They are the most affectionate little creatures imaginable, and if carefully kept should make very cleanly and lovable little companions.
How to Keep a Monkey
A love of mischief is their greatest drawback, and it is unwise to leave a pet monkey alone for a single instant in a room with anything breakable within reach. If its cage is kept near at hand, however, it is a simple matter to put one's pet away and padlock the door before leaving it, for a monkey is capable of unfastening an intricate bolt, handle, or knot.
The best plan is to buy a thoroughly acclimatised young monkey from a reliable dealer, choosing a small female one if possible. The price varies from 25s. up to about £2, and for this latter sum a thoroughly well-trained little animal may be obtained, which can be taken out of its cage and handled with impunity from the first.
Monkeys are very susceptible to cold and to draughts of any kind, so it is of the utmost importance to provide a cosy cage for it; one with a wooden back and sides, the bottom fitted with a tray to slide out for cleaning purposes, is the best, and a good one may be bought for about a guinea or less.
Some people keep a monkey in a parrot's cage of the square pattern. This can be had for about 12s. 6d., but the wooden-backed cage is undoubtedly the warmer.
The cage must be kept scrupulously clean, and the bottom of the tray well cleaned out, and then liberally strewn with fresh pine sawdust daily, and further sprinkled with some non-poisonous disinfectant.
A good - sized water-vessel, fixed so that the monkey cannot upset it, must be fastened into one side of the cage, and one or two china vessels for containing food, similarly secured, and placed where they can be easily taken in and out and yet cannot get upset, arranged at the other end.
The cage should be high enough to allow of a good stout perch being arranged half way up it, and upon this the monkey will most likely prefer to sit. A warm bed of fine wood shavings - such as are used to pack china and glass in - will make a warm, clean bed at one side of the cage, which should be covered with a warm shawl at night in such a manner as to leave plenty of ventilation, while protecting its inmate from draughts. In winter it is a wise plan to let the monkey wear a warm, sleeveless coat of dark grey or scarlet flannel, made double - breasted, and fastened loosely round the waist with a band or button, both night and day, as this will protect its delicate chest and lungs.
If the monkey is to be a children's pet it is a delightful plan to make a couple of gay little soldier or sailor suits, with caps to match, to fasten under the monkey's chin with a narrow elastic, and after a little petting and coaxing the monkey will submit to having his toilet made with a soft brush and comb every morning, before doffing his flannel nightcoat and donning his gay regimentals, with the greatest goodwill in the world.
A very soft and well-padded collar and light steel chain, which can be attached to it with a swivel, are a useful addition to the monkey's outfit, in case it is desired to take it from one room to another, for it is such an agile little animal that if it takes into its head to slip out of one's arms it may be a long and arduous business to persuade it to leave some high shelf adorned with a row of cherished pieces of china and to return to bondage. Blandishments will prove of no avail, and the only plan is to sit down and wait until hunger and thirst tempt it to come down again in search of food.
One feeds a monkey much as one would a small child, at frequent intervals; its diet - a strictly vegetarian one, of course - should be as varied as possible, and its daily menu might run somewhat as follows :
Lunch, 11.30 a.m., half a banana.
Dinner, 1.30 p.m., boiled potato and a slice of apple.
Supper, 6 p.m., half a banana and a slice of stale bread.
Milk pudding, nuts, any sound, ripe fruit, dry biscuits, and stiffly made porridge, make good changes; but monkeys have different tastes, so that the best plan is to try various things, and then ring the changes on those dishes it prefers. Give one or two things at each meal rather than a variety of scraps; let the monkey have as much as it cares to eat, and see that whatever remains is cleared away immediately the meal is over.
In winter a monkey must be kept in a well-ventilated room with a fire, and its cage placed well out of draughts.
Most monkeys love to swing, and if a couple of yards of thick curtain rope is bound round with red Turkey twill, and has a ring fastened to each end to hang it up to a wall-bracket by, the monkey will perform, all manner of amusing antics upon it, and incidentally get plenty of most beneficial exercise.
A great charm of a pet monkey lies in the fact that it gets to know its mistress almost at once, and shows the same faithful affection for her that a dog might. One small monkey who was a great family pet would sit for hours at a time snuggled up on the shoulder of an invalid child whose special property it was, quite realising something was the matter, and hardly leaving her to take its food. When its little mistress recovered, however, it made up for these attacks of virtue, and became a perfect tyrant, ruling the family with a rod of iron. Woe betide them if Jenny, as she was called, failed to get her customary dish of hot potato with the ringing of the luncheon bell. From her coign of vantage she could hear the clatter of plates, and, standing upright in her cage, would shake it vigorously, making the most terrific din and crying in a plaintive and appealing manner until her dinner arrived, when she would hastily plunge her hand into the tin and withdraw it, scolding, should the contents chance to be too hot.
On cold winter afternoons she would lie sleeping for hours before the fire on her young mistress's lap with an expression of childlike content upon her usually restless little face, lying on one side, her arms flung in the air, in order that she might be gently tickled.