Directed by Mye Hoang, a collective portrait of eight unique men whose lives have been changed by their love for cats. Some of these men will navigate the unprecedented challenges of 2020 with the help of these feline friends.
There are so many odd stereotypical opinions in society based purely off of a basic and restrictive concept of masculinity, and that it’s weird for men to own cats is one of them. The sexist view that cats are for women has always been a strange perspective, so it’s nice to see that finally start being pushed into the past. Although Cat Daddies does open on a fairly ironic note, while making the point that it is not weird for men to have cats, one of the subjects arranges his cats in front of him and pretends to play them like a piano, which is itself pretty weird. Trying to dispel the idea that it’s unusual for men to have cats doesn’t mean it’s a free for all, we all know pet owners can do some very strange and cringey things. There’s still a good level of bizarre in people dressing up their cats, it has become more common yes but it’s unquestionably quirky.
Including cats in anything, except maybe Pet Sematary, is always going to make for wholesome content and that’s exactly what you get here. It’s shot really well and highlights how cats can be extremely different from one another. It’s a loving and enthusiastic exploration of the connection between cats and their owners. It’s shot well, there’s a great variety to the direction and aesthetic, it’s not just stuck indoors or static, it’s got movement and natural landscapes. It also uses a good amount of subjects which means it can effortlessly bounce around from one to the other while still keeping a good flow and story. There’s a solid level of emotion, adding a few layers with the different trials and tribulations faced by each owner in their personal and professional lives.
However, the key place where it falls down is focusing a little too much on the use of social media with each of their cats. It takes away from that wholesome atmosphere, falling into a hole of influencers and marketability which is the least interesting aspect. Every pet owner is guilty of taking far too many pictures of their pet but it doesn’t quite recognise the difference between adoration and curating content for social media. They’re two separate things, they may not be mutually exclusive but it’s a slippery slope and it would have been more satisfying to see the focus remain on the care and relationships. There’s a whole stigma to explore and discuss, which would have been well served by using the time that was instead used on putting cats in outfits and training them to pose for photos.
Cat Daddies is a sweet exploration of how this group of men refuse to allow society’s judgement to stop them from improving their lives with cats. It does briefly dip its toes into the discussion of their impact on mental health and the stigma typically faced by men who own cats but it’s sadly short lived. It’s undeniable that it’s rooted in genuinely wholesome content and it has a nice emotional undercurrent. It’s an enjoyable and easy watch, there was just more to explore.