National Geographic The Wonderful World of Cats New Documentary HD 2018



right under our noses in our homes cities and towns on our sofas and laps a quiet invasion has been taking place the cat is now officially the most popular pet in the Western world and written alone it's reckoned there are 12 million cats Avast softly purring army which it seems we are utterly powerless to resist and yet for thousands of years no creature has divided us quite like this one are they regal was simply cold and remote devoted pets or as irrepressibly wild as their big cousins how am I to capture the essence of this puzzling creature one that so many adorn and so many others find deeply unsettling to do that I'm turning cat detective unraveling this feline enigma everywhere from the magical tombs of ancient Egypt hundreds of done by reflection to a bizarre medieval cat festival in Belgium from the cats who formed a Chicago rock band to a cat in fancy dress must be so strange makes a little death inside a pink rabbit hat I'll be tracking down the amazing big cats to coming face to face with the Lord of the Mayan jungle all the strength and Majesty of these creatures you know but leave her a beautiful death and arm to rasping tongue with the world's fastest cat and trash talk normally with some my arm being licked fetched all to discover exactly why it is that cats divide us so much and how one of nature's most efficient serial killers ended up as our favorite fireside companion this is my journey into the world of the cat [Applause] my journey begins here at home and it begins with a confession we don't have a cat well not anymore for 18 years we had a gorgeous cat called the B when he died I missed him more than I could ever have imagined I still think about him every day we even gave him a little gravestone people say that you choose a dog but the cat chooses you and people say that cats are aloof well I don't know about that all I know is that the B our beloved cat was much more than a pet he was a friend we loved him dearly and you know I think he loved our stereo too and yet I wonder if I ever really knew the B anymore that I know the neighborhood cats that now wander through our garden unlike dogs so much of what cats do is secret and nocturnal mysterious it helps to explain why some people find them so disturbing and why so many others find cats irresistible the great is this deep divided spring from first stop on my journey a cat show in Milton Keynes to find the true aficionados the ones whose absolute faith in cats is beyond doubt in the West catchers like this are the ultimate expression of our modern obsession with cats and you can see why was there ever an animal quite as beguiling as the cat or as adorable as a kitten called wat sila sinha syllabub let me go that beautiful blue eyes and the slightly Barbra Streisand look over the years we've engineered around a hundred breeds of cat from green eyes to blue from long hair to know how whatsoever and what breed is she she's us things man this is a single floor of that very bright very lively but look around any cat show like this and you'll notice something which has never changed it's women not men who are least able to resist the lure of the cat hard to believe that a few hundred years ago many of these women including me might have been burned at the stake along with their cats because the terrible truth is despite thousands of years of our deepest aversion to cats there's a very dark side to our feline obsession thankfully we don't talk to riches in their cats anymore but once every three years in Belgium people gather to remember a time when we did on a warm afternoon in the town of Ypres their world-famous cat parade is now in full swing it's all a bit surreal yet so far at least it seems pretty harmless I can't resist joining in the fun but courtesy of the town jester the festival culminates in a rather shocking ritual [Applause] in eepa 500 years ago nine lives wouldn't have been enough for even the sturdiest of cats Europe had gone which mad and here in Belgium they took to slinging live witches cats off the tops of high buildings in fact it wasn't until 1817 that this barbaric ritual was start it's not likely thing to commemorate but thankfully today the cats here are merely toys it's so strange because even though this isn't a carnival day and it was having such fun on their new toy cats a life of fear and pain goes through me just take the short time ago they were throwing real life cats out of here simply because of the superstition but cats contained evil spirits and it wasn't just the Belgians in the Middle Ages it was believed that Satan often took the form of a cat and all over Europe they were tortured and richly killed in their thousands often also burning alive the poor innocent women who earned them was that ever a preacher which divided us so much for thousand years we persecuted the cats an agent of the devil and yet nowadays we go Hungary over the mink ashes for good or evil we've long believed that cats have some sort of mysterious magical powers but where on earth did that come from who owned the first cat and when and where Egypt the land of the Pharaohs [Applause] it was here three and a half thousand years ago that wild African cats first shimmied and sashayed their way into human company and even today there are few cities on the planet quite as comfortable with its cats as Kara they're everywhere literally crawling out of every nook and cranny once you tune your iron to look cat eyes once you get your cat size in you can see little cats tiny cats slim cats cats resting by mosques these are the cats who are looking after the door there's one on each side these cats are mostly feral homeless unknown just like their early ancestors but for all their wildness they're every bit as loved as the cats which posed for rosettes it shows perhaps even more so it's just incredible how many cats are on how many people treated them so kindly this charming gentleman here has got special paper bag full of meat so that they can look after him and they're in a beautiful condition which is definitely passion away it's just wonderful people don't pick them or hurt them they just smile at them but in a largely Muslim city like Kara that's really no surprise it said the Prophet Muhammad had a real soft spot for cats there's a story that when he blessed his own pet cat on the forage he left the mark of his fingers like a giant M a mark that's been passed down through countless generations of cats but when and where did cats come to be with us in the first place and how did they weave their magic on us to find out and heading way back in time to the mysterious tombs of the dead in Thebes before they came to live with us cats foraged they're living in the blistering heat of the Sahara Desert hardly surprising then that the rise of human civilization by the Nile seemed like easier pickings but the early Egyptian farmers got something out of it too grain silos attracted vermin the vermin attracted hungry African Wildcats and before long a rather remarkable relationship had been formed a relationship first recorded in an extraordinary location 400 miles to the south of Cairo on the west bank of the River Nile lies Thebes the city of the Dead it's here that the ancient Egyptians buried their pharaohs and there are Esther Kratz in lavish tombs Salam alaikum shokran thank you tombs adorned with murals celebrating their daily lives in intimate detail this is the tomb of nacht he was the Royal astronomer and he has knocked himself looking very fine quite a dark kind of copper colored body and this is his beautiful wife Tommy and round two here you can see that they've prepared this is the beginning of the feasting and here we can see Anne sitting at table top out of the pictures gone Knox lovely little brown feet Tommy's little pale feet and underneath tau is chair the most adorable tabby cat eating a fish now there's just cats always sat underneath women's chairs in all these tomb paintings something to do with fertility and so her Lynx cats with women all the time Tommy probably took a fish off the table set it up was just dr. time it's extraordinary