Things only adults notice in The Secret Life of Pets

Even though the film was only released in 2016, it's already safe to say that The Secret Life of Pets is a classic. The animated feel-good comedy about the power of friendship centers on a group of animal friends living in New York City. The gang is comprised of cats, dogs, and other animals, and the film shows the shenanigans house pets get up to when their owners are away for the day (think of it as Toy Story, but with pets).

The Secret Life of Pets might technically be considered a children's film, but the movie is so much fun that it easily appeals to adults as well. Of course, watching a movie as an adult is not exactly the same experience as watching it as a kid. Here are some of the things that will stand out only to adult viewers of The Secret Life of Pets.

Riding with an unsecured dog in your bike basket is not safe

There's no doubt that Katie loves Max, but she's not exactly the most responsible of pet parents. At the beginning of the film, we can see her biking with Max who is riding unsecured in a basket attached to the front of her bike. This doesn't seem like the safest method of transporting your beloved pooch.

According to Bark, safely biking with your dog can be a fun way to bond with your canine pals, but there are some ways of ensuring that your fur baby is protected from harm. If you want to ride with your dog in the basket, they should be safely harnessed in the basket. This will keep them secure during the ride so they don't bounce out of the basket if you hit a bump in the road, as well as prevent them from getting too excited and trying to stand up. Max is clearly not restrained in his bike basket and stands up during the ride, putting his safety at risk.

Katie should be wearing a helmet

Katie isn't just playing fast and loose with Max's safety on their biking adventures, she's also endangering herself by not wearing a helmet. Not only is it recommend that bikers wear helmets in the case of an accident, but wearing a helmet would also help ensure that Max is safe. If the pair did get into an accident, Katie might not be able to help Max.

What happens if she falls off her bike and is knocked unconscious? Max could be dognapped or run off in the time it takes someone to call 911 to help them. According to Cleveland Clinic, 800 bicyclists are killed each year and half a million end up in the emergency room. Two thirds of deaths and one third of the injuries involve the head and face. A helmet may not exactly be a stylish fashion accessory, but it can help reduce the risk of head injury by 85 percent. It looks like Katie needs a crash course in street safety!

How does Katie afford this apartment?

New York City is notoriously expensive. Affordable housing is hard to find, and the cost of living in Manhattan is more than twice the national average. In 2016, the year that The Secret Life of Pets was released, average Manhattan apartments were going for more than a whopping $4,000 a month. Yikes.

Fortunately, Katie seems to be doing pretty well for herself. She has a spacious apartment with at least one bedroom, and her home is big enough to comfortably house her and her two dogs. She doesn't even have to share the space with a roommate! So, we've got to ask, what does Katie do for a living? Landlords typically require that a tenant's annual salary be 40 times the cost of their monthly rent. By that rule, Katie should be making at least $160,000 a year (assuming she's paying the average amount of rent). That would be a pretty impressive salary, especially since Katie seems pretty young.

Whatever Katie's undoubtedly impressive career is, we're glad that she's the kind of person who will use her success to help out a couple of dogs in need.

These animals are not anatomically correct

Okay, okay, we get that The Secret Life of Pets is a children's film. As such, it makes sense that it takes some liberties with the anatomical structure of house pets. This isn't anything new. Animated films have long excluded certain anatomical details from animals. Take 101 Dalmatians, for example, where none of the dogs have visible reproductive organs. The same holds true for Lady and the Tramp, The Aristocats, and a host of other films.

It's completely understandable that animators think it's best to portray animals in such a way. No one wants to take their kid to see an animated film and then have to follow it up with a talk about the birds and the bees. That doesn't change the fact, however, that it's just a little bit disconcerting for an adult to watch a film filled with animals that seemingly have no use for a litter box.

It seems like Chloe might be suffering from an eating disorder

Chloe, the snarky cat in the group, is one of the highlights of the movie. Like many felines, she seems to be a bit spoiled and turns up her nose at the food her owner gives her. She later goes to the refrigerator where she contemplates eating an entire chicken. She repeatedly opens and closes the door to the fridge, trying to make up her mind over whether or not to steal the meal that is clearly intended for humans.

While it's a comedic moment, adults may notice that Chloe is exhibiting signs of a potential eating disorder. Most cats aren't raiding their humans' fridges in the real world, but it is possible for domestic animals to have eating disorders. Just like humans, pets can over eat or under eat, and some eating patterns might indicate signs of an eating disorder that could be brought on by depression. Sadly, without the use of cameras to see what Chloe gets up to during the day, her owner probably will never even realize what's going on with her kitty and won't be able to get to the bottom of what might be affecting her eating habits. 

This is not the best way of introducing your pet to a new dog

Duke is a HUGE dog. Fortunately, he's a friendly pupper who just wants to make friends with his new roommate, Max. He excitedly meets his new canine pal, although he isn't given the most welcome of greetings in return.

In real life, introducing two dogs to each other for the first time doesn't always go that smoothly. According to the Animal Humane Society, it's best to keep them leashed at first and allow them to slowly get to know each other. They also should not be left at home alone together right away, at least not in the same room. Katie should have either put them in separate rooms or crated them, which, at the very least, would have prevented Max from creating a mess in the apartment.

Max and Duke didn't hit it off right away, but that meeting in real life could have ended disastrously. The two dogs might even have ended up fighting each other, leading to some serious injuries. 

Shouldn't these name tags have some sort of contact information?

It's great that the beloved pets of The Secret Life of Pets have collars with nametags — this can be a huge help if an animal gets lost, because whoever finds them will be able to contact their owner. But wait! It doesn't appear that there is any contact information on the name tags worn by our furry friends.

