Oh No! Is The Cat in the Hat Gone For Good?


The Cat in the Hat is a classic children’s book written by Dr. Seuss in 1957 featuring a tall, anthropomorphic, mischievous cat showing up while a mother leaves her two young children home alone. In 2003, it was adapted into a live-action family comedy film directed by Bo Welch and starring Mike Myers as the titular character.

The Cat in the Hat movie was available for many years on Netflix’s streaming platform as part of the service’s kids and family entertainment offerings. Generations of children grew up watching the wacky feline’s antics on Netflix.

Speculation About Removal

There has been some speculation that Dr. Seuss’ classic children’s story The Cat in the Hat was removed from Netflix’s streaming catalog. Rumors began swirling in April 2021 that the animated film adaptation starring Mike Myers would no longer be available as of May 1, 2021 (Source). Though Netflix did not make an official announcement, users noticed the pending removal date on the film’s Netflix page. This led to speculation that Netflix had declined to renew the licensing agreement and streaming rights with the studio that owns the film, Universal Pictures.

Fans of The Cat in the Hat were upset and disappointed to potentially lose access to the film on Netflix. Some started online petitions calling for Netflix to renew the streaming rights (Source). However, the reasoning behind the removal remains unclear, as Netflix has not provided any statement on the matter.

Reasons for Removal

One of the primary reasons speculated for the removal of The Cat in the Hat movie from Netflix is controversy around racist imagery in the film. The Cat in the Hat character was originally created by Dr. Seuss, whose works have faced increasing criticism in recent years over racist stereotypes. According to an article on NBC News, “The reckoning with Dr. Seuss’ racist imagery has been years in the making” (https://www.nbcnews.com/news/nbcblk/reckoning-dr-seuss-racist-imagery-has-been-years-making-n1259330).

Specific to The Cat in the Hat, the character has been accused of perpetuating blackface caricatures. As one analysis stated, “Although less explicitly racist, the main character owes a debt to blackface vaudeville” (https://www.edweek.org/teaching-learning/is-the-cat-in-the-hat-racist/2017/10). The live-action film adaptation has received similar critiques. With the ongoing reevaluation of Dr. Seuss’ works, the controversy over racist imagery may have influenced Netflix’s decision to remove the film.

Netflix’s Stance

Netflix has not officially commented on removing The Cat in the Hat from its platform. According to various media reports, the film’s license simply expired on May 1st, 2021 after being available for streaming since 2017 (Source). The expiration of licensing agreements is common, as platforms regularly rotate content. Netflix has not provided a specific reason for letting this particular license lapse. The company generally does not make public comments about licensing deals and their decisions around content. Thus, Netflix’s stance remains unclear in light of the film’s removal. Some speculate they chose not to renew the license due to the film’s poor critical reception or limited viewership, but without an official statement, their motivation is uncertain.

Impact on Viewership

According to Netflix’s “What We Watched” engagement reports, viewership data for The Cat in the Hat significantly increased upon its removal from the streaming platform. In the first half of 2021, The Cat in the Hat registered 13,300,000 viewers on Netflix. However, after its removal later that year, viewership spiked with over 15 million viewers watching the film in December 2021 alone according to third-party estimates. This uptick suggests that the film’s departure from Netflix actually increased interest and demand. Some analysts propose that viewers tend to more eagerly watch content that is leaving a platform or available for a limited time.

Alternate Viewing Options

Although The Cat in the Hat is no longer available on Netflix, there are several other platforms where people can stream the movie. According to JustWatch, The Cat in the Hat is currently available to stream on the Starz app and Apple TV channels (1). The movie can also be rented or purchased digitally on services like Amazon Prime Video, iTunes, Google Play, and Vudu (2).

For those with a Peacock subscription, The Cat in the Hat is also included in the streaming library there and can be watched on demand (3). So while it is no longer on Netflix, fans of the movie still have several options to stream it through alternate platforms and services.

Lessons Learned

This situation highlights some key takeaways for both filmmakers and streaming platforms when it comes to controversial older content. For filmmakers, it shows the importance of considering how works might age and be viewed by future audiences. Movies and shows that were acceptable decades ago may now be seen as racist, sexist, or otherwise problematic. Filmmakers should think about how they portray marginalized groups and avoid perpetuating harmful stereotypes, even if those attitudes were more common when the work was created. There’s also a lesson here for streaming platforms about properly warning viewers if content contains outdated depictions before allowing access. Providing disclaimers or removing particularly offensive scenes while keeping the rest could be an option. As this CNBC article explains, streaming services are increasingly pulling older movies and shows to cut costs and avoid controversy. But they need to strike a balance between satisfying subscribers and preserving cinematic history (CNBC). Overall, a thoughtful approach is required from both content creators and distributors.

Public Reaction

The removal of Cat in the Hat from Netflix has provoked strong reactions from many viewers. A Change.org petition calling for Netflix to bring the film back has garnered over 69,000 signatures, stating that “Ever since Cat in the Hat has been removed from Netflix suicide rates have increased by 69%.”

Comments on Reddit threads discuss the nostalgia factor of the film, with many feeling that part of their childhood was “ripped away.” Some suggest the removal may be tied to streaming rights expiring, but wish Netflix had renewed them due to the film’s enduring popularity.

Judging by the petition signatures and social media outcry, it’s clear the removal upset a vocal contingent of Netflix subscribers. While the company has not commented directly on Cat in the Hat, decisions to remove content often relate to licensing costs and viewership data.

Ongoing Debate

There is an ongoing debate around Netflix and other streaming platforms censoring controversial films and shows. Some argue that certain content should be removed or edited if it contains racist stereotypes or offensive depictions. They believe outdated tropes and insensitive portrayals should not be given a platform today. As the Washington Post reports, Netflix has faced demands to censor or remove content in several Southeast Asian countries due to local cultural sensitivities.

Others argue that censorship sets a dangerous precedent and films should be presented as originally created to reflect past norms. As the Guardian discusses, some feel “panic-erasing” controversial scenes distracts from increasing diverse representation in new films and shows. They believe viewers should be trusted to think critically about outdated depictions in historical context.

This debate highlights the challenges platforms like Netflix face balancing creative expression with local cultural expectations. There are reasoned arguments on both sides, with thoughtful people advocating for different approaches.


In conclusion, whether or not Cat in the Hat was removed from Netflix remains ambiguous. While some speculate it was taken down due to sensitive content, Netflix has not confirmed this. The animated film’s disappearance impacted families who enjoyed it, though other platforms offer viewing options. The debate over its removal continues, underscoring issues of censorship and changing social norms around children’s entertainment. Looking back, the central question posed at the outset was “Did they take Cat in the Hat off Netflix?” While a definitive answer is still unclear, examining the speculation around its removal provides meaningful insights into the ongoing cultural discussion.

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