According to Netflix’s new documentary Inside the Mind of a Cat, cats have overtaken dogs as the most popular pets in Japan. It is a wonder then that very little is known about these mysterious creatures when compared to dogs. Animal documentarian Andy Mitchell aims to shed some light on cats behavior with the help of various feline professionals and tries to decipher these fantastic animals in his latest feature.
Full disclosure: As I write this my very own cat Chispi is sleeping on my lap for the 3rd time today. The fact that I cohabitate with a snuggly, soft, purring assassin may or may not have on impact on my opinion of the documentary. I will try my best to remain unbiased but if Chispi awakens at the right time and offers a gentle good evening meow, there are no promises.
Inside the Mind of a Cat attempts to understand what it is that cats are thinking, how they think, how they communicate, how they interact with their environment and how things like cultural differences may affect their personality. Ultimately the documentary aims to try to understand what a cats true capabilities are. Along the way, the audience is also offered a potpourri of interesting facts about these fastidious felines as well as a brief history of how cats and humans developed a relationship over thousands of years. There is even a small segment dedicated to explaining why black cats get a bad wrap and how they became associated with witches. (Boo Pope Gregory IX, shame on you).
While the documentary aims to be informative and educational, it really shines with all the glorious cat footage it offers. Slow motion montages showing the animals pouncing on unsuspecting wind up toys demonstrate the flexibility of these creatures. Shots of cats jumping distances up to 6 times their height and then turning in mid air to, you guessed it, land on their feet show their flexibility. Witness show-cats jumping through hoop, leaping through paper walls, and performing other cat-defying stunts that manage to impress Simon Cowell. Accompanied by a steady score of purrs and meows, all this is enough to put a smile on even the most unrelenting curmudgeon’s face.
Not to take the spotlight away from the various animals professionals that are featured offering answers to the questions posed in the documentary, but the stars of the show are undoubtedly the cats. Marvel at the elderly Eddy as she learns new tricks. See how curious Carl responds to his name and how he looks for his owner in different situations. Follow the diva Dasha on her Hollywood adventures. Root for Vesper as she completes her nightly rodent-hunting tasks while her brother Friar John Claw attends to more pressing issues like becoming the next Instagram influencer.
Inside the Mind of a Cat plays more like an adorable cat video than a documentary. (According to the documentary, cat videos are the second most popular reason people visit the internet.) However it does not completely fail in its attempt to be educational. In the end the cat-umentary is a fun and cute offering that will provide its viewers with a shot of dopamine and will at the very least satisfy both seasoned cat owners and non cat owners alike. But now it is time to wrap this up. Chispi has awoken. It’s laser time!