here is evidence three and a half thousand years old showing how these wild desert scavengers had quite cheerfully taken up lodgings right under our feet Salam alaykoum can I see the picture of the cat yeah thank you I've been told that this tomb has more of the story oh look there's a light I'm gonna just creep in here with a little mirror magic all is revealed and it's done by reflection look at this so this is a hunting scene now the birds all flying up chap throwing sticks at them and here's a gorgeous little cat there is a story that the Egyptians used to use cats maybe to flush out the birds with is to take them hunting with them they've also seem to have taken their tame rat of them I didn't know sometimes of course I think cats just take it upon themselves to follow human beings they might have just gone on his own accord but I suspect that these might have been hunting cats who knows it's not difficult to connect the cats in these ancient murals with the cats in our own back gardens predatory solitary yet at the same time affectionate and gentle and it's not that hard to understand what happened next either maybe it was the big eyes or the mesmerizing way cats move but the Egyptians very quickly elevated the cat from beloved pet to divine God a goddess in fact naturally with both a serene face and a frightening face a goddess whose cult would last over 2,000 years longer so far than either Christianity or Islam today its worshipers are long gone unless you count the ladies at catchers but here in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo I can still see the evidence of this mighty feline goddess with two faces this is a lioness goddess Sekhmet and she is sort of the scarier side of cat divinities and she's supposed to be powerful she protects women and she of course brings warfare and plague if she so chooses and she's got a uraeus snake on her foreheads so that could kill yes that would sort of be don't mess with me kind of thing yes and right now she's wearing his nice sheath dress and sitting down and being beautiful but of course the implicit in it is because she is a lioness she can strike out and kill does she have an alter ego yes how older ego is much nicer than karma sort of that cat God is in a tamer way and that's Bastet bastard the cat goddess statuesque sublime the quintessential cat Bastet was the symbol of love and beauty and music and basically self-indulgence as you'd expect from a cat so this is a kind of goddess a lot of people would be having in their house shrines but look at these ones up here these are just exquisite they're fabulous the terribly lifelike I've seen cats of him just like that do you like cats I do like cats I'm allergic to them for I like them in ancient Egypt pet cats were adored whenever one died the entire family would shave their heads in mourning but not all cats were pets there were other cats bred to be offered to bastard in the hope of earning her blessing unfortunately unfortunately to do that they had to be dead when they went to the temple of Bastet they made offerings of mummified cat and the idea was because a cat was taking the message to goddess pay much more attention to it and worth it were these tame cats or cats around the chair but how do they get the cats for the mummy they probably bred them in categories and you would have thousands and thousands of cats there we have x-ray of them so you'll get a sense of what's inside and it's really quite surprising know what is a bit awful about this particular one is the neck has been broken because they couldn't always wait for cats to die so we have some cat mummies where their heads have been bashed in or they're being strangled little cash that was an interesting one because oh my god what is it well you can see it's a jumble when they didn't have enough cats they would just gather up a few bones and mummify that and personated look beautiful like a cat should be so that's true this is sort of cat hamburger if that doesn't sound too frightful George I mean I sort of just so chopped up and made into a shape that's very accurate then it certainly looks that way what's the Egyptian word for cat meow it really sounds familiar doesn't it the cat with two faces cats as angels and cats as demons Egypt is the home of the original prototype cat the Mar and whatever shape or pattern your pet cat is its descended from this ancient line of stripy tabby in Egypt the land where cats first walked amongst us there are many who love them but there are also others who are about to destroy them although in some countries mouse can fetch well over a thousand pounds of kitten here in Kara they still run wild in the streets unfortunately some government officials think the only way to control them is by shooting and poisoning them from a house in the Cairo suburbs Margot Abdul Raziq is on a mission to rescue them must be one of the newest arrivals yes this is our newest gift either Idaho yes I do she's about seven weeks old seven weeks old yes and she was found she was found by a lady when she was about five days old and I had to take over you did this yourself you fed her what we little Pendrell yes like about six or seven times a day she's triumphant she's quite got a little fat tummy she's overfed now tell me what what makes a bark at the mouth cats are the only naturally spotted cats it's try play yes that's right there's a half and half a tiger yes it's a little tiger can take her home I hope the Egyptian government finds a better way to look after these beautiful male cats after all this was the land where we first welcomed and then worship this strange paradoxical creature three and a half thousand years later are we any less torn and divided by this humble Beast is there anywhere that still Accords cats the same adoration as Bastet or still harbors fears about their monstrous powers to find out I'm travelling to the other side of the world to the country where the cat is very definitely the queen bee for an animal that sleeps up to 20 hours a day it's truly amazing the fuss cats of caused we've borrowed before them as gods we've treated them as Devils surely in the 21st century there's strange beliefs must be a thing of the past well not quite on the face of it Tokyo is one of the world's most high-speed high-tech cities but looking virtually any shop or restaurant and you'll find the ancient spirit of Bastet a little Japanese cat that's so famous it's been exported all over the world manekineko the lucky cat has one bull raised to Beckenham good fortune so for most Japanese calves are lucky in fact they're now so besotted with the real thing the demand for pet cats here is one of the fastest growing in the world I've recruited local cat lover Mary Corbett to help me explore a city where the feline obsession knows no bounds and where no self-respecting cat should be caught naked for the very best in feline ode Couture the Stella McCartney to Tokyo's finest cats look no further than taka ko– Yasha most cats in most places look overdressed wearing a collar and a bell but not here for Tokiko the cat Taylor cats aren't just lucky they're the objects of adoration taka where'd you get your inspiration from now for making for instance I see some extraordinary things I see little cows heads hair and kind of frogs Mihoko no we're not ten but you Corral he's placing a article on this girl she's not sure but she received something on the right side of her brain and it seems to come from outer space may we see you see some of your beautiful clothes on a cat this handsome rather long suffering Scottish frog fine a looks but who can resist a smile when the lovely prin short for princess mortals her tiara did on this she doesn't know is a cat that can wear a crown and there that was securing it in place I never knew your cat would tolerate Clair's and I think printers it's remarkable don't you think yes tranquil and very beautiful good girl must be so strange being so my little deaf inside a pink rabbit hat it's hard to imagine the wild street cats of Cairo dressed like this and yet in both cities cats are revered like nowhere else lucky cat maneki-neko like a modern bastard is everywhere