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(photo source: monkeysfightingrobots.com)

Some movies just get cats right. The attitude, the matching walk, as well as the playfulness and the love cats have for their people. These films are likely made by cat people, the ones who understand the strange dynamic between feline and their human companion. Then there are other movies that get it close. It’s like the people behind the scenes watched a lot of cat videos and got a knowledge of many cat characteristics through youtube. Yet, their cats on screen miss the subtle nuances that make felines great furry friends.

If you guessed Secret Life of Pets falls into that secondary category, you’d be right. The movie follows the story of pets in New York while their owners are off at work. However, the majority of our protagonists (including the two leads) are dogs. The focus throughout is dogs, with cats serving mostly as a back drop or as side characters with no real stories of their own. There is one cat that comes close to lead, however, and her name is Chloe.

Chloe is an overset grey cat that is, to cat fans and possibly non-cat fans alike, the best thing in the film. She has the attitude of a cat as expected, which serves for her to have the best one-liners. While joining all of the dogs in their adventures, she brings the fresh flavor of cat to each scene she’s allowed to shine in. While having the attitude of being superior, she also has plenty of moments reminiscent to the silly cat videos you might find online (sitting in containers of all sizes is one of the many funny things she does.) Her character is the one thing that might leave a feline fan satisfied.

There is one element in particular that’s missing from Chloe’s story: The love between her and her owner. Most of the dogs are shown excited about their humans, and throughout the story we hear about the love of our hero dogs have for their humans. While cats it makes sense that a cat wouldn’t particularly share about their love for their human the same way a dog would, any cat fan knows that the love is still there. Cats, too, get excited to see their people, and express it in different ways. It would have been nice to have that conveyed a little more in this film.

While there are other cats in the film (a couple of scenes have dozens of cats all at once), most of them are either neutral characters – neither good nor bad, doing very little in the scene at all – or are villainous characters, antagonists to the dogs of the film. Combine that with dogs being much more prominent, and this film may leave a little bit of a bad taste in the mouth of a feline fan. However, thanks to Chloe and one (briefly seen) crazy cat lady, there’s still hope that you may leave the movie with a smile on your face and even more love for you cat.

What did you think of Chloe and the other cats in Secret Life of Pets? Let us know in the comments below!

3 comments on “The Secret Life of Pets

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