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Title: The Cat - Its Natural History; Domestic Varieties; Management and Treatment
Author: Rule, Philip M.
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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[Illustration: WHITE CAT AND KITTENS.]







  Butler & Tanner,
  The Selwood Printing Works,
  Frome, and London.







    GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS                        1


    GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS (_continued_)         10


    FOOD                                          31




    DOMESTIC VARIETIES                            58


    ON THE DISEASES OF CATS                       80


    ON THE DISEASES OF CATS (_continued_)        102

  ESSAY ON FELINE INSTINCT                       133


Before sending forth this little book, I consider it my duty to request
the attention of the patient reader to a few introductory and explanatory
remarks. During some portion of the past year I contributed a series of
short papers upon the cat to that most admirable monthly _The Animal
World_. Through the kind and hearty manner in which the Editor brought the
papers out from month to month, and also by the expressed desire of many
friends, I have been encouraged to reproduce the papers in the present
form. Some slight revision has, of course, been found necessary; but very
little addition has been made, it being my desire to produce a small and
attractive volume, with the hope that it may reach to many homes where the
hints it contains can perhaps be of some practical service. Nevertheless,
I hope there may be found enough interesting or instructive matter to
excite in the mind and heart of some a deeper interest in or regard for an
animal that too often is esteemed worthy of but slight attention.

I am indebted to Mr. Harrison Weir for his kindness in supplying me with a
few particulars connected with the organization of the first Cat Show,
held at the Crystal Palace, in 1871.

In the last chapter the reader will see that I have made several
quotations, somewhat at length: I have done so with the very kind and
ready permission of the writer, MR. HAROLD LEENEY, M.R.C.V.S.






The origin of the domestic cat (_Felis domestica_) is a subject about
which there has been much conjecture and scientific discussion, but
without any positive issue. Very long before the cat was kept in this
country as a domesticated animal it was possessed by the ancient Egyptians
in a tame state, and was, moreover, held in reverence by that remarkable
and superstitious people, being regarded sacred to the goddess Pasht. At
death the body was embalmed with devout care, and specimens of cat mummies
may be seen in the British Museum. The Egyptian cat (_Felis maniculata_)
may, however, be regarded as probably the original source of our familiar
puss. This wild cat is of a sandy-grey or tawny colour, and with more or
less indistinct markings of the tabby character. It is of about ordinary
size; the tail is in form somewhat like that of most of our cats, and the
ears are largish and pointed in a slightly lynx-like fashion. It is
supposed that domesticated animals spread from Egypt with the tide of
civilization westward. I may here notice that, unlike the dog, the cat
has never been tamed by the savage races of mankind. But by the
civilized, or even the semi-civilized, peoples of the world the cat is at
the present day more or less valued as a useful mouser or as a cherished
household pet. It is remarkable that at a time when the wild cat (_Felis
catus_) was very abundant in England, the house-cat was unknown. It was
evidently an animal of foreign importation, and so highly valued as a
mouser as to have been protected by royal statute. The earliest record of
the tame cat in this country is as remote as A.D. 948. Prince Howel Dda,
or Howel the Good, enforced the very just but primitive fine of a milch
ewe, its fleece and lamb, or as much wheat from the destroyer or robber
of a cat at the Royal granary as would cover it to the tip of the tail,
the animal being suspended by that member, with the head only touching the

As the domestic cat in different parts of the world will breed
occasionally with the wild races of the locality, and as cats are conveyed
from country to country, it is probable that our cats are of somewhat
compound pedigree. It is considered probable that our fine English tabbies
have a trace of the British wild-cat blood in their veins, although it may
be obscure. The domestic cat is not regarded in zoology as the typical
form to represent the beautiful group known as the _Felidæ_, or the cat
family, as might naturally be supposed; and it might have justly been so.
But the animal chosen as the generic example is the common wild cat, and
therefore known in science as _Felis catus_, _felis_ being the generic
title and _catus_ the specific name, which every reader will understand to
signify cat. It will be beyond the scope and aim of this chapter to
describe all the known distinct species of wild cat. In describing the
true cats, such as the Pampas cat, or the Colocolo of America, the Chaus,
or the Serval of Africa, the Viverrine, or the Leopard cat of India, our
subject would lead us on from these and other "tiger cats," as the Ocelot,
and the Riman-Dahan, without power to define a clear line of distinction,
up to the leopards, and finally to the "King of Beasts" himself. Of all
these _Felidæ_ there are upwards of half a hundred distinct species known,
to say nothing of the permanent varieties--which, with regard to domestic
animals, are termed "breeds"--and the casual "sports," and variations of
colour, etc. But the true wild cat (_Felis catus_) is deserving of notice,
being the only form that is a native of this country, and often termed by
us the British wild cat, although now almost totally extinct on our
island. Its last haunt here is in the remote parts of Scotland; and so
scarce has it become, that its existence, even there, is now somewhat
doubtful. But it is still now to be found, with but slight local
variations, on the continent of Europe and Northern Asia, and is,
therefore, also known as the European wild cat. It is not found very far
north, and neither in Norway nor Sweden; there the lynx reigns supreme.
The wild cat is a fine animal, of larger growth than the cat of our
familiar acquaintance, and stands tall. It is a strong, muscular,
well-built cat,--a perfect tabby,--and so fierce an animal as to have been
justly termed the "British Tiger." An adult male measures about
twenty-eight inches in length from the nose to the root of the tail, and
the tail is about thirteen inches, which is proportionately short, and it
does not taper at the end, as does that of our domestic cats, but is about
the same thickness throughout, resembling somewhat that of the Serval.
When the animal is excited, and the tail enlarges, after the manner of all
cats, it presents a splendid brush.

[Illustration: WILD CAT.]

In country places, where rabbits are abundant,--and, we may add, the
smaller, but not less destructive, rodents, and a variety of feathered
game,--the barn-door cat is sometimes tempted to abscond and take to a
romantic and semi-wild life in the woods. Kittens born of such parents
have no desire for the domestic hearth, and are wild and suspicions to a
degree. Were it not for the vigilance and unremitting persecution of
gamekeepers and others, which has robbed our land of the noble _Felis
catus_, in common with many other rare and interesting creatures, it is
probable that but very few consecutive generations would suffice to
produce a truly wild race.




A short time ago I had two kittens which were born in the Zoological
Gardens, Regent's Park, and bred between the domestic tortoiseshell and
the British wild cat, that have for several years occupied together a cage
in the winter aviary. This crescent-shaped row of cages, although
originally an aviary, has for some years been occupied by animals of a
decidedly bird-fancying character. There the animals in question may have
been seen, and in an adjoining cage a specimen of the Viverrine cat--so
named from the somewhat civet-like form of the muzzle. But it is a true
cat, every inch, and bears every cat in countenance by its love of fish.
Being most unusually adroit at capturing fish from shallow water, it is
commonly named the Fishing Cat. The specimen I allude to was brought from
India by the Prince of Wales, and graciously presented to the Zoological
Society. These cages contain also other animals of interest, such as the
Civet, Poradoxure, etc.[1] But to return to the kittens. When only able
to crawl, as I examined the litter, the little things spat most
vigorously, for probably they had not before seen anybody in the cage
except their keeper. The two I selected were a red tabby and a
tortoiseshell. The red tabby was a male, as red tabby cats generally are,
and he decidedly resembled his father, if not in colour, in disposition
and temperament. I took them from the litter at the early age of nearly
seven weeks. The contrast between their behaviour and that of tame kittens
was most remarkable. At the slightest surprise or displeasure they would
spit with wide-open mouth and a display of ivory fangs in a most
threatening manner. When I gave them milk, they would in a very unpolite
fashion growl together. They never ate near each other, but pouncing upon
their meat and carrying it to a far corner apart, would growl in a most
warning tone, and answer back again and again till the last morsel should
be consumed. On one occasion they had quite a desperate tug of war over
the same piece of meat, and it was with some difficulty that I could part
them, for fear of using too much force and hurting their young teeth. But
when not feeding, the tortoiseshell became not only docile, but most
affectionate and pleasing, in her little ways. She would fondle and purr
in a manner that won the affection of my heart. On the other hand, the
tabby was, at the best, passively composed, but always watchful, and never
certain in mood. I can hardly say which of the two I prized most. In the
one I admired the manifestations of its inborn nature, and would on no
account check or discourage such signs of high blood. Towards the other I
felt there was a mutual and spiritual bond of affection, which I can
better conceive than describe. Dryden's lines upon a tame leopard express
very nearly my feelings respecting these two little beasts (see page 21).
Unfortunately, the kittens died very suddenly, and at the same hour, after
a short career of three months. There is reason to suspect that poison was
the cause of their untimely end. Nothing now remains but the stuffed
skins, mounted in admirable style, under a glass case.

Probably the veneration with which the Egyptians regarded the cat was in
no way diminished by the probable utility of their revered favourites in
keeping under the increase of such remarkably prolific and fast-growing
rodents as are mice and rats; and it is reasonable to suppose these little
animals must have been harmful in the vast stores of grain which are
recorded in ancient history. Pussy's valuable qualities as a mouser are to
the present day too well known to need much comment. A friend of mine told
me the other day that once, when he removed to another house, and had
also deposited his favourite cat, with the usual precaution of buttering
paws, and consolation of a more solid nature in addition, the servant, on
entering the kitchen in the morning, found fourteen mice lying dead on the
hearth-rug, most of them decapitated. The usual preference which cats have
for the heads of their prey is remarkable, and has been noticed in both
tame and wild animals. One of the most noticeable characteristics of the
cat kind is the silent tread. Even the footfall of the huge tigers, as
they pace to and fro in their roomy cages or in their open-air enclosures
at the Zoological Gardens is hardly to be heard. For not only is the cat a
digitigrade animal, walking absolutely "tiptoe" in the most perfect
manner, but the toes are furnished with a most elastic membrane,
constituting what are commonly called pussy's "pads." She is thus enabled
to skulk stealthily in search of her desired prey, and can on all
occasions move with that unobtrusive grace and silent ease peculiarly
characteristic of her race. The retractile construction of the peculiarity
sharp claws is also a beautiful adaptation to the requirements of these
Nimrods of creation. Generally these useful weapons are held back, nicely
sheathed and safe from harm. They are readily, however, protruded at will
when required for offensive or defensive service, in holding secure an
unfortunate victim, or as hooks to assist in climbing trees, etc. The
senses of the cat are all highly developed. That of hearing is most acute.
The sense of smell is not so acute as in the dog and some other
animals--at least, it is assumed so; but it is quite evident that the ear
and the eye are put to the best service by the cat. But dirt and bad
smells are much disliked, while, on the other hand, there is a remarkable
partiality for some smells. Cats appear to enjoy the perfume of many
flowers, and their fondness for the odour of cat-mint or valerian is
remarkable. As may be noticed by the prompt, unerring manner in which a
cat will dart at a mouse or any small moving object in almost total
darkness, she has the power to see near objects without the light required
by ourselves and most animals. Absolutely total darkness is evidently not
advantageous to pussy's vision, and the assertion that the cat can see
better in the dark must not be regarded in an abstract, but in a
comparative, sense. The pupil of the eye has the round shape, as in
ourselves, only during darkness, when it is dilated so as to receive every
ray of light available. By day, on the other hand, when there is more
light than the eye requires, the pupil contracts to an ellipse, or, in the
strongest light, to a mere line. This peculiarity is absent in the lion
and tiger and a few others. A peculiarity in the cat and some other
animals may be noticed in the highly-developed bristles, commonly called
"whiskers," but more appropriately termed "feelers." These are not, as
some may suppose, only common hairs of larger growth, but are deeply
implanted, having large swollen roots, somewhat in the form of young
onions, and are connected with highly sensitive nerves which communicate
with the brain. By means of these bristles the cat is enabled to feel its
way the more stealthily, avoiding the clumsy disturbance of surrounding
objects that might impede its progress.

It will be seen by the foregoing brief description of its leading physical
characteristics that the cat is, of all animals, the most perfectly and
beautifully formed for the fulfilments of the instincts and requirements
of its nature. The silent, soft tread of the velvet paw, with the finely
pointed and carefully preserved claws, the terrible fangs, the keen eye,
and the light, easy, soft, yet powerful and unerring, action of the whole
body--all these render the cats, from the great Bengal tiger downwards,
the most charming and graceful creatures in animated nature.

  The panther, sure the noblest next the hind,
  And fairest creature of the spotted kind;
  Oh, could her inborn stains be washed away,
  She were too good to be a beast of prey!
  How can I praise or blame, and not offend,
  Or how divide the frailty from the friend?
  Her faults and virtues lie so mixed that she
  Nor wholly stands condemned, nor wholly free.

But there is yet another physical peculiarity worthy of passing notice;
viz., the remarkably loose skin. This is connected with the flesh by a
layer of very loose fibres. The cat's loose skin serves her well on many
occasions as a shield of protection, especially when scuffling with her
neighbours--an occurrence which will sometimes take place. This
peculiarity may be occasionally seen well exhibited in the jaguars and
other great cats at the Zoological Gardens, more especially when they are
young and sportive. To see the powerful manner in which these animals
embrace each other with their great hooked claws may cause some
apprehension that serious consequences are about to result. If the skin
were tightly fitted to the body, as with the horse, hog, ox, and other
herbivorous animals, the result of such violent scufflings would be very
serious. But, as may be seen, the animals do not get good hold of each
other, as the skin is dragged round with the claws, and the hold is lost.

The following account of the sagacity of a young black-and-white tom-cat,
which occurred about twenty years ago, is, I think, worth relating as
illustrative of the retentive memory and the remarkable prescience which
many cats appear to possess as a peculiar mental endowment.

The house being covered with corrugated iron, and the spaces formed by the
corrugations where the roof met the walls not being stopped, but left open
to admit air into the roof, the whole space of the unused interior of the
roof was a favourite breeding-place for countless broods of sparrows and
starlings. The roof was accessible to human and other intruders by a small
trap-door above the lobby at the top of the staircase. It was a square
house, of good dimensions, but of only two stories. I have described these
particulars in order to be better understood in narrating the

It so happened that we wanted some small boards which had been stored away
in the roof, and we entered by the aid of a light ladder; and it also
happened that puss, unobserved, followed the example of the man-servant
and myself, but from quite another motive, prompted, doubtless, by the
chirping of the birds, it being early summer. As soon, however, as we
could get Tom down, we closed the trap, and returned the ladder to its
proper place. About a month afterwards, I had to resort to the roof again,
and accordingly went for the ladder, which was kept against a fence at
another part of the premises. As soon as I brought the ladder into the
back yard, and laid it on the ground, in order to unfasten a door leading
straight into the hall, Tom became suddenly most excited with delight. He
must have seen the ladder often since he entered the roof by it, as it was
used for various purposes, such as lighting the outdoor lamps,
window-cleaning, etc. But now he at once conceived, by a most sagacious
inference, my intention. He paced about the yard, close to the ladder,
tail erect, and talking as only an earnest and happy cat can talk.
Immediately I took the ladder in and hoisted it through the well of the
staircase, he scaled it like a squirrel, and was waiting for me to follow
upstairs. As soon then as I drew the ladder up, and raised the trap with
the end of it, and while it was in my hands, he clambered up and out of
sight. Before going up myself I thought it best to await Tom's return, and
there was but little time lost before he came down, stile by stile, with a
sparrow in his mouth. Then I at once brought down what I wanted, closed
the trap, returned the ladder to its place, and the birds afterwards
enjoyed undisturbed safety and peace.

