Catwalk, released in 2018, is a Netflix original documentary about the world of Canadian Cat Shows and follows the journey of a Turkish Angora cat named Bobby and his number one competitor, Oh La La, a red Persian cat. Oh La La is groomed to perfection and, in terms of a judge in the show, he is a cat that “takes my breath away.” While the show gives other cats and owners a few moments of fame, the stars of the show are Bobby and Oh La La.
The show itself is a standard documentary style with talking head shots, cinematography, a hint of a story and subplots. However, the content of the documentary is so heart warmingly strange that you feel as though you are in a fever dream. The cats are adorable; they’re fluffy and they are literally just cats. Yet, over time, you begin to speak about the cats as if they’re humans competing in the Olympics.
You don’t realize you’re doing it until you’ve sat down and watched the show saying things like, “Bobby is at such a disadvantage because his grooming is less maintenance than Oh La La’s and they judge on grooming; and since Oh La La is more work they give her a higher score, it’s unfair.” Much like “Keeping up with Kardashians,” you watch the entire thing and don’t understand its oddly charm.
The only strange part that had me genuinely confused was when they dove into the love of one owner’s scuba diving passion and the strange hostility between contestants wishing plane crashes and illness on other cats. The drama of the show is minimal, which makes it an easy watch without too much trauma. Thank goodness there are no deaths of any animals.
The graphics in the show are strange. With every chapter there is a new title sequence animated in a cutesy style; they’re well done and on theme with the content of the show. There is a running cat graphics to show the contestants’ overall progress that is genius. It’s a bunch of cat shaped blobs running with their scores on their tummies at increasing speed, and the more points they have the more cats they pass…they are literally “in the running” to win.
While the show has an aura of strangeness, it is worth seeing the cute cats and to learn about a world that you aren’t familiar with. It’s not a Spielberg project or a world-changing documentary, but the reality of it is, you’re not watching for the competition, you’re watching for the cats, but that is completely the point of a cat show anyways. However, the structure of the show is good, but the cats are even better.