The 13 Best Cat Documentaries (Ranked)

I’ve scoured the web for the best docs about cats. I focus on domestic cats (though you’ll see some wild cat footage weaved in to a couple).

The docs below are ranked in order of most watchable at the top!


1) Cats 101

“Cats 101” from Animal Planet (2009-2012) is your comprehensive guide to the feline world. This doc dives into the depths of different cat breeds, engaging experts from veterinarians to trainers.

Every episode educates, delving into facts, origins, and unique traits of breeds. It’s not just about the familiar Siamese or the majestic Maine Coon; the show spans from the common Domestic House Cat to the rare Khao Manee.

Here is the exhaustive list of breeds covered by season:

  • Season 1: American Shorthair, Egyptian Mau, Himalayan, Maine Coon, Oriental, Persian, Ragdoll, Savannah, Siamese, Scottish Fold, Sphynx, Turkish Angora.
  • Season 2: Abyssinian, American Curl, Birman, Bombay, Burmese, Colorpoint Shorthair, Cornish Rex, Exotic, Havana Brown, Japanese Bobtail, Manx, Ocicat, Norwegian Forest Cat, Russian Blue, Selkirk Rex, Siberian, Singapura, Somali.
  • Season 3: American Bobtail, Australian Mist, Balinese, Bambino, Bengal, British Shorthair, Chartreux, Cheetoh, Devon Rex, Domestic House Cat, Domestic Longhair, Domestic Shorthair, Korat, LaPerm, Munchkin, Napoleon (Minuet), Nebelung, Pixie-Bob, RagaMuffin, Serengeti, Snowshoe, Tonkinese, Toyger, Turkish Van.
  • Season 4: Aegean, American Wirehair, Arabian Mau, Burmilla, Chantilly, Chausie, Donskoy, Chinese Li Hua, Dwelf, European Shorthair, Highlander, Javanese, Khao Manee, Kurilian Bobtail, Lambkin, Minskin, Oriental Bicolor, Peterbald, Skookum, Sokoke.

Dive into the world of whiskers, tales, and feline wonders. For anyone keen on understanding the diverse world of cats, this is your essential watch. Dive into “Cats 101” on Animal Planet.

You can watch it on Discovery+ and AppleTV.

There are also 16 excerpts to watch for free on YouTube here:

Check back here for other options:

2) The Cats of Mirikitani

“The Cats of Mirikitani” immerses you into the world of Jimmy Mirikitani — a street artist with a harrowing past. This doc, directed by Linda Hattendorf (known for “Family Gathering”), showcases not just Jimmy’s vivid cat illustrations, but reveals deep-seated memories of his internment during World War II.

In the bustling streets of New York, each of Jimmy’s brushstrokes paints a canvas larger than art: it’s a tapestry of life, identity, and survival. Hattendorf’s touch brings forth not just a portrait of an artist, but a look into America’s past.

JIMMY: “Each cat has a story…”
HATTENDORF: “And so do you.”

There’s a gripping juxtaposition: vibrant cats and a dark chapter in history. It’s not just a journey into art, but into resilience and the essence of human spirit. Watch this on Amazon Prime.

I don’t see a place to watch the full Cats of Mirikitani movie. Ping me if you find something. Thx! -Rob

3) Jo Brand’s Cats & Kittens

Comedy. Compassion. Cats.

Jo Brand dives deep into the feline realm, shadowing the heroes of the RSPCA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty).

This doc follows their relentless journey: rescuing, rehabilitating, and rehoming cats and kittens.

Brand, with her witty charm, spotlights the real stories and unsung heroes committed to preventing cruelty. The blend of humor and heartfelt moments paints a vivid picture of the dedication behind cat welfare.

For cat aficionados and comedy lovers alike, this series is an enlightening must-watch. Experience the world of feline rescue through Jo Brand’s captivating lens.

Here’s one episode on YouTube that you can watch for free:

The only other place I see to watch Jo Brand’s Cats & Kittens is Channel 5 in England.