There was, about the same time, a tortoiseshell cat at the house of a
relative which became much attached to me. Her affection was so strong
that she even knew my knock at the front door from that of anybody else.
On hearing my knock, she would speak in her loving and expressive tone,
and meet me in the hall. She was an adult cat, the mother of many kittens,
and yet, notwithstanding the cares of life, she delighted in a most
remarkable little eccentricity of her own. It was the peculiar habit of
taking the pendent lobe of my ear into her mouth and sucking it with
charming avidity. The peculiar sensation felt under the operation, though
not unpleasant to me, was not enjoyed or tolerated by other persons, and
she was sometimes rather rudely repulsed when trying to practise upon

Those who admire and observe the habits of cats may have noticed that when
two are snugly engaged together in dressing their fur, they are often
mutually pleased in paying particular attention to the face and ears of
each other. A short time ago I was pleased and amused with two charming
kittens upon my knee. They were each equally resolved to lick the face and
ears of the other, and tried hard to prevail. Eventually, one became
resolute, and placing her left arm round her brother's shoulder and her
right paw upon his cheek, she licked and nibbled into his short, round
velvet ear (for they were little over two months old at the time), to her
utmost satisfaction and his evident enjoyment.

As is well known, the cat often evinces to a remarkable degree an
instinctive power, if such it may be called, of finding its way back to a
home from which it has been removed. Some years ago, an officer of the
Royal Marines, upon promotion, removed from his private quarters at
Stonehouse, Plymouth, to Portsmouth. Having a favourite cat,--a black male
of about twelve months old,--he resolved to send it to Portsmouth by rail
in a hamper. It arrived at its destination safely enough, but on the
afternoon of the day following, which was Sunday, it was missing, but was
actually found in the garden of its beloved home at Stonehouse on the
evening of Wednesday in the ensuing week. It was at once recognised and
taken charge of by a kind neighbour, who knew the cat well. Considering it
went by train, secured in a hamper, it is difficult even to conjecture by
what means it was guided homewards, a distance of about a hundred and
thirty miles as the crow flies, and within ten or eleven days. I was
living at Stonehouse at the time this strange occurrence took
place,--about nineteen years ago,--and narrate the particulars from



Although the cat is in many respects so hardy an animal as to have the
popular reputation of possessing nine lives, we must bear in mind that
puss is not of such an iron constitution as to be entirely independent of
all care. No animal better repays its owner for the attention rightly
bestowed upon it than does the cat. Pussy's wants are not many, and are
very simple indeed. It is the duty of every owner of pet animals first to
ascertain the nature and requirements of his charge, and then to use that
knowledge with thought and right feeling. Subsequent experience also
proves a good teacher, and especially so when it is supported by previous

Being normally a purely carnivorous creature, the cat requires to subsist
principally upon animal food. But, nevertheless, owing to its long
established association with mankind, the domestic cat has acquired a
constitutional capacity for subsisting upon a somewhat miscellaneous bill
of fare. Consequently, the intestines of the tame cat are said to be
slightly longer and somewhat wider than in the wild races--the latter
requiring a rather less lengthened process in digesting the simple and
highly nutritious diet which instinct teaches them to select. But still
our puss is, as God created her, a perfect beast of prey. There is no
complicated stomach, as in the ox, antelope, sheep, and other
ruminants--no perfect grinders, like mill-stones, as in the mouth of the
horse, elephant, hog, etc. The dentition of the cat, as also that of the
lion, leopard, ocelot, lynx, and other _Felidæ_, is beautifully adapted by
the all-wise Creator for holding, tearing, or devouring their living prey.
On inspecting the teeth of a cat, the four large, powerful, and sharply
pointed canine teeth, or fangs, will naturally attract attention. With
these the prey is seized, and is usually carried, or the piercing and
fatal bite is effected. It will be noticed, by the way, that a cat, if
possible, always carries a mouse or a bird, quite away from the spot where
it may have been captured. The attack is, however, made with the claws
first, and the cat does not seize with teeth only, as does the dog. At the
front, between the tusks, will be seen six small incisors, and back,
behind the tusks, on fangs, are the molar and premolar, or crushing teeth.
The dentition of the cat is as follows (the letters _i_, _c_, _p_, _m_
signifying incisor, canine, premolar, and molar):--

  _i_{3--3 _c_{1--1  _p_{3--3 _m_{1--1}  30.
     {3--3    {1--1     {2--2    {1--1}

The milk dentition in the kitten is the same as to number, with the
exception of the molars, which are absent, and appear only as permanent
teeth. The incisors appear between two and three weeks after birth, and
are followed by the canines and molars, which are all cut by the time the
kitten has attained the age of six weeks. They are shed, and replaced by
the permanent teeth, after the seventh month. Therefore the teeth in a
kitten are twenty-six in number. It may be easily noticed that the teeth
of the lower jaw bite within those of the upper. The jaws are so
articulated as to allow of up-and-down motion only, and accordingly the
cats and other carnivora are unable to grind their food by a sideway
motion, as we do ourselves, and as is most noticeable in a horse when
feeding, but crush and chop the flesh and bones upon which they feed by a
jerking motion of the head.

We are all familiar with the rough nature of the tongue--a peculiarity in
the cat and all her kind. It is in dressing the exceedingly beautiful and
sleek fur that the tongue is of important service, as comb, brush, and
sponge in combination.

The domestic cat being almost a purely carnivorous animal, to say the
least, requires food of a character congenial to the instincts of her
nature. It is difficult to state in measured terms the needful quantity of
a cat's daily allowance. The amount may be regulated by observation, right
judgment, and experience. It is not so needful with cats that live in the
country, especially at a farm, where mice of different kinds and other
small game are plentiful, and a liberal supply of milk, to feed them
largely upon meat; but under less favourable circumstances the common
house cat often suffers much privation. Where there is a large family, and
but one cat or so, there may generally, with a little thought, be odd
pieces of various kinds gathered together sufficient to meet pussy's
wants. But in a small household, where limited and strict economy is
rightly observed, the poor cat may fare but badly. Under such
circumstances, in order to maintain a vigorous, happy, and respectable
cat, it will be found needful to buy cats'-meat of some sort. For this
purpose boiled horseflesh is commonly supplied, the peculiar call of the
cats'-meat man being a well-known sound in our large towns. There is,
however, but slight risk of animals fed upon this meat becoming diseased
by eating the flesh of unhealthy horses. Horseflesh is to be recommended
as convenient and cheap, and cats are also very fond of it. When in a
state of putrefaction it is most unwholesome, and if those who buy
horseflesh will be a little careful in the selection of it, the
horse-slaughterer, or "knacker," will be accordingly regardful of the
condition of the meat he supplies.

Bullocks' or sheep's lights are excellent, especially the latter. These
are usually boiled, as they will then keep longer, and when given largely,
are better so prepared. But they are good raw, occasionally. Too constant
and abundant feeding upon raw lights, or even raw flesh of a more solid
kind, especially if not quite fresh and healthy, is liable sometimes to
scour the cat. The poor animal, however clean and regular in its habits,
may then become offensive in the house. Boiled lights are very
unsubstantial, and can be given liberally. Raw meat, however, in
moderation, is often good for a cat, especially where there are no mice or
other game, and it tends to improve the spirit of the animal.

Cats generally prefer mutton to beef, but they will not touch fat meat,
unless they are famished, and it is most unsuitable, and should never be
offered. Fish is exceedingly good for a change, and the cat's love for
such light and cooling diet is well known; and as to rabbit or hare, there
can be no greater treat. We may also say the same of feathered game.

An adult cat will thrive well with one feed per day, in addition to a
little good, pure milk in the morning. To this a little sweet, stale white
bread may be added. The rest can be left to chance.

But I may here warn the owner of a pet cat against over-feeding. It is
well to be regular as to the time of feeding, for this reason: an animal
that is fed at all hours of the day will be always expecting, and always
asking and looking in a very expressive manner, and it, of course,
receives the attention of its affectionate guardians; whereas, an animal
that is regularly fed will enjoy its food with hungry relish, and will not
at other times be over-troublesome. Two errors have to be guarded against
in the feeding of animals generally, and the cat in particular: careless
neglect or grudged attention on the one hand, and, on the other,
thoughtless tampering and weak-minded indulgence.

A supply of pure water should be kept within the cat's reach. Although of
by no means a thirsty nature, there are times when water will be sought
after, as during very dry and hot weather, or after food of a
thirst-producing character; and we never know what a cat may pick up.

Notwithstanding that the generality of cats are very badly attended to, I
may here remark that large, strong, high conditioned animals are much
benefited by an occasional fast. This remark I make, however, with
caution, and rely upon the good sense of the reader.

Be careful never to feed in a stale dish, and always give milk in a well
washed saucer or other vessel. Never let what the cat may leave stand
about, but dispose of it otherwise. The savour of onion is very
distasteful to all cats, and they will often loathe good meat that is
strongly seasoned with it.

It may here be observed that the cat is even sometimes of a slightly
insectivorous propensity. Young, sportive cats, more especially, have much
amusement in playing with cockroaches, and sometimes eat them. But they
appear to eat them more from accident or idleness than from desire; much
the same as a schoolboy will eat acorns. Occasionally, pussy will be
fortunate in catching such rare game as a cricket. Flies are not easily
caught, except in a window; and they are said to make cats thin. Beetles,
I think, do a cat no harm. Lions and other beasts of prey are known to
feed largely upon locusts, which occur in such vast swarms in the great
African continent.

It should be observed, respecting milk, that for animals generally, as
for ourselves, it is decidedly improved by boiling. Pussy will, therefore,
readily partake of bread and milk prepared for the family breakfast or
supper. And she will not often refuse a little plain baked rice-pudding,
or other simple preparation containing milk as the principal ingredient.



Having briefly considered the general feeding of our fireside favourite,
we may proceed to discuss the consideration of its proper care and
treatment during the different stages, conditions, and circumstances of a
life that can be made happy or wretched at the mercy of those who
undertake, or may pretend to undertake, to be its possessors and

To begin towards the beginning, we may suppose that a charming little
kitten, of about ten or twelve weeks, has been deposited in its new home.
Being an innocent, simple, happy tempered little creature, it will make
itself at home in so pleasing a manner as to gain the approval, if not the
affection, of every kind-hearted person in the house. Supposing it to be a
well conditioned little animal, of good parentage, and from a comfortable
home, it will probably be found to prove itself a clean and nicely behaved
little innocent, if rightly managed with care and quiet attention. No
animal is instinctively cleaner in its habits, in every way, than is the
cat. It is this natural virtue which renders pussy so generally a favoured
inmate of the household. As is well known, cats are guided by a peculiar
instinct to scratch up earth for the purpose of hiding their excrements.
Where there is no access to a garden, they will resort to cinders or
coal-dust, and although not, perhaps, desirable, will meet with better
approval than the carpet. For the accommodation of a kitten indoors, it is
a good plan to have a large flower-pot saucer--the larger the better, but
not less than fifteen inches in diameter--kept in some suitable corner,
with a little clean garden-earth or sand in it. It need not contain much
earth, and it can be changed at will; but should not be allowed to become
so foul as to offend the cat. This plan, once tried, will be found to
answer well.

Week by week the kitten increases in strength and vivacity. Do not
discourage or check the young cat in its sportiveness, although it may be
a little too rough in its vivacious evolutions. The most skittish kittens
usually make the best cats. They are generally the delight of young
children, and make charming playmates when treated gently, and not simply
made toys of. Although cats differ in disposition very considerably, they
are alike as regards a common dislike for noise and confusion, and the
little folks will sometimes require guidance and instruction in their
treatment of most pet animals. The cat is an animal of naturally a very
strong will, being most impatient of control, and the kitten that is
allowed quietly to enjoy unmolested freedom of purpose in its queer
little ways and freaks will develop, under good treatment, into a noble
spirited and well behaved cat.

The kitten will, of course, be kept indoors at night, and as it grows,
continue the good practice. It is a common custom--but, for many reasons,
a very bad and cruel one--to habitually shut the cat out of the house at
night. If you wish pussy to have a good, sleek, unsoiled coat,--to be a
nice pet, not to be dull or asleep all the day,--and, especially, if you
wish the house kept clear of mice, keep her in at night, and let her have,
as much as may be convenient, the range of the premises. Persons who are
quite ready to complain about the nightly disturbance caused by cats in
the back-gardens of their neighbours' houses are apt to forget that their
own gentle pet may possibly be a leading performer in the nocturnal
concert. A cat will play truant occasionally, but this will not often
happen with a well cared for animal, which will prefer human society and
the comforts of a good home on most occasions. It is well, however, to let
the cat out of doors the very first thing in the morning.

There is seldom any thought or attention given to the breeding of the cat.
This is left to nature, and with very natural result. But,
notwithstanding, those who possess a cat of a choice sort, and wish to
continue or improve the strain, or to effect a cross, can do so with less
trouble than may be supposed to be needful. Watch the cat well, if a
female, and upon the first indication of the well-known sign be very
careful to prevent her from straying in the least. Then introduce the
approved "tom," and allow them to remain together--say for a night--in
some outbuilding or spare room. He can afterwards be returned with thanks;
but be careful to keep "kitty" quite safe for more than a week afterwards,
or as long as may be considered needful. All will then be right, and there
need be no more thought or care upon the subject. At the completion of a
term of fifty-six days, the litter may be expected. As is well known,
kittens are born blind, and remain so till about the ninth day. The
domestic cat is more prolific than the wild species, having often three
litters in the year. A cat of mine, some time ago, gave birth to
twenty-two within twelve months. The age of sterility commences about the
ninth year. The wild cat reproduces about twice a year, and the period of
gestation is said to be as long as sixty-eight days, which may be correct,
and if so, is remarkable.

