This section is from the book "The Balance Of Nature And Modern Conditions Of Cultivation", by George Abbey. Also available from Amazon: The Balance Of Nature And Modern Conditions Of Cultivation.
Herodotus, in his account of Egypt (lib. ii.), first mentions the cat as diminishing the vermin infesting human dwellings, and the celebrated naturalist Temminck, in his monograph of the genus Felis, adduces strong evidence of the cat being originally domesticated in Egypt; also that the gloved cat (F. maniculata) of Egypt and Nubia is, in all probability, the original stock of the domestic cat, though the race has been much modified by crossing. The wild cat of Europe, therefore, has been regarded as the domestic cat returned to the wild state rather than its original stock, and is occasionally found in large woods.
Fig. 133. - The Wild Cat.
B.N. 241 R
Cats, regardless of breed, may be divided into two classes: I. Ornamental. 2. Useful.
Ornamental Cats are notable for youthful sportiveness and fondness of being handled, petted and nursed, gentle demureness of manner in after life, highly sensitive and fond of ease, and evincing little anxiety except for comfortable quarters and the continuance of enjoyment. Docile, tractable, and even good-tempered drawing-room, kitchen, and other well-taken-care-of-and-muchpetted cats, mainly confine their desires to possessing an abundance of flesh or fish, their winsomeness and good manners representing the measure of their utility. Some urban and suburban cats, however, are excellent mousers and ratters, displaying considerable intelligent power, as well as great fondness for various aromatic substances, such as musk plants, valerian and catmint (Nepeta), and a bed of Nemophila will cause them to come in numbers, roll over it, and scratch up the plants until there is not a vestige left. So fond are town cats of such things that they throw themselves into an ecstasy of pleasure, and are utterly regardless of the confusion they make among seeds.
Indeed, so great a nuisance are ladies' cats in some places that their neighbours have to protect their gardens by wire netting affixed to the top of boundary walls or fences (Fig. 134), and also the ground against scratching cats.
Fig. 134. - Cat Guards.
Fig. 135. - Cat in Ambush and House Mice.