This section is from the book "The Book Of Cats", by Charles Henry Ross. Also available from Amazon: The Book Of Cats: A Chit-Chat Chronicle Of Feline Facts And Fancies, Legendary, Lyrical, Medical, Mirthful And Miscellaneous.
Cat And Dog Life.
TO lead a "Cat and Dog life" means a good deal of scratching and biting; but Dogs and Cats have been known to get on very amiably before now.
There was a Cat which had formed a very warm friendship with a large Newfoundland dog: she continually caressed him - advanced in all haste when he came home, with her tail erect, and rubbed her head against him, purring with delight. When he lay before the kitchen fire, she used him as a bed, pulling up and settling his hair with her claws to make it comfortable. As soon as she had arranged it to her liking, she lay down upon him, and fell asleep. The dog bore this combing of his locks with patient placidity, turning his head towards her during the operation, and sometimes gently licked her.
Pincher and Puss were sworn friends. Puss had a young family, with whom Pincher was on visiting terms. The nursery was at the top of the house. One day there was a storm; Puss was upstairs with the babies, and Pincher was in the parlour. Pincher evidently was disturbed by the thunder. Presently Puss came down-stairs mewing, went straight to Pincher, rubbed her cheek against his, and touched him gently with her paw, and then walked to the door, and, looking back, mewed, as though asking him go with her. But Pincher was himself sorely afraid, and could render no assistance. Puss grew desperate, and having renewed her application with increased energy, but without success, at last left the room, mewing piteously, while Pincher sat, with a guilty face, evidently knowing his conduct was selfish. A lady, who had watched this scene, went out to look after the Cat, when the animal, mewing, led the way to a bed-room on the first floor, from under a wardrobe in which a. small voice was heard crying. Puss had brought one of her babies downstairs, and was racked with anxiety respecting its welfare while she fetched the others. It was as clear as possible she wanted Pincher to lend a paw - that is to say, look after this isolated infant while she brought down the rest. The lady took up the kitten in her arms, and accompanied Puss up-stairs, then moved the little bed from the window, through which the lightning had been flashing so vividly as to alarm Puss for the safety of her family. She remained with the Cat until the storm had subsided, and all was calm. On the following morning, the lady was much surprised to find Puss waiting for her outside her bed-room door, and she went with her down-stairs to breakfast, sat by her side, and caressed her in every possible way. Puss had always been in the habit of going down with the lady of the house, but on this occasion she had resisted all her mistress's coaxing to leave the other lady's door, and would not go away until she made her appearance. She remained till breakfast was over, then went up-stairs to her family. She had never done this before, and never did it again. She had shown her gratitude for the lady's care of her little ones, and her duty was done.
A gentleman, residing in Sussex, had a Cat which showed the greatest attachment for a young blackbird, which was given to her by a stable-boy for food a day or two after she had been deprived of her kittens. She tended it with the greatest care; they became inseparable companions, and no mother could show a greater fondness for her offspring than she did for the bird.
This incongruity of attachment in animals will generally be found to arise either from the feelings of natural affection which the mother is possessed of, or else from that love of scciability, and dislike of being alone, which is possessed, more or less, by every created being.
A Horse and Cat were great friends, and the latter generally slept in the manger. When the horse was about to be fed, he always took up the Cat gently by the skin of the neck, and dropped her into the next stall, that she might not be in his way while he was feeding. At other times, he was pleased to have her near him.
Mr. Bingley tells of a friend of his who had a Cat and Dog that were always fighting. At last the dog conquered, and the Cat was driven away; but the servant, whose sweetheart the dog disturbed, poisoned him, and his body was carried lifeless into the courtyard. The Cat, from a neighbouring roof, was observed to watch the motions of several persons who went up to look at him, and when all had retired, he descended and crept cautiously towards the body, then patted it with his paw. Apparently satisfied that the dog's day was over, Puss re-entered the house and washed his face before the fire.
The Reverend Gilbert White, in his amusing book, tells of a boy, who having taken three little young squirrels in their nest or "dray," put these small creatures under the care of a Cat that had lately lost her kittens, and found that she nursed and suckled them with the same assiduity and affection as if they were her own offspring. This circumstance, to some extent, corroborates the stories told of deserted children being nurtured by female beasts of prey who had lost their young, of the truth of which some authors have seriously vouched. Many people went to see the little squirrels suckled by the Cat, and the foster mother became jealous of her charge, and fearing for their safety, hid them over the ceiling, where one died. This circumstance proves her affection for the fondlings, and that she supposed them to be her young. In like fashion hens, when they have hatched ducklings, are as attached to them as though they were their own chickens.
The first public exhibition of a "happy family" in England, was one started at Coventry, about thirty-two years ago, and began with Cats, Rats, and Pigeons in one cage. The proprietor of a happy family gave Mr. Henry Mayhew some amusing particulars on the subject. Among other things, he said that Mr. Monkey was very fond of the Cat, probably for warmth. He would cuddle her for an hour at a time, but if Miss Pussy would not lie still to suit his comfort, he would hug her round the neck and try to pull her down. If then she became vexed, he would be afraid to face her, but stealing slily behind, would give her tail end a nip with his teeth. The Cat and Monkey were the best of friends as long as Miss Pussy would lie still to be cuddled, and suit his convenience. The Monkey would be Mr. Master in a happy family. For that reason the proprietor would not allow either of his Cats to kitten in the cage, because Mr. Monkey would be sure to want to know all about it, and then it would be open war, for if he went to touch