bringing blessings to the Japanese and if you look closely you'll notice a distinct similarity with another strangely familiar cat girlfriend visit Japan campaign little kitty like this with his own little kitty bag and with a good luck yes Hello Kitty everything just toys and little purses exercise books pencils pots things stop feelings dangly bits for children of all ages strange thing is going wrong with me because I really want this stuff and Hello Kitty is just the beginning thanks to the lucky cat mannequin echo Japan is filled with a positive energy of cuddly happy pussycat characters cat toys cat robots cat cartoons and is he based on maneki-neko yes I understand he was inspired good fortune but much sit looks like a cartoon character the real mannequin echo is not a toy its roots are powerful and old the stuff of samurai Lords and storms and it's a story which starts here in a quiet little Tokyo suburb setting for the serene and entirely unexpected Zen Buddhist temple of gosh coochie the true guardian of the lucky cat legend is the head priest have got Akagi in the grounds of the temple is a little shrine dedicated exclusively to maneki-neko oh so good and so this is the building that brings good fortune lovely the real Holy of Holies the lucky cat's altar is hidden inside the little temple cats cats cats the head priest explains how the legend first began over 350 years ago this was an impoverished very poor temple and there was just one monk here and he shared what little food he had with this cat and he said to the cat well one day I know you will bring us great fortune one day he heard a lot of noise and outside the gate and the cat was there beckoning these lords who were riding by on their horses the Lord too followed the cat's beckoning and just as they came in lightning struck the tree that they had been under so they would have been killed yes well that's what the Lord thought and he was very very grateful for the cat having invited him in it's a fabulous story you can see why the Japanese took machina code to their hearts always in the hope it would save them from disaster to look at these cats from all over Japan pilgrims travel here to seek the blessing of the lucky cat so many and some big and some tiny yes true devotees see the cat almost as a tiny incarnation of the Buddha a kind of mini God ready so worshipers would purchase these cats and then they would pray that they may meet good people in their lives when their wishes come true they will bring the cat back to the temple and offer thanks so these these cats have performed great service and all good news all happy wishes all happy wishes but even here in a country besotted with its lucky cats you can detect that familiar ancient legacy of fear and suspicion take the bullet train out of Tokyo and you enter an older more traditional Japan where sinister legends live on horrifying tales which speak of the bakken echo an evil monster cat in an old farmhouse curled up by the fire with a pair of rather unscary cats legend expert Akiko Munnabhai tells the tale of an evil pet cat that can change its shape once upon a time there was a family they loved the cat suddenly that cat was missing and wife's behavior became very strange she ate in her own room she taught the family don't don't don't look into my room when I'm reading but the husband peeked into her room she was eating the dead mice dead birds dead fish when the wife turned her face to the husband her face became the face of my job it turned out the cat had killed her and ate her up and pretended to be the wife Wow can you imagine being that husband living through as I and I think it's your wife let's got a cat face is it always women cats talent uh most of the cases are women because as a people thinks women are more cruel than man yeah it seems as such a contrast between the happy smiling cat who brings you love and luck and this darker side packing necro cat which turns into a monster it seems that even today we're not quite sure if cats and good or evil I know what I think but back in the West today cats are so spoiled it's easy to forget what a rotten time they've had of it in the past and what ridiculous superstitions we've linked to them real know about witches cats and black cats crossing your path but that's just the beginning back in the old days and they were routinely flinging cats out of belfry's these to say that a cat could suck the breath out of a sleeping baby and that to meet the warm brains of a cat would make you invisible they said that planting a live cat in your garden would keep down the weeds we've forgotten now but for hundreds of years we used to be terribly proud a cat's ever since the Pharaohs we've been unable to agree about cats and we still can't really decide whether to love them or loathe them pockets how could something so innocent and beautiful be so divisive one man who thinks he knows the answer is top feline expert Roger table Roger we've seen cats treated as gods and goddesses we've also seen them demonized and treated as the devil such extreme feelings to the cat why is that it's crazy isn't it but in reality they're just the flip sides of the same coin we recognize that there is something strange about that about them and at the same time you recognize they've deified it it's always the other worldliness and what is the other worldliness about the cat yes what when you look at them you've got a package it's a nocturnal lone hunter when you're dealing with an animal which is not a pack animal then you're dealing with an animal that doesn't like being told what to do with the dog you are either the boss or you are boss but with the cat it thinks it through for itself it's much more independent so we've always been a bit wary a bit distant we understand that they are somehow other somehow wild somehow strange the solitary hunter lurking within the irrepressible wild feline heart is that probably find cats both inspiring and perplexing if it's true then my challenge now is to meet the full force of that wild side face-to-face hidden deep in the jungles of Central America lives the ultimate mysterious solitary feline just like the cats of Egypt Europe and Japan the mighty Jaguar both transfixed and terrified an ancient civilization unfortunately this great cat is paying the ultimate price for our fear bro love elaborate rules and roll over cocker spaniels in the 21st century the cat is the new top dog globally there are now over 200 million of them living in our homes and yet on this journey I've learned just how deeply cats divide us it seems it's their solitary nature which is to blame but is this the same spirit our cats still share with their wild cousins the Mayan jungle in the heart of Central America is home to the world's most elusive big cat the ultimate solitary hunter centuries before the arrival of the domestic cat the Mayans worship the Jaguar with the self-same mixture of fear and adoration but actually finding man is a serious challenge if anyone can help me it's Mexico's top Jaguar conservationist Gerardo Servius before we begin scouring the jungle for this mysterious beast Hirata's brought me to an ancient ruin city to get a bird's-eye view of the enormity of our task so this is one of the like this one look at that it's immense especially if it brought me there it's like on Lao years of a mighty war calakmul once metropolis of 50,000 people flourished for over 500 years by 900 AD this civilization had collapsed and with it the cult of the Jaguar as the mayans abandoned their cities for good so Geraldo tell me about the cultural connection between the Mayan people in the Jaguar what Mayan mythology Jaguars were very powerful spirit living in the forest that could call you damaged on the one hand may hate the Jaguar because is killing the cattle and their goats but on their hand they really respected it's a mixture of like a mystical respect for us a lot of fear to the yahwah there must have been extraordinarily elusive to see because somebody said that seeing a Jagger is like seeing vapor like a mist you it'll staring at it mister and you don't know if you're seeing a jar you respect and fear it sounds so familiar that same ancient response to the cat mirrored here with America's top jungle predator Wow look at this I have regressive so everything is like a probably 1.5 million hectares go away forest but you can't see apart from these ancient pyramid sort of buildings this means it's not enough there's not a single person inside here in 360 degrees all the way around nothing not nothing it's dense forest now but a thousand years ago the Mayans destroyed their own way of life by greatly chopping down the precious trees they needed to sustain life this must have been strange a treeless metropolis exactly when the Mayas collapse he was more under local regional impact then lot of the species like the Jaguar they were able to move though their area where they were forests and survive what is happening today is that we're destroying all the forth you know so the yahwah is in danger and maybe even disappear ya know they've got nowhere to go Esaki I'll do whatever it takes to look one of these big cats in the eye to see if I recognize the wild heart that beats inside every domestic cat even if it means getting up at 3:00 in the morning we know less about the Jaguar then about almost any of the other big cats and that's because they're so hard to see and they're so very shy but this morning we're gonna have a very good shot at finding one we've got a bunch of dogs a bunch of men here to see if we get lucky in Klingon Gerardo and his team are on a mission to find and study as many wild Jaguar as possible and hopefully figure out why these great cats are dwindling so dangerously in number don't dog get excited before we go yeah early morning before the Sun rises is generally when Jaguars are most active and easiest to spot and even here nothing beats a dog when it comes to running down cats they're being tied by the chains into the back of the vehicle jump out they're peaceful and sweet and wagon they just look so friendly but I think that will change once we get on timing is everything there are just a few weeks every year at the height of the dry season when conditions are good for finding Jaguar too much rain and the jungle gets to flooded for tracking well the daylights up now so what do you think we are facing very cloudy so it's good it's overcast and then you mean oh very fast yeah you helped us to work with a longer time during the day because we don't have the pressure of the sound under those and the people are on the camera so I know it's perfect as a remote River crossing Gerardo decides it's time to begin tracking on foot I want to look around here yeah forest for the scent okay okay to see if we can pick it up okay hunter near water and amazingly jackieo is quite like swimming of all the big cat Jaguar sometimes Tigers there's a mist from the water which is like any domestic cat hates getting wet and yes in so many other ways Jaguars and domestic cats in fact all 38 members of the cat family are incredibly alike designed by nature as perfect killers razor teeth and claws hidden inside velvet paws so soft you'd never hear a thing until they were right on top of you they were a certain cowl and a bark really really really loud and they will release them and all of them will start to run and the gallery hopefully will climb up with the tree we will arrive and that it put it back here and then do all our work of measuring it and the forest and the forest for taking blood samples all kind of information that we need from that animal very ketchup yes after a few hours it becomes too bright and too hot and our chances of finding a Jaguar drop significantly there's no center very disappointing we don't have it around here apparently so we'll keep on trying to over to find it but for today at least the Jaguar hunt is over next morning were up again at the crack of dawn followed by several hours tracking through the forest but still nothing I'm starting to think Jaguars really are just misty vapors a feeling not held by some very unseasonal rains which fool every single day supposed to be the dry season is this climate change because it shouldn't be as wet as this no sugar no we have some unusual rains it's not actually typical that we have any rain after several days of searching I'm still no nearer my first Jaguar it seems my luck has run out I just can't believe it this is supposed to be the dry season it's turned out to be the rainiest of rainy seasons we've been going out with the dogs and tracking and waiting and looking into every possible thing you can eagle to peer not honest I put up once so we're just gonna call it a day feel straight you like England but my luck may be in after all it seems as another project not too far away that could help me see what I came here for we didn't manage to see any giant overflight companies where I know we'll see something rugby in the wild but the next best thing a hundred miles as the parrot flies in another part of the same Mayan jungle is Bowden Creek ecological preserve 13,000 acres of virgin rainforest saved from destruction over ten years ago by this man ken Karras this forest is home to around a hundred and fifty Jaguar yet in all years Ken's lived here he's hardly seen them very rarely will you see a Jaguar in the wild it's just just so difficult to see them they're ambush predators they wait they maneuver into position they pounce and strike and in one blow they've killed their prey they don't chase it they can't how can you chase something through thick jungle like that you can't it's a description which rings so many bells it could be any cat stalking a mouse or a sparrow a ruthless killer that can suddenly vanish without sound no wonder the ancient Americans saw the Jaguar as a magical creature tragically I now think seeing a Jaguar in the wild would require a small miracle but there are two Jaguars I can see six years ago Ken rescued a pair of Cubs from life in a zoo and brought them here to the harsh the jungle meet Bosh and shoe P Jaguars and brothers [Applause] so where were they born they were part of a captive breeding program and instead of going to a typical zoo in Mexico we decided to bring him here to help with getting people to understand conflicts with Jaguars in the area again there are going to be people who say huge cats like this shouldn't be kept in an enclosure really can't go into the wild can they know you know they would not be able to survive they don't know how to hunt some people might say well maybe we can train them like we train cheetahs or others to go back while but we don't know enough about them Jaguars are the least studied of all the cats because how do you study something you can't really find every day and you know what we really want people to understand is here's what they're like there's this great icon in and there they are out in the park yes and that forest is teeming with them but this is why you say that exactly I don't believe how beautiful that the darker the light the yin and the yang and here's Boston black is anything it's just dappled things and should be colored likes of sunlight in the dappled forest all the strength and majesty of these creatures you can exactly see why people would have thought they contain some godly power or indeed were gods themselves it's a pity these boys can't roam free in the jungle but what a privilege gazing into the remarkable eyes of the world's most elusive cat eyes which burn back with the same wild spirit I used to glimpse in my beloved be the same spirit you can still see in every cat alive today the mystery is why these stuffy little predators ever chose to move in with us I mean I know we feed them but they're naturally solitary then actually wild and they don't do as we tell them they're not obedient maybe that's what some people find so ghastly about them what so many millions more like me find so enchanting and adorable next time what happens when we do try to make cats conform to our world cats that perform tricks cats that wear neckties and false nails and the big cats that refuse to be tamed and whose future is now in danger [Applause] [Applause] [Applause] there are more pet cats in the world than ever before sensual cute enigmatic stealthy everyone