An unlikely friendship develops over a rainy night in Pixar’s animated short film Kitbull, which was released on YouTube on Wednesday.

Looking for a quite spot to feast on some fish, a stray kitten lands up in someone’s backyard and takes refuge in a carton. Soon, the cat realises it has company – a pitbull several times larger, who spends its days either chained or caged in the same yard. Deprived of its owner’s affections, the dog tries to come close to the kitten, but is instantly rebuffed. However, a connection will soon be sparked and “together, they experience friendship for the first time”, according to the official synopsis.

The film has been directed written and directed by Rosana Sullivan and produced by Kathryn Hendrickson. Pitbull is part of Pixar’s SparkShots programme, which aims to discover new storytelling talent and styles.

In a video featuring interviews with the filmmakers, Sullivan said a cat video on YouTube sparked the idea of the short. “At first, I just wanted to draw something that made me feel good and was fun, but it evolved into something more personal to me eventually,” she says in the video. “Growing up, I was always very sensitive and very shy, and had actually a lot of trouble making connections, making friendship. So I related to this kitten because it never really stepped outside of its comfort zone to be vulnerable and make a connection.”

Kitbull (2019).

Kitbull has been made using hand-drawn 2D animation, which is unlike Pixar’s usual computer-generated 3D style. A behind-the-scenes video explains the process of creating the film.

Behind the Scenes of Kitbull.