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Convenient Decoy Cat


(permanent link) added: 2010-12-23 23:27:21 sponsor: rick777 (last reply: 2010-12-28 06:48:18)

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Needs More Examples, Rolling Updates

It often happens that during a Chase Scene, the protagonist hides behind a garbage can, empty container or another large object hoping that the bad guys won't notice their presence. During this critical stage, the hiding protagonist usually makes a noise that attracts the bad guys. Everything seems to be doomed until...

A small animal - almost always a cat, but it can also be a mouse, squirrel, raccoon, bird, etc. - appears just next to him and distracts the bad guys, who then completely dismiss the spot where the hero was, and move on. Hurray! Our heroes are saved!

The subversion is when the hero mimics a cat to cover up for his noise (see Nobody Here But Us Birds). The inversion is when the animal gives away the hero's position (see So Much for Stealth).

Not to be confused with Cat Scare (used in suspense or horror movies).
Related to It's Probably Nothing and Nobody Here But Us Birds. Subtrope of escape trope.
Can overlap with Blind Alley.

Examples

Anime and Manga
  • The first episode of Innocent Venus has a cat serving as decoy. Partly justified because the hero was actually wearing an infrared invisibility cloak, making him immune to the enemy's heat detection camera.
  • A variation in Dragon Ball Z: Krillin, Gohan and Dende are trying to hide from Vegeta, who just learned to detect ki. When he sensed Dende's small ki, a dolphin jumps off the water, leading him to think that was the ki he sensed and leave.
  • In Ninja Scroll, when a group of ninja fail to kill their target (who turns out to be an undead monster), the team leader uses a cat as a Ninja Log to avoid some projectiles and escape.
  • In the first episode of Toumei Shoujo Ea the boy and the invisible girl are hiding from the Men In Black in a pile of very clean garbage bags. The MIBs pass the pile by, then turn back and fire! But it's only a kitten.

Film
  • in the James Bond movie Dr. No, Honey Rider and Quarrel are hiding underwater in a river with Dr. No's guards searching for them using German Shepherds. The dogs are clearly on the protagonists' scent, the guards draw nearer and then...a flock of birds bursts out of cover, the guards figure that they're what the dogs were after, and leave.

Western Animation
  • Batman: Year One has one of these scenes.
  • Captain Scarlet (inverted): In the opening titles, the viewpoint character stalking Scarlet startles a cat which fatally alerts Scarlet to his presence.
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