Head trainer Boone Narr auditioned thousands of animals for Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore

By Helin Jung
Updated July 29, 2010 03:01 PM

To cast the many animals that would play the parts of feline and canine spies in Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore, trainer Boone Narr had to audition thousands of animals.

He didn’t expect that a few to make the cut would be feral cats cowering in the back of a cage at a shelter.

“We took Brad Peyton, the director, to a rescue, and he walked past some strays that someone had trapped,” Narr tells “You couldn’t even touch them, they were that wild. He got down and said, ‘I think that’s what I want.’ “

Narr didn’t try to dissuade his director. The trainer, who has worked in Hollywood for three decades and has credits in such films as Pirates of the Caribbean and Tropic Thunder, says he loves a challenge, and those Russian blue cats eventually played the part (voiced by Christina Applegate) of Catherine, a secret agent with spy organization M.E.O.W.S.

Why did it take multiple cats to play a role? The film’s shooting schedule was long, and for each character, the movie required different animals for stand-ins, stunts and close-ups.

Though many of the movie’s stars voiced the animal characters, like Bette Midler in the role of evil villain Kitty Galore, some were in front of the camera, acting alongside the animals, like Chris O’Donnell. The actor plays a police officer whose best buddy is Diggs, his police dog.

Surprisingly, O’Donnell didn’t get much bonding time with the German shepherds that played Diggs. He didn’t need any, Narr says, because his animals are all professionals.

“The dog is acting, and it doesn’t matter if he likes that person or doesn’t,” Narr says. “Look at the person. Lick his hand. Give him your paw. All of that is on cue.”

Still, Narr’s greatest pleasure is in knowing that he pulled off the appearance of a deeply bonded relationship.

“When I have a car run into a dog in a movie, and then I get letters asking how I could let the car hit the dog, is when I’ve done my job,” Narr says. “We’re illusionists. I want you to believe that dog is so in love with Chris O’Donnell. I want you to believe that they really do belong to each other.”

Check out our photo gallery for a sneak peek of Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore!