Cats are fascinating creatures. I’m not shy about being a dog person, but I have no ill will towards a cat. My first family pets were cats, so I’m very familiar with their rather specific personalities and quirks. It also means that some people just gravitate towards them, to a fairly intriguing degree. So, the relationship between a cat and a human easily can form the basis of a documentary. Cat Daddies is that, though it doesn’t focus too firmly on either side of the coin. We get to meet a number of interesting cats, but the daddies of the title are not shortchanged in the slightest. It all makes for Cat Daddies to be a pleasant little experience. Pet owners will dig it, for sure.
Cat Daddies is not just aimed at fans of our feline friends, however. It’s telling a story of friendship and overcoming odds. The companionship aspect of it all is where the movie lands best. The doc would be pretty empty without it, frankly, so it’s good to see that it’s not in short supply here. It’s a good time, sure, but clearly also with something on its mind.
The documentary follows a number of men whose lives have been changed, in one way or another, by their love of cats. The cats themselves include Tora, Pickles, Lucky, Zulu, Toodles, Flame and GoalKitty, just to name a few. The felines share the stage with their human counterparts, making for a dueling narrative of sorts. In many ways, it’s the whole “who rescued who?” of it all.
The cat dads we meet are a diverse bunch. They consist of a firefighter, a truck driver, a stuntman, an ad executive who became a cat rescuer, a cop, a software engineer, an influencer, a teacher, and even an undocumented and disabled immigrant living on the New York City streets. What do they have in common? Cats have changed and enhanced their lives, sometimes in pretty interesting ways.
Director Mye Hoang does a solid job of making you understand these men, whether or not you share their affection for cats. Hoang does that by making sure the humans feel fully rounded, as opposed to just making the cats at all anthropomorphized. It’s a good call, since it grounds Cat Daddies, instead of making it a total lark. While it’s not an overly serious doc, it’s a bit heavier than you might otherwise expect. The film manages to surprisingly deftly walk a fine line, tine wise.
Cat Daddies will delight anyone who loves cats, to be sure. Whether you own a cat or just find them to be adorable, this will be like catnip to you. However, even if you’re indifferent to felines, there’s more than enough charm here to rope you in. It’s not an overly amazing movie, but it’s cute, has charm to spare, and leaves you feeling a bit hopeful about humanity. What more can you ask for from a work like this?