Michael McNamara and Aaron Hancox’s quaint little jaunt into Ontario’s cat show scene is a wholesome slice of pumpkin-spiced gingerbread. It’s mightily reminiscent of Christopher Guest’s 2000 mockumentary Best in Show, only the people and places depicted here are real. Catwalk chooses to focus on the personalities of each cat owner vying for their chances to earn the coveted top slot in the competition.
One would think that, from the depiction of comically-obsessed dog groomers in Best In Show that Catwalk’s human subjects are just as manic or unhealthily dedicated, but no. These contestants (who are almost all primarily women) are mostly just pleased as punch to have a passion involving their beloved cats. There’s Kim, the main organizer for the seasonal cat show events, and who has a diving hobby on the side; Shirley, whose fanciful feline keeps slaying the judges competition after competition; and Sabrina, who prefers to sage cleanse her home before any big competition. Everyone mainly has fun, and if they can score a place in the top 5, well, great.
McNamara and Hancox follow along in each woman’s lives inside and out of the cat show circuit, and focus a little bit on what makes them so passionate about their cats. We then watch to see how each cat places after being observed by four different judges. Really, that’s it. There’s very little drama in this film otherwise, and the cats themselves are all well behaved and calm.
So to recap, there’s no drama or high stakes involved, the cat owners are chill and relaxed about their wins, and the cats in question are all well behaved. Why should you watch this? For one thing, it’s a very in-depth look at the world of pageant cats, and an interesting scene report in general. Plus, the cats are all very cute and not emblematic of the type of evil cats we’re used to. Also, it’s not a bad palate cleanser after watching the four-hour long Ted Bundy Tapes documentary.
If you’re in for a larf (or a palate cleanser), check out Catwalk: Tales From the Cat Show Circuit on Netflix, Youtube, Amazon and Hulu.
Aimee Murillo is calendar editor and frequently covers the Orange County DIY music scene, film, arts, Latino culture and currently pens the long-running column Trendzilla. Born, raised, and based in Santa Ana, she loves bad movies, punk shows, raising her plants, eating tacos, Selena, and puns.