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6 Degrees Entertainment

'Nova: Cat and Dog Tales'
(DVD / PG / 2020 / PBS)

Overview: NOVA examines the science of our favorite animal companions. What can science tell us about the human relationships with cats and dogs?

DVD Verdict: That cats and dogs have the wherewithal to set aside their differences and join forces to thwart a rogue feline's attempt at world domination is, obviously, the stuff of a plotline for a Hollywood movie with blockbuster dreams. But Kitty and Fido do have an impressive real-world skill set, don't they?

As 'Nova: Cat and Dog Tales' comes to PBS DVD via NOVA, we watch and learn about what science has to say about the intelligence and abilities of our favorite household pets.

Cat Tales: They may have stolen many hearts - and the internet - but cats can be perplexing pets. As much cuddly and playful as they are aloof and uncaring, they've often raised the question: Did humans ever really domesticate felines? And what more can science tell us about a relationship that predates history?

Dog Tales: Dogs have been our companions for thousands of years. But why? 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.

If you were to go by all the talk about “dog people” versus “cat people,” you’d think that everyone had to choose one and stick to it.

They don’t, of course; plenty of us have both cats and dogs and despite their differences, it seems to work out. If you want to ensure a good relationship, though, science says to focus on the cat’s needs.

A recent study surveyed owners mostly in the United Kingdom and the United States, asking detailed questions about how their cats and dogs got along.

The majority of the 748 owners thought their pets had pretty good relationships. On a scale of 1 to 10 where 1 was “can’t stand each other” and 10 was “close companions,” few ratings of 4 and below were found.

However, while there were some pets that sometimes played together or groomed one another – some even shared food, toys, or beds – those best-buddy scores of 9 and 10 were also rare.

This suggests that we need to be careful not to have overly romanticized expectations of cat-dog relationships. These tidbits and insightful exposes and more are all to be found here in this quite mesmerizing new NOVA PBS DVD, 'Cat And Dog Tales.' This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.