This section of the book is from the "Stories of Animal Sagacity" book, by William Henry Giles Kingston.
No stronger evidence of the sagacity of the cat is to be found than an instance narrated to me by my friend, Mrs F—, and for which I can vouch.
A lady, Miss P—, who was a governess in her family, had previously held the same position in that of Lord —, in Ireland. While there a cat became very strongly attached to her. Though allowed to enter the school-room and dining-room, where she was fed and petted, the animal never came into the lady’s bed-room; nor was she, indeed, accustomed to go into that part of the house at any time.
One night, however, after retiring to rest, Miss P— was disturbed by the gentle but incessant mewing of the cat at her bed-room door. At first she was not inclined to pay attention to the cat’s behaviour, but the perseverance of the animal, and a peculiarity in the tones of her voice, at length induced her to open the door. The cat, on this, bounded forward, and circled round her rapidly, looking up in her face, mewing expressively. Miss P—, thinking that the cat had only taken a fancy to pay her a visit, refastened the door, intending to let her remain in the room; but this did not appear to please Pussy at all. She sprang back to the door, mewing more loudly than before; then she came again to the lady, and then went to the door, as if asking her to follow.
“What is it you want?” exclaimed Miss P—. “Well, go away, if you do not wish to stay!” and she opened the door; but the cat, instead of going, recommenced running to and fro between the door and her friend, continuing to mew as she looked up into her face.
Miss P—’s attention was now attracted by a peculiar noise, as if proceeding from the outside of one of the windows on the ground-floor. A few moments more convinced her that some persons were attempting to force an entrance.
Instantly throwing a shawl around her, she hurried along the passage, the cat gliding by her side, purring now in evident contentment, to Lord —’s bed-room door, where her knock was quickly answered, and an explanation given.
The household was soon aroused; bells were rung, lights flitted about, servants hurried here and there; and persons watching from the windows distinctly saw several men making off with all speed, and scrambling over an adjacent wall.
It was undoubtedly owing to the sagacity of the cat that the mansion was preserved from midnight robbery, and the inmates probably from some fearful outrage. She must have reasoned that the intruders had no business there; whilst her reason and affection combined induced her to warn her best friend of the threatened danger. She may have feared, also, that any one else in the house would have driven her heedlessly away.
My dear reader, may we not believe that this reasoning power was given to the dumb animal for the protection of the family against evil-doers? I might give you many instances of beneficent purposes being carried out by equally simple and apparently humble agencies.
Let us, then, learn always to treat dumb animals with kindness and consideration, since they are so often given to us as companions for our benefit. Like the cat, you may by vigilance be of essential service to others more powerful than yourself. For the same reason, never despise the good-will or warnings of even the most humble.