This section of the book is from the "Stories of Animal Sagacity" book, by William Henry Giles Kingston.
Cats exhibit their affectionate nature in a variety of ways. If deprived of their kittens, they have a yearning for the care of some other young creatures, which they will gratify when possible.
A cat had been cruelly deprived of all her kittens. She was seen going about mewing disconsolately for her young ones. Her owner received about the same time a leveret, which he hoped to tame by feeding it with a spoon. One morning, however, the leveret was missing, and as it could nowhere be discovered, it was supposed to have been carried off and killed by some strange cat or dog. A fortnight had elapsed, when, as the gentleman was seated in his garden, in the dusk of the evening, he observed his cat, with tail erect, trotting towards him, purring and calling in the way cats do to their kittens. Behind her came, gambolling merrily, and with perfect confidence, a little leveret,—the very one, it was now seen, which had disappeared. Pussy, deprived of her kittens, had carried it off and brought it up instead, bestowing on it the affection of her maternal heart.
It is your blessed privilege to have hearts to feel the greatest enjoyment in tender love for others. See that you keep that love in constant exercise, or, like others of our best gifts, it may grow dull by disuse or abuse. The time may come when, deprived of your parents or brothers and sisters, you will bitterly mourn the sorrow you have caused by your evil temper or neglect.