It can not be denied that cats, generally speaking, are proud in their disposition, refusing to associate with strangers, repudiating familiarity, and daintily turning up their noses at common food, such as dogs would be glad to get. There is a chilling haughtiness about them, even to persons they have known for years, exceedingly repulsive, and often disgusting.
You play with them, you fondle them, you stroke their backs, and scratch their heads, and call them, Poor Pussy; but beware! They will arch their backs, and purr, and appear to respond to your kindness; but a hair turned the wrong way, a careless knock, or even a mere caprice on the part of the cat, and all is over. She becomes a fury, a fiend. Prompt as the stiletto of an Italian brigand to quit its sheath, her steel-like claws come forth from their velvet sheaths, and draw your blood in an instant.
It is pretty to see the little kitten lapping its milk with its rosy tongue, gamboling round its mother, playing with the ball of worsted, with now and then a gesture of affection to its parent, and never presenting an outline that is not extremely graceful. But this little innocent babe, this sportive, playful kitten, will in a few weeks play with as much delight—nay, more—with something very different from a skein of silk or a slipper.
The plaything now is a wretched, terrified mouse, half dead with fright, and covered with bleeding wounds; hither and thither will the cat toss it; now high, now low, now this way, now that; one moment deluding it with the hope of escape, and at the next recapturing it to renew the torture. This is the playfulness of the cat, this is its graceful sportiveness; this is the ball of cotton to-day, and the timorous, cruelly entreated mouse to-morrow.
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What!? I'm appalled, I tell you!
This is from Harper's Magazine (New York: Harper & Bros), vol. 40 March 1870 p. 486. and I don't like it but it is an interesting look at another viewpoint. which is a wrong viewpoint.