About Me

My photo
Washington, United States
loves: you win if you guessed "pets" and "museums". Also books, art history, travel, British punk, Korean kimchi, bindis, martinis, and other things TBD. I will always make it very clear if a post is sponsored in any way. Drop me a line at thepetmuseum AT gmail.com !

Monday, January 06, 2014

animals of the cat kind

vintage illustration 1846. thanks vintageephemera.blogspot.com
The (domestic) Cat, which is the smallest animal of this kind, is the only one that has been taken under human protection, and may be considered as a faithless friend, brought to oppose a still more insidious enemy. It is, in fact, the only animal of this tribe whose services can more than recompense the trouble of their education, and whose strength is not sufficient to make its anger formidable. . . the cat, though easily offended, and often capricious in her resentments, is not endowed with powers sufficient to do any great mischief.
Of all animals, when young, there is none more prettily playful than the kitten; but it seems to lose this disposition as it grows old, and the innate treachery of its kind is then seen to prevail. From being naturally ravenous, education teaches it to disguise its appetites, and to watch the favourable moment of plunder: supple, insinuating, and artful, it has learnt the arts of concealing its intentions till it can put them into execution: when the opportunity offers, it at once seizes upon whatever it finds, flies off with it, and continues at a distance till it supposes its offence forgotten. 
The cat has only the appearance of attachment; and it may easily be perceived, by its timid approaches, and side-long looks, that it either dreads its master, or distrusts his kindness: different from the dog, whose caresses are sincere, the cat is assiduous rather for its own pleasure, than to please, and often gains confidence only to abuse it.
* * *
Some of this is translated from Buffon, a footnote tells me, but this assassination on the feline character is from Oliver Goldsmith, A History of the Earth, and Animated Nature, Volume 1 (London: W. C. Wright, 1824) p. 419. 

No comments: