Super Cats, A Nature Miniseries airs on PBS Wednesdays, October 24 – November 7, 8 p.m.
Stalking in the shadows, prowling almost every continent, cats are among the world’s most diverse and successful predators. But there is far more to these charismatic and misunderstood animals than most people realize. Super Cats, A Nature Miniseries, premiering this month on THIRTEEN, uncovers the secret lives of big cats, revealing how they survive and thrive in all four corners of the globe — from the solitary bachelor snow leopard in the Himalayas, to the elusive swamp tiger of South Asia, and many more.
The groundbreaking three-part miniseries, narrated by actor F. Murray Abraham, kicks off Nature’s 37th anniversary season.
Filmed over 600 days in 14 countries and featuring 31 species of cat, Super Cats, A Nature Miniseries introduces behaviors captured on film for the first time, offering a fascinating look at their social sides, complex communication, devoted parental care, courtship rituals, and hunting patterns.
Advances in technology allowed for several on-camera firsts, including the nocturnal pursuits of a tiny but deadly black-footed cat in South Africa who hunts more in one night than a leopard does in six months. Remote cameras capture intimate moments between a mother Pallas’s cat and her kittens. Low-light technology exposes a true rarity: a puma preying on Magellanic penguins, one of the few successful hunts ever caught on film. A swamp tiger takes a bath in the sea — a phenomena previously unseen on television.
“Many of the cats filmed for this series are brand new to the Nature audience,” said Nature executive producer Fred Kaufman. “The lengths these filmmakers went to get never-before-seen footage of some of the world’s most elusive creatures makes this a truly exciting start to our 37th season.”
Wednesday, October 24, 8 p.m.
In Extreme Lives we meet the planet’s ultimate cats. Cheetahs are renowned as the fastest animal on land, but the latest scientific research suggests that speed isn’t even their greatest weapon. In Sri Lanka, a tiny rusty spotted cat explores his forest home. A male snow leopard, perhaps the world’s most lonesome cat, searches for a mate in the Himalayas. The Canada lynx lives farther north than any cat, relying on snowshoe hares to survive the bitterly cold winters. An African leopard mother fights to raise her cub in the worst drought in decades. In Tanzania, lions form super prides in order to hunt giant prey.
Anna Place, who directed the Nature miniseries, described the exhilarating challenge of filming a snow leopard in the Himalayas. “Everything about the shoot was daunting. Getting to the location was terrifying, hiking day after day at such altitude was grueling, and we were attempting to film a near mythical cat,” she said. “But seeing the snow leopard for the first time — the cat turning to look directly at us — was heart stopping. It was the most incredible experience of my entire life.”
Cats in Every Corner
Wednesday October 31, 8 p.m.
In part two of the miniseries, Cats in Every Corner, discover how cats have conquered the world, thriving in almost every landscape on Earth. In the wetlands of Asia, fishing cats with partially webbed feet have adapted to an aquatic lifestyle. In the world’s oldest desert, Africa’s youngest lion pride survives against the odds. A military-grade thermal camera in Costa Rica peers into the dark to find a pregnant jaguar waiting for turtles on a tropical beach. High in the forest of Central America, a female margay leaps from tree to tree, slow-motion footage revealing her acrobatic skills. In California, a bobcat, blind in one eye, seizes an opportunity to hunt gulls on a secluded beach. At low tide in the Sundarbans of India and Bangladesh, a rarely seen swamp tiger emerges from the mangrove forest to patrol his shorelines. Then there’s Africa’s black-footed cat, the smallest and deadliest of all.
Science and Secrets
Wednesday, November 7, 8 p.m.
Scientists are studying cats in greater detail than ever before. The final episode, Science and Secrets, showcases their groundbreaking work. New approaches and technologies help uncover some of the cats’ most intimate secrets, including the cheetah’s remarkable gymnastic abilities and why lions are able to hunt so cooperatively. Conservationists are fighting to protect the most endangered species around the globe, such as the Iberian lynx, once considered the rarest cat on the planet.
Super Cats, A Nature Miniseries will be available to stream the following day online and the THIRTEEN Explore app. Visit the Nature website to stream additional episodes, enjoy filmmaker interviews, teacher’s guides, and more. Join the conversation about Super Cats and connect with other Nature fans on Facebook and Twitter (@PBSNature) using the hashtag #SuperCatsPBS.