of them working it's wild and ancient magic on our senses and yet as I've already found on this journey cats still perplex and divide us my quest to understand them has already taken me from a mysterious Egyptian tomb to a breathtaking encounter with the Lord of the Mayan jungle I've learned that inside every cat lurks the same Wild Hunter spirit and that's despite nearly four thousand years in our company but sadly man is notoriously bad at leaving nature alone and so I now want to know what we have done to the cat to mold it to our way of life and whether our meddling with nature has gone too far it's a question which will take me from a close encounter with the tongue of a cheetah they're beautiful they're loving roast meat to the cats who formed a rock band from the woman who knows how to talk to them we won't even know what to do with them she's just starting to speaking cat language to the tragedy of a leopard locked in a cupboard she put him in a closet and that's where he lived all day long and how he survived that I don't know I want to discover whether all is well with one of nature's most enduring partnerships between cat and man or of course woman [Applause] if you stop to think for a moment it's incredible that cats live with us at all under the genetic microscope they've barely changed from the wild solitary creatures that once roamed the Sahara back then there were no cat pack snow cat herds it was a true loner until it found us it is the weirdest of relationships I love them madly but I think we're killing ourselves we think the cats are remotely interested in what people want from them millions of us earn them but they're they're not really ours after all they don't really need us they could look after themselves if they had to but that doesn't mean we've stopped trying to master them which begs the question would a cat ever take orders from a mere human to answer that I'm in Chicago on a bitter winters day it's been said that cats are far too smart to do the dumb tricks we get dogs to do but whoever said that hadn't been to see one of Chicago's oddest cabaret turns a circus performed entirely by cats it looks as their preparations for today's show are already well underway for the record I usually have little time for performing animals any more than I have for zoos or wild animals in captivity but a cat circus intrigues me cats are so famously uncooperative I'm curious to know how ringmaster Samantha Martin persuades them to do anything at all you're getting started off the show yep big show today this is a white-faced listening to talking who's this this is tuna tuna she's the star of the show is she hey hi tuna don't know what makes tuna such a good cat the performances she's she's very consistent she has no fear issues whatsoever or some of the other cats some days they perform sometimes they don't that's free will you know we open up the cage if they don't come out that means they don't want to come out so we close the cage we move on to the next trick what tuna always wants to tuna wearing the boat yeah she's like attention attention go back to your life that's quiet it was just just so light on sweet cat Oh tunas brilliant she really is how do you get a cat to do it you want it to do I can see how giving his small small rewards but a lot of it has to do it definitely with a special treat you can train a cat to do just about anything you can train a God to do but then where a dog will just be like I don't care if I only have two breaths look whatever you whatever you want for me I'll give to you and cats are like you no I don't think so gods will work for a love for cats work more for even they want to pay off they want to see the contract up front they they're hard negotiators although your pets as well as your as well as your oh absolutely the cats all live with me I can see how many cats I have but you know how I'm saying I'm gonna stay that way do you think mr. right is waiting out there mr. cat right somehow I'm doubtful you know cuz not one guy has asked me out after the show and I mean I wear this sexy cat outfit I mean come on [Laughter] and they said cat circus I didn't know what to expect certainly nothing as much fun as this and this is like some dangerous quality will they won't they very exciting can't wait for softness before does it matter that your average cat won't fetch a stick or catch a ball no of course not to me this is much more impressive because cats only do the things they want to and that in my eyes is what makes them truly smart even so to learn the gang doing tricks is great for a cold Chicago afternoon but surely cats compared with dogs are a bit well a bit useless after all nobody ever saw a cat bring down an armed robber or guide a blind person across the street so what do cats do for us well we now know that cats do have an extraordinary power to help those in need and all they have to be is themselves I'm back in England at Manchester seashell trust school for children with severe disabilities most of the time these children struggle to communicate with the world around them but when a cat enters the room they blossom because neo is a pad cat that's pets as therapy in Britain there are now over a hundred therapy cats like Mia and the numbers growing all the time and you can feel lovely thrumming purse you got the cat neat see the enjoyment and lace is lighter when they have the animal zone it tends to snuggle in it's amazing most of the animals just know that they're dealing with children that have got special needs and they adapt to the situation really nicely and also there's some children that won't communicate with people so well and we'll torts or cats because they're non-judgmental and also for people who don't want to be touched it's nice for them to touch something as as soft and comforting as a cat yes I'm to be sat on I always feel thrilled when a cat comes and sits on my lap it's deeply moving to see how the warmth and softness of a cat consider such pleasure in these children thank you see watching a good boy good girl good cat does that make sense merchants a good surely anyone who's ever stroked a powering cat can understand this feline company can lower blood pressure improve your mood and bring companionship to the lonely and the sick but if cats can change our lives how have we changed theirs what price have they paid for our insatiable need to muck about with nature I mean this is really one of the strangest little beasts I've ever held on willow instead of us trying to redesign the cat perhaps we should try to understand how and why nature designed them in the first place so with my whiskers if I had whiskers as well I'd be fantastic cats our favorite 21st century companions but keeping a cat as personal stress buster is quite a recent thing for thousands of years we use them almost exclusively for one job and one job only pest controller and for that they were supremely designed by nature as one of the world's most efficient killing machines what is it that makes a cat a triumph of evolutionary engineering that's something I can now literally see for myself thanks to the pioneering work of scientist Alvaro Casa Nellie and his peculiar invention a cat's whiskers headset Laura will you explain this extraordinary headpiece well it's um it's a mask that gives you the ability to sense the space around you like having cat whiskers of course you don't see them because they are made of lights and motor vibrators so when something gets close to you you stop vibrating the closer you get the more by red chip first oh yeah that's right it looks a bit Hannibal Lecter yeah I like the look it's to be used in the dark so nobody will see you perfect that's okay that's beautiful so now we'll just switch on the motors are you ready to have superpowers okay okay oh yeah the mask is sending everything wirelessly to this computer so I try to approach your handle yeah how are you MA so this is taps essentially near your mouth oh how can I try it out well we will try that from the corridor a cat's whiskers are the most incredible bits of kit they're so sensitive to tiny air currents and electrical fields the cat can sense objects even without touching them and in total darkness now I'm going to find out what that feels like this is a very strange feeling so you're now you have to walk in front of you in the end of the corridor yeah okay so first whiskers aren't man let me switch the light off tell me when the lights off yeah off now back in the lab Alvaro monitors my every move I can't see a thing I can feel the buzzing right and I mustn't use my hands a temptation of course is to use our hands oh I can feel something very close to be there so away from that away from that but that's a big thing there I get away from that something that nothing here come on be bold Longley I can't tell you how frightening that says if you could hear my heart it's absolutely hammering at last its lights on and not a moment too soon you get lost you don't know where your direction where are you what is that who is that at all yeah also on the elevator you get stuck there and there I didn't go into the elevator – no none none yeah you went to the fourth fourth floor in dust get out a cup of coffee enough no change frightening it was it straight toward I've got a long way to go to be a cat of course when it's stalking a bird or a mouse a cat has plenty more weapons at its disposal not least of which is an incredible sense of sight from just tiny slits in the day to massive moon eyes at night your pet cat is a whopping six times more sensitive to light than you are and with the addition of a natty pair of light intensifying goggles now I will be to diminish your chest okay so it should be tell me how it feels that feels line of sight yeah that's good okay so I will produce switch the light off you see the light zone oh yeah it's too easy what about now oh no I can't move I don't see anything okay but I can okay now this is me walking with cats eyes as opposed to cat's whiskers I have no sense of distance but here I come look not touching the trees that's not bad is it oh this is fantastic so with my whiskers if I had whiskers as well I'd be fantastic and I've a feeling I even might look slightly like a cat do you feel that Wow that was extraordinary Alfre it doesn't really make you feel like a cat but maybe it doesn't but it makes me respect cats so much because of course they have all this absolutely inbuilt and they know exactly how early is it I was a complete beginner you know but they know perfectly so cats won't be needing this for a little while yet beautiful notice thank you for letting me try it out I think I think I'm just gonna look at any old mochi with such respect a cat's eyes and whiskers were fine-tuned by millions of years of evolution sadly the way some cats look today is the result of just a few generations of biological tampering by us there now around a hundred different breeds of cat fat ones skinny ones flat noses pointy heads big balls of fur or no fur at all but are they really all the product of our attempts to improve on nature with the aid of a few hand-picked pedigrees top cat biologist Roger Tabor explains it's strange looking around at all these cats Roger they're all well obviously very different did we breathe them all to look like this I have the simple answer is no natural selection has happened just as much as man's hand or woman's hand because a lot of breeders of women for example in a hot climate you will find by and large lighter cats slimmer carats with shorter coats when you move away to the chillier north there's this whole group of really heavy built long hair cats that evolved and then some of them of course we've changed ourselves but in a funny way they're all roughly the same size and yet dogs and I think things like a Chihuahua and a Great Dane why is there such a difference in the size of dogs and really not so much in the size of cats dogs are different because through the centuries dogs were selected for jobs so you had big dogs for doing big jobs and little dogs going for yappy down holes and things as opposed to ripping things apart we can't there has not been this selection pressure by us to get the animal working because all you really wanted them to do is to look after our grayned and absolutely mice and rats was out was our cat Tarragona may come as one size so as long as the car and therefore actual positive breeding in the way that we do it now is very recent we've been doing it to dogs for centuries and our cats are fast catching up by playing mix-and-match with genetics we're designing ever more exotic shapes and sizes but how far are we prepared to go for some of the world's strangest experiments incap genetics there's only one place to look America I'm heading for an encounter with a munchkin that's a cat in fact it's the feline equivalent of a dachshund and it's earned breeder Terry Harris a nickname in the world of pedigree cats meet the munchkin Queen so the first munchkin as far as as far as you know was a natural development in the cat it was just a cat which happened to have short legs is that right that's correct it's a naturally occurring spontaneous mutation yeah the gene that is responsible for the dwarfism shortens only the long bones in the leg it would be like from your elbow on down now this is a strange-looking little creature isn't it he is different looking from a cat isn't he he is a sphinx hybrid bred to a munchkin so he has no hair and very short legs I mean this is really one of the strangest little beasts I think I've ever held on my lap but of course it is Cassius he's not even got any whiskers no so this little person obviously goes about his life in a quite different way I'm starting to see why Terry's called the munchkin Queen it seems there's no combination too strange for her to try this is Maisie Maisie has three mutations she has the folded ear gene from the Scottish Fold yes she has the dwarfing gene from the munchkin and she has this wonderful curly coat from the Lupron cat yes even her whiskers of munchkin de Maisie look at those different ears this is sweet little sweet cat nari a lot of people would would say but cats are so beautiful in their original cat shape why would you want to make them have short legs well I am a neo file which means that I like things that are very different and non-traditional I just think that they're just adorable if they're comical they come in all different colors short hair long hair and just from the moment that I saw one I just had to have it this this mutation doesn't bring about any kind of illness does it no they're they don't have any limitations other than perhaps the distance that they can jump now I'm a short woman I can't jump as far as a tall woman but we don't nonetheless is it right do you think you're playing God if I felt that I was doing something wrong I would not do it I think that as long as the cats are healthy and happy there might be a little something for everybody I do worry that we're taking things too far if this is the dachshund cat water bath comes next a chihuahua cat a Great Dane cat his natures works so unsatisfactory that we must constantly meddle with it next stop the cat being made to look like a lion and the lion someone wanted to behave like a cat just living in a basement never happens people are extraordinary Los Angeles the home of the alternative lifestyle the world capital for lavishing more money than cents on your pet in LA people who want to design a lifestyle for their designer cat bring them here to the best little cat house if you're heading out of town on an all-expenses business trip why not give your cat the same five-star luxury accommodation under the eyes of manageress divinity Libby I'm Johanna nice to meet you can I have a little tour for sure hon in cats you know they have all these things to do they've got the fish we have all these catwalks up high they've got the outside now you get the texture that are sort of super and chef's your tiny cat sized people mm-hmm and do you come in here and play with them how do you entertain them yeah that's part of our service is making sure all the cats get a little bit of love you can see there's lots of toys and stuff you've done this beautifully you've taken such care thank you there's nothing sunny up here yeah upstairs are more lovely rooms this is certainly quite unlike any kateri I've ever seen before I only hope these cats appreciate all this finery as much as their owners – what is this armor yes that is a live cat cam so wherever you are in the world if you miss your cat you can log on and see what they're doing you can control the cam from you know Spain divinity also offers first-class feline grooming and she's about to show me LA's latest and hottest haircut for hip cats Romi and Romeo's the Himalayas so we're going to do Romi today in a LAN clip and you're gonna be doctor he ain't a man when he acts on time we won't even know what to do victim she's just starting to speaking cat language gosh I wonder if I had such a beautiful cat you know divinity I wouldn't I wouldn't have a clipping on this would you I think that coat looks up she's sublime personally if it was my cat I would leave it like this but some people they're highly highly allergic to their cats and that's the only way they can tolerate living with them maybe they shouldn't have cats if they can't cope with if Roma could speak I'm sure he wouldn't be begging to have his handsome coat Shaun off so when they're all done hmm they get a little grooming spray to make them smell wonderful and fresh and the boys get a little bowtie and the girls give it a look up anything to Romy's the little man at least hair can grow back unfortunately some people take much more radical steps to alter their cats you know some people get their cats declawed you don't believe in that – it's illegal in England it's trying to make it illegal here we actually and for a lot of our clients put on soft paws and that is they come in fashion color so this would just slip on like that and you glue it on Jeru it'll just attack just a drop of glue in the bottom then it doesn't it doesn't scratch right do you think we've gone mad do you divinity because these they certain to semi wild animals you noticed a lot of people otherwise or do you throw them or give them away or give them away you see we didn't like animals that don't fit into our way of life to anything and I think that that's what happens to people make a I didn't like that you've got a cat I didn't like the hair on it I didn't like the clothes on it I didn't like the weight this was that so I've had all that changed I've modified the cat I think people are very strange I've always loved the independence of cats surely it's that which makes them unique sadly today it seems that independence is the very thing some cat owners would like to eliminate by turning them into accessories and there are people for whom a domestic cat has not been enough people whose quest for a flashy status symbol means going bigger and better whatever the price hidden deep in the Californian Hills is a rescue sanctuary for the big cats that people mistakenly thought would make good pets lions tigers sadly misplaced beasts living out their days behind bars it's run by a woman associated more with wings than claws actress Tippi Hedren the star of Hitchcock's terrifying film the birds for the last 30 years Tippi has devoted her all to rescuing these poor beasts from abuse and neglect this is a very beautiful animal he's a liger his father was a lion lion his mother is a tigress and beautiful the hybrid girls to be you know a great deal larger than our than either than a lot knowing the tiger alright strong ass new beautiful thing he is immense the problem is that there are so many of these big cats born in captivity to be sold as pets it's in tens of thousands and the United States its permissions in the United States there are 20 states that have no laws whatsoever and you couldn't purchase this adorable darling little cub and you know by the time it's 7 months old it's destroying your house and taking a good chunk out of you they're trying to make a you know house getting out of it yes it never works nobody can keep a team tiger at her they will never became Tippy's sanctuary is home to 83 big cats that have never learned how to survive in the wild and every one of them comes with a tragic story look at this for a lion if he wasn't blinking you'd think he was muerto he looks completely out of it that is very very attractive Leo wouldn't Leo was living in a basement with a family and they had children and so no going outside for anything just living in a basement living in the basement people are extraordinary this beautiful black leopard was purchased in Texas for $6,000 and as he grew he was scratching the ladies satin sofas and chewing her Jimmy Choos shoes so she put him in a closet and that's where he lived all day long and finally they brought him in a zippered clothes bag in the trunk of their car I mean how he survived that I don't know it must be very difficult to know when to draw the line because you must want to rescue every animal in need but you've got a limited amount of space and a limited amount of money there's a lot of water yeah it's so huge that I can't even think about how we do it people say how do you do this how do you manage this whole thing because it's emotional it's maddening it's frustrating it's a constant worry of the 24/7 yeah it is 24/7 365 even celebrity pets are not immune when a certain superstars mansion hit the rocks these two beautiful Tigers ended up here without a single cent of support money or apparently even a phone call to see how they are there are some terribly sad stories which I brought these creatures have it now that they are here is this truly a sight trace the kind of Garden of Eden you've made of them here uh yes and it's a lot of work and a real labor of love for the Anna and I love these animals more than my next breath with you're not pets no that's true they're wild and you can't take that out of them man really can be very poor at knowing how to live with nature and yet we do have this ancient compulsion to share our homes with animals I'm visiting a cat rescue Sanctuary in South London to discover what happens when that compulsion gets out of hand this has expanded so much that I was actually essentially twice the time it's twice the size this wasn't it for the past 30 years my old friend and ex top model Celia Hammond has made it her mission to help cats in need yeah and these are what we call today's intake for surgery various you know nutrients and very so there's a lot to get through today do you get pedigree cats in here as well as unwanted so we often get me a huge bit particularly Persians because people can't be bothered to groom them they buy them as little cuddly babies and then when they grow up and need to be groomed they get fed up with it so they come in here completely knotted all their legs knotted together they can hardly walk some of them people don't realize how much work they are serious sanctuary can house up to 400 animals at any one time as well as a neutering program Celia aims to re-home as many unwanted cats as possible I find them completely bewitching and walking past the cages and there's little level eyes staring out you think I better just take some of these home weakening many of Celia's rescues are strays or abandoned cats but we're now on a different kind of mission sometimes the problem lies with cat lovers who simply don't know when to say no there is such a thing as too many cats where it's real hard work to try to persuade the people to get their pets a new church some people say I don't care what happens to other people's animals all I know is I want my cat had kittens but they're making the situation worse when the sermon was being put to sleep yes every day how can it be right to bring more into the world and when there's no phones what's here already we've come to meet Valerie whose collection of cats is not going down too well with the neighbors ballerina has 21 cats crammed into her tiny flat at the moment they all look clean and well-fed but without some drastic measures soon she won't be able to keep up and are they mostly related to each other yeah they're one big family well happy family but father look you absolutely love cats don't you where did you fall in love with cats can you remember I love cats from when I was a little