Review: PBS Kids Nature Cat

This cartoon cat and his friends inspire little kids to explore outdoors.

Nature Cat from PBS Kids
PBS Kids

Nature Cat, which debuted on PBS Kids in late November 2015, boasts celebrity voices, a catchy theme song, and most importantly, a healthy sense of adventure. Join Fred, aka Nature Cat, and his friends as they explore the backyard and beyond, learning about nature as they go. The show is recommended for kids ages 3 to 8.


  • Episodes teach science concepts in a kid-friendly way
  • Humor for parents too
  • Accompanying website has on- and off-screen activities and games


  • It's still a TV show—a sedentary activity
  • Missed opportunity to suggest more outdoor activities on the show's website

Nature Cat - Review

Like the best kids' TV shows, Nature Cat packs a lot of learning and laughter into each 12-and-a-half minute episode. It stars Fred, voiced by Taran Killam of Saturday Night Live fame. He's an ordinary pet cat who transforms into Nature Cat, "backyard explorer extraordinaire," whenever his family leaves the house. His partners in adventure are a dog named Hal (Bobby Moynihan, also of SNL), Squeeks the mouse (Kate McKinnon, another SNL cast member), and a rabbit called Daisy (Kate Micucci).

Together, the four solve problems ranging from big (a polluted, stagnant marsh) to small (an escaped pet hamster). As they go, they shine a spotlight on science concepts, such as the importance of close observation and how to use a map and compass.

They also, of course, learn about nature: Why does litter harm the marsh's ecosystem, and how does it affect the creatures who live there? Why do squirrels collect acorns? How does an animal's size affect the length of his stride?

I found the show charming, with enough humor for adults to enjoy while watching with their kids.

And I definitely appreciate the show's mission to inspire kids to explore outdoors. I think they will want to try to use a compass, identify animal tracks, or create nature art after watching Nature Cat and friends make it look so fun and exciting.

At the show's website on PBS Kids, you can find online games as well as directions for several offline projects, such as making animal tracks with play dough or constructing a pond viewer. For now, just a few of them require outdoor, physical activity. I'd love to see more of those types of suggestions. The site could also add advice for parents about how and where to explore outdoors with their little ones. Because I have a feeling kids are going to be shouting "Onward and yonward!" just like Nature Cat does and heading out the door!

Disclosure: None. You can watch Nature Cat for free on your public TV station or at 

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