaal was 30).
Today, however, Gyllenhaal, now 40, is dating 25-year-old model Jeanne Cadieu, while Swift, now 31, is with British actor Joe Alwyn, 30.
No matter who you think Fluff’s rightful owner may be, she clearly had something to get off her chest. As of now, Swift’s cats — Meredith Grey, Olivia Benson, and Benjamin Button — have made no comment on the situation.