It is usually expedient to destroy some of the new-born kittens--of
course, the least handsome and promising of the litter. But it is
exceedingly cruel to rob the fond mother of all her little ones. When thus
deprived, a cat often suffers exceedingly, as may be evident by the
symptoms which ensue; and her lamentations are painful to hear--much too
expressive to be misunderstood. Always retain one, if not two or more, of
your selection--the whole litter, if you really wish it. If there be a
numerous litter,--say, five,--it is better not to remove all at once, but
two the first day and two the next day; or, better still, a third kitten
the second day, and afterwards the fourth. Take them as much unobserved by
the mother as possible. Drowning is the usual and probably the simplest
and best method of ending the brief existence of the little creatures; but
it must be properly and completely done. Have ample depth of water in a
pail or other vessel, with the addition of just enough hot water to take
off the chill--not more. They must be put completely under, and on no
account allowed to rise for one second. If you have nerve and patience,
simply keep them down with your hand till they cease to move, or else
place some article above them in such a way as to serve effectually. They
must remain under water for some time, even though life may appear to be
extinct. Many years ago, I learned by sad experience the danger of being
too expeditious in executing this duty. In drowning a large, powerful
animal, care and tact are especially required. Be quiet, cool, prompt, and

The loving and devoted attachment to her offspring is remarkable in the
cat. She will face any danger in defending them, and will, above any other
animal, often delight to foster kittens not her own, and has been known to
cherish and rear the young of animals of quite a distinct kind, such as
puppies, the young of the squirrel, rat, hedgehog, etc. The following
touching incident took place at the destructive fire that burned down
Lusby's Music Hall, London, on the 20th January, 1884. I give the account
as related in _The Animal World_ for March, 1884:--

"Mr. Crowder, one of the proprietors of the hall, possessed a favourite
tabby and tortoiseshell cat, which was well known to the frequenters of
the hall. The cat had a family of four kittens, which she was allowed to
keep in a basket at the rear of the stage. Soon after the fire was
discovered, the cat was seen rushing about frantically. She several times
attempted to make her way down the corridor in the direction of the stage,
but each time was beaten back by the smoke. Presently she reappeared with
one of the kittens in her mouth. This she laid carefully down at her
master's feet in the small hall which the fire had not touched. Again she
rushed through the smoke, and again reappeared with a kitten, and this
manoeuvre she repeated the third time. She was now apparently half-blinded
and choked by the smoke she had passed through, and it was thought that
she would be content; but she seemed unable to rest while she knew that
one of her kittens was still in danger; and, giving a look at the little
struggling group on the floor, the cat, evading some one who tried to stop
her, once more dashed down the corridor towards the seething mass of
flames, which by this time had enveloped the stage and the lower end of
the hall. Her return was anxiously awaited, but she did not come back.
Afterwards, when examining the ruins, some of the firemen came across the
charred and blackened remains of the mother and kitten, lying side by side
where the fire had overtaken them."



In the estimation of persons who have no appreciation of the beautiful in
animal life, a cat is a cat, and nothing but a cat. I have often observed
some surprise expressed by visitors at a large cat-show on seeing an
assemblage of so many different sorts of cats. These same persons had
often seen examples of every class before--in the houses of friends, in
shops, gardens, etc., etc.; but the beauties had been passed unobserved.
At a good show, where well-selected specimens of the common house cat are
arranged in line, and classed according to colour, sex, etc., a novice
cannot but be surprised at the unexpected sight of so interesting an array
of feline beauty. At the leading shows the animals are arranged in two
main divisions; viz., long-haired and short-haired cats. These two
divisions are again sub-divided into he-cats, she-cats, kittens, and
gelded cats. The he and she-cats are again divided in classes according to
colour, as tortoiseshell and tortoiseshell and white, brown, blue or
silver, and red tabby, tabby and white, and spotted tabby; also cats of
unusual colour, and Manx, or tailless cats. A brief description of the
characteristic points of the different classes, as at the Crystal Palace,
will be given in this chapter.

The 13th of July, 1871, was a memorable day in the cat world, and an
eventful one at the Crystal Palace, for it was then and there that the
very first cat-show took place. Mr. Harrison Weir, F.R.H.S., the
well-known animal painter, has the honour of being the originator of these
interesting exhibitions; and he has kindly placed at my disposal a few
particulars respecting the primary arrangements. He suggested the idea to
Mr. Isaac Wilkinson, manager at that time, drew up the schedule of prizes,
the way in which the classes were to be judged, the amount of prize-money,
etc.; and he also acted as judge. The show was put under the management
of Mr. Wilson, of the Natural History Department, who very ably conducted
it; and the whole affair proved a gratifying success--so much so, that Mr.
Weir received the thanks of the Directors, and a very handsome, large
silver tankard, with suitable inscription. So great a success did the
exhibition prove, that it was immediately decided to repeat it later in
the year.[2] The show was also held twice in the year following (1872),
and has been continued annually ever since. "My idea," Mr. Weir remarks,
"for holding a show was that the cat was a truly useful domestic animal,
though a much neglected one, and if I could only induce the multitude to
take a pride in their cats, and select them more for their beauty and
ultimate value in the market, I might achieve a good result in the way of
kindly treatment to an animal much neglected by some."

The great success and the good example of the Crystal Palace show was very
naturally soon followed up at Edinburgh, Birmingham, Glasgow, and many
large centres of population, and now even the smaller provincial towns can
boast an annual exhibition of feline favourites.

The varieties of our short-haired cat will now deserve our attention.

_Tortoiseshell._--Cats of this breed are also sometimes called Spanish
cats, and display a very marked contrast to the tabby varieties. The
general colour is a kind of reddish tawny, or sandy, more or less thickly
covered with blotches or dabs of black. So very irregular are the markings
in these cats, that some individuals are very handsome creatures, and
some, on the other hand, are far from prepossessing in appearance.
Tortoiseshell cats are of somewhat smaller growth. But, in our comparative
estimate of size, we are apt to be somewhat misguided, from the fact that
all the tortoiseshell cats we meet with are she-cats, and can never attain
the large size of the tom tabby cats, with which they are often compared.
The tortoiseshell male cat is a treasure often sought for, but very, very
seldom found. Ever since the commencement of the shows just alluded to,
there has been only a single specimen of the pure tortoiseshell male cat
exhibited. Experiments have been tried in every way to breed to this
colour, but without the desired result. But tortoiseshell and white
he-cats are occasionally to be seen. At the last Crystal Palace show there
were two very fine toms of this description.

Our common favourites, the tabby cats, are, on the whole, the handsomest
and the best. They are of every shade, but three distinct varieties are
known as brown, blue or silver, and red.

[Illustration: TABBY CAT.]

_Brown Tabby._--Although there is considerable individual variation in
these cats, the general characteristics are as follows:--The
ground-colour should be a deep, rich brown grey, striped with black. These
markings converge from a central stripe of black, more or less broken,
which follows the line of the spine, a mark in some degree characteristic
of the whole feline race. The tail is barred with black, and a line of
narrow stripes runs from the forehead, passes between the ears, and,
passing down the neck, it disappears. The face is adorned with little
swirls and stripes, so disposed as to give the general expression of the
countenance that air of satisfaction so peculiar to puss. The under parts
of the body may be of a paler colour, but no pure white is seen in a true
tabby tom-cat. The tip of the nose, the lips, and the pads of the paws
are to be desired of a dark colour. One, if not two, bold swirls of black
across the chest are to be looked for in these cats. They have been
appropriately termed "the Lord Mayor's chain." These tabby cats are
generally large, portly animals, if properly reared, very intelligent, and
often most affectionate. The females are most gentle, and the best of

_Blue or Silver Tabby._--This is a pale variety of tabby, which is
sometimes beautiful. The ground-colour is a silver grey, with the stripes
of a darker shade.

_Red Tabby._--In bold contrast with the blue, these fine cats are of a
bright sandy yellow, with the usual markings of a deeper shade. Some of
these cats are of very good colour, so much so as to be distinguished by
their proud owners under the very aspiring title of "Orange Tabby." These
cats, in the main points, are like the brown tabby. The fur should be
short, but full and thick, the ears rather short and round. In the tabby
breeds the female is seldom without white, which generally appears upon
the muzzle, throat, paws, etc. This is, most remarkably, a characteristic
in the red tabby cats, a female of that colour without white being almost
as rare a zoological curiosity as the wonderful tortoiseshell tom.

_Spotted Tabby_ cats are distinguished from the others by having, instead
of the usual stripes or cloudings, a pattern of quite a distinct type. The
markings are broken up into small, well-defined spots, being more or less
elongated upon the sides, transversely to the stripes along the back.

In the class of spotted tabby he-cats at the Crystal Palace there might
have been seen a specimen named "Coppa," which was justly awarded first
prize. The owner of this cat, Mr. J. Scott, has kindly favoured me with
the history of Coppa, which is of some interest when regarded
zoologically. The father of Coppa was a leopard-cat (_Felis Bengalensis_),
picked up at an East Indian coffee plantation, and brought to England by a
gentleman, who handed it over to Mr. Scott. He kept it for two years, and
bred ten kittens by two mothers. Coppa is one of these kittens. As his
mother was an English tabby, and as the pedigree of the sire is so
unmistakably pure, and of the spotted kind, it is not surprising that he
was the model of a spotted tabby.

It will not be out of place here to give a brief description of the
leopard-cat, as delineated in "Cassell's Natural History."

"This is another of the numerous Indian cats, and is a very beautiful
species. Its hide is of a yellowish grey, or bright tawny hue, quite white
below, and marked with longitudinal stripes on the head, shoulders, and
back, and with large irregular spots on the sides, which become rounded
towards the belly. The tail is a spotted colour, indistinctly ringed
towards the tip. The body, from the end of the snout to the tip of the
tail, attains a length of from thirty-five to thirty-nine inches, eleven
or twelve of which are made up by the tail.

"The leopard-cat is found throughout the hilly region of India, from the
Himalayas to the extreme south, and Ceylon, and in richly wooded
districts, at a low elevation occasionally, or when heavy jungle grass is
abundant, mixed with forest and brushwood. It ascends the Himalayas to a
considerable elevation, and is said by Hodgson even to occur in Tibet, and
is found at the level of the sea in the Bengal Sunderbunds. It extends
through Assam, Burmah, the Malayan peninsula to the islands of Java and
Sumatra, at all events. It is as fierce as any of its savage kin."

Mr. Scott sold his leopard-cat to the Zoological Society, and also
presented with it the mother of Coppa and one kitten. But they
unfortunately took a form of distemper, and all died, and other cats by
the side of them. Coppa, Mr. Scott remarks, is probably the only one left.

Mr. Scott also remarks that he keeps Coppa confined, for fear of losing
him. He was marked as dangerous at the show, on account of his pedigree,
but is really "perfectly tame and very fond." I judged so myself from his
appearance and manner. He did, certainly, spit at a lady who blew in his
face; but any good cat, with a spark of self-respect, would do so.

_Black._--These fine cats are not so commonly met with, of entire colour,
as the brown tabbies, but are more plentiful than either the red or the
blue. This colour is probably never met with in any of the wild cats, and
would, I am inclined to think, be rare in the domestic races but for a
prevailing superstitious notion, to be met with even in our enlightened
age, that in some way good fortune or luck attends the homestead where a
black cat dwells. And, moreover, that to destroy a black cat, or even a
black kitten, from the purest motive, is an act likely to be followed by
some misfortune. May I be allowed to endeavour to dispel this notion from
the mind of any reader who may cherish a vestige of belief in the old
charms of witchcraft, by boldly asserting that the black cat is simply a
tabby. In some black cats, and commonly in black kittens, the tabby
character of the fur may be distinctly seen. Black leopards and jaguars
are occasionally, but rarely, to be met with; and this natural melanizm
has been attributed to a larger proportion of iron in the blood. There is
more iron in the blood of negroes, it is said, than in that of Europeans.
Now, in these black leopards the distinctive pardine livery of the species
is always present, and visible upon minute inspection. "Can the Ethiopian
change his skin, or the leopard his spots?" (Jer. xiii. 23). Likewise, in
our black cats, although not visible, the normal tendency of the species
to maintain and reproduce its characteristic livery is inherent in the

The black cat, like the black leopard, if well bred and properly reared,
is a most perfect specimen of its kind, having all the powers and
instincts of his nature most strongly developed. When in good health and
properly managed, and not shut out of doors at night, the black cat is
generally a splendid creature, with a coat like satin for lustre.

_White._--In bold contrast to the black cat is the white. Albinos, or
abnormally colourless animals, are generally deficient in strength of
constitution. It is owing to this fact that white cats are often more or
less deaf. In selecting a kitten, I would never choose a white one. There
is something very charming about a snow-white kitten, but, when it becomes
a cat, expect disappointment, more especially if in or near London, or
some large town, where its purity is sure to be sullied by fog or smoke.
It will, moreover, probably become dull and listless, and more liable to
colds and other ailments than its more robust relatives.

_Manx_ cats, as is well known, are remarkable for having no tail, or
rather, only a very rudimentary tail. The breed is curious, and it is
doubtless on that account alone that it is preserved. In other respects
these cats are like the ordinary animals.

_Siamese._--The handsome royal cat of Siam is at present but rare in this
country, and is worthy of careful preservation as a breed. It is a curious
cat, of one colour, a clear tawny or buff, with the exception of the
muzzle, face, ears, and feet, which are black; and the fur is short, but
thick and sleek. It is a cat of average size, and of compact build. At
first glance it almost suggests to the mind the figure of a pug dog.

Cats are occasionally met with, in the unusual variety class at shows, of
very extraordinary colour, as slate colour, uniform grey, or mouse colour,
brown, tawny, etc. Such as these may be regarded as simply unfinished
tabby cats--if I may be allowed to use the convenient expression. And,
occasionally, cats may be seen with six claws.

[Illustration: LONG HAIRED CAT.]

_Long-haired cats_, as Angola (or Angora) and Persian.--These cats,
especially the Angola, are sometimes very fine animals. The hair is very
long and silky, forming a thick mane upon the neck and upon the cheeks,
and hangs from the sides in a manner which somewhat reminds one of the
musk ox. The long tail is likewise pendant with long, silken hair, and
when in good order looks very handsome. A good cat of the kind seems
almost aware of its own beauty; and we know that puss has the universal
reputation of being proud. But these cats require care and a good home. If
neglected, exposed, or ill-treated, no animals sooner degenerate. They
are, moreover, disposed to become lazy and listless, and, although
fashionable in a drawing-room, are not such pleasing companions, or of the
same utility as mousers, as are the sleek, agile, graceful, and
intelligent animals with which we are more familiar.

_Gelded cats_ often grow very large, and, if properly kept, sometimes live
to a great age. They make good, sociable pets, are not inclined to play
truant, and they do not smell. The process is not a painful one if
properly performed, and an animal thus treated will escape the temptation
to stray or to combat with his fellows. At the age of six months, or even
a little earlier, is the time at which a kitten should be sent to the
veterinary surgeon. But on no account whatever must the operation be
attempted upon an animal of more advanced growth. As I have just
intimated, one advantage gained is that it will not secrete and eject that
characteristic fluid, the pungent odour of which is well known, and is, to
some persons, very offensive.