4) The Story of Cats

For a taste of this docuseries, click here :

Part 1: The Story of Cats: Wild at Heart (Part 1)

A 2016 docuseries (3 epiisodes) that was originally on ITV.

Episode 1: Dive into the wild heart of felines. Africa’s lion whisperer, Kevin Richardson, bridges the gap between your living room tabby and Africa’s majestic lions. Ever seen a tabby climb and wonder “how?”? Southeast Asia reveals the sabre-tooth’s influence. And in Namibia, witness a caracal jump over three metres—thus, “put the cat among the pigeons.”

Episode 2: Ever melt at kitten eyes? Discover why. These wild predators turned cuddly companions because of their baby-like features and keen senses. Befriending humans 10,000 years back, the domestic cats’ evolution journey continues—more mild, less wild.

Episode 3: Break those cat myths. Jaguars swim, tigers withstand -40°C. Behold the super cats, thriving in the harshest conditions. And, there’s a Garfield lookalike in the Himalayas. These adaptable predators reign supreme globally.

Watch it for free on YouTube in these 3 parts:

5) Feral Love

Summary: 2018. 1h 12m. World-class musician Dorian Rence cares for a feral cat colony in NYC tunnels. Showcases her journey and dedication to both music and cats.

Urban. Music. Cats.

“Feral Love” of 2018 (72 minutes) dives deep into unexpected territory. Dorian Rence, a violist with the New York Philharmonic, stands out.

She’s not just playing Mahler and Stravinsky. In NYC’s tunnels, she cares for feral cats.

Dorian’s dual life is fascinating. By day, she graces stages. By night, she navigates subway tracks, ensuring her feline friends are fed.

A poignant moment: her interaction with a wary, new feline arrival. The doc’s juxtaposition—grand concert halls and gritty underbellies—is mesmerizing.

For those seeking a tale of passion, compassion, and unexpected harmonies, “Feral Love” delivers.

Watch it on: Apple TV or Amazon for about $4 or on GuideDoc for a subscription of about $8/mo. The latest streaming options should be here:

6) Puss in Books: Adventures of the Library Cat

Charming 1997 film (30 min.), spotlighting library cats nationwide.

The doc opens with an awesome story:

The librarians at the Spencer Public Library in Iowa arrive at work one morning to empty the book drop. They find a big (err, little) surprise:

A small kitty is found under a pile of books. “Dewey” (as he’s named) was dropped in the book drop.

Other library kitties include Kinky from Kilbourn Public Library in Wisconsin.

There’s also Decimal and Bookums—each ruling their book realms.

The cats’ library job titles? Rodent Control Librarian, PR King.

Allergies or phobias? They address those disputes.

The doc offers a cheeky takes on library cat philosophies.

Watch it for free on YouTube at

7) Give a Cat Two New Feet – Done! (Mayo & Oscar)

From The Bionic Vet TV series of 2011. It’s their opening episode (Season 1, Episode 1).

Watch high-tech vet Noel Fitzpatrick trying to vive Oscar the cat new bionic feet.

Watch it for free (with ads) on:

Watch it on: IMDB

8) The Secret Life of Cats

Plunge into the cat realm with “Secret Life of Cats,” voiced by Martin Clunes. This 47-minute feature, broadcast in 2014, reveals cat enigmas.

Note: If you like the great narrator/actor Martin Clunes, check out my Top 10 Martin Clune Documentaries (which includes “Secret Life of Dogs” and other awesome docs!).

Martin’s engaging tone traces cats’ evolutionary path. From fierce hunters to beloved pets, it’s a gripping tale.

The doc sheds light on varied cat behaviors. Predatory skills, group dynamics; every detail is scrutinized.

Tamed hearts… How did felines become our home buddies? The doc probes this delightful shift, highlighting mutual gains.

Cats, worshipped and dreaded, exude a magical charm. This doc hints at that, sprinkling some mystery.

