Cattanooga Cats

TV review by
KJ Dell Antonia, Common Sense Media
Cattanooga Cats TV Poster Image
Vintage, rarely seen (with reason) Hanna-Barbera.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

The wolf never gets to eat the lamb. The villain never stops the hot air balloon -- but you get the sense that's more so the cartoon will live another day than for its value as a lesson in social behavior.

Violence & Scariness

Characters punch, kick, and scuffle; sink hot air balloons; and send one another off cliffs in the classic cartoon manner. Weapons appear but are usually used on inanimate objects.

Sexy Stuff

Mildly suggestive song lyrics (titles include "Ain't I Cute in My Birthday Suit," "SuperLove," etc.).

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that the titular band's music cartoons -- which intersperse other parts of the show -- are cult favorites, offering irresistible comparisons to the idealized version of a '60s "head trip," although young viewers would never make that connection. The lyrics can also be mildly suggestive, although the visuals aren't.

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What's the story?

CATTANOOGA CATS was a late '60s/early '70s Hanna-Barbera variety show that offered cartoons about the titular feline band -- as well as \"Autocat,\" \"Around the World in 79 Days,\" and \"It's the Wolf\" -- with mini psychedelic 'toon forerunners of music videos from the Cats' band interspersed in between.

Is it any good?

This show ran briefly and rarely appeared in reruns, so viewers who saw it then are guaranteed an unsullied hit of nostalgia now. The music videos, with their mesmerizing cartoon effects and oddly catchy tunes, are the best reason to tune in to Cattanooga Cats. Although the visuals are strictly G-rated, the songs themselves can be somewhat suggestive -- "Aren't I Cute in My Birthday Suit," "SuperLove," etc. Otherwise, the cartoons are strictly of the knock-off variety, although the chance to hear the voice of the inimitable Paul Lynde as Mildew Wolf trying to eat Daws Butler's Lambsy-Divey makes "It's the Wolf" almost funny.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the recurring cat/mouse, wolf/sheep theme that pervaded all the cartoons of this era. Why was that so popular? Is there anything more to it than the comfortable format of "chase and capture"? Kids: What do you enjoy about cartoons that follow that kind of storyline? Does it ever get boring? Why or why not?

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