Duke and Max lose their collars during their adventures in the movie, but even if they had kept them on, how would Katie have found them? Their collars have nothing on them other than their names, which greatly reduces the chances of them being united with their owner. This is especially true in a massive city like New York.

There's a chance that Duke and Max are microchipped, which means that if someone found them and if the finder had Duke and Max scanned they might get home safely, but it still would be better if the finders had an easier way of contacting Katie. At the very least, their name tags should have a phone number on them.

The Flushed Pets are taking their cue from this historical movement

Throughout the film, the Flushed Pets, a motley crew of animals that have been abandoned by their owners, serve as the primary antagonists. The Flushed Pets are a well-organized group of militant animals who are understandably angry with humans for how they've been treated. They want revenge against humans, demanding a revolution, and only accept Max and Duke after they claim to have killed their owners. 

The group is loosely modeled after the Black Power movement of the 1960s and 1970s, which has drawn some criticism as the Flushed Pets are portrayed as the bad guys, and their very real problems are used as comedic relief. Jason Johnson, a professor of political science and political editor of The Root wrote that the use of racial stereotypes in the film is problematic and that they "turn black protest and death into a joke." 

Hawks cannot be kept as pets in NYC

When Max and Duke go missing, their faithful friends come to the rescue. Determined to sniff out their missing pals and bring them home before Katie even realizes they're missing, they band together. They need some help, though, and one of the animals they enlist is a predatory hawk who lives on the roof of their apartment building. Gidget frees him from the chain keeping him tethered to his enclosure on the roof and has to keep him in line throughout the film as he wants to eat all the animals in sight.

This is typical hawk behavior, so it's not surprising, but it's also a big part of the reason that you're unlikely to see a domestic hawk in New York City. The city has some pretty strict laws governing what kind of pets NYC residents can keep, prohibiting them from owning wild and illegal animals. On the list of banned pets aren't just hawks, but also other predatory birds such as eagles, falcons, vultures, and owls.

Shouldn't someone be checking up on Pops?

Another pet that is asked for help is Pops, an elderly Basset Hound who can barely see or walk but who still possesses an incredibly keen nose. Pops lives what seems like a pretty good life. Since his owner is never home, his apartment is known as a hot spot where there's always a party going on. Animals regularly congregate there, making Pops something of a celebrity.

While it might seem like he's living the good life, in reality, he's being neglected by his owner. Pops requires the use of a doggie wheelchair to get around. According to K9 Carts, a producer of pet mobility devices, pets who require the use of a device like the one Pops needs to walk should not be left unattended in their devices. Someone should really be keeping an eye on him.

Of course, Pops isn't exactly alone since there's always a party going on, but we highly doubt his owner is aware of that fact. As far as Pops' owner knows, the aging dog is left alone all day.

Are the writers of the film calling out gentrification?

At one point in the film, the Flushed Pets are chasing Max and Duke. "They're going to Brooklyn," says Snowball. Trent says that everyone is going to Brooklyn, and that the borough is making a big comeback, to which Snowball responds that he's "not talking about hipster real estate trends."

This little exchange goes over the heads of kids who are more interested in the animal chase than real estate, but savvy adults will notice the cheeky nod to rising real estate prices in Brooklyn. The borough has long been home to immigrant and working class communities, but housing prices have been on the rise and rent hikes have been pushing longtime residents out of their homes.

Many people are protesting this gentrification. While it might seem like the area is becoming more prosperous, in reality it is becoming unlivable for those who can't afford the high cost of living.

The homage to Grease is epic

Like most dogs, Max and Duke love food. When they enter a sausage factory in search of a snack, they are ecstatic and eat up as many sausages as they can like a couple of kids let loose in a candy shop. They eat so many sausages that they fall into a food coma and doze off into a daydream that is basically doggie heaven. In this dream, sausages sing and dance.

To kids, this scene is a feel good number with a couple of cute pups. Adults, though, will recognize that the song the sausages are singing is from the musical Grease. The iconic number, "We Go Together," is one that might not be too familiar to kids, but is sure to strike a chord of nostalgia with adults.

"It just felt like [the song] fit perfectly, truly," the film's co-director, Chris Renaud, told EW. He added, "It's the kind of scene people either love or think, what the heck was that? I like to think the 'I love it' outweighs the 'what the heck was that?' crowd."

Duke was probably never in danger of being euthanized

While it's hard not to sympathize with Duke's terror when he is captured by animal control, his fear of being put to sleep because it will be his second time at the shelter is something that would be unlikely to happen. Not only is Duke cuddly and adorable and totally adoptable, but New York City's animal shelters don't have high kill rates.

Sadly, this wasn't always the case. Back in 2003, only a quarter of the animals who entered the city's shelters found homes. The rest were euthanized. In 2017, however, 90 percent of the pets in shelters were released. The city is serious about protecting animals and, as of 2016, it's illegal for rabbits to be sold or given away by pet stores. Microchips and dog licenses are now required under the law, and dogs and cats over the age of eight weeks have to be spayed or neutered in order to be sold by pet stores.

Even if Duke had been brought back to the shelter, there's a pretty good chance he would have been reunited with Katie or, at the very least, adopted into a new home.

NYC has light traffic?!

Visitors to New York City might be in for a nasty shock if their first trip occurs after watching The Secret Life of Pets. In the movie, it seems like traffic moves fairly quickly. Towards the end of the film, animal control shows up within just a couple minutes of being called. High speed car chases with vehicles weaving in and out of traffic are also possible in the world of The Secret Life of Pets. In real life, though, cars don't have quite as easy of a time driving down the city streets.

NYC is notorious for having some of the worst traffic in the entire country. It's so bad that many people who live in the city and its surrounding areas don't even bother to get their driver's license, instead opting to take public transportation. The freely moving traffic portrayed in the film is rarely seen in the city.