girl really you know but I started off with one cat and my one cat had five kittens and I got that cat done that the kittens now I didn't know how young they had start off with having kittens and it's accumulated oozing this is like that thing about when I was going to some dive so I met a man with seven wives seven wives at seven cats or 77 cats at seven kids and suddenly it just goes a chanela for delay a lot so what do you what are you going to do again to get them new should yeah I will be getting the new year – I've got two new tiered already was it three the unseen is very helpful in that section there's we're gonna get down Valerie don't we yeah need to get at me they eat more than Maine I do sorry for myself in the supermarket well I'm not is all cat food Oh people don't think this and then I think Valerie simply hadn't realized how quickly the numbers would explode but for some people and strangely enough it's nearly always women compulsive cat hoarding is now a real and recognized clinical condition what's happening there canoodling down here they're not new already we've got to stop the canoodling eventually haven't we with two more of Valerie's cats off to be neutered hopefully this particular cat family will stop spiraling out of control it's alright darling we've been seduced by the cat by the untamed heart it shares with its big cousins it's a privilege to live side by side with them but with that comes responsibility and that's true whether they sleep on our surface or simply walk in our land next up the ultimate Wildcat country Namibia where I'm about to come face-to-face with a cat we're in danger of wiping off the face of this earth quietly cleanly and with great poise and self-assurance the cat has overtaken the dog as our favorite companion but for all our efforts to master and redesign them cats are still at heart as wild as they ever were when you compare them with their larger cousins you recognize the same predatory instincts that we watch with fascination in our back gardens the big differences our response to these cats all too often comes from the end of a gun but why for one cat especially the presence of humans is pushing it to the brink of extinction 3000 cheaters that's a quarter of the world's remaining cheetah population live right here on the open plains of Namibia this country is the frontline in a battle to save them and local conservationist Dave Houghton is a true veteran of the fight I'm heading skyward with Dave to get a clearer picture of the thing that's into the land Dave is the head honcho of Africa a charity that's fighting to save cheetahs from trigger-happy farmers rather than shooting or poisoning a predatory cat farmers can call Dave to trap it and bring it here to Africa it's 10,000 acres of protected bush I freaked out now feeds and cares for 84 rescued cheetahs that would otherwise have been killed and here are three of them Pippin measles and kenosis why do you think they have these gorgeous is it just a black mark what is it there's a Bushmen thankful her mother lost her babies and that's basically what's left over from the tears of her crying for her babies these three cats are now too old to hunt effectively in the wild but Dave's about to move them into a brand-new 120 acre camp where they can live out their days in peace Wildlife vet Mark Jago is on hand to give them a full medical okay you can go in there now I said one in the middle you see him now it's just wobbling a bit I just want to check for these down first first step to get this sleepy cat out of the hot Sun if I get the front yeah let me just pull him out a bit since I saw one wish there yeah after what for slyzer yeah if you call the base of the tail there yes and then put your other hand underneath under here under here yeah yeah okay yeah what I had no idea I'd be getting quite so close to a cheetah I hope you like flies I don't mind flies this is fantastic next we head off to the clinic for a full health check we're gonna start here with the odds check the eyes up make sure there's no injury and I think like that and you can see how the pupils are incredibly clear routes to make myself useful I've agreed to some heavy-duty grooming I thought I knew how to detangle cat fur but this is different completely at home I think I'm just combing a cheetahs tail respect is the first word that comes to mind in his criticism whenever possible africat releases rescued cheetahs weren't away from the farms where they were captured but sometimes the young the infer more in this case the elderly become too dependent on us to survive on their own in the wild which is such a shame natural life in capital so you can keep it green and healthy now I think it's something we've got to recognize that there you know as much as we try and improve the conditions in captivity what we really are working towards is looking at the animals healthy happy and conserved in the wild for that's where they should be it's reassuring to know there are projects like this but it's depressing to encounter yet one more example of mankind's inability to live and let live especially where cats concern once our three patients have recovered from their drugs it's time to release them into their new enclosure Dave's wife Carla lends a hand put my finger in the hole it's kind of quite frightening this is you put your fingers just there does this sort of excited head comes banging up and without being too a scaredy-cat you sort of think too old to hunt they may be but now Pippin measles and Colossus will have plenty of space and protection from the gun in another Africa enclosure I'm waiting for Dave and Karla who've promised me a special treat SiC pairings Pugsley and Gomez rescued as Tiny Cubs when their mother was killed by a farmer there was no choice but to rear these two stunning creatures by hand which has made them pretty much as tame as a cheetah is ever likely to be look at your eyes it's extraordinary part from everything being a slightly different scale I either per is four times larger and the limbs at X longer this so like domestic cats that are licking and flopping look you just loves that I'm incredibly privileged to be so close to these beautiful cats but it would be a mistake to think they make good pets this always remember that they're they're wild animals so really wild animals should stay in the world and not being somebody's flat in Bristol or something you know yeah it's not fair on the animal from style normally with some my own being looked at sheet it's just extraordinary it's just so good of him to come just like a cat but to do that graceful thing of welcoming a stranger this very nice I've seen and held and been licked by so many cats on this journey this cat is so much bigger but in a way it's no different from any of them the throbbing / soft fur needle-sharp teeth the faraway look in the eyes and the calm that comes from the presence of something so free and untamed just like our cats back home well it's been amazing seeing the big cats here utterly utterly thrilling and it just seems to me that we seem to have made our peace with domestic cats they've come down out of the wild and we know exactly how to live with them we love them dearly and they love us we haven't quite managed that with the wild cats with the big cats we've got to do that to conserve them after all all this all this was theirs before it was ours so we've got to learn how to share it I think hopefully the Namibian cheetahs will survive their domestic cousins meanwhile are in no such danger what a fascinating journey in their company from an Egyptian tomb to cats with short legs cats dressed as mice cats thrown off tall buildings cats simply too gorgeous to resist and cats in the Mayan jungles of Belize all the cats have met have shown the same wonderful sense of independence and I think to truly love these animals you've got to appreciate the wildness in them that free spirit which still burns so bright after nearly 4000 years in our company and more than anything else it's the untamed heart that bitches me makes me proud to be a cat woman [Applause] [Applause]

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