I must now endeavour to describe a few of the ailments to which pussy is
liable, and by pointing out the cause, when possible, may hope to assist
the kind reader in avoiding the evil effect, bearing in mind the
well-known proverb, Prevention is better than cure.

Considering the careless feeding to which the cat is often subjected, her
digestive organs must be somewhat enduring; but, on this account, they
must not be overtaxed or disregarded. There is a very simple medicine to
which puss will instinctively resort occasionally, which is grass. In an
old translation of Pliny may be found the following quaint prescription
for the cure of a sick lion:--

"The lion is never sicke but of the peevishness of his stomache, loathing
all meat: and then the way to cure him is to ty unto him certaine shee
apes, which, with their wanton mocking and making mowes at him, may move
his patience, and drive him, from the very indignitie of their malapert
saucinesse, into a fit of madnesse, and then, so soon as he hath tasted
their bloud, he is perfectly wel againe: and this is the only help."

Now, without the aid of a violent remedy such as the above-prescribed,
Miss Puss can stroll quietly out of doors and help herself to a small
quantity of selected grass. This simply acts medicinally as either an
emetic or as a purgative. It has been my practice, when keeping cats
confined, to have some fresh, healthy grass in a large flower-pot in the
most sunny spot, and sometimes put out in the open garden, so as to
receive the benefit of all the light, air, and sunshine available.

_Diarrhoea_ is a complaint to which the cat is sometimes subject in a mild
form, and may attract but little notice; or it may be so severe or
protracted as to cause great distress, and even prove fatal. As in
ourselves, it may be brought on by violent changes of temperature,
together with unwholesome food or drink, irregular feeding, too much fat
meat, putrid matter, too much liver, sour milk, etc. But in the cat the
excrements may occasionally appear slightly loose without the animal
seeming in the least unwell. This need cause little concern, although
slight attention to the general diet and requirements of the animal will
not be unwise. In this respect cats differ somewhat from dogs, which are
constitutionally of rather constipated habit. When the cat is really ill,
it will look so. Puss is a comfort-loving creature, and in nursing,
comfort is to be the main consideration. Be careful to attend to the
accommodation of clean habits, and allow a fresh supply of earth or sand,
as alluded to in Chapter IV.

There is a very simple remedy, and which I have proved to be a sufficient
one, prescribed by the Honourable Lady Cust in her little book upon the
cat, and I may here quote her own words:--

"In the commencement give new milk, with mutton-suet melted in it; the
proportion of a piece of nice fresh suet, without skin, the size of a
large walnut, to a teacupful of milk. Keep the cat warm and quiet in a
comfortable nest, and if it be too ill to lap, give it, every two hours, a
teaspoonful of the mixture, only just warm enough to melt the suet. Put it
gently into the mouth with a small spoon. You need not swathe the cat, as
after the first spoonful is swallowed it will feel the benefit, and
swallow another; but do not give much; it is better to give very little
that will remain and do good, than a large quantity which will return.
Treat the complaint in other ways as in the human subject. Observe if
there be no bile; and if there is not, give to a full-grown cat a grain
and a half of the grey powder (_Album. cum creta_) used in similar cases.
As I before observed, you must watch the effect of your remedy, as the
complaint may change at once; if it does not, and there is still no bile,
give, in about two hours, another dose.

"If the diarrhoea continue, give a teaspoonful of chalk mixture, used for
the same complaint in human beings, with seven or eight drops of tincture
of rhubarb, and four or five of laudanum, every few hours, until it
cures. Cats will continue as ill as possible for a few days, their eyes
even fixed; but still, with watching and care, can be cured. A teaspoonful
of pure meat gravy at a time should be given now and then (but not until
near two hours after medicine), to keep up the strength until appetite
returns; then be careful what food you give, and in small quantities at a
time, as the digestion will be weak."

If, however, under fair treatment, the poor cat does not quickly recover,
or if dysentery ensue, no hope can be entertained of its restoration; and
the wisest and most merciful act will be to end quickly the life that must
undoubtedly perish.

In administering medicine to a cat, be careful not to alarm or excite it
by needless fuss and ado, nor try its patience by delay. Have what you
require ready to hand, and the assistance of one person. Take a large,
coarse cloth, such as a round kitchen towel or coarse apron, and seat
yourself with your face or left side to the window. Then, with the cloth
across your knees, take the cat from your assistant, and lightly gathering
up the cloth, wrap it round the cat. The reason of this is twofold: to
assist in gently holding the cat secure, and also to prevent its fur from
getting soiled by any of the medicine that may drop, and, moreover, save
your clothes also. With the cat facing towards your left hand, carefully
open the mouth. This must be done with the left hand. The mouth will be
easily opened by finger and thumb, the palm of the hand being under the
cat's throat. Gently feel with finger and thumb between the loose skin of
the lips, and then, with very slight pressure just behind the molar teeth,
the mouth will be opened wide, like magic. So long as you gently but
steadily retain the hold, the mouth will remain open. But don't allow the
cat time to become impatient, and mind your fingers. When the mouth is
opened, your assistant must promptly and carefully administer the
medicine. If it is a liquid, it must be poured in very little at a time
from a small spoon. This must not touch the mouth, or the cat will
instinctively bite at it. The instant the medicine is given, remove your
hold of the mouth and leave the head at liberty, in order that the cat may
swallow at ease. A pill should be placed well back, so as to go the right
way. A simple powder may be placed upon the tongue dry, mixed with butter,
or, if not unpleasant, can be put in a little milk, to be drank as usual.

_The Yellows._--The cat is liable to a form of distemper known as
cat-sickness, or the yellows, which is analogous to jaundice in the human
subject. It occurs more generally in large, high-conditioned animals, and
I think it is more common in he-cats than in those of the other sex, and
it more generally occurs in early life, but seldom before the attainment
of full growth. On the approach of the malady, the cat appears unusually
dull and sleepy, and disinclined to touch any kind of food, but may
attract little attention. Soon, however, the complaint will be
self-evident by the vomiting of a peculiar yellow, frothy fluid. This
sickness will recur at intervals, and the poor animal will loathe all
food, and drink nothing but water. Sometimes the malady will run its
course, and an unexpected recovery may follow; but in many cases the
unfortunate cat becomes weaker and weaker, and ultimately dies.

Two or three months ago, from the time I am now writing, I nearly lost a
splendid young cat named Colocolo; and I consider the unexpected recovery
due to the great strength of his constitution. He is totally black, and
was, at the time of the attack, just over eight months of age. And as the
circumstances connected with this individual case may perhaps be
interesting to any who may have a cat similarly affected, it will not be
out of place here to narrate the symptoms and the treatment, such as it
was, from first to last.

Colocolo had been to the Crystal Palace Show, was highly commended, and
the best behaved cat in his class, often ready for a little skittish sport
with an attentive visitor. He had been home just a week when he was taken
ill. Whether he had been made a little too much of after his return from
the Palace, I cannot say for certain; but I may here remark that I do not
in the least think the show disagreed with him. He stood a four-day show
at the Albert Palace well, was very highly commended there, and returned
in high spirit. At these exhibitions the cats, many of them animals of
considerable value, have the best and most careful attention on the part
of the management. But they are sometimes pampered by their fond owners,
and I may here suggest that after the confinement and restraint of even
two nights and two days, it will be wise to be a little careful to avoid
undue feeding for a day or two if the cat be in high condition, as show
cats often are. [This mistake is equal to the folly, described with
telling effect by the late Albert Smith, of supplying blankets to a
beloved son to keep him warm while ascending Mont Blanc!--ED.][3]

But to return to the subject now under consideration. Colocolo was as
bright as a lark, romping about, at times, with surprising vivacity and
great bodily force. He was not less lively on the evening of Tuesday,
October 27th, but the next day, however, he was observed to be listless,
and disposed only to sleep. He declined to eat throughout the day, and
about dusk his first sickness came on. For the next two days he continued
to vomit occasionally, in less quantity, however, and the bowels were
also disordered. He became weak to a degree most distressing to behold,
and the whole skin was tinged with yellow. Nature was left to work her own
cure. For five whole days and nights the poor creature ate absolutely
nothing, but he frequently manifested a desire for water. A supply was
kept constantly within his reach, and often completely renewed, for his
mouth was very foul. On the forenoon of the Monday following, the weather
being unusually mild, he crept into the garden and basked in the sunshine
for some hours. It was sad to see a fine, noble, happy-spirited animal so
altered. He was unable to move without staggering, and his hind limbs
appeared as if paralyzed. He mounted a step with difficulty, and in
descending it he tottered and rolled, or rather sank upon his side. When
he came indoors again, he returned to his bed, and fell into a most
unusually heavy sleep--in fact, I never knew a cat to sleep so heavily.
There was not a sign of life, and the eyes even appeared fixed. We thought
he had at last slept the sleep of death, and felt a pang of regret, but
not without a feeling of relief to think that the poor cat was thus
released from its distress. But, strange to say, we shortly afterwards
found that he had aroused and altered his position from on his left side,
being coiled in a ball upon the right. After some time, he left his
cushion and actually partook of a little milk, but only four or five
laps. Probably the strong air in the garden had overpowered his weak
frame, and caused that extraordinary sleep, which was the turning-point,
apparently, in his illness. But scarcely anything would he touch until
Thursday (November 5th), when I offered him some fresh raw sheep's lights,
full of blood. To my agreeable surprise, he ate what I gave, and looked
for more. I allowed him a good sized piece, as much as I considered safe
to give at first, taking into account his very weak state. On the strength
of this he picked up as by magic, and forthwith began to recruit strength
at a marvellous rate, and in a few days he became as well as ever. All his
former energy had now returned; his coat, which had become dull, dirty,
dry, and staring, is now as soft, sleek, and pure as it ever was.
Fortunately he appeared to suffer no acute pain during his illness,
although, he certainly was very miserable and dejected. But I have seen
more distressing cases of this malady in cats, and it is often most humane
to put the wretched animal out of its misery by a speedy destruction.
Fortunately the yellows is an ailment that occurs but once.

It is, I consider, both unwise and cruel to tamper with strong drugs, and
certainly it is mistaken kindness to force milk, or any other food, down
the throat of a cat suffering from sickness. Let the poor animal be as
quiet as possible, in a comfortable nest, but not so near a fire as to be
hot. Sick animals require air, but are very sensitive to cold or the
slightest draught. As the cat is such a remarkably clean animal, it will,
whether ill or well, often take a dislike to a favourite resting-place, if
it become in the slightest degree foul or tainted.

At the very commencement of the sickness, however, an emetic may do good
in clearing the stomach. But it should be administered at the beginning or
not at all. I have tried it with good result, and have found simple salt
and water most handy: it is harmless, at any rate. It may be mixed in the
proportion of about one-fifth part of salt. Sulphate of soda (Glauber's
salt) is sometimes preferred to salt. It must, however, be diluted in a
much larger proportion of water, and less than a teaspoonful of the
mixture will be as much as should be given. To allay an undue continuance
of sickness, arising from irritation, about half a teaspoonful of melted
beef-marrow may be found to give relief.

_Fits._--The cat is liable to fits of a distressing nature, and they occur
in young animals--more generally about the time they attain their full
growth--and are more common in male than in female cats. When seized with
a delirious fit, the poor animal suddenly appears to go wild, dashes about
in a frantic manner, with staring eyes, often darts through a window, open
or shut, and then hides in some corner. The symptoms of a convulsive fit
are somewhat different. In such a case it utters a cry, with staring
eyes, and falls upon its side. The whole body appears stiffened, the limbs
struggle convulsively, and the mouth foams. The cat is quite harmless,
however, during the fit, and there need be no fear in handling it. But be
gentle and quiet with the poor animal. The best way to give relief is to
cut a very small slit in the thin part of the ear with a sharp pair of
scissors, or to make slight incisions with a lancet; not enough to hurt or
disfigure the ear, but just sufficient to draw a few drops of blood. It is
well to encourage the bleeding by carefully fomenting the spot with warm
water, but be very careful not to let any water enter the ear. If,
however, the bleeding is free, there will be no need for the warm-water
applications. The loss of only a few drops of blood will afford relief.
After the fit the cat will generally be timid and nervous, and should
therefore be treated with consideration. Be careful to avoid overfeeding
it; in fact, for a short time let its feeding be slightly lowered, if in
high condition. The cat will quickly outgrow these fits. Many young toms
have one attack, and a she-cat never has a fit after having once




_Pneumonia, or Inflammation of the Lungs_, is not an uncommon malady in
the cat, and the tendency to pulmonary weakness appears to be transmitted
from generation to generation, and is certainly more generally met with in
cats of foreign origin, as Persian, etc., than in our own native kind. In
fact, all the felines are evidently much more liable to lung disease than
are the dogs. Nor are the larger forms exempt, for many a majestic lion,
or a beautiful leopard in our best-managed zoological collections, has
succumbed to this fatal distemper. Exposure to cold and damp, poor
feeding, etc., are generally the immediate causes of lung disease in the
feline, as in the human subject. The symptoms in pneumonia are a dull,
uneasy restlessness; the poor cat looks miserable, as doubtless it feels,
and mopes about in a very dejected manner. It is less disposed to lie than
it is to squat about. Pneumonia is usually accompanied by pleurisy, and if
this complaint is as distressingly painful as I have experienced it to be,
I am sure the cat must at times suffer the most acute pain. Inflammation
of the lungs, although so generally fatal, may nevertheless be overcome by
good nursing under favourable circumstances. It occurs more generally in
winter and spring--the most trying time, in our English climate, for both
man and beast. Keep the cat indoors, and in a room of comfortable
temperature, but not too warm, at, say, not much over 55° Fahr. A
troublesome cough distresses the poor cat frequently, and the laborious
breathing is manifest by the heaving of the flanks. In the treatment of
the disease, apply, in the first instance, a stimulating liniment composed
of equal parts of compound camphor liniment of the British Pharmacopoeia
and soap liniment. Rub it in upon the sides of the chest, and do not
spread about more than is necessary, as cats are made miserable by the fur
being soiled or tainted. The operation may be repeated the next day if
the liniment has not produced tenderness. Administer, internally, the
following mixture every four hours, in a dose of ten drops:--Syrup of
chloral, forty drops; syrup of squills, forty drops; ipecacuanha wine, ten

As, probably, the cat will not eat, it will be well to keep up its
strength by administering beef tea or good milk at intervals.

_Bronchitis_, or inflammation of the lining membrane of the bronchial
tube, arises from much the same causes that produce inflammation of the
lungs and pleura, and often accompanies these affections. Bronchitis may
be readily distinguished by the peculiar wheezing and rattling sound which
is made when the poor cat is coughing. It may be treated the same as
inflammation of the lungs, but the mixture to be given may contain twenty
instead of ten drops of ipecacuanha wine, and also, in addition, ten drops
of antimony wine; and fifteen drops may be given every four hours.

