A Cat's Instincts
"Take that! and that! and that!" These words came from an angry little
girl. She was leaning over a big gray puss which she was holding down with
one hand, while with the other she struck him a sharp blow every time she
It is a wonder puss did not bite her, for he was so strong he could have
done so. He was a very gentle cat. "Gentle?" I hear some one ask. Then why
did he deserve such a whipping as the little girl was giving him?
That is a question we must try to have answered. For my part I do not
believe he deserved it at all. Let us see what happened next. Just as the
little girl struck the last blow her Aunt Margaret came into the room.
Aunt Margaret stopped in the doorway, astonished.
"Why Flora," she said, as puss darted out of the room, "what are you
beating Griffin for?"
"What do you think he was doing?" cried Flora, her cheeks still flushed
with anger. "He was on the table just ready to spring at this beautiful
bird in my new hat. If I had not come he would have torn it to pieces."
"But he knew no better," said Aunt Margaret, "it is perfectly natural for
a cat to spring at a bird. Yes, and for him to kill it too, if he has not
been trained to do otherwise."
"But it would have made me feel dreadfully to have this beautiful bird
torn to bits. I really love it. Besides, it was killed long ago."
"Yes," said Aunt Margaret, "killed that you might wear it on a hat."
There was something in Aunt Margaret's voice which made Flora and the
little girls who were visiting her stand very still and look up.
"You say," continued Aunt Margaret very gently, "you say you love your
beautiful bird. That you would feel dreadfully if it were torn to bits.
How do you think its bird-mother felt when it was torn from her nest, and
she never saw it again?"
"Oh," said Flora, "I never thought of that before. I'm afraid,—I'm
afraid I'm more to blame than the cat."