The following curious incident is to be found in Hue's "Chinese Empire ":
"One day, when we went to pay a visit to some families of Chinese Christian peasants, we met, near a farm, a young lad, who was taking a buffalo to graze along our path. We asked him carelessly as we passed whether it was yet noon. The child raised his head to look at the sun, but it was hidden behind thick clouds, and he could read no answer there. ' The sky is so cloudy,' said he; ' but wait a moment;' and with these words he ran towards the farm, and came back a few minutes afterwards with a cat in his arms. 'Look here,' said he, ' it is not noon yet;' and he showed us the cat's eyes by pushing up the lids with his hands. We looked at the child with surprise; but he was evidently in earnest, and the cat, though astonished, and not much pleased at the experiment made on her eyes, behaved with most exemplary complaisance. 'Very well,' said we, 'thank you;' and he then let go the cat, who made her escape pretty quickly, and we continued our route. To say the truth, we had not at all understood the proceeding, but did not wish to question the little pagan, lest he should find out that we were Europeans by our ignorance. As soon as we reached the farm, however, we made haste to ask our Christians whether they could tell the clock by looking into the cat's eyes.
They seemed surprised at the question, but as there was no danger in confessing to them our ignorance of the properties of the cat's eyes, we related what had just taken place. That was all that was necessary; our complaisant neophytes immediately gave chase to all the cats in the neighbourhood. They brought us three or four, and explained in what manner they might be made use of for watches. They pointed out that the pupils of their eyes went on constantly growing narrower until twelve o'clock, when they became like a fine line, as thin as a hair, drawn perpendicularly across the eye, and that after twelve the dilatation recommenced."
"Archbishop Whately once declared that there was only one noun in English which had a real vocative case. It was 'cat,' vocative 'puss.' I wonder if this derivation is true (I take it from a New York journal): When the Egyptians of old worshipped the cat they settled it that she was like the moon, because she was more bright at night, and because her eyes changed just as the moon changes - from new, to crescent, and to full. So they made an idol of the cat's head, and named it pasht, which meant the face of the moon. Pasht became pas, pus, puss." - Church Times, March 8th, 1888.