‘Cat Person’ Ending Explained & Film Summary: What Happened To Margot And Robert?

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Adapted from Kristen Roupenian’s short story, the 2023 film, Cat Person quite aptly captures the anxiety experienced by women navigating the modern dating scene. The unsaid rules are—you don’t want to be too forward; you don’t want to seem too interested. At the same time, you must keep the interest going and be prepared if he happens to be a serial killer. You must meet a stranger to explore a romantic possibility but with pepper spray in your bag!

Margot is a twenty-year-old sophomore who is bored to the bone working behind the concession stand at an art movie theater, and that is when she meets Robert. The tall and awkward man was not the definition of attractive, but Margot found him intriguing. She was a little flirty with him, but he did not show any interest. That night, Margot met a dog near her dormitory, and that is when we found out that she tends to think of the worst scenario every time something out of the ordinary occurs.

Spoilers Ahead


Plot Summary: What Is The Film About?

Margot was at the top of her class, and Professor Zabala enjoyed discussing the functioning of the ant colony that she had been nurturing for the last seventeen years with her. The Queen ant was, in a way, inspiring to the young adult with the way it refused to engage with any male ant, even though they were quite literally ready to die for her. Margot preferred being the easy girl because she feared the consequences she might face if she threatened the egos of the men around her. On the contrary, her roommate and best friend, Taylor, was not afraid of publicly exposing problematic men, albeit on an online forum.

Margot was a little surprised to see Robert at the theater again. She wanted him to ask her out, and he finally gathered up the courage to ask for her number. Margot started to like the person she got to know through texts. Taylor warned her not to sound too enthusiastic, but Margot could not hide her feelings for too long. 

Robert seemed to be a decent guy, and she wanted to find out if there was a future with him. But at the back of her head, she was constantly worried that the guy was a potential danger. So she decided to meet him but on her own terms. She asked him to meet her on campus. He brought her every snack that she wanted to binge on, but Margot could not brush off the thought that she barely knew the guy. She only knew one version of him, and she barely had any clue about his life. Margot found herself on a split road—she could either take a chance with Robert or give in to her fears. When she got locked up with him in the storage room, her fear took control of her mind. She could only think about the worst possibilities, and why not? She, just like every other girl, had grown up listening to and watching news about dates that went severely wrong. Margot was convinced that Robert had shut the door, and she doubted his intentions. To her relief, Robert pushed open the door. She was apologetic for her behavior, and they agreed to not count the night as their first date.

Margot traveled to her home in the countryside, and because she felt a little guilty about her behavior the last time they met, she seemed too enthusiastic over texts. Robert pretended to be aloof. Margot was tense when Robert did not respond to a tempting picture she had sent. She wondered if she had messed up the future of their relationship, and she tried to overcompensate it with more texts. She was visibly excited when Robert finally asked her out on a date. Taylor warned her to take control of the situation, but Margot was too smitten by the stranger to ignore him anymore, and she did not mind seeming a little too interested.


Why did Margot sleep with Robert?

Margot was somewhat taken aback when she watched Robert repeat the dialogue of The Empire Strikes Back. She assumed it was a romantic date, yet Robert could barely move his eyes away from the screen. He was not the same person she enjoyed chatting over texts with, and she wondered if she had made a mistake by agreeing to meet him. When Robert proposes they grab a drink after the film, Margot readily agrees. She was stopped at the pub for not having a valid ID, and that was when Robert found out that she was just 20. At that moment, Robert felt a sense of confidence and power. He realized he was the one in control. In that moment of vulnerability, they shared a kiss. Margot felt embarrassed when she had to confess the truth, and just when she thought she was no longer holding the reins, they kissed. Robert was a sloppy kisser, and being with an older man with less experience helped her regain her confidence. She realized she could have control over him without hurting his male ego.

Susanna Fogel masterfully captures the complexity of a new relationship in Cat Person. Margot knew that Robert would be terrible in bed, yet she could not say no to the opportunity. It can be interpreted as her settling for whatever was thrown at her or her being hopeful about the slim chance. She was not ready to give up on the relationship yet, and once she entered Robert’s house, she knew she could not leave. From the very beginning, we are told Margot would rather cooperate than live through her worst nightmare. She was afraid of saying no, thinking it could trigger Robert to hurt her. She was alone at his place, and all she could think about were the worst possibilities. She ultimately decided to sleep with him, even though she hated every minute of it. A part of her wanted to scream no and rush out of the place, but she did not think that was an option. She was afraid of being hurt or killed for not complying, and so she endured the pathetic moves that the grown man in his mid-30s made. She was ready to stroke his ego, as long as he did not turn into a predator.

The long intimate scene emphasized Margot’s discomfort and how ready she was to settle for the bare minimum. She was so desperate for a romantic affair that she tried to focus on the fact that he was into her and that he would never leave her. It did not take much time for Margot to realize that he was not worth it, and she faked climax to get over it. Not only was the sex downright terrible, but Margot also realized Robert was quite a strange guy. He assumed she was having an affair when she went home for a break. He had started to believe they were committed to each other because they texted regularly, and he felt hurt thinking she was cheating on him. The conversation made Margot feel suffocated, and she decided it was time for her to return to her dormitory.


