Story

In a battle that dates back to the beginning of time, dogs have been fighting to keep humankind from falling into the paws of cats. Unknown to humans, that battle continues today. Specialist spy dogs have been strategically placed in houses to ensure the safety of human assets.

Lou (voice of Tobey Maguire) is a typical puppy with an adventurous spirit. He’s unknowingly thrust into the middle of the battle when he’s chosen to become a part of the Brody family. With the support of Butch (voice of Alec Baldwin) and other spy dogs, Lou must protect Professor Brody (voice of Jeff Goldblum). Professor Brody’s researching a dog allergy vaccine for humans. Villainous cats want to reverse the vaccine to make all humans allergic to dogs. Their ultimate aim is to turn humans against dogs and install cats at the top of the hierarchy.

Themes

Animal distress and cruelty; kidnapping; children as victims; war

Violence

Cats and Dogs contains several violent scenes. For example:

  • In an attempt to get a cat out of a tree, a dog bends the tree over. The cat scratches the dog, the dog lets the tree go, and the cat flies through the air.
  • A woman hits a dog with a broom, shouting at the dog to get out.
  • A car almost hits a dog, and then the dog’s pulled into the back of the car. There’s a lot of meowing and barking before the car screeches away. The dog has been ‘catnapped’.
  • A big Doberman yells orders at younger Doberman pups.
  • A flashback to Ancient Egypt shows cats whipping and scratching humans.
  • In a cartoon scene, a dog hits a cat and pulls the cat by its tail.
  • Cat ninjas parachute from the sky into a house. They use their ninja moves on Lou. The cats show their fangs. Lou starts to fight back by blocking and retaliating with kicks. The cat gives Lou a final kick, which pushes him into the rubbish bin.
  • An old man attached to a lot of medical machines needs to have his heart restarted. His maid thumps his chest to get his heart going again.
  • Mr Tinkles, the head cat, yells at his subordinates.
  • The Russian cat spy coughs up weapons such as knives, boomerangs and darts. Then he uses the weapons against Butch and Lou.
  • The Russian spy cat is strapped to a chair and interrogated.
  • Mr Tinkles tells the human workers to go home and kick their dogs.
  • The Brody family is gassed in their car until they become unconscious.
  • Mr Tinkles sends out the ransom for the Brody family. He’s told they’ll be ‘put to sleep’ if demands aren’t met.
  • Mr Tinkles uses a toy gun. The gun fires a cork, which ricochets and starts a fire while the family are still tied to their chair.
  • The dogs push a tower of barrels on to cats and mice.
  • Mr Tinkles tells Butch that he wants to ‘crush him’ with an earthmover, and picks him up in the jaws of the machine. Lou jumps through a window onto the earthmover and fights with Mr Tinkles to take control of the machine.
  • Mr Tinkles is shot at with a ‘fake snow’ gun.

Content that may disturb children

Under 5

In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, this movie has some scenes that could scare or disturb children under five. For example:

  • There are several close-up shots of Mr Tinkles showing his fangs and his yellow eyes.
  • Professor Brody tries his allergy vaccine, but it doesn’t work. He gets boils on his face and hands. 

From 5-8

In addition to the violent scenes and scary visual images mentioned above, this movie has some scenes that could scare or disturb children in this age group. For example:

  • A car almost hits a dog.
  • A boy loses his dog and then struggles to bond with the replacement.
  • One scene shows a man in bed on a ventilator. He’s unconscious. The cats move him to a car and then to a wheelchair and parade him through a factory. 

From 8-13

Most children in this age group are unlikely to be disturbed by anything in this movie. 

Over 13

Children in this age group are unlikely to be disturbed by anything in this movie. 

Sexual references

This movie has some very mild sexual references. For example:

  • Two dogs flirt with each other.
  • A character says that a dog still has his ‘you know whats’. 

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

This movie shows some substance use. For example:

  • Professor Brody injects himself with his vaccine.
  • The cats throw a gas canister into the family car, which makes the family unconscious. 

Nudity and sexual activity

None of concern 

Product placement

None of concern 

Coarse language

The movie has some very mild coarse language and put-downs.

Ideas to discuss with your children

Cat and Dogs is an animated comedy showing a battle for power between dogs and cats. It explores the sacrifices made by those who choose to ‘fetch and protect’. Lou is thrust into huge responsibility – he must befriend his family, balance his duties, protect the professor and save all humans from cats. The movie has a lot of toilet jokes, scenes with fantasy violence and scary situations, which might frighten very young children.

The main messages from this movie are about balancing work and family, and dealing with the loss of a dog.

This movie could give you the chance to talk with your children about issues such as loneliness, greed and the misuse of power. You could also talk about the way the movie presents cats and dogs. 

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