_Mange_ is caused by a minute insect which burrows into the skin and there
multiplies. The sarcoptic mange is the most common form that attacks the
cat, and generally appears first upon the head and neck, and will, in
time, if not destroyed, spread over other parts of the unfortunate animal.
It is both humane and prudent, therefore, to check it at the outset. The
disease is, moreover, contagious, and if a mangy cat is allowed to wander
at large, it will communicate its trouble, to the ultimate distress of
its fellows, and the annoyance of their owners. Sarcoptic mange may be at
first detected by an irritating itching, but it soon breaks out into
painful sores, which are aggravated by the repeated efforts of the poor
cat to ease itself by rubbing and scratching. Fortunately, however, this
disease is not difficult to cure in the cat, and with but little trouble.
The principal agent employed, both externally and internally, should be
sulphur. On no account use the strong dressings that are prepared for the
skin diseases of animals of a different nature. An ointment composed of
flowers of sulphur and fresh lard, rubbed upon the spot with the finger,
is a very simple remedy, and I have proved it to be a very effectual one.
It is well, however, before applying this simple compound, to foment the
spot with tepid water, and dry it with a soft, clean rag. Apply the
flowers of sulphur and lard once or twice a day until it has taken effect.
As it is not in the least unpleasant to the taste, the cat is sure to
swallow more or less of it in dressing the fur, and more readily so if
within direct reach of the tongue. The sulphur swallowed acts upon the
system from within, most effectually poisoning the offending intruders in
course of time. Mr. Harold Leeney, M.R.C.V.S., remarks that "a proof of
this eccentric behaviour of sulphur may be found in the blackened watches
and silver coins carried in the pockets of persons taking the drug." In
the _Animal World_ for October, 1882, Mr. Leeney alludes to the
application of sulphur as follows:--"Sulphur in almost any form will
destroy the parasites, but used as an ointment, much difficulty is
experienced in washing it off again, and sulphur pure and simple being
insoluble, and more active remedies dangerous, there is nothing better
than a solution of sulphuretted potash, which should be applied warm, in
the proportion of half an ounce dissolved in a quart of water. In using
any skin dressing, whether for mange or fleas, or any other parasite, it
is always advisable to begin at the head, as the opposite course leaves
open a retreat to the ears and eyes, where the application is less likely
to reach the enemy. That fleas take refuge round the animal's ears when
in the water was, no doubt, early observed, and gave rise to the story,
current in sporting circles, that foxes rid themselves of fleas by
swimming with a piece of wool in their mouths, to which the insects betake
themselves for safety, and find out their mistake when it is too late.

"The sulphuretted potash lotion need only remain on the cat an hour or
two, when it should be washed off with more tepid water, to which some
glycerine has been added, to about the proportion of one ounce to each
quart of water used. The animal should be carefully dried, giving special
attention to the face and ears."

_Follicular Mange_, so named from its being caused by the presence of a
parasite distinguished as _Demodex folliculorum_, is of a different nature
to the sarcoptic mange, and is less readily expelled.

"Unlike sarcoptic mange, which oftenest affects the hairless parts of the
body, the follicular mange is found upon the back from the neck, down the
course of the spine, to the tail. I think the reason of the selection on
the part of the demodex is that the hair follicles, or little bags from
which the hairs grow, and in which the parasite lives, are much larger,
and afford better accommodation. The first symptom of anger in a dog or
cat is usually the elevation of these hairs, showing them to be stronger,
and consequently having a larger base, than at other parts of the body.

"The unfortunate cat affected with this malady soon begins to arch her
back and rub it against the staves of the chairs or the under part of a
low couch or other convenient furniture; then the hairs are observed to be
broken, and their condition attributed to this habit of rubbing, so that
the real cause is often not suspected till great mischief is done and the
parasites thoroughly established, the back becoming sore all the way down,
and the animal rapidly losing condition.

"_Treatment._--Since the cause is parasitic, destruction of the offenders
is the object to be attained, and the best method is by laying bare their
stronghold, by removing the scurf, etc., with soft soap, before applying
any remedy. The reason for using soft soap is that the potash it contains
causes the outer cuticle to swell up and become detached, and thereby
permits the remedies to come in close contact with the insects, who are
tenacious of life, like most low forms of animal life. Having thoroughly
washed the sore skin, apply gently, but with a good deal of persistence, a
lotion composed of one part of oil of tar to four parts of olive oil,
taking care to cover the infected area, but not using any more than is
necessary, as it is most easy to excite nausea in the cat, but not easy to
allay it. This should be repeated alternate days, washing it off in the
intervals with plain curd soap, until the skin begins to look dry and
scaly, and loses its redness. The administration of small doses of sulphur
(milk of sulphur, two to three grains) daily will facilitate the cure,
because it is found to make its way through the skin from within,
rendering the cat a less desirable host."

_Eczema_ (from the Greek, _ekzeo_, I boil out) is another form of skin
disease to which the cat is sometimes subject, and is the effect of an
unhealthy condition of the blood. Unlike mange, eczema is not caused by
the intrusion of an insect parasite. The disease, being of quite a
different nature, requires treatment of another character altogether.
Again I use Mr. Leeney's words:--

"Those parts of the skin which have upon them the least hair, as the
belly and thighs, and under the elbows, are the most frequently attacked.
It commences with a simple reddening of the skin, and a few days
afterwards little watery bladders or vesicles are observed. These
breaking, and their contents drying upon the skin, form an offensive,
unctuous matter, which becomes mixed with dirt and the _débris_ of broken
hair, etc., and reacts upon the already inflamed skin. It is caused by an
arid condition of the blood, or perhaps it would be more correct to say an
insufficiently alkaline condition of it, since in health that fluid should
have an alkaline reaction. Whatever doubt may be cast upon this theory as
to the origin of the malady, there is no doubt but that alkaline
bicarbonates produce a speedy cure, and the recovery is much facilitated
by soothing applications to the abraded parts.

"I would advise as a mixture, bicarbonate of potash, two grains; water,
thirty drops; mix for one draught; to be taken twice a day. If the nurse
cannot give the medicine as a fluid, the same quantity of potash may be
mixed with a little butter or honey, and smeared upon the cat's toes or
shoulders, for she will soon lick it off there. Many cats will not detect
it dissolved in a saucer of milk, as it has only the slightest saline
taste. If neither of these methods is successful, two grains of exsiccated
carbonate of soda may be made into a tiny pill and given in a piece of

"The skin should be well fomented with warm water and a sponge, with a
little curd soap and glycerine added to the water. After carefully drying
with a piece of lint or old, soft calico, an ointment of zinc (benzoated
zinc ointment of the British Pharmacopoeia) should be carefully applied
for several minutes, careful manipulation being of more service than a
large amount of ointment. We have spoken of the condition of the blood
which gives rise to eczema, and of remedies likely to cure it; but
prevention is, of course, better still.

"I have been able to trace the disease in some cats to access to a
neighbouring fishmonger's dust-hole, where offal has been thrown and
allowed to decompose; in others it is traceable to milk. It is difficult
enough to keep dogs from eating filth in the streets after refusing good
food at home; but who shall restrain the cat? The removal of the offending
material, rather than any additional restraint upon pussy, will be, if
permissible, the best remedy.

"I have known many cats quite cured without any other remedy than an
abundant supply of horse-flesh, as retailed by the cats'-meat men.

"While the subject of food is under consideration, I may mention that a
very unfounded prejudice exists against horse-flesh; and while our French
neighbours are making it an article of human food, we retain our insular
prejudices to such an extent that many people do not even like their dogs
and cats to eat it. As a general rule, horses are slaughtered because lame
or incapable, and their flesh is in a healthy state, and affords good,
sound muscular fibre, while those who die generally do so from acute
diseases, as colic, inflammation of the lungs, hernia, etc., etc., the
flesh or muscular parts being in no way injured or rendered deleterious. A
noticeable example of flesh-fed cats is to be seen in the many large and
handsome cats at the Royal Veterinary College, who feed themselves on the
donkeys and horses in the dissecting-room."

Before concluding this chapter I may suggest that, with fair attention, a
good cat may be expected to live out a fair term of years, and perhaps
without any special ailment. Certainly the causes of disease and death are
not a few, sometimes obscure, or of a complicated character; yet the cat
is not singular in its liability to pain and death, for such is the
portion which falls to all creatures, man not excepted. But when we
consider that the cat is a rather fast-breeding animal, and has fewer
natural enemies than many other creatures--the rodents, for example--it is
evident that the feline race, both in its wild and domesticated state,
must be subject to such a constant check upon its undue increase as is
justly required to maintain the right balance in creation. Few cats live
to old age, which may be estimated at fourteen years. I have heard,
however, of two cases at least in which the extraordinary age of
twenty-two years has been attained. But what a vast proportion are not
permitted to survive as many hours! The irrefutable assertion in the Book
of Ecclesiastes, that there is "a time to be born, and a time to die,"
having reference to the limited duration of human life, may with equal
truth and propriety be considered respecting the whole animal creation.
Death is one of the essential laws in nature. Disease and violence may be
regarded as but instruments of destruction in the hand of the Almighty. No
thoughtful student of nature can fail, however, to be deeply impressed by
the evidence that the great God that made all things is not only infinite
in power and wisdom, but a God of love. To use the words of Isaac Walton:
"The study of the works of nature is the most effectual way to open and
excite in us the affections of reverence and gratitude towards that Being
whose wisdom and goodness are discernible in the structure of the meanest

_Worms._--It may be difficult, however, to comprehend, or to regard
without disgust, such loathsome forms of life as are the different worms,
in some form peculiar to, perhaps, every species of mammal, bird, or fish.

As Mr. Leeney observes:--"Cats are subject to wandering parasites, which
pierce the tissues and cause much pain and illness in seeking 'fresh
fields and pastures new.' Pussy is not exempt from the _Trichina
spiralis_, which, as my readers are probably aware, is the cause in man,
in swine, and other animals, of the dreadful malady known as trichinosis.

"It is during the wandering of these minute worms that the fever and pain
is produced in the subject, be he human or any other animal.

"That cats should be more liable to this parasite than man is readily
understood when we take into account the liking they have for raw meat,
while cooking generally obviates the danger from man. The prevalence of
trichina, and the disease produced by it, in Germany, is to be accounted
for by the custom of eating uncooked ham and other things. I have myself
eaten this 'schinken' in Germany. I am afraid if trichinosis could be
detected in a cat no remedy could be suggested; but in speaking of worms,
it ought to be taken into consideration, and may, perhaps, account for
some of the obscure causes of death in our domestic pet.

"There are, again, worms whose habitat is the blood-vessels, and whose
choice for a nest is the junction or branch of some artery--a favourite
one being that vessel which is given off from the great trunk (_posterior
aorta_) to the liver (_hepatic_). The presence of such a nest occludes the
vessel, and produces changes in the structure of its coat, which,
together with the diminished calibre of the vessel, seriously affects the
liver, by depriving it in a great measure of its nourishment, its
substance, like all other parts of the body, depending for its maintenance
and repair on the constant circulation of fresh blood, charged with
material for supplying the daily waste.

"The ducts or passages from the liver through which the bile should pass
are the favourite haunt of another kind of parasite--the fluke; here 'they
do most breed and haunt,' producing dropsy, a condition well known in
sheep, and called the 'rot.'

"These, like the strongylus occasionally found in the kidneys, are most
fatal to their bearers, and unfortunately beyond the reach of remedies.

"A great many remedies have been suggested for sheep suffering from their
presence, but the chief difficulty consists in the fact that any remedy,
in order to affect the parasite, must enter first into the circulation of
the bearer, and the turpentine which would kill the fluke would first kill
the cat; and again, the salt, which ruminants enjoy, could not be given to
the cat, because vomition is so easily excited, and so much would be

"Fortunately for cats and dogs, the kind of worms to which they are most
subject are generally situated in the stomach and bowels, and are to be
dislodged without much difficulty. It may be taken as a general rule that
round worms can be expelled by santonin, and flat worms by areca-nut; but
some care should be exercised in the administration of these drugs.

"If a cat is found to be very thin, and her coat is stiff and harsh,
accompanied with vomiting of round worms, or they are observed in the
excrement, a pill should be made of half a grain of santonin, and ten
grains of extract of gentian, and two or three grains of saccharated
carbonate of iron, and given fasting, at intervals of two or three days.
The best way of giving a pill to a cat is to stick it on the end of a
penholder, and, having opened her mouth, push it back on the tongue
without any fear of its going the wrong way, and withdraw the penholder
suddenly. The pill will almost certainly be swallowed, as the rough,
papillæ on the cat's tongue will have prevented the pill being withdrawn
with the holder, and it should have been placed too far back for the
patient to do anything with it but swallow it.

"If tape-worm has been observed, from one to three grains of areca-nut
(freshly grated) should be given in the form of a pill, mixed with five
grains of extract of gentian, and two grains of extract of hyoscyamus.
Areca-nut will probably produce the desired effect given alone, but it too
often produces acute colic, and even fits, if not mixed with some

There is a worm peculiar to the feline race only, and known as _Ascaris
mystax_, or the moustached worm, so called from the four projections at
the head. This worm more generally infests the intestines, but often
lodges in the stomach, and grows to a considerable length, and is then
usually vomited up, to the relief of the poor cat.

"The presence of this or other guests within the stomach is often a cause
of gastric derangement, and the cat will be at times voracious, and at
others 'very dainty,' no doubt feeling faint and nauseated by the
irritating presence of the worms, and desperately hungry sometimes from
being robbed of its nourishment; for it must be remembered that worms do
not simply eat the food as it reaches the stomach from time to time, but
they live on the all but completely digested food, or chyle, which is
just ready to enter the circulation, and contains all the most nutritive
part of the food in a condition fit for building up the animal structures,
and replacing the waste which is always taking place. It is only by the
consideration of this fact that we can understand how a few small worms
can so rapidly cause the bearer to waste away."

And now, in concluding, may I suggest that there is "a time to kill, and a
time to heal," and that when a favourite cat is really ill, in pain, or
has met with a serious accident, it is often both wise and merciful to
drown or shoot the poor animal effectually, and without delay. Drowning,
as I have before observed, is, perhaps, the simplest and the least painful
of the ordinary methods of destruction. Shooting must be resorted to with
care and forethought, and no possibility allowed of the cat escaping but
only wounded. Poison is at all times to be avoided.



Mitis and Riquet are two tom-cats saved from a litter of five; their
mother is an Angora, slate-coloured, with the neck, breast, and tips of
the paws white. Mitis has a large head and limbs, and a coat which
promises to be Angora and the same colour as his mother's, a white muzzle,
and white underneath his eyes, while his lips and the tip of his nose are
bright pink. Riquet's body and tail are black, with grey marks; his head,
which is smaller than his brother's, is grey, with zebra-like bands of
black crossing longitudinally and laterally; two white streaks branch out
from the upper end of the nose, and on the forehead two curved lines,
starting from the corners of his eyes, surround a disc of black and grey.

No sooner has their mother licked them over than they set off whining and
seeking for her teats. I made some observations of their movements on the
first and second days; but as I am afraid of not recording them with
sufficient accuracy from memory, I will begin with the third day, when I
took to writing down my observations.

_12th May._--They are perpetually moving about, even when sucking and
sleeping. Sleep overtakes them in the act of sucking, and then, according
to what position they were in at the moment, they either remain ensconced
in their mother's silky breast, or fall over with open mouths into some
graceful attitude. The little gluttons, Riquet especially, who seems to be
delicately organised, are often troubled with hiccoughs, reminding one of
young children who have sucked too copiously. It is curious to watch them
when searching for a teat, turning their heads abruptly from right to
left, and left to right, pushing now with their foreheads, now with their
muzzles; tumbling and jumping one over the other, sliding between their
mother's legs, trying to suck no matter what part of her body; and
finally, when they have settled down to their meal, resembling leeches,
whose whole activity is concentrated on the work of suction, and who, as
soon as they have thoroughly gorged themselves, let go their hold and fall
back into _inertia_.

Whenever their sensibility is unpleasantly excited, as, for instance, if
their mother leans on them too heavily, or leaves them alone, or performs
their toilet too roughly, they give vent to monotonous--I had almost said
monosyllabic--plaints; sounds which can scarcely be called _mias_, still
less _miaows_; they are best described as trembling _mi-i-is_. They also
emit these plaintive sounds when they have been searching long for a teat
without finding one, or if they annoy each other during the laborious
search; or if I take them up too quickly, or turn them over in the palm of
my hand to examine them. If I set them up in my hand in a standing
position, they will remain motionless for a few seconds, as if enjoying
the warmth of my hand; but very soon again they begin clamouring with loud
whines for their home in the mother's warm, soft stomach, which is at once
their shelter and their dining-room, the familiar, and perhaps the loved,
theatre of their nascent activity.

_13th May._--This morning Mitis appeared to be ill. He was languid, did
not whine when I took him up, and made no attempt at sucking; he had an
attack of hiccoughs, accompanied by shiverings all over his body, which
made me anxious. It only lasted an hour, however: there may have been some
temporary cause of indisposition; or perhaps excessive sucking, or a very
great need of sleep, had reduced him to a semi-inert mass.

Riquet's head is prettier than it was yesterday; the white spot has
increased in size, the grey marks have spread and grown lighter, and the
head and neck are rather larger; but Mitis has still by far the finest

_Twelve o'clock._--The two leeches have been operating for twenty minutes
without desisting. They are now brimful of milk, and settling themselves
down, no matter where--one on the mother's stomach, the other on her paws;
no sooner have they placed themselves than they fall asleep.

_Two o'clock._--They have no fixed position for sucking; any does that
comes first.

When the mother leaves them alone for a moment they turn in rapid
gyrations round and round, over and under each other, delighting in the
mutual contact of their bodies and the warmth which it engenders. If the
mother remains absent for some minutes, they end by falling asleep one
over the other in the shape of a cross. If I lift up the top one, the
other soon begins to whine: they are not accustomed to solitude, and it
produces a painful impression of cold. Very young animals are easily
chilled, and sometimes die of cold in a temperature which is not very low.
This is owing to the smallness of their bodies and the feebleness of their
respiratory organs.

Between four and five o'clock Riquet seemed to me very lively. He was
searching for a teat which he could not find, and for ten minutes he
crossed backwards and forwards over his brother's body, giving him
frequent slaps with his paws.

Riquet's nose is a pink-brown, but tending to red-brown.

This evening (ten o'clock) I showed the mother a saucer full of milk; she
left her kittens to go and drink it, and afterwards she took a turn at a
plate of porridge; her absence lasted barely five minutes. The kittens,
during this time, went through their usual manoeuvres: Riquet turned three
times running round his brother; the latter, who is more indolent, or
perhaps has more need of sleep, stretched himself out full length on his
side. Riquet, however, cannot rest till he has found what he is searching
for--viz., the body of his mother. He is still in a state of agitation
when the cat comes back, raises herself with her front-paws on the edge of
the box, and drops quietly down by the side of her little ones without
touching them. Instantly they start up, raising their little waggling
heads; they know that their mother is there--the slight noise she made in
getting into the box, and the movement she imparted to it, are associated
in their memory with the idea of her presence.

The mother's first care is to see to their toilet, and she proceeds to
turn them over with two or three strokes of her tongue, and then operates
on them with the same natural instrument. Both have their turn; and at the
end of the operation, which seems to worry them, they whine considerably,
though not at all loud. A few minutes after, the melodious snoring of the
mother informs me that the whole family is at rest. I take a peep at them:
the mother is laid on her left side, describing a large and elegant curve;
Mitis, half on his hind-paws, half on his stomach, is stretched across
Riquet, and both are sleeping, or sucking--perhaps doing both at the same

_14th May._--My kittens seem to grow as I watch them, especially Mitis'
head, neck, and back; he is a massive heavy kitten, but his forehead is
broad and high: he will probably be an intelligent cat; his leonine chin,
large and well developed, indicates energy and goodness. He begins to show
more vivacity than during the earlier days; when he encounters his brother
in searching for a teat, or if the latter disputes with him the one he has
got hold of, he deals out at him rapid strokes with his paw, which remind
one of a dog swimming. His mother has just been performing his toilet in
the manner aforesaid, and has no doubt kept him longer at it than he
liked; he shows his displeasure by striking out his hind paws, one of
which knocks against his ear, and uttering two or three impatient _mis_.

These very occasional and but slightly emphasised cries are the only ones
which Riquet--even the brisk and lively Riquet--gives out, even when I
take him in my hand. I have seen other cats that were more unhappy
complain more: one, for instance, which was the only one I had kept out of
a litter, and which died at ten days old, just as it was beginning to open
its eyes; in her grief at having lost all her other kittens, the mother
used to carry this one about from place to place, and even leave it alone
for hours at a time; I believe it died from bad treatment and insufficient
feeding; the poor little thing frequently uttered loud moanings. I cannot
feel the slightest doubt as to the causes of its death when I see the
mother so happy with the two that I have left her this time; she has not
once called or searched for the other three which I drowned. Does this
proceed from a want of arithmetical aptitude? _Two_, for her, are _many_
as well as _five_. However this may be, she is very happy, very _repue_,
very attentive, and her little ones are habituated to comfort, ease,
satisfied desires, and tranquil sleep and digestion. If they do not know
how to complain I think it is because they have had no reason to learn to
do so.

The colour of Riquet's hair is changing sensibly: the grey-white now
preponderates on his face. The velvety black of his neck, back, and sides
is silvered with whitish tints, which have spread since the morning.

Often when they are alone, or even if their mother is with them, they will
mistake no matter what part of their bodies for teats and begin to suck
it, as a child of six months will suck its finger or even the tip of its

_15th May._--To-day I held Riquet on my hand for three minutes. I was
smoking a cigar; the little creature stretched out its neck, poked its
nose up in the air, and sniffed with a persistent little noise. A sparrow,
whose cage was hung up over us, frightened at my smoking-cap, began to fly
round the cage and beat at it with its wings. At the sound of this noise
Riquet was seized with a sudden fit of trembling, which made him squat
down precipitately in my hand. Movements of this kind are reflex ones, the
production of which is associated in the organism with certain auditory
impressions; but the animal is necessarily more or less conscious of them,
or will soon be so. From five minutes' observation I have thus learnt that
Riquet is sensible to strong smells, and that he already goes through the
consecutive movements of sentiment and fear.

Riquet's head is visibly changing to silver-grey; the marks on his back
are also assuming this shade.

I took Mitis in my hands, stretched them out and drew them up again. He
does not seem to know quite what to make of it; he attempts a few steps,
feels about uncertainly with his head, and comes in contact with my coat
smelling of the cigar; he appears to be scenting my coat, but not with so
much noise and vivacity as Riquet does. He waggles his head about, feels
about with his paws, and tries to suck my coat and my hands; he is
evidently out of his element and unhappy. The mother calls to him from the
bottom of the box; this causes him to turn his head quickly in the
direction from which the sound comes (what a number of movements or ideas
associated in the intelligence and organism of a little animal four days
old!); he starts off again, making a step forward, then drawing back,
turning to the right and to the left, with a waddling movement. I give him
back to his mother.

I thought I noticed once again this evening that the light of my lamp,
when held near the kittens' box, caused rather lively excitation of their
eyelids, although these were closed. The light must pass through these
thin coverings and startle the retinas. The kittens were agitated during
a few seconds; they raised and shook their heads, then lowered them and
hid them in the maternal bosom.

The noise of carriages, the sound of my voice, the twittering of the
sparrow, the movements imparted to the box by my hand--all throw them into
the same kind of agitation. These movements may be coupled with the
movements, unconscious no doubt, but determined by external causes, which
are observed in the young.

_16th May._--Mitis' tail is thickening at the root; the hair of its head
and neck is close and silky; he will no doubt turn out a considerable
fraction of an Angora.

When I place the kittens on the palm of my hand they inhale strongly and
with a certain amount of persistence; this is because their sense of smell
operates no doubt with tolerable completeness, in view of the species, and
in the absence of visual perception, and by reason of the imperfect
operation of their touch.

This evening Mitis, having escaped from the constraint in which his mother
holds him to perform his toilet, half _plantigrade_ half _gastéropode_,
dragged himself slowly, though as fast as he was able, along his mother's
paws, and at last nestled down in the soft fur of her stomach. While in
this position his head, rolling like that of a drunken man, knocked
against the head of Riquet, who was in the act of sucking. Instantly Mitis
lifts a paw and brings it down on his brother's head. The latter holds on,
as he is very comfortably spread out on the bottom of the box, and is
sucking a teat placed low down. A second attempt of Mitis' fails equally.
He then performs rapid movements with his head, searching vigorously for
his cup, but not finding it. The mother then places a paw on his back, and
his centre of gravity being thus better established, he at last
accomplishes his object. Here we have several actions which are no doubt
in some degree conscious, but which come chiefly under the head of
automatism: the scent which helps in the search for the teat, the instinct
to dispute the ground with another who is discovered to be sucking, the
movements of intentional repulsion, of struggle, of combativeness. What an
admirable machine for sensation, sentiment, volition, activity, and
consciousness, is a young animal only just born!

_17th May._--I have observed--or think I have observed--in Mitis, the more
indolent of the two brothers, the first symptoms of playfulness: lying on
his back with his mouth half open, he twiddles his four paws with an air
of satisfaction, and as if seeking to touch some one or something. It is
eight o'clock in the evening, the window is open, the sparrow is singing
with all its might in its cage, we are talking and laughing close to the
cat's box. Do all these noises in some way excite the sensoriums of the
two _repus_ kittens? The fact is, that they have been in a state of
agitation for more than a quarter of an hour, travelling one over the
other and walking over their mother's stomach, paws, and head. Mitis, the
heavier of the two and soonest tired out, was the first to return to the
teat. Riquet's return to the maternal breast has been a long and
roundabout journey from one corner of the box to the other, and round and
round his mother.

At nine o'clock I went to look at them with the light. This threw them
into dreadful consternation. I observe in them both something like
intentions to bite, while rolling each other over, they keep their mouths
open, and snap instead of sucking when they come in contact with any part
of each other's bodies; but it is all mechanical. Here we have an increase
of activity produced by an accession of powers and temporary

_18th May._--They are lying asleep on their sides, facing each other, with
their fore-paws half stretched out against the hind ones. Riquet's sleep
is much disturbed; his mouth touches one of his brother's paws, which he
instantly begins to suck. Is this a mechanical or unconscious action? Is
he not possibly dreaming? After four or five attempts at sucking he lets
go the paw, and sleeps on tranquilly for four minutes; but the noise of a
carriage passing in the street, and perhaps the consequent vibration of
the floor and the bottom of the box, cause violent trembling in his lips,
paws, and tail.

The mother gets back in the box; and the kittens, instantly awake and
erect, utter three or four _mis_ to welcome the joyful return.

In settling herself down the mother leans rather heavily on Riquet; the
latter, who used formerly to extricate himself mechanically, and who
already knows from experience the inconvenience of such a position, moves
off brusquely, goes further away than he would have done formerly, and
Mitis, on the lookout for a teat, hears close to him the noise of his
brother's sucking. He pommels his head with his hind-paws, rolls up
against him, striking out with his fore-paws, and knocks him over with the
weight of his body; he is now in possession of the teat which his brother
had first tried, and, finding it as good as the one he was sucking before,
he sticks to it.

_18th May._--Mitis was trying to worry Riquet who was busy sucking. I hold
out my hand to make a barrier between the two; Mitis pushes it back with
his paw, but soon perceives the difference between the two bodies which he
is pushing against, gives over his excitement, and looks out for another
teat. No doubt in this case there was no comparative perception of
difference, but different sensations producing different muscular actions;
that is all, I imagine, but this is nevertheless the germ of veritable

_19th May._--Both the eyes of both kittens are about to open; the eyelids
seem slightly slit, and are covered with an oozy film. At the external
corner of Mitis' right eye there is a little round opening disclosing a
pale blue speck of eyeball, the size of a pin's head. At the internal
commissure of the left eye there is also a round opening, but much
smaller, and showing no eye-ball through it. Riquet's right eye is also
opening slightly; the edges of the left eyelids are stopped up by a
yellowish discharge.

I fancied that Mitis was playing in the box; I tumbled him over on his
back, tickled his stomach, and stroked his head; he struck out his paws
without attempting to pick himself up; this was evidently a more or less
conscious attempt at play. His mother came to lick him in this attitude,
and he performed with his fore-paws as previously. Riquet, too, shows a
tendency to play, but not of such a pronounced nature.

_21st May._--Riquet's left eye is beginning to open at the inside corner.

I took them both up on my hand, and waved my fingers in front of their
partially opened eyes; but I did not observe any movement from which I
could infer the power of distinguishing objects.

Mitis, placed close to his mother's head, nibbles at it and plays with his
paws on her nose; the mother does not approve of this amusement; she lays
a paw on her son's neck and teaches him respect; soon he escapes from her
grasp, and begins searching for a teat.

Some streaks of fawn-colour have mixed with the zebra-like black and grey
on Riquet's neck: he is now quadri-coloured.

