S.C. FFs, firehouse cat featured in documentary

"Cat Daddies" is a collective portrait of multiple men and their feline friends, including Flame the Arson Cat

Firehouses have long had mascots, and many movies feature firefighters. Now the two are together in one film, and it will be available to stream soon as part of a special event.

“Cat Daddies,” a new documentary about eight men and their cats, includes Flame the Arson Cat, the feline resident of the Belmont Fire Station in Greenville, S.C., and the firefighters with whom he has bonded. The other men in the documentary are from various walks of life – a stuntman, a teacher, a tech worker, a truck driver, an actor/influencer and a homeless man.  

Flame the Arson Cat, Engineer Jordan Lide and other firefighters with the Belmont Fire Station in Greenville, S.C. are featured in the documentary "Cat Daddies."
Flame the Arson Cat, Engineer Jordan Lide and other firefighters with the Belmont Fire Station in Greenville, S.C. are featured in the documentary "Cat Daddies." (Photo/Gray Hat Productions)

Flame showed up at the station years ago when he was only weeks old, according to a 2017 article that appeared in the Greenville News.

Flame not only became a member of the firefighting family but also has achieved stardom. He has an Instagram page and was featured in a video by the Dodo. Flame appeared in a “My Cat From Heaven” segment on the TV show “My Cat From Hell.” And the fire station cat was named 2017 ASPCA cat of the year.

In “Cat Daddies,” Flame shares the screen with engineers Jordan Lide, Carson Couch and other firefighters at the station. The movie is a collective portrait of love, hope and interspecies friendships that defy stereotypes.

The firehouse cat took his time warming up to the makers of “Cat Daddies,” Director Mye Hoang said in an interview by email.

“He's totally over his celebrity,” said Hoang, jokingly. “But he most certainly loves his human family at the station. Cats are not aloof – most are able to bond with and become loyal to their caretakers.”

And the firefighters at the Belmont station have been positively influenced by Flame.

“I think it's only natural for a cat to wander into a firehouse as a stray. And the men have not only taken responsibility for the feline, they have shown leadership in learning about [trap, neuter, release] practices and educating their community about the importance of spaying and neutering pets,” Hoang said.

“My film shows how strength can be demonstrated in many ways, including practicing compassion for others both human and animal,” said Hoang, who produced and wrote the documentary.

“Cat Daddies” has been appearing at film festivals. The movie has won seven awards from entities such as the Tallgrass International Film Festival, the Newport Beach Film Festival, the Dallas International Film Festival and the Animalis Fabula Film Festival.

Hoang continues to tour with the film. Upcoming appearances can be found on the screenings portion of the “Cat Daddies” website.

A livestream of the documentary to benefit the Brooklyn-based nonprofit Flatbush Cats and presented by Meowtel will take place on Saturday, April 9 from 7:30 to 10 p.m. ET. Tickets are $20 each, and there will be a filmmaker Q&A.

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