As a devout cat-owner, the biggest mystery for me in Netflix's new show Mindhunter wasn't the true definition of a serial killer or the explanation behind those weird opening scenes in Kansas, but instead those brief moments that Wendy Carr (Anna Torv) spends with a cat. Or rather, the idea of a cat, since we never actually see the culprit behind the meows the come from the window in Anna's apartment building laundry room. When we first hear the noise, Wendy decides to leave a can a of tuna for the stray, which was a kind of an adorable, humanizing moment for the normally stoic character, and clearly meant something much bigger. This is what the woman behind Wendy, Anna Torv, thought as well.
"I always take things a little too [introspectively], so when I first read it in the script I was like, 'Oh my God, wow, this is actually interesting,'" she told TVLine. "I thought, 'This little kitten is representative of all these faceless [victims] and we only notice the ones that are dead because they have families that are looking for them. And then here’s this little abandoned cat that no one is going to care about. And if that was a person, it’d be the same thing.'"
"I think the cat was a metaphor for Dr. Carr's compassion/empathy," user ilujg wrote. "At work she is pretty rigid/by the book, and not very open/vulnerable - she's pretty one dimensional. The scenes where she is at home and sets aside the tuna for the cat is meant to add depth to her character."
However, executive producer David Fincher has a different answer, and it has to do with the final scene involving the animal. In the finale, Wendy discovers that the last can of food that she left went uneaten. What happened to the cat?
According to TVLine, Fincher told Torv that rather than the cat having a metaphorical meaning, it was actually much more straightforward. Instead, the audience is meant to think that maybe the cat's sudden disappearance means "there was a kid in the building who’s going around killing cats. And it’s a birth of a new sociopath that we don’t quite know about. Because that’s how it starts — with [inflicting harm on] animals."