What happened to Margot and Robert?

Even though the experience left a bad taste, Margot was too afraid to speak for herself. She wanted to end all ties with him, but she did not want to come off as too harsh. Margot composed a well-balanced massage to end the fling, but Taylor believed it was a little too mild. Robert had sent a video montage to express his love for Margot, but instead, it only made her feel more resolute about her decision. They belonged to different generations; she was a Gen Z, and he was a millennial. Their ideas of love and romance were quite different. What seemed problematic to Margot was extremely normal for Robert. Taylor snatched Margot’s phone and wrote a fitting text to end their relationship. Margot thought it was too direct and rude, but Robert’s reaction was surprisingly calm. It made her wonder if she misunderstood the guy, though she soon found out she had perfectly judged his character.

Towards the end of Cat Person, Margot notices Robert at the bar, and her friends escort her out of the place. When she returned to her room, Robert texted her, informing her that he had seen her. He repeatedly texted her, expressing how he missed her, and Margot felt guilty for breaking his heart. And then the most dreadful thing happens—a text chain that starts emotional but gradually turns toxic. It is surprising how the pattern is always so similar, which goes on to show how men all over the world function a certain way. He initially seemed to wonder about the reason behind the breakup, and then he went on to accuse her of having an affair and ultimately call her a “whore” (classic!). Margot did not respond, but it became impossible for her to carry on with her daily activities. She started to pace her steps while walking on an empty path; she looked behind her back more than she usually did, and she locked herself in the laboratory, fearing that Robert might enter through the door. She was terrified when she saw Robert outside the movie theater, and she called the emergency helpline. Robert had not broken any law, and the police simply asked her to stay safe and only complain if he made an offense. Margot realized she was all on her own, and the only option she had was to buy equipment to defend herself. She got herself a tracking device as well, but the challenge was to fix it in Robert’s car.

Just when she and Taylor were planning on getting the job done, two of their male friends, Kyle and Lucas, barged into the room. Taylor voiced her irritation, and Margot apologized to them on her behalf. Taylor was disappointed in her friend for always apologizing to men for expressing honest opinions. The conversation soon escalated into an argument, with Margot accusing Taylor of hiding in her virtual safe space. Taylor left the room, and Margot decided to place the tracking device on her own. At the end of Cat Person, Margot enters Robert’s garage and attempts to fix the device in his car. She suddenly noticed his dog, who happened to be the same dog she came across right outside her dormitory on the first night she met Robert. Margot realized he had stalked her that night and that he had been obsessed with her since then. Robert entered the garage, and as he tried to get close to her, she attempted to spray at him, but he turned the nozzle in her direction, and she woke up inside Robert’s house with burning eyes. Robert was extremely tense about the entire situation, and he tried to come up with a plan that would make him look less of a perp. “Everybody believes the woman,” Robert blurts out—yes, that definitely explains why Margot had pepper spray in her bag and was trying to fix a tracking device to gather evidence against him. Robert accused Margot of cheating on him by making him dream of a future together and then leaving him high and dry. He wanted honesty from her, but could he take the truth pill?

All of a sudden, we find out that Robert was a nurse, and he planned on drugging Margot and leaving her on campus so that when she woke up, she would have no recollection of the evening. Margot tried to divert his attention and begged for a saline solution for her eyes. When he was gone, she called the emergency helpline, but Robert entered the room before she could update them. The two got into a physical altercation, and they ended up in the basement, where Margot ran into the heater set on the floor. It led to a fire, and the two were soon trapped in the basement. Robert escaped to the small chamber with a lid, and when Margot begged for help, he offered her a hand.

During Cat Person‘s ending, firefighters found the two lying next to each other in fetal positions. They both survived, and we eventually found out that Robert shifted to the coast after leaving his job at the hospital. Deep down, Margot doubted the information and could never brush aside the fear of running into him again. Margot did not discuss what had transpired that night with anyone; maybe she chose to keep it a secret because Robert helped save her life. Perhaps that was the deal she made with herself because a part of her was still afraid of making noise about it. Robert is a product of his time; he had grown up watching films that romanticized assault and stalking, and he found it incredibly difficult to take no for an answer, especially when it came from a woman. Of course, that can never be an excuse, but unfortunately, rarely does someone like Robert take accountability for their behavior. Margot gets back to her job at the theater, and once again, a man approaches her and asks for her number. We do not get to find out for sure if she shared her number, but from the little that we saw, it is highly probable that she once again chose to bet on her love cards. Dating in modern times is a constant battle, and Margot had by now realized that there was no escaping it. She had to take her chances in the hopes that there would be someone who would make all her struggles worthwhile. Margaret Atwood rightly said that men were afraid that women would laugh at them and women were afraid that men would kill them. Throughout the film, Margot strokes the ego of a man she feared, and when she dares to stand up for herself, things go south. The ending of Cat Person is awkward and not captivating, but it is the relatable factor that works in favor of the film.


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Srijoni Rudra
Srijoni Rudra
Srijoni has worked as a film researcher on a government-sponsored project and is currently employed as a film studies teacher at a private institute. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Film Studies. Film History and feminist reading of cinema are her areas of interest.

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