A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this series shows examples of troublesome cat behavior like aggression, excessive licking (of humans, that is), and anger. While feline-loving families may pick up some helpful tips from the veterinarian host, the show tends to oversimplify both the cats' behavioral issues and the solutions, so viewers -- especially kids -- need to remember that there's no substitute for the firsthand advice of a trained animal expert. But from a content perspective, this show is age appropriate for virtually all viewers.
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What's the story?
In HOUSECAT HOUSECALL, Australian veterinarian Katrina Warren (aka, yes, Dr. Kat) attempts to do for cat owners what Dog Whisperer Cesar Millan has done for canine lovers: help them understand their pets' puzzling behavior and correct the problems with some small adjustments to their routines. In each episode, Dr. Kat meets with three different pet owners, who talk about their cats' backgrounds and describe the issues they're facing. After consulting with two other mentoring veterinarians via computer, Dr. Kat gives the owners some simple methods to help adjust their kitties' behavior.
Is it any good?
This series isn't too likely to interest people who don't already have a vested interest in cats, and it lacks the personality punch that draws even marginal canine fans to Millan's show. It's obvious that Dr. Kat knows her stuff, but episodes often feels like they've been over-edited to fit their half-hour constraints. Each of the three stories moves so quickly that issues viewers might relate to tend to get oversimplified. On top of that, the segments with the mentoring vets -- who don't even talk with Dr. Kat in person but brainstorm ideas via satellite -- seem forced and unnecessary, since she's certainly qualified to give advice on her own.
That said, there's nothing to sweat over content-wise, and the show's topic is certainly conducive to family viewing. Just remember that even if you can relate to the human subjects' kitty woes from your own experiences, the quick-fix solutions you see implemented here may not have the same effect on your feline friend.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk the cat owners' concerns. Do you relate to them? What kinds of issues do you face with your own pets? What have you done to try to fix their behavioral problems? Who do you go to for advice about your animals? Would you ever seek help from someone on television for a problem? Why or why not? What do you think the purpose/goal of this show is? How does entertainment affect the messages sent by an educational series?
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