The film is set in present-day New York City. A orphaned kitten named Oliver is left alone after his fellow orphaned kittens are bought by passersby and he wanders the streets alone. The next day, he was tricked into assisting a laid-back dog named Dodger into stealing food from a hot dog vendor. Dodger then flees the scene without sharing his bounty with Oliver and returns to his owner's barge. Oliver follows Dodger and meets the rest of Dodger's group: Energetic chihuahua Tito, dim-witted Great Dane Einstein, sassy Saluki Rita, and Francis, a Shakespearean bulldog. After a moment of confusion, Oliver is then received a warm welcome. Fagin, the dogs' owner and a pickpocket arrives and is confronted by loan shark Sykes whom he owes a large sum of money. Sykes' Doberman dogs Roscoe and DeSoto attack Oliver but the cat is defended by Fagin's dogs. Sykes gives Fagin a final chance to pay him back or his home will be destroyed.