Savi The Cat Image

Savi The Cat

By Andrew Stover | May 17, 2023

In Savi the Cat, the animated-live action short comedy from writers-directors Netsanet Tjirongo and Bryan Tucker, happy newlyweds Ken (Ken Nsimbi) and Kaila (Kaila Nsimbi) encounter their first marital snag after adopting an intractable kitten.

“I had no idea something so small and cute could upend my marriage and even turn my life completely upside down.” The something that Ken is referring to is an adorable orange and white cat named Savi. While Savi’s generally lively and sweet, he’s prone to a little destruction. The opening shot is of Savi in a messy living room surrounded by unfurled balls of yarn, a torn purple pillow, and the green couch has several claw marks. This is animated with frizzy lines, muted colors, and great attention to detail.

The following scene is a documentary-style interview of Ken and Kaila Nsimbi describing their life before Savi. This is the first indication that these people, as well as Savi, are real, and this is their story. Ken explains why he became attracted to Kaila. He loved her smile and the fact that she loved Africa because Ken is from Kenya and is proud of his homeland. Despite having cat allergies, Ken knew Kaila adored cats, so he powered through his fears and surprised her with Savi.


“…happy newlyweds…encounter their first marital snag after adopting an intractable kitten.”

Savi the Cat is a delightful and heartfelt story about the unlikely connection between a married couple and their cat. The filmmakers draw on our innate emotional attachment to pets and a pet’s ability to enrich our daily lives. Upon adopting Savi, both Ken and Kaila had a rough go of it. When left alone, Savi would claw at furniture and pee on the wall. Consequently, the couple began fighting more and more. In a striking shot from Savi’s perspective, the animated cat watches the two argue about what to do. But it’s only after they give up Savi, leaving him at a shelter, that they realize how much Savi meant to them and how the crux of their marital issues had nothing to do with the cat.

The set dressing is on point. The homely environment is replete with a dining room table, a couch, a television, vases, and a hardwood floor. It feels like a real, lived-in place… that just so happens to house a destructive feline.

Throughout Savi the Cat, the animation, designed by Freyja Whitney, is pleasant, expressive, and life-like. Savi moves like a cat and demands your adoration with his big, round eyes. On the drive home from the shelter, Kaila breaks down in tears, reminiscing about the times she spent cuddling with Savi on the couch. The animation in this memory of Savi breaks apart into dozens of gauzy, neon fragments.

Tjirongo and Tucker highlight the unbreakable bonds between humans and pets. As such, Savi the Cat is a lovely, heartening short that has an agreeable mix of light comedy, grounded drama, and splendid animation. Even when our pet makes a mess, we love them, anyway. They make our days better just by being by our side.

Savi the Cat (2023)

Directed and Written: Netsanet Tjirongo, Bryan Tucker

Starring: Ken Nsimbi, Kaila Nsimbi, etc.

Movie score: 7.5/10

Savi the Cat Image

"…highlight[s] the unbreakable bonds between humans and pets."

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