Cat and Dog Tales

Season 1
NOVA examines the science of our favorite animal companions. What can science tell us about the human relationships with cats and dogs?
Eric Meyers
DocumentarySpecial Interest
English [CC]
Audio languages

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  1. 1. Dog Tales
    February 11 2020
    English [CC]
    Audio languages
    Dogs have been our companions for thousands of years. Do they really love us, or are they just in it for the food? Scientists test wolf intelligence, decode canine DNA, and peer into dogs' brains to find out what domestication really means.
  2. 2. Cat Tales
    February 18 2020
    English [CC]
    Audio languages
    Worshipped as a goddess, condemned as satanic, and spun into a stunning array of breeds, cats have long fascinated humans. But did we ever really domesticate them? And what can science tell us about our most mysterious companions?

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Pete Chinn
Julia CortChris SchmidtLaurie CahalaneMelanie WallaceDan ChambersDan Gold
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4.2 out of 5 stars

52 global ratings

  1. 65% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 10% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 13% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 3% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 10% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

Carole HirschReviewed in the United States on March 28, 2020
1.0 out of 5 stars
If you want to learn about cats you won’t
Verified purchase
How ridiculous the cat part was. Never mentioned or explained cats purring! Sorry I got this!
6 people found this helpful
Amazon CustomerReviewed in the United States on February 24, 2020
1.0 out of 5 stars
Please Read - RE: Cat Tales
It is 2020 and yet we are STILL portraying cats as manipulative self-serving beings. I am genuinely shocked that NOVA has produced and endorsed content that seems to take liberties with the term science; science is based on facts, not opinions or personal anthropomorphic projections. There are so many enraging quotes in this video, for example: "Cats don’t really care what their owners want". It's this kind of attitude that perpetuates our severe lack of empathy and the very need for learning more about cat communication and needs.
You claim this is based on science but one or two studies and touring a cat show does not validate these very negative generalities that:
1. Cats are not trainable except for food reward; they don’t aim to please. (I disagree)
2. Cats don't bring owners 'gifts'; they are just bringing their prey 'home'. (I disagree; and I'm so glad that I'm "forgiven for thinking that" esp. since I have video evidence of behavior that indicates otherwise. What then is your argument for instances when they bring things to you when they are already in said 'home'? Have you ever bothered to think maybe they are doing this to share their lives with you? To attempt to engage you with things in which they find joy? Right, because cats as you say "don't care" and if they do observe us, it's only for selfish reasons.)
3. You can't read cats by their facial expressions. (I highly disagree. I think this work is moving in the right direction but you are evaluating animals in pain in a strange environment often likely after a traumatic a species that is a known master of masking pain. I don’t need eyebrow raises to delineate expression. I'm sure there are many individuals that you could test that can read their cat's facial expressions and tell you that they are in states of pain, relaxation, contentment, nervousness, fear, want, or excitement. So many elderly cats are in chronic pain, they are and have been giving signs but only if you choose to see.)
4. Cats pay attention to their owners’ feelings, happy or sad, more than strangers because the owners are the ones that feed them. (Because it couldn't POSSIBLY be because your cat is in tune to you and likes you. Yours must be the only conclusion since they are a species that are, as you quote "terminators, unstoppable killers" that can hunt on their own.)
5. Cats that aren't socialized with humans within a certain age range are portrayed as forever feral and unadoptable. (I disagree; some of the most amazing cats I have ever known have spent the first years of their lives feral and wild. I'm a big supporter of TNR, but how horrible that you are, maybe unknowingly, depriving so many cats of a warm home as you are deterring people from adopting older outdoor cats that are shy and fearful because you are telling them that they are going to be "truly not happy" to be indoors when they just need patience, understanding, and most of all, a chance. I get it, not all ferals are suitable for adoption, but just say that fact and stop with the blanket statements. Not to mention you are promoting and highlighting exotic hybrids and purebreds as the "ultimate consumer pet". These are intelligent animals, not material show pieces.)

Maybe if you researched those people who actually take the time to learn and know cats, recognize them as partners and have observed cat social behavior instead of those looking at them as creatures beneath the human race under the guise that it is mutual relationship. As a scientist myself, I have observed on multiple occasions those items above being portrayed in this video to be false; and in some instances, have evidence to prove my statement. I would bet many others who are appreciative enough of the gift of an empathetic partnership with cats in which they have learned to communicate with each other, out of mutual respect, would agree. Imagine what we could learn if we only choose to listen.
18 people found this helpful
SophieAsherReviewed in the United States on February 7, 2021
2.0 out of 5 stars
Inconsistent and unreliable science
For example: the Austrian "research" center that raises and compares dogs vs wolves. Main variable? Humans. It's ridiculous to think that the humans interacting with these animals aren't a gigantic confounding variable.

They spend a lot of time on Russian fox experiments, after clearly stating that dogs are only descended from gray wolves. Why? And why would Russians keep breeding these foxes to become social, human-dependent, submissive: and leave them in cages, outside, their entire lives? Just as bad as puppy mills.

In addition, almost all of this has been regurgitated from prior shows/documentaries/sources (I know cause I've seen them elsewhere, years ago), so is much older than the stated dates: almost zero new science.

To top it off, it's presented in a disjointed, discontinuous way that makes it very difficult to follow or enjoy. We go from veterinarians in NC to foxes in Russia to wolves in Austria to researchers in the UK, with other researchers in the US thrown in, some dog shows: then twirled around again to those & more. It's dizzying. Not enjoyable.
One person found this helpful
Arioch MorningstarReviewed in the United States on February 24, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
Cat Tales is excellent, but sticks to the science.
Nova put together an excellent one hour special on our favorite feline friends for us. It is scientifically based, so it may not confirm your favorite bias. It sticks closely to evidence and the scientific method. There's lots here on DNA and the lineage of where domestic cats originate. If you've got an hour and like kitties, I highly recommend it.
2 people found this helpful
SaraReviewed in the United States on July 13, 2021
2.0 out of 5 stars
Pretty poor science
"Science", who funded some of these Cat Tales studies?

Also, yeah, let's talk about all of the cat breeds out there without mentioning the nearly million cats euthanized every year due to lack of homes. That seems a big detail to gloss over.
One person found this helpful
jbej1Reviewed in the United States on February 23, 2021
1.0 out of 5 stars
This is the crap we get for science based documentaries?
You'd be better off watching "Homeward Bound", at least it's almost entertaining for a 10 year-old.
One person found this helpful
Karen C.Reviewed in the United States on May 11, 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars
I really enjoyed this!
Really interesting show
Kindle Customer KarenReviewed in the United States on June 25, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
Great value
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