Diving into the factual, it exposes amazing feline senses. A deep, enlightening journey into cat wonders.

I don’t see any streaming options for The Secret Life of Cats right now. Check back at to see if any get added.

9) Kedi

Cats of the streets of Istanbul.

“Kedi” (2016), directed by Ceyda Torun – dives into Istanbul’s cat culture. The 79-minute doc showcases these feline wanderers and their unique bond with humans.

Ceyda Torun, known for her work in “When I Wear My Alligator Boots”, captures street cats in their natural environment. These aren’t mere pets – they’re a pivotal part of Istanbul’s community.

Characters like Sari and Duman steal the spotlight.

Their daily lives, interactions with people, and unique personalities become the focal points.

The narrative is not just about cats; it’s about how these creatures weave into the daily fabric of Istanbul.

This cat doc has some history too (cats have roamed Istanbul’s streets for thousands of years!)

You can watch Kedi for free on Kanopy (with library card or student ID) at All streaming options (other paid subscription/rental options (including YouTube Premium, Amazon, Apple TV, Mubi) can be found here:

10) The Lion in Your Living Room

“The Lion in Your Living Room” (2015) — directed by Daniel Zuckerbrot, the mind behind “Randall Dark Presents” — delves deep into domestic felines’ world.

In 51 minutes, it reveals cats’ wild origins. We see their cunning hunting tactics… Their incredible sensory skills on display.

Key subjects? The aloof Mr. Puffy… The agile Bubbles.

Their behaviors are juxtaposed with wild lions and tigers. It’s an intriguing parallel.

The doc draws from science, showing genetic ties to fierce big cats. Yet, there’s a gentle side.

Notable scene? A kitty navigating a bustling cityscape, demonstrating adaptability.

ZUCKERBROT: “Cats dominate the internet, but how well do we really know them?”

The Lion in Your Living Room is Season 54, Episode 10 of The Nature of Things. It looks like you can watch it:

11) Cat Ladies

“Cat Ladies” (2009), directed by Christie Callan-Jones is more than cute cats.

It’s about human connections and societal expectations.

Four women, different ages and backgrounds, share a passion: cats. Yet, their relationship with these feline companions labels them “crazy cat ladies.”

Society judges, but why? This doc examines these stigmas, giving voice to marginalized cat devotees. We see the emotional complexities and personal histories shaping their choices.

Diane, Margot, Sigi, Jenny—each woman’s story reveals the reasons behind her cat-centric life. It’s not just about love for cats but seeking companionship, coping with traumas, and sometimes, filling voids.

At its core, “Cat Ladies” questions societal norms. Who sets the rules on love, loneliness, and acceptable numbers of pets?

Watch Cat Ladies on Tubi or Plex. Full streaming options are here:

12) The Secret Life of Cats

This 1999 doc by National Geographic is different than the “Secret Life of Cats” mentioned above.

Directed and narrated by Allison Argo, this 54-minute doc exposes feline truths.

Once worshipped in ancient Egypt, cats were symbols of life. Their rodent-hunting prowess won human hearts.

Today? They enchant us with grace and quirks.

But behind those playful eyes lurks a predator.

Did you know that U.S. cats nab 100,000 mammals and 30,000 birds. Everywhere, from Florida parks to Australia’s outback, they push species toward oblivion.

13) Cat Nation

2017’s “Cat Nation,” 52M. Directed by Tim Delmastro.

Chris Broad—YouTube star, cat enthusiast (despite allergies)—leads us.

Journey through Japan’s unique cat culture… Broad uncovers bizarre feline-centered spots.

Think cat-themed cafes, bars, temples—even cat islands!

Tama, the cat, turned station master at Kishi Station, boosts tourism. The beckoning cat statue’s origins? Revealed.

Dive into this quirky world of Japanese cat adoration with a fun host (Broad).

Watch Cat Nation for free on Kanopy (with library card or student ID) at You can find other streaming paid options (Apple TV, Amazon, YouTube) at

Thanks for reading!

-Rob Kelly