Moonrise Kingdom

Posted on 07. Feb, 2013 by in Live Action Cat Films

In Moonrise Kingdom, though the focus is on the human actors, a cat is significantly present, being a companion and treated as a personal possession of one of the lead characters, 12 year old Suzie Bishop, a so-called “emotionally disturbed” adolescent girl who enters into a pen pal relationship with Steve , an orphaned boy the same age who experiences similar alienation from the human herd.

Their increasing correspondence results in a deepening of their relationship to the point where they agree to run away together. When they meet on the appointed day, Suzy has brought a suitcase full of stolen library books, her brother’s misappropriated record player, and her diminutive brown striped kitten in a wicker fishing creel, but not a change of clothes or a comb. Here, the cat is a personal possession, one sufficiently important to bring while on the run. The cat is carried, it does not walk alongside or behind its owner. The cat had been first seen in the opening footage of the film, being carried by Suzie as she moves through her house, and being set down when Suzie pauses and decides to sit or stand still.


After they have hiked together for a while, they set up camp near a body of water. Steve utilizes his scouting skills to set up a campsite, catch a fish, and fry it in a pan; he offers the “eyes and guts” as food for the cat. Suzy refuses, on the grounds that her pet “eats only cat food”, she has brought several cans, which have labels claiming the contents to be “pure fish”.

This scene perhaps can be interpreted to portray both the pet and its owner as overly domesticated.
The cat, as a traditional symbol of female sexuality, is seen again while the boy and girl are on the run together. While encamped, Steve, having brought his art supplies, sketches Suzy as she poses on a blanket in her underwear. The kitten shares the blanket, sitting in the foreground.
As the tempo of action involving the human actors increases, the cat is no longer seen.
When Suzy’s parents, the scout troop, and the local law enforcement find the runaways, the cat is not in evidence. Though this is never overtly stated, hopefully, the cat has been brought home and remained home though the fugitives escape and attempt to continue their journey through the storm. Perhaps the kitten disappears, because as a symbol of childhood, it is no longer needed as the experiences and crisis situation which follow are a crucible in which both characters assume the maturity of a more adult outlook and the adults in their world must engage in adjustments of their roles, attitudes, and conduct.

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One Response to “Moonrise Kingdom”

  1. Brian

    26. Mar, 2014

    The kitten is shown at the end of the film grown up as an adult cat.

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