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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Nature Cat is an animated series designed to inspire kids to get outside, experience nature, and play with friends. The characters' adventures show kids how much fun it can be to make discoveries, use their imaginations, and learn about the world around them. They also illustrate the fact that mishaps are par for the course when you're trying something new (especially when you're a novice outdoorsman such as Fred, the Nature Cat), and each one is an opportunity to hone problem-solving skills. Expect a lot of physical humor (falls, crashes) but overall content that's wholly appropriate and fun for kids.
- Parents say
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What's the story?
When Fred's family leaves for the day, he ditches his house-cat persona and becomes NATURE CAT (voiced by Taran Killam), "backyard explorer extraordinaire" and adventure enthusiast. Flanked by his best pals -- Hal (Bobby Moynihan), Daisy (Kate Micucci), and Squeaks (Kate McKinnon) -- Fred is eager to make the most of his time outside, but as a lifelong house cat he's not the most skilled outdoorsman. Fortunately his animal friends are happy to keep him on track as they join his adventures and discover new and exciting things about the natural world.
Is it any good?
This lively series has many qualities that will appeal to kids, none more so than the exuberant titular character who finds joy in the simple acts of being outside and in the company of friends. They romp and play, get wet and dirty, and love every minute of the unstructured process. Even the most grandiose of their plans (building a rocket to go to the moon, for instance) becomes doable once their imaginations take hold.
Despite what its title might have you think, though, Nature Cat focuses more on the experience of being in nature than it does on a nuts-and-bolts education about the environment. Concepts are presented in very broad terms -- animals leave evidence behind as they go from one place to another, and there's less gravity on the moon than on Earth, for example -- so it probably will be more of a refresher course than a new chapter in your kids' learning. That said, there's lots of value in its reminders to kids that many adventures await in the great outdoors.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the different personalities evident in Nature Cat. Which positive qualities does each member bring to the group? How is the team better prepared to tackle the challenges they face because of their combined efforts?
Kids: What kinds of games or imaginative play do you most enjoy outdoors? Are they solitary games, or do others join you? What physical benefits do you get from being outside?
Fred is making his dreams come true by exploring the great outdoors. What kinds of things do your kids imagine doing? Are there obstacles in their way? How can you support their interests?
- Premiere date: November 25, 2015
- Cast: Kate McKinnon, Bobby Moynihan, Taran Killam
- Network: PBS Kids
- Genre: Kids' Animation
- Topics: Adventures, Cats, Dogs, and Mice, Science and Nature
- Character Strengths: Curiosity, Teamwork
- TV rating: NR
- Available on: Streaming
- Award: Common Sense Seal
- Last updated: March 13, 2020
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