Mitis is seated on my hand. I kiss him on the head, three times running,
making a slight noise with my lips; he shakes his head twice. This is an
habitual movement of the mother cat when one kisses her or strokes her
head and it displeases, or if she is occupied with something else.

When I pass my hand in front of their heads, at about four _centimètres'_
distance, they make a movement with the head and wink their eyes; I am not
sure whether this means that they see, though their eyes have been more
or less open since yesterday evening.

They have not yet begun to purr.

_22nd May._--I went up to the box towards twelve o'clock. Riquet's left
eye, the light blue colour of which I can see, seems to perceive me, but
it must be very indistinctly. I wave my hand at ten _centimètres_ from his
eyes, and it is only the noise I make and the disturbance of the air that
cause him to make any movement.

Both Mitis' eyes are almost entirely open; I hold my finger near his nose
without touching it, I wave it from right to left and left to right, and I
fancy I perceive in the eyes--in the eyes more than in the head--a slight
tendency to move in the direction of my movements.

_23rd May_, 7 P.M.--Their movements are less trembling, quicker, and
fierce not only because of increased strength and exercise, but because
intention, directed by eyesight, is beginning to operate.

The more I observe young animals, the more it seems to me that the
external circumstances of their development--alimentation, exercise (more
or less stimulated and controlled), ventilation, light, attention to their
health and their _affective_ sensibilities, care in breeding and
training,--are perhaps only secondary factors in their development.
Actual sensations, it seems to me, serve only to bring to the service one
set of virtualities rather than another; a sentient, intelligent, active
being is a tangled skein of innumerable threads, some of which, and not
others, will be drawn out by the events of life. This it is that marks out
the precise work, limits the power, but at the same time encourages all
the pretensions of educators. If all is not present in all, as Jacolot
asserted, who can say what is and what is not present in a young animal or
a young child?

I placed Mitis on a foot-warmer, the contact with which produced two or
three nervous tremblings, somewhat similar to slight shiverings; he seemed
pleased, however, and stretched himself out on the warm surface, with his
eyes half-closed, as if going to sleep. Afterwards I placed Riquet there;
he went through the same trembling movements, but then proceeded with an
inspection with his muzzle--scenting or feeling, I do not know which, the
article on which he had been deposited. He then gently stretched out a paw
and laid himself down flat, the contact with the warm surface inducing
sleep, by reason of the familiar associations between the like sensation
of warmth experienced on his mother's breast and the instinctive need of

When they trot about in their box, some of their movements appear to be
directed by sight.

Their ears have lengthened perceptibly during the last two days, and so
have their tails.

When any one walks about the room, if they are not asleep or sucking, they
begin frisking about immediately.

The mother, whom I sent to take a little exercise in the courtyard, has
been absent for half an hour. Mitis is asleep; Riquet, lying with his head
on his brother's neck, was awakened by the sound of my footsteps, all the
more easily roused no doubt because he was hungry, and because his mother
had been absent so long. I stroke his head with my finger, and he puts on
a smiling look. I make a little noise with my lips to rouse the sparrow,
and this noise pleases Riquet, who listens with the same smiling

They now attempt to climb higher; they do not knock their noses so
frequently against the partitions of the box, they certainly direct their
paws at certain points determined by their vision; eyes, noses, and paws
now operate in concert on the teats or any other objects that come across
their way; for they do not go much in search of objects as yet. Their
field of vision does not stretch very far; what they see is matter of
chance and accident rather than of real intention. If I wish to attract
their attention by waving my hand, I must not hold it further than fifteen
_centimètres_ from their eyes. I must go very close to them before they
appear to distinguish my person. I am not sure that they see the whole of
it; I rather think that only certain portions are visible to
them,--amongst others my nose, because it stands out in relief, and my
eyes, because they reflect the light vividly.

_24th May_, 9 P.M.--The orbits of their eyes seem to me rather more
expanded than this morning, possibly because the light makes their pupils
contract. I placed a candle on a chair by the side of their box; the light
evidently annoyed them, but it stimulated them to exercise their limbs.
Mitis, after having promenaded and struggled about in a corner of the box,
and grown accustomed to the lively sensations on his retina, directs his
steps towards the most brightly-lighted point of the box. A band of light
falls full on the upper part of the partition on the side facing me.
Mitis, and Riquet after him,--more from imitation than personal
excitement,--tries to climb up this luminous board; he does not succeed,
but the attraction continues undiminished. I thought involuntarily of the
plants which struggle up walls to reach the light.

Mitis, still somewhat disconcerted--though much less so than at
first--when he looks directly at light, retires into a corner, and tired,
no doubt, with the exercise he has just been taking, places himself, or
rather falls back, on his mother's tail. I take him up gently, and set him
in front of his mother's stomach, and by the side of Riquet, who had just
finished his gambols also, and was sucking. Then began a scuffle, the
front paws working away perceptibly like the _battoirs_ of a washerwoman.
I come to the rescue, placing my hand between them, and this calms them
down; they favour me, however, with a few ridiculous little taps. Mitis,
meanwhile, has taken possession of the contested teat, and celebrates his
victory by the first _purr_ that to my knowledge he has produced.

Riquet is now in a great state of agitation; he is lying in the dark,
behind his mother's back, and close to the side of the box facing me. I
hold my finger to him; he lifts himself up and leans his head slowly
forward to touch or scent my finger. He can now distinguish people, but
more by touch, scent, or hearing than by sight, the latter sense being
very imperfectly developed and little exercised. When I make a slight
noise with my lips the little creature starts and jumps about, but does
not lift up his eyes to my face, which he has seen close to him, has
looked at with attention, but which he is very imperfectly acquainted
with, and does not accurately localise with respect to my hand and my

Riquet is close to his mother's head. He has stretched a paw over her
neck, and is looking at some part or other of her head, I don't know
which, while playing gently with his little paw. Here we see an
intelligent development of affection; he now loves his mother in a more
conscious way; his visual and tactile perceptions are becoming
co-ordinated, are amplifying his knowledge, and giving strength and
precision to his sentiments.

I stretch out my finger to Mitis, who is still lying on the spot where I
found him at first. In return, either from curiosity, or from instinctive
impulse and movement, he holds out his little paw, which seems to enjoy
the grasp of my finger, and sticks to it.

_25th May._--I place my kittens, one after the other, in the hollow of my
hand. Mitis squealed when I lifted him out of the box, and during the
three minutes that I kept them in my hand they both seemed almost
indifferent. The instant, however, that I put them back in the box they
seemed quite delighted to get back again, or else they were stimulated to
play by the various sensations--muscular, visual, tactile, and
thermal--which I had occasioned them. Standing and walking about on my
hand had stimulated Mitis to an extraordinary display of strength. In his
desire for prolonged exercise, and no doubt also wishing to renew the
vivid sensations of light he had just experienced, he set to work to climb
up the perpendicular wall of his dwelling, making all the time a great
noise of scratching. All movement produces sensations; and all sensations
produce movements.

_26th May._--They both play with their paws and their muzzles, but
frequently, as if by chance, only without very marked intention, and with
very uncertain movements.

I seem already to distinguish in them two different characters. If one can
go by appearances, Mitis will be gentle, patient, rather indolent and
lazy, prudent and good-natured; Riquet, on the contrary, lively, petulant,
irritable, playful, and audacious. Noise and contact seem to excite him
more than his brother. But both of them are very affectionate towards
their mother, or perhaps I should say very appreciative of the pleasure of
being with her, of seeing, hearing, and touching her, and not only of
sucking from her.

I hold Mitis up to the edge of the box; he evinces a desire to get back to
his mother, but does not know how to manage it. His muscles have not yet
acquired the habit of responding to this particular psycho-motive
stimulus; he crawls up to where my hand ends, advances first one paw, then
another, and finds only empty space; he then stretches out his neck, and
two or three times running makes an attempt with his paws at the movements
which are the precursors of the act of jumping. He would like to jump
down, but cannot do so; instinctive intention is here in advance of the
adaptiveness or the strength of the muscular apparatus fitted to execute
it. He retreats frightened and discouraged, and whines for help.

Riquet placed in the same position, goes through almost the same
movements, but he is able to do more; he has managed to seize hold (chance
perhaps assisting him) of the edge of the box, he sticks to it, leans over
without letting go, and would have got down, or rather tumbled down, into
the box, if I had let him.

_27th May._ Every day they get to know me better. Now, after I have taken
them in my hands, or stroked their head, neck, or lips, they go back to
their box quite excited; they walk about in it faster than before, snap at
each other and strike out their paws with much more spirit. Play has now
become a matter of experience with them, and grows day by day a little
more complicated; they seem to be aware of their growth in strength and
skill, and to derive pleasure from it. To-day, for the first time, Riquet
scratched the piece of stuff on the bottom of the box, and he did it with
playful gestures and an expression of delight; first he stretched out one
paw, then the other, with his claws turned out, and, being pleased with
the noise produced by drawing back his claws, he renewed the operation
twice, but no more. It will be necessary to go through the same experience
two or three times more, in order to fix the idea of this game in his
little head.

They have already tried several times running (either by accident or with
a vague idea of ascending) to hold on to, or climb up, the sides of the
box; if they were not slippery, or were covered with a cloth, I think they
would have strength enough to lift themselves up to the edge.

They lift their head and paws as high as they can, in order to see better.
All the inside of the box seems to be sufficiently well known to them, but
all the same they are constantly making experiments in it, either by
touch, sight, hearing, scent, and even taste; for they frequently lick the
board, and try to suck the cloth at the bottom. They would no doubt gladly
extend the area of their experiences, but I shall leave them habitually
in the box until they are able to get out of it by themselves; they can
get quite enough exercise in it, and they have enough air and light, and I
think the prolongation of this calm, happy, retired existence makes them
more gentle. The mother prefers their being in the box, and I am of the
same opinion, though not perhaps for the same reasons. They would become
too independent if allowed to follow their caprices, and exposed to the
dangers of adventure, instead of being accustomed to the restraint of the
hand which they love and which _humanises_[4] them. I want them to become
so thoroughly accustomed to my hand, that, when they receive their
freedom, they will still recognise it from a distance, and come to it at
my will. My hand is a very precious instrument of preservation and
education for them.

_28th May._ When, standing close to the box, I take Mitis in my hands, he
looks at the box, bends his head, stretches out his paws, and shows a
considerable desire to get down, but without making any effort towards
this end. I hold him a little lower down, at a few _centimètres_ from his
mother, and he no longer hesitates but lets himself glide down to her,
his movements, however, only turning out a success thanks to my
assistance. Can it be that he had (what Tiedemann does not even allow his
fourteen-months-old child to have possessed) a vague perception of
distance, of empty and inhabited space, anterior to personal experience?
"He had not yet any idea of the falling of bodies from a height, or of the
difference between empty and inhabited space. On the 14th October he still
wanted to precipitate himself from heights, and several times he let his
biscuit fall to the ground when intending to dip it in his cup."

The kittens endeavour to climb along the sides of the box, but their idea
of height (perhaps an instinctive idea) is not sufficiently determined;
they seem quite astounded at not reaching the goal with the first stroke.
At the same time I may be mistaken in my observations; perhaps they went
up these four or five _centimètres_ mechanically, because in walking along
horizontally they found under their paws the surface of the partition
which may have seemed a natural continuation of their road. Perhaps they
have no wish to get up to the edge of the box.

_28th May._--The grey spots on Riquet's back are now almost as large as
the black ones.

The eyes of both kittens are getting less and less blue; they are assuming
an indistinct colour, between dirty grey and light brown. Their
expression is frank and sympathetic; they seem to direct their looks
consciously and voluntarily.

Riquet is looking at me with an expression of pleasure, seated upright,
with his paws lifted languidly. I hold my finger near him, and he extends
his left paw. I stroke the left side of his head, and he leans the part
which I caress on my finger, as a full-grown cat would do, and rubs
himself two or three times running against my finger. These are _invented_
movements--I mean movements furnished all of a sudden by the stimulus of
hereditary virtualities, and which seem to astonish the young animal as
well as to please him; it is thus that we see automatic movements at one
moment coming under the control of consciousness, and the next escaping
from it, refined, simplified, adapted, and perfected. Life invents but few
new movements; but there are many, no doubt, ready to appear if the
influences of surroundings permitted it.

_29th May._--They are learning more and more to exercise their muscles and
perfect their movements; they are daily acquiring fresh powers and
_adaptations_, and in their games with each other and their mother they
show intention and pleasure; they are learning more and more to
distinguish people; if any one presents a finger to them, they always
hold out their nose, or else a paw; this seems to have become a reflex
action with them. They also appear to localise certain sensations which
are in some sort artificial. I touch the tip of Mitis' left paw, (he has
been sucking for the last ten minutes); he stops sucking, and instantly
turns his head in the direction of his paw; but this is perhaps because he
has seen my hand, and the muscular sensation associated with this visual
sensation may have determined his movement alone and almost automatically.
I vary the experiment, however, and pass my finger two or three times
running across his neck; he raises his head and looks behind him, as if
understanding where I had touched him. However this may be, I should not
like to affirm in him the faculty of localising pleasure or pain, except
as a sort of automatic localisation of sensations, which would be the
result of certain anterior _adaptations_.

The mother is engaged on the toilet of Mitis, who neither looks pleased
nor displeased; he makes a sound which is neither a cry of pain, nor the
whining of complaint or anger; if he is giving expression to a mental
condition well defined to himself, I cannot guess at it. It is a tremulous
noise which might be represented by the following letters: _mrrrimr_....

_2nd June._--Riquet's ears grow more than those of Mitis. The hair of the
latter has ceased to grow, and his tail is scarcely more bushy than his
brother's. He will not be more of an Angora than Riquet, in spite of the
long silky hair, which during the first days grew so abundantly on his
neck, stomach, and thighs.

Riquet has become more patient, and Mitis more lively during the last few
days. It would be very presumptuous to pretend to found precise inductions
as to the future on observations taken during the first days; hypothesis
itself must maintain the most scrupulous reserve, especially as regards
predictions concerning intelligence and character. A cat which appears
very intelligent at the age of one or two months, often shows very
mediocre intelligence when a year or two old, and _vice versâ_. As to the
colour and nature of the hair, six weeks must have elapsed before one can
give any certain opinion as to the real shade that it will be, and as to
its flexibility, abundance, brilliancy, and waviness. As for the ears I
have often erred in my predictions ... which are scarcely perceptible at
birth, and during the first eight or ten days, will sometimes grow to a
disproportionate length afterwards. With regard to the paws and the tail,
half a _decimètre's_ length at the moment of birth indicates undoubtedly
an appreciable length later on. One can also determine on the first day
the future firmness of the muscles and bones by the relative resistance of
these little velvety lumps when held in the hand. A strong voice, which is
more especially the appendage of male kittens, indicates at any rate good

Mitis, who is so gentle, has more flattened ears than Riquet; the latter's
stand up more like those of foxes and wolves. The little complementary
_pavillion_ ... which is attached to both edges of the ear, slightly
towards the bottom, and which in man is designated by a slight rudimentary
excrescence, is beginning to appear in both my kittens.

