“Kitbull,” a Pixar short from director Rosana Sullivan and producer Kathryn Hendrickson, is the latest offering from the studio’s SparkShorts series. The ten minute short tells the story of an unlikely friendship from the eyes of a small, stray kitten. Oh no, this already sounds emotionally devastating.
It somehow gets both better and worse.
Look at the eyes on this animated kitty and tell me that your bottom lip isn’t already trembling.
But our kitty friend isn’t alone! That friendship that serves as main arc for this short? Is with a pit bull. And wait! It’s with a pit bull who is being forced into dog fights.
And cue the waterworks!
Pixar shorts always have the tendency to make my eyes well up, but I admit that I was full on bawling with this one. Though there is no spoken dialogue, the interactions between the kitten and the pit bull tell the story in a beautiful and emotional way.
When we meet our kitten friend, she’s bringing a yummy looking fish back to he cardboard box which serves as her home – complete with a soft looking blanket and a plush friend to snuggle with. Moments later, a crate is dropped into the backyard she resides in, and though we don’t see or hear anything immediately, the next scene features the terrifying and hungry looking maw of a large dog.
I know they’re not real but is there some way that I can adopt them both?
Their first meeting is fraught with tension – the dog wants to play and the kitten is terrified. But they’re both distracted then by the presence of a human … who promptly puts a heavy collar on the pup and leaves him outside, despite his whining and scratches at the backdoor.
I really don’t want to spoil any more of this for you, it’s really something that you need to watch and take in. No amount of recounting it here could ever possibly do justice to the way that these two animals are lovingly rendered, and the short, emotional journey that they go on together. I will stress that it does have a happy ending – you just may do some crying before then.
You can watch the full feature below!
Speaking personally as a dog lover, it was extremely heartening to see a pit bull in this short as well. I think they’re the cutest creatures, but they still get a lot of bad rep due to their appearance, with the breed being banned in some places. Shining a light on something like animal abuse, and specifically the abuse that many pit bulls find themselves in, is not something that we often see in media like this. And to see it done with such care and love just made me cry even more.
Pixar’s SparkShorts initiative aims to “discover new storytellers, explore new storytelling techniques, and experiment with new production workflows.” The studio previously released “Purl” earlier this month. There is also a behind the scenes feature for “Kitbull,” where Sullivan recounts her youth as a timid child, which helped serve as a bit of inspiration for our feline protagonist.