Review: The Story of Cats – April 2, 2017 on KittyGiver.com
“The Story of Cats” shows how cats made the journey around the continents and adapted “from fierce to friend”.
Producer/Director Anwar Mamon’s “The Story of Cats” premiered on PBS in 2016 as a two-part mini-series. It is currently available for viewing online or on DVD.
Through lots of close-up footage, we follow the trek that cats made from Asia to Africa, and then into the Americas. 37 different species exist across the lands. There is even one living 20,000 feet above sea level.
Cats get around – no problem.
The series begins with the clouded leopard, having the most ancient blueprint, shared by all cats. If you squint at your screen, it could pass for your kitty at home. They move the same. They play like our pet cats too. Apparently, dopamine releases in their brain during play encouraging them to want to run and tumble all day. It’s much the same for humans with the runner’s high.
Some cats in the wild have already become extinct, and the clouded leopard is now at risk.
Infrared footage gives us a glimpse into the vision of a nocturnal leopard. Throughout the series there are also some shots of cats capturing food for their carnivorous diet. It’s rough in the wild.
It’s so dangerous out there that camouflage is important for them to blend into their surroundings. Many varieties are shown, including the Pallas’s cat whose greyish fur blends well amongst the rocks on the terrain in Asia. While its the same size as a house cat, its face could easily inspire a new cartoon character.
Snow leopards of the Himalayas are shown with their floppy paws or “snow shoes” that help them maneuver through their icy territory.
The jungles, rivers and forests of Asia were at their feet and they conquered them all.
It’s interesting to learn that cats use smell to communicate. They taste the air as they have scent detectors in their mouths. Pheromones can tell them who’s in the area, and when they might come back. Domestic cats are known to scent mark furniture with their paws and body.
On the move again, cats made their way further south, which is why one-quarter of all cat species are found in Africa.
Even if you’re not a big a cat fan, the scenic landscapes are still worth watching. And the varied looks of cats shown across the globe are very interesting too. If you do have a cat, you might see some similarities within your own pet. All of the cats are cousins, after all.
We get up close again as Kevin Richardson, an animal behaviorist, is shown cuddling and sitting alongside lions, and revealing the secrets of their roar. His rapport with them seems effortless but for sure trust had to be built over time. His research is giving insight into how social lions are and how important personal relationships are within a pride.
Part 2 takes us to the Americas with its 13 different species, including the jaguar and margay.
It’s evident that with proper treatment and interaction, cats and humans can be friends. These handlers and biologists are trained on how best to develop that rapport. Sometimes regular pet owners might benefit from a little training too. Care should always be taken. The research of these scientists can help us better understand our cats at home.
Dr. John Bradshaw, of the University of Bristol, is featured stating that cats were domesticated for their hunting abilities, and so that trait was retained during domestication. He predicts that that trait will likely be breed out over time to suit more urban living.
But that doesn’t matter because cats will adapt to whatever we do or don’t do.
Not surprisingly, the series credits the house cat as being the most successful cat of all. They have adapted to conquer our hearts.