When Netflix released Don’t F*ck With Cats in 2019, viewers got way more than they bargained for. Though the title makes it seem like the series could be a reality TV show about moody felines, it’s much darker than that. The true crime documentary tells the story of convicted killer Luka Magnotta and how his alleged crimes quickly escalated from animal abuse to murder. For fans of the show who’d rather not rewatch the graphic three-part series (or just need a break in between marathons), here are 10 other crime shows similar to Don’t F*ck With Cats to watch now.
Despite its gruesome and potentially triggering content, Don’t F*ck With Cats became an instant hit, drawing in viewers to its gruesome depiction of Magnotta’s story. In 2012, Magnotta lured Chinese engineering student Lin Jun to his Montreal apartment and then killed him. Magnotta was convicted of first-degree murder in 2014. But before all this, he allegedly posted graphic videos of himself viciously murdering kittens... yes, you read that right. The series depicts how concerned citizens and internet sleuths Deanna Thompson and John Green were able to pinpoint Magnotta’s location through his videos and social media posts, leading to his arrest. For viewers who want the same drama and intrigue of Don’t F*ck with Cats but would rather not hear the story of cute, innocent kittens harmed again, there are plenty of other options.
1. Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez
When Aaron Hernandez was arrested for murder, fans were shocked. What followed was even more shocking: The former NFL player was charged with first-degree murder for the death of Odin Lloyd in 2013 and was sentenced to life in prison in April 2015. He also faced charges in an unrelated 2012 double homicide case that he was eventually found not guilty of. Then, in April 2017, he was found dead in his prison cell — the death was ruled a suicide.
A CT scan after his death revealed the 27-year-old had a severe case of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative brain disease. The condition is an unfortunate reality for many football players. This Netflix documentary takes a deep dive into Hernandez’s life, piecing together how his past may have played a role in his alleged murders and the end of his life.
2. The Housewife and the Hustler
Season 11 of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills is currently airing on Bravo, and one housewife is struggling in the hot seat. Erika Girardi has been in the news a lot lately because of her divorce from her ex, Tom Girardi, the famous lawyer who was recently accused of stealing money from his clients. Erika was also named in the lawsuit, though she denies being involved in her husband’s business dealings. This ABC Original news special, streaming on Hulu, investigates the lawsuit filed against the former couple.
3. Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel
When Elisa Lam was found dead inside a water tank in the Cecil Hotel in Los Angeles, nothing about her death seemed to make any sense. After the LAPD released a video of Lam’s final hours, her case quickly blew up on the internet as the footage showed the 21-year-old acting incredibly strange while inside an elevator. This Netflix documentary investigates what really happened to Lam, while also highlighting the way the internet sensationalized her case.
4. Heaven’s Gate: The Cult of Cults
On Wednesday, March 26, 1997, 39 individuals were found dead inside a mansion in an exclusive San Diego suburb. Soon, word got out that it was a mass suicide and every single person was a member of the group known as Heaven’s Gate. Reportedly, they all had planned their deaths and believed they were going to “the next level” to meet their former leader, Bonnie Nettles, also known as Di, who had died years earlier.
This HBO Max documentary series explores the cult, talking to former members and relatives of the deceased. It also takes a deep dive into the group’s leaders, Do and Di.
5. Unsolved Mysteries
Arguably the OG true crime show, airing from 1987 to 2002, Unsolved Mysteries received the reboot treatment by Netflix in 2020. Though it didn’t include all the aspects of the beloved original, like Robert Stack in his iconic trench coat, the reboot was a huge hit with fans as it explored a variety of cases, including murders, potential UFO abductions, and eerie natural disasters.
6. The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez
Netflix’s The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez is a sobering watch. The documentary series examines the life of Gabriel Fernandez, an eight-year-old boy who was killed by his mother and her boyfriend. Though Fernandez had a case open with the Los Angeles Department of Child and Family Services and his own social worker, he fell through the cracks, ultimately resulting in years of abuse and his eventual death. Documentarian Brian Knappenberger examines Fernandez’s home life while also scrutinizing the many systematic failures that led to the tragedy.
7. Surviving R. Kelly
Rumors and allegations of R. Kelly and his inappropriate relationships have been floating around in the press for a long time, and in 2019 the musician was finally indicted for allegations of child pornography, kidnapping, obstruction of justice, and trafficking minors and women for sexual purposes, among other charges. (Kelly has pleaded not guilty to all charges.) Though his trial faced multiple delays, it is officially underway in Brooklyn. In this 2019 Lifetime documentary, survivors of Kelly and his abuse openly discussed the mental and physical trauma they endured. Surviving R. Kelly can be watched on Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime.
8. Night Stalker: The Hunt for a Serial Killer
One of Netflix’s creepier true crime series, Night Stalker recounts Richard Ramirez’s reign of terror in southern California during the 1980s. Dubbed the Night Stalker because of his adeptness when breaking and entering, Ramirez brutally raped, murdered, and burglarized dozens of individuals before finally getting caught in 1985.
9. Allen V. Farrow
Once considered a member of Hollywood's upper echelon, director Woody Allen fell from grace after he was accused of molesting and sexually assaulting his step-daughter, Dylan Farrow. (Allen has denied these allegations.) This HBO doc recounts the dynamics between Allen and his former partner, actor Mia Farrow, and explains how their once tight-knit family splintered. The series also follows Dylan’s perspective as she describes her childhood and what life was really like with Allen.
10. The Vow
Purporting to be a self-help group, NXIVM was revealed to be a cult that routinely abused and mistreated its members. In October 2020, NXIVM founder Keith Raniere was charged with sex trafficking and forced labor conspiracy, among other crimes, and was sentenced to life in prison for 120 years. (He maintains his innocence.) His accomplice, actor Allison Mack, was also charged for sex trafficking, sex trafficking conspiracy, and forced labor conspiracy. Although she originally pled not guilty, she later pled guilty to racketeering and racketeering conspiracy in 2019; she was sentenced to three years in prison in 2021. However, HBO’s The Vow chooses not to sensationalize the individuals at the heart of the story. Instead, it gives a very raw look into the group’s members and describes how things took a turn for the worse.