This section of the book is from the "Stories of Animal Sagacity" book, by William Henry Giles Kingston.
Cats often show that they possess some of the vices as well as some of the virtues of human beings. The tom-cat is frequently fierce, treacherous, and vindictive, and at no time can his humour be crossed with impunity. Mrs F— mentions several instances of this.
A person she knew in the south of Ireland had severely chastised his cat for some misdemeanour, when the creature immediately ran off and could not be found. Some days afterwards, as this person was going from home, what should he see in the centre of a narrow path between walls but his cat, with its back up, its eyeballs glaring, and a wicked expression in its countenance. Expecting to frighten off the creature, he slashed at it with his handkerchief, when it sprang at him with a fierce hiss, and, seizing his hand in its mouth, held on so tightly that he was unable to beat it off. He hastened home, nearly fainting with the agony he endured, and not till the creature’s body was cut from the head could the mangled hand be extricated.
An Irish gentleman had an only son, quite a little boy, who, being without playmates, was allowed to have a number of cats sleeping in his room. One day the boy beat the father of the family for some offence, and when he was asleep at night the revengeful beast seized him by the throat, and might have killed him had not instant help been at hand. The cat sprang from the window and was no more seen.
If you are always gentle and kind, you will never arouse anger or revenge. It may be aroused in the breast of the most harmless-looking creatures and the most contemptible. Your motive, however, for acting gently and lovingly should be, not fear of the consequences of a contrary behaviour, but that the former is right.