Though Cat Daddies sounds like the name of either a rockabilly band or a group you’d find in a kink dungeon, it’s actually the hashtag used online to describe feline-loving dudes, and as such is the perfect title for a new documentary from writer/director Mye Hoang, Cat Daddies. This joyful movie profiles a collection of 9 men, proud cat fanciers, who navigated 2020 with the help of their feline family members. At a time when many documentary and narrative feature releases darkly reflect the challenges, heartache, and cynicism resulting from a worldwide pandemic, Cat Daddies is as much a balm for the soul as a purring kitten burrowing into your hip. The film is a heartwarming charmer that shows men of diverse interests and backgrounds celebrating the unconditional love they have for their furry friends. That it will likely lower your heart rate and blood pressure significantly for the duration of its 89 minute running time should be all the reason you need to seek the movie out.
The unifying thread of Cat Daddies is around David Giovanni, an unhoused construction worker with medical challenges living on the streets of New York with his cat Lucky, whom he rescued from certain death when everyone else was just walking by without notice. The bond between David and Lucky is clear, and at one point he even says the cat is his inspiration to continue living each day. His friend, New York policeman Chris Alese, himself the caretaker of a cat named Pez, says David and Lucky are like others experiencing homelessness. “They are at home with their animal, and if that’s on the street, that’s where it is.” Interspersed with scenes of David and his friend Chris are other stories of men and the cats they love. Nathan Kehn is an actor in Hollywood who built an account to almost 350k followers on Instagram with his funny videos and pictures of his four cats Pickles, Ginger, Annie, and Princess. All that influencing has led him to a job doing branding on a new dating app for cat lovers. Jordan Fide, a fire engineer at Belmont Fire Department, talks about the power of their resident cat Flame to calm the humans around him. Flame has become beloved by all the members of the firehouse. David Durst is a truck driver and caretaker for a cat named Tora the Trucker Cat. He and his girlfriend have hundreds of outfits for Tora the Trucker Cat’s Instagram account, @ToraTravels, which has 24k followers. Will Zweigart became passionate about saving as many cats in his Brooklyn neighborhood as possible, and founded Flatbush Cats, which has a robust catch, neuter, and release program for feral cats. Jeff Judkins hikes trails around the country with his intrepid cat Zulu. Stunt actor and trainer Ryan Robertson, who has worked on movies like The Suicide Squad, Avengers: Endgame and Black Panther, finds joy with his 26-pound kitty, a Maine Coon named Toodles. He says, “Toodles changed everything I knew about cats.” It was his connection with Toodles that led to his romantic partnership with fellow stunt person Megan Dovell, who calls Toodles her adoptive son. Toodles is in complete control of his domain. He calmly sits in the corner while Ryan and Megan spar and train with boxing mitts. Together, Ryan and Megan also care for a colony of feral cats they slowly catch for neutering and release.
For the review in its entirety, go to AWFJ.org HERE.