CAT DADDIES (2021)
Featuring Nathan Kehn, Pickles, Ginger, Annie, Princess, Jeff Judkins, Zulu, Mr. Fitzby, Erin Lemmon, David Giovanni, Lucky, Chris Alese, Pez, Jordan Lide, Flame the Arson Cat, Carson Couch, Gordon Smith, Lisa Flathman, David Durst, Tora the Trucker Cat, Destiny Rolfe, Pam Darby, Loki, Will Zweigart, Teddy, Franny, Ryan Robertson, Toodles, Megan Dovell, Ricky, Peter Mares, Keys aka Goalkitty, Goose, Sheri Patton and Hachi.
Directed by Mye Hoang.
Distributed by Motion Picture Exchange. 89 minutes. Not Rated.
“When a man loves cats, I am his friend and comrade without further introduction.” Mark Twain.
This quote opens up Cat Daddies, Mye Hoang’s fun and sweet and surprisingly touching documentary about men and their cats. Director Hoang drops in with nine different guys from all levels of society around the United States who may be doing tough manly jobs – firefighters, police officers, stunt men, truck drivers – but they have given their hearts and lives to their cats.
Through this they have gained much – love, companionship, respect, devotion, calmness, stress-relief, a sense of purpose. And, as this documentary shows more than once, they can also be an effective way to meet women. Also, surprisingly many of these guys become internet influencers, sharing their cats with the world through YouTube and Instagram.
As a long-time cat daddy myself I don’t completely buy into Hoang’s premise in this film that it is that unusual for men to be stuck on cats. I’ve been very open about my cat love all my life and know many men who openly love their kitties. Still, I do get her point – men are considered to be more into dogs (“man’s best friend”) and cats tend to be thought of as pets for women (“cat ladies”). Also, I’ve seen it played out many times that guys often don’t really get cats until they have one, or at least regular access to one. So, it is nice to see that stereotype punctured.
The film starts with actor-turned-internet star Nathan Kehn (aka Nathan the Cat Lady), who found his career blossoming when he started sharing the camera with his cats. We also meet Flame, a stray cat who has become the pet and mascot of a local fire department and Tora the Trucker Cat who travels the country constantly with his trucker dad (and mom) and loves the adventure on the road.
The most affecting story – and the one that the film circles back to most often – is that of David Giovanni and his tiger cat Lucky. David is an unemployed immigrant who has been homeless for two years, and the only thing that has kept him going through the hardships of the New York streets, poverty and mounting medical problems is his cat. David saved Lucky as an ill kitten, and they have been inseparable ever since. He will not go to shelters because he is concerned that he and Lucky will be separated.
When David finally finds a home – partially through the advocacy of New York police officer Chris Alese, who had fairly recently himself gotten his first cat and come to love her – David is diagnosed with cancer and must spend weeks in the hospital. (A local woman who had befriended David and Lucky on the streets cared for Lucky while he was in the hospital.) It is obvious that David’s main reason to survive is to get back to his cat.
As we’ve seen on the internet, cats are endlessly entertaining and Cat Daddies is an hour and a half of cute cats, so right in that there is tremendous entertainment value. Add that to the fact that several of these stories are surprisingly dramatic – beyond David’s health issues, two of the cats and their families miraculously survived the California wildfires, and much of this film was made in the middle of the worst part of the COVID pandemic, which affected pretty much everybody – and you have a fascinating and fun documentary about man’s other best friend.
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright ©2022 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: October 12, 2022.