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In these images you can see clear differences in the animation, starting from the first scene that really focusses entirely on the cats. The kittens change a little as well, but it isn't as obvious.

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I can think of a couple of possible reasons:

  • In the "cat parts" of the story, we're working on a different scale — smaller details to humans are much bigger when we're at cat size.
  • To give Duchess a more human look so we relate to her better.
  • The 'human' and 'cat' sections are purposely drawn with a different art style.

However, even at the end when we're back in the 'human scale', the more humanised look is maintained.

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  • Somebody else drew and animated the beginning of the film (possibly also evidenced by the change in collar colour/style).

Is there any evidence for my guesses, or another known reason? And if so, why there was this change in style, and it not re-drawn to match?

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    Personally, only speaking for myself, i actually can’t see the differences. Sep 1 '21 at 2:23

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