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Review: Cat Daddies

February 17, 2023

By John Corrado

★★★ (out of 4)

Director Mye Hoang’s Cat Daddies is a charming documentary that focuses on the bonds between a variety of men and their cats, and if you are in any way a cat person, it’s pretty irresistible.

Like any good collection of cat videos, the scenes range from lighthearted and goofy (the film opens with actor and influencer Nathan Kehn stroking his four cats in time to the Nutcracker Suite) to charming and heartwarming.

The film’s subjects include long-haul trucker Josh and his feline companion Tora, who has her own adorable collection of trucker outfits and comes with him on the road, including doing meet-and-greets across the United States with her online fans.

In a similar vein, there’s the entrepreneurial owner who branded his arm-waving kitty as “HypeCat,” including creating a line of merchandise. Meanwhile, Will Zweigart is devoting his time to helping Brooklyn’s feral cats, running a volunteer TNR (trap, neuter, return) program through his registered charity Flatbush Cats.

But the heart of the film belongs to David Giovanni, an immigrant with cerebral palsy whom we first meet living on the streets of New York City with his rescue cat Lucky, whose main priority is finding housing that allows pets. Through his friendship with a police officer (who is also a cat dad), David is trying to move forward in his life but faces several setbacks, with Lucky providing a reason for him to keep pushing through.

If there’s anything close to a thesis statement in Hoang’s film, it’s about challenging the old stereotype that men can’t have close bonds with their cats, which comes through in the selection of some of the subjects. The point is that many of these are traditional “men” – from the firefighters in South Carolina who have taken in a stray cat named Flame who hangs out in the truck bay, to Hollywood stuntman Ryan who dotes on his very large cat Toodles – who have embraced being “cat people” despite these outdated gender stereotypes.

The film was shot during 2020, which means that the pandemic, when many people welcomed pets into their lives, provides a backdrop to Cat Daddies. The film is assembled more like a collection of vignettes about these different subjects, and it can feel more like a series of brief introductions instead of a deeper dive into any one of their lives. Naturally, some of the stories (such as David’s) are more compelling than others, and the film does occasionally feel like it lacks a sharper focus. But Cat Daddies still works as a thoroughly enjoyable and often very appealing documentary, not least of which for the ample footage of the subjects’ adorable feline companions.

Cat Daddies is now available on a variety of Digital and VOD platforms. It’s being distributed in Canada by Vortex Media.

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