11 cute, cuddly titles for the whole family to stream
From internet-famous pooches to feline YouTube stars to two of the world’s most recognisable cartoon kitties from different generations, there’s something here for kids of all ages.
(Warning: if you don’t already own a pet, your kids will want their own fur baby after watching these titles. Adopt responsibly.)
A Dog For Life (Netflix)
This 13-part docu-series made in Cape Town is a good place to begin if you’re thinking about adopting or rescuing a dog. They’re looking for furever homes, so think carefully before you take one in. This series matches dogs with the perfect owners and best friends for life. They’re not always the prettiest but their hearts are full of love – and that goes for both the humans and the pets.
A Dog’s Journey (Showmax)
The sequel to A Dog’s Purpose (Netflix) in which a dog explores his reincarnated lives through his humans, this one picks up “where Purpose left off, dropping us on a tranquil Midwestern farm ran by the impossibly wholesome couple Ethan (Dennis Quaid) and his wife Hannah (Marg Helgenberger). Their carefree ‘Boss Dog’ Bailey, a handsome Great Pyrenees Bernese Mountain Dog, runs around the picturesque fields and happily chases his own tail, while keeping a watchful eye on Ethan and Hannah’s baby granddaughter CJ,” rogerebert.com describes. Because the premise is based on the Buddhist principle of death and rebirth, please be aware that dogs die in both these films.
The 2018 film is an update on the 1974 original of the same name. “It’s still about an adorable stray dog who’s almost adopted by two kids until a reluctant parent disappoints them, and the kids are still abducted by sketchy criminals,” says Common Sense Media. Perhaps a sad sign of the times is that this time those criminals are seriously scary instead of comical buffoons. The dog is the hero, of course.
Cat People (Netflix)
Along with Season 2 of Dogs also on Netflix, this new series comes from executive producer Glen Zipper, who felt the pressure to make a show about the importance of cats to accompany the stories of “man’s” best friend, says Variety. Cat People ranges from the YouTube sensation Wakuneco, who makes realistic 3D felt cat portraits, to the feral cat colony on the Greek island of Syros, while Dogs has an episode about the NASA astronaut Leland Melvin whose official staff photo with his two dogs went viral.
Here Comes Garfield (Showmax)
The original fat cat, cool cat, lasagne-eating nap-attacking, Monday-hating cynical orange Garfleld was created by Jim Davis as a newspaper comic strip in 1976; by 2013 Garfield had a Guinness World Record for the most syndicated comic strip. Showmax is home to his antics with the original animated series as well as Garflied & Friends, Garfield in Paradise, Garfield’s Pet Force, A Garfield Christmas, and Garfield’s Halloween Adventure.
Kitty Love: An Homage to Cats (Netflix)
Famous Dutch cat Abatutu shares his insights on being a movie star who came from humble beginnings, and introduces a string of internet and YouTube video clips of cats being their most adorable. “News snippets reporting on Abatutu’s fame confirm his claims of local renown, but most of this is devoted to ordinary videos made by cat lovers everywhere,” says Common Sense Media. The overall critics’ consensus (which is accurate) is that it’s for younger viewers and the cat-obsessed.
Pup Academy (Netflix)
A live action Disney series, Pup Academy is set in an alternative universe where puppies learn how to grow up to be good boys and girls. It’s sweet and magical, as Film Daily says: “Pup Academy is a show about the bond between human and pup. Dog being man’s best friend has never seemed more important than in this show. In light of the downer days of quarantine, we all could use a fluffy pick-me-up, even if you’re not of the offspring-having variety of human.”
Puss in Boots and The Adventures of Puss In Boots (Netflix)
When it came out 20 years ago (gasp!) Shrek was groundbreaking; it spawned sequels, prequels and spinoffs galore – Netflix has seven titles including the original, among them, starring titles for Puss In Boots (voiced by Antonio Banderas). The first film showcases Puss’s adventures before his first appearance in Shrek 2, and The Adventures of Puss in Boots comprises six seasons and 77 episodes of escapades, with Eric Bauza replacing Banderas.
Show Dogs (Showmax)
Talking dogs will probably never go out of style, nor will cops with smart talking canines as partners. The cast is impressive: Will Arnett, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Natasha Lyonne, Jordin Sparks, Gabriel Iglesias, Shaquille O’Neal, Alan Cumming, and Stanley Tucci but the target audience of children won’t care about any of that. They’ll love the rest of it as Arnett’s detective character goes undercover with his K9 (voiced by Ludacris) to find a kidnapped baby panda, taking place against the backdrop and smokescreen of a dog show.
The Dog Who Saved Summer (Showmax)
Zeus (voiced by Mario Lopez) is a former police dog who makes some unfortunate life choices that see him being sent to obedience school. Add in a planned diamond heist, some cute kids, and the threat of being sent to the pound, and you have the formula for a wholesome family movie. It’s a sequel to The Dog Who Saved Easter, which is on Netflix.
Think Like A Dog (Showmax)
A boy who accidentally discovers he’s created an apparatus that allows him to hear his dog’s thoughts brings a sci-fi element to this movie. “Think Like A Dog is a fun film which continues to move at a brisk pace,” says Blazing Minds. Look out for an appearance by Kunal Nayyar, who you’ll know best as Raj in The Big Bang Theory. The parents are played by Josh Duhamel and Megan Fox, who are both in the Transformers franchise on Showmax.