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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 38.djvu/385

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371
THE INTELLIGENCE OF CATS.

panions. They ate out of the same dish and slept on the same mat. The dog took the cat under his protection, and was particularly assiduous in defending his ward from a vicious black cat that troubled it. A correspondent of the London Spectator wrote concerning tomcat Blackie's interest in a dog who had been blinded by a carter's whip and had been nursed by his master. Observing that "Laddie" (the dog) had difficulty in finding his way to the door, and sometimes struck his head against the posts* she became accustomed to go for him when he was called and guide him in.

Wood gives, in his Natural History, an account of two cats called the "Mincing Lane Cats," who lived in a wine-cellar, and, one being old and the other young, appear to have agreed upon an interchange of services. "Senior" taught "Junior" to avoid men's feet and wine-casks in motion, and pointed out the best hunting-grounds, while "Junior" employed his youthful activity in catching mice for his patron. In consideration also of the mice, Senior gave up to Junior a part of his share of the daily rations of cat's meat. It is represented that the curious compact was actually and seriously carried out. This had the air of a commercial transaction, but another story told by Mr. Wood exhibits pure benevolence. A cat in a Norman château had every day more food than she could consume, and the waste of the surplus "seemed to weigh on her mind." So one day she brought a less well-fed cat from a roadside cottage, and, having satisfied herself, gave it what was left. Her master, observing this, gave her larger platefuls, when she brought in another cat from a greater distance. The master then determined to test how far the cat's hospitality would extend, and kept adding to the platefuls from time to time, as new cats were brought in, till Puss's dinner-party included nearly twenty guests. "Yet, however ravenous were these daily visitors, none of them touched a mouthful till their hostess had finished her own dinner."[1] An Angora cat belonging to M. Jumelin[2] would often bring a poor, half-starved cat home with him, and then would see that it was fed. On the last occasion of his doing this, "Master Cat seemed nervous and excited, and behaved as though he thought the case was urgent. He became more quiet, however, as soon as the dish was set down for. the strange cat, and contentedly observed what was going on while the visitor was taking his meal. As soon as the dish was emptied he showed his guest to the door, bade him good-by with a friendly but lively stroke of his paw, and accompanied him down the stairs, addressing him a succession of friendly mews."


  1. Mr. Wood's informant had this story from the owner of the chateau.
  2. Revue Scientifique.