They are now well advanced in the art of play; they fence well with their
paws, lick each other, and tumble and roll each other over. Riquet, who
has some difficulty in standing upright on his legs, has attempted a jump.
They try to bite each other at play, specially aiming at each other's
paws. Often by mistake they seize their own paws with their teeth and gnaw
at them; but they are not long in finding out their error.

I place them on the ground. They tremble, seem frightened, or rather
astonished, or undecided, and make a few uncertain movements. One of them
perceives the mother at a distance of about a _mètre_, looking at them
from under a chair. He goes straight up to her, but very slowly, and with
a great deal of waddling; all of a sudden he stops. He has heard his
brother's voice, the latter having whined on my touching him to rouse him
out of his persistent immovability; he turns his head in our direction,
distinguishes me, turns straight round, and comes up to me with much
greater rapidity and assurance than he had shown in going to his mother.
The reason of this is, that the road to me was shorter and surer, and the
stimulus to traverse it greater, owing to the larger proportions of my
body. I place them back in the box, and they begin playing again with
zest. The one who had only moved feebly on the floor, walks, and even
jumps, much better this morning. This little outing seems to have
stimulated him to an effort which he had not made before. In like manner
we sometimes note progress in young children from day to day.

They can now climb up to the middle of the box.

A board, a few _centimètres_ wide, is nailed to the top of the box, and
covers about a fourth part of it. Mitis looks at it with longing eyes; he
makes up his mind, draws himself up as erect as he can, stretches up his
paws to the partition and within five _centimètres_ of the upper plank;
he is longing to make an upward leap, and finally he ventures on it; but
his heavy abdomen and his weak legs play him false, and he rolls over
ignominiously. In like manner a young child, not yet firm on his legs,
leaving the support of the chair to venture a step alone, falls in a soft
heap on the floor.

_4th June._--They play more and more with my finger, bite at it and lick
it. They seem to look at all objects more attentively, and more
sympathetically at their mother and me.

When they are playing about under their mother, one sees only a confusion
of white paws, pink noses, shining eyes, and whisking tails. I have put
them on my bed. They walk much better there than in the box, and
infinitely better than on the floor; they studied everything in this new
locality, walking, climbing up and down, sliding and rolling about.
Riquet, having reached the edge of the bed, would have fallen over if I
had not held him back. His more circumspect brother, finding himself in
the same situation, leant his head over for a moment, and then, as if
defying a danger more or less realised; turned round and precipitated
himself at the other side of the bed.

_11th June._--They frisk and bound about, and catch at all objects
indiscriminately with their claws to try and climb. They look into each
other's eyes as if trying to discover the expression of sentiments and
ideas. This may proceed from astonishment and curiosity, and the delight
of the ever new impressions which the movement of the eyes cannot fail to
produce in them. But must it not also be partly the result of an
hereditary predisposition of their organisation, which leads them to seek
in the eyes for the meaning which they express? We know that adult
animals, as well as man, are endowed with this tendency which proceeds
from instinct rather than individual experience.

Partly from imitation of their mother and sister, partly from the teaching
of their instinct, they went off one day to a certain out-of-the-way spot,
where was placed a pan full of ashes, the object of which does not require
to be explained. Observing this, I carried them from time to time to this
pan. The smell proceeding from it was in itself sufficient to excite them
to satisfy their needs. Three or four such experiences sufficed to
associate with the idea of this smell the idea of the pan, of the place
where it was, and of the need to be satisfied. I do not say that this
habit of cleanliness, so quickly acquired, may not as quickly be lost, by
means of new associations taking the place of the first. There is no
doubt, however, that if the people would make it a rule to watch over the
formation of habits in cats during the first weeks (and probably also in
other animals and in children), it would not afterwards be necessary to
have recourse to a system of barbarous, and often useless measures, in
order to obtain from them by violence that which nature will manage alone
with but very slight assistance.

The shutters are closed on account of the extreme heat, so that the room
is in semi-darkness, and all the objects in it steeped in mysterious
shadow. Riquet, frisking about at a little distance from the box, sees a
footstool at about a _mètre's_ distance. This object, with its four feet
and their shadows would easily produce in my mind the illusion of some
mysterious animal. This, however, cannot be the case with the kitten,
unless we suppose in it a mental confusion of the inanimate with the
animate, that is to say, the animalisation of the inanimate. My opinion is
that the surprise, and presently, too, the terror which Riquet manifests,
and which keeps him transfixed to the spot, have their origin rather in a
certain indeterminate tendency to fear in the presence of all sudden and
unusual impressions. Such an apparition would have had no effect whatever
on him a few days ago; but to-day it is so much out of harmony with his
now numerous experiences, that it contradicts and jars against all his
familiar habits. This is, in my mind, the sole cause of his terror.
However it may be, he draws himself up on his small paws, bristles his
tail, humps up his back, and without either retreating or advancing, sways
right and left in the same attitude. I make a movement; this noise brings
his paroxysm of fear to a crisis, and he gives expression to it by a
fretful _fû_; he then turns round and goes off as fast as his legs will
carry him, the first way that comes, which happens to be to the side of
the bed.

_12th June._--They are attracted by the noise which I make in crumpling
paper, in scratching the wall, or tapping a piece of furniture; but
metallic sounds, if soft, do not have the same effect on them; the noise
of objects being knocked, dull heavy sounds, or the noise of sharp voices,
astonish them and make them prick up their ears, but not lift their paws.
They take pleasure, however, in all the noises which they make themselves,
provided they are not too reverberating, or caused by the displacement or
fall of some large object. The loudest voice that I can put on pleases
them almost as much as the little playful tones I generally address them
in; they also delight in the strings of articulated consonants, which I
repeat to them; but they do not like whistling, although they are not so
much annoyed by it as is their mother, who comes up to me and rubs her
head under my chin and over my mouth, and gives me little taps on my lips
with her paw directly she hears me whistling. What specially delights them
are the dry sounds which their claws make on wood, linen, paper, the straw
seats of chairs, and the covering of the bed.

Mitis has drunk some milk this morning for the first time. I put the tip
of my finger, moistened with this fluid, under his nose, and he licked it
several times running. Enticed by the smell, he dipped his nose into a cup
of milk, but did not know how to set about drinking; up came the mother
and took his place, as if the milk was her rightful property. She
generally tries to take away from her little ones anything fresh, when it
is first given to them, perhaps out of maternal precaution, not thinking
them strong enough to digest anything but her milk. As she laps in a great
hurry, she always spills a certain quantity of milk round the saucer. I
placed Mitis in front of what had been spilled, and whether by chance, or
because he was incited by the smell, he fell to licking and cleaned it all
up. A quarter of an hour later he drank out of the cup, very awkwardly
however, and very little, plunging his nose so far into the milk as to
make him sneeze.

Riquet, to whom the same advances were made, licked the tip of my finger,
but did not touch the milk in the cup. He is less strong than Mitis, and
possibly less precocious in this respect.

When I come back into the room after an absence of even half an hour, the
mother raises herself on her paws, as if moved by a spring, and her two
satellites with her,--all at the same instant and with the same movement.

They still continue to be very fond of us, and not to be startled by

I have tried to make Riquet drink: I put his nose into the milk, and he
then dipped his paw in himself and licked it, but would not lap. He went
so far as to approach the cup with his nose and just touch it with his
lips, but he then started off again.

He is now under the chimney, sniffing and then scratching the ashes,
which, as his movements indicate, remind him of his ash-pan. If I once or
twice tolerated an infraction of my rule, the habit of cleanliness so
easily formed in him would perhaps be hopelessly lost; this is why I
hasten to carry him to his pan.

At 3 o'clock we repeated with Riquet the experiment which had failed in
the morning; we smeared his nose with milk. He then licked it, and
afterwards put his nose in the cup, and drank a good teaspoonful.

This morning they are more vigorous and nimble than yesterday, and they
have been disporting themselves on my bed for more than an hour, whilst
their mother and elder sister were engaged, by way of recreation, in
snatching tufts of hair from each other's coats, in scratching and
throttling each other. The mother gives a cry to indicate that this sport
has reached its limits. Mitis has tumbled off the bed with affright,
uttering a plaintive cry.

A ludicrous incident very nearly parted me from my two little pets. An old
laundress, whose sight is very feeble, as well as her mind, shut them up
in her bundle of linen, on which they had been playing whilst she was
counting it. I gave them up for lost, having searched for them everywhere,
even in my boots. Three hours later they were brought back to me safe and
sound. This is what had happened: on opening the bundle, out walked a
kitten (Mitis) who seemed very much surprised, he was put in a basket with
a cup of milk beside him; the other was only found an hour later, to the
great astonishment of the laundress, squatting under a cupboard and
showing nothing but the tip of his nose. He refused all manner of
consolation, and would not touch the milk, in spite of the example of
Mitis who did not wait to be pressed.

As soon as they were safe back with me they both ate some bread soaked in

The mother was very much dejected by their absence. When, after calling
them in vain with her most caressing voice, and making pretence to play to
entice them to come to her, she became convinced of their absence, she
filled my rooms with agonised screams. She then begged to be let out to
look for them in the court-yard, but soon came in again and began
screaming and hunting about as before. She came up to me and got up on my
knees, looked me fixedly in the eyes, and then curled herself up on the
bed where the kittens often sleep with her. Her eyes went beyond the
expression of profound despair; her eyelids quivered, a slight moisture
covered the eyeballs, and at the inside corners there was the appearance
of tears. There is no doubt that cats cry.

I have several times noticed, but in a specially distinct manner to-day,
on lifting them away from any place where they are comfortable, an
instinctive, or perhaps intentional, tendency to lean either with the
stomach or the paws, in order to remain fixed to the spot. An analogous
movement may be noticed in young children, when one tries to take them out
of the arms of some one they are fond of. I might no doubt have observed
this fact in my kittens long ago.

I was holding Mitis in my hands, and I lifted him near to his mother and
Riquet; he made a precipitate movement to get down to them, instinct
urging him to spring--and that all the more since he is now stronger;--but
his experience and his strength not sufficing to enable him to adapt his
efforts to the distance he had to cross. Thus it is that falling from the
bed often means in his case a bad attempt at jumping down. It is also
possible that it is the example of his mother and big sister, as much as
his increased strength, which suggests these somewhat impulsive bounds,
which moreover belong to the organic habits of the species. The little
unfledged bird also falls from its nest, when attempting a premature

Nothing in the shape of food comes amiss to Riquet: soup, meat, potatoes,
pease, lard--he snaps at, and devours whatever he comes across and
whatever is offered him; but one must beware of the little glutton's sharp
claws. Mitis takes his food more gently.

_18th June._--Riquet is playing with me on the sofa. A sole is placed on
the table. The smell of the fish excites and puzzles him, for he does not
know whence it comes; he travels over me in all directions, trying to
follow the scent, and is soon perched up on my left shoulder, which is
tolerably close to the table; he works towards the table, and I stoop my
shoulder to let him slide on to it. He rubs his nose first against a spoon
and then against a glass; the plate containing the sole is only a
_decimètre_ from the glass, but as he does not know that a plate contains
food, and that it is from there that the savoury smell proceeds, he does
not direct his steps towards it. Finally, however, he finds himself in
front of the plate, puts his four paws on it, and instantly disposes
himself to eat the whole fish. I instantly carry him off. What a small
number of experiences he will need (two or three only I have determined)
in order to adapt to actual practice these judgments and movements which
unite instinctively with certain sensations! We call this _reasoning_ in
man, and, nevertheless, it closely resembles a piece of subjective
mechanism, which is blind at starting, and which adapts itself to
objective representations with such promptitude, that consciousness seems
to follow, not to precede, its operations.

Whilst I was at my breakfast they climbed up my legs, and I had the
weakness to let them stay for a moment on the table. They invaded my
plate, Mitis going so far as to bite into the fish, and Riquet licking and
gnawing the edge of the plate; the smell of the fish is so penetrating
that he confuses it with the plate. Moreover, he has no idea of
_containing_ and being _contained_. Soon he comes across a mouthful of
fish which I have prepared for him: he flattens himself out on the plate,
and eats with courageous and deliberate precipitation, inclining his head
now to the left, now to the right, sometimes closing his eyes from
delight, but oftenest keeping them open and fixed attentively on the
plate,--one would say he was afraid of losing his precious morsel; and
here we see a result of the preservative instinct which he has received
from his ancestors.

Mitis has got into a round earthen pan, and from association of
impressions tries to satisfy a need which he would not otherwise have
felt. The vessel, however, being small, and his movements causing it to
totter, he jumped out and ran off to his own pan.

_20th June._--Mitis suddenly springs from the table to the floor, first
feeling his mother with the end of his paw, and then passing over her
without touching her: is it a personal or a social motive which makes him
act thus? Does he wish to avoid walking on ground that is not firm, or is
he trying not to hurt his mother? In like manner will a horse, on the
point of trampling a live body, hastily withdraw his foot.

They have been playing for a long time on my bed; before I go to sleep I
shall carry them to their own bedroom, to their mother who awaits them
somewhat sadly. They came back into my room as soon as I did myself. I sit
down in front of my table, they climb up along my legs, and I determine to
place them back on my bed. Twenty minutes later I reinstate them a second
time in their domicile, but they do not stay there two minutes. I had just
got into bed again when back they come, spring at the bed-cover, the
chairs, the wall, with a noise of scratching and rustling which excites
them to continue their difficult ascent; at the end of two minutes the
siege is accomplished, and I am seized upon, trodden over, scratched and
gnawed. I cannot be master in my own room except by shutting the door, at
which, however, they come and scratch, but without much persistence.

So there they are, now pretty well masters of their movements, taking
headers to get down from the bed to the chair, from the chair to the
floor, climbing up along the curtains and the tapestry, and even
attempting to climb the furniture and polished objects. A few more days
and their mode of descending will be less like tumbling, their ascents
less like scrambling: they will spring and they will bound, and will be
real individual cats.

Butler & Tanner, The Selwood Printing Works, Frome and London.


[1] The Zoological Society has now fitted up the building, which was
formerly the Reptile House, with new cages, and to this "Cat House" the
specimens above alluded to have been removed, together with other forms
which were kept within the "Small Mammals' House," such as the Pampas Cat,
the Ocelot, the Geoffroy's Cat, Serval, etc.

[2] The number of visitors admitted on the occasion of this one-day show
amounted to the grand total of 19,310.

[3] The above editorial note was added when the chapter appeared in _The
Animal World_.

[4] The Latins had the happy expression _mansuetus_ to express this idea.

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