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Pussy and Her Language

Pussy and Her Language
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Title: Pussy and Her Language
Release Date: 2019-01-09
Type book: Text
Copyright Status: Public domain in the USA.
Date added: 27 March 2019
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Transcriber's Note: Obvious printer errors in the originalhave been corrected without note. References to "Hospice du Chats" havebeen retained as they appear in the original, despite the grammatical error.

CONTENTS

cover

PUSSY
AND
Her Language


BY

MARVIN R. CLARK.


Including a Paper on the Wonderful Discovery
of the Cat Language.


BY

ALPHONSE LEON GRIMALDI, F.R.S., etc.


Copyright 1895
By MARVIN R. CLARK


CHAPTERS.

I.—"IT WAS THE CAT."

II.—A LITTLE INNOCENT WHO KNOWS THE FAMILY SECRETS.

III.—LIKE UNTO OURSELVES.

IV.—NELLY AND TOM.

V.—MEMORY AND INTELLIGENCE.

VI.—FRIENDS OF THE CAT.

VII.—SOME REMARKABLE TRUE STORIES.

VIII.—HOSPICE DU CHATS.

IX.—ASTOUNDING REVELATIONS BY THE CAT.

X.—PROFESSOR GRIMALDI'S WONDERFUL DISCOVERY.

XI.—SIGNS AND SOUNDS.

XII.—DESCRIPTIVE LANGUAGES.

XIII.—LANGUAGE OF DIVINE ORIGIN.

XIV.—POWER OF SPEECH IN THE FELINE.

XV.—ILLUSTRATIVE STORIES.

XVI.—SUPERIORITY OF THE CAT OVER OTHER QUADRUMINA.

XVII.—INTELLECTUAL POWER OF THE CAT.

XVIII.—SOME CHARACTERISTICS OF THE CAT.

XIX.—GENEROSITY, CUNNING AND CAMARADERIE.

XX.—VOWELS AND LIQUIDS PREDOMINATING.

XXI.—CAT WORDS IN COMMON USE.

XXII.—A COMPREHENSIVE LIST OF WORDS.

XXIII.—A MUSICAL LANGUAGE.

XXIV.—THE IMPORTANCE OF SIGNS.


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PUSSY AND HER LANGUAGE.


I.
“IT WAS THE CAT.”

When, in the fable, that humorous progenitor of the human species,according to that slicker, slyer and still more humorous, practicaljoker, Darwin, the monkey, cast about him in a sudden emergency forsome useful utensil adequate to the purpose of pulling his chestnutsout of the fire, his selfish ambition was rewarded by the sight of noless distinguished a person than the Cat. Notwithstanding the piteousprotests and flowing tears of Pussy, she was forced into the serviceof the monkey, and ever after there lived in the memory of man thatwonderful story, from which we get the expressive saying of "making acat's paw" of anything or anybody.

The cruelty of the act and the subsequent greed of the simian who,despite the appeals of the feline for a share in the delicious roast,gave her nothing but the smell, of which he could not have deprivedher, appeals to the indignation of a just public. But the sufferingand the tears and the cries of the Cat command the sympathy of allright-minded people who rest in peace under the "Banner of Freedom,"and fight against oppression. The moral is demonstrative, as you willsee.

The presiding genius who carries the portfolio and administersthe affairs of the most important of all the divisions of thehousehold—the culinary department—the cook, wisely appreciates theinestimable value of the-6- Cat, and never fails to make convenientuse of the animal, even employing her upon occasions when Pussybecomes nothing short of a miracle-worker. Of course, the readermay differentiate the story with common sense, but rarely, for theword of the queen of the realm of the culinary department is as theverity of the Law and the Gospel. The mistress may wonder, and asmile of incredulity may pass over the countenance of the master ofthe house, but the breakage of crockery and the lavish disappearanceof spirits, wine and ale, the wonderful growth of the butcher's bill,the prodigal wanderings of butter not strong enough to sustain itsown weight, the overdone appearance of the breakfast steak, and theunderdone appearance of the dinner joint are attributable only to thehousehold pet, for the cook hath said "It was the Cat!" Even when themistress sadly discovers the queen of the sacred domain, who has thepower to poison the food she dispenses, lying prone upon the kitchenfloor at the dinner hour, the fumes of the best brandy escaping fromher stentorian lungs and her limbs limp as fresh putty, the bouquetof the spirits of 1840 comes to the sensitive nostrils of the ladyladen with the murmurings of the cook, "It was the Cat!" and thefaithful mistress intuitively realizes that there has been a battleroyal between the queen regent and the agent of the king of thatrealm where ice appeareth not, and all skating is done upon rollers.

When the extensive disappearance of the family preserves causesinquiry, and the heir of the house is questioned concerning hisknowledge of the loss, he unhesitatingly and solemnly declares that"It was the Cat!" which is in the usual course of events, and alwaysto be believed, even when it is noted by the nurse that the nose ofthe urchin resembles, in color, that of a man-7- whose ways are notthose of the temperate, and smelleth of strawberry jelly, and hischin resembleth that of one who has but recently been thickly coatedwith raspberry jam.

Now, mark the moral. We loudly censure the monkey in the fable, andsmile at the charges of the others, not pausing to consider that thesufferings of the flesh are endurable, but the tortures of the mindfrom undeserved censure are frequently beyond endurance. The greatlover of the Cat, Shakespeare, as if the wrongs of the calumniatedfeline in his mind aptly expresses the feelings of the Cat, when hesays, through the medium of Othello:

"Who steals my purse, steals trash; 'tis something, nothing;
'Twas mine, 'tis his, and has been slave to thousands;
But he that filches from me my good name,
Robs me of that which not enriches him,
And makes me poor indeed."

"Give a dog a bad name, and you send him to"—the place not hungwith icy stalactites. It is a solemn and well-known fact that one ofa million dogs gets a bad name, while not one out of a million Catsgets a good one. It is out of the shadow of this cruel prejudice thatI would lead the Cat, and place her upon the pedestal to which sheshould have been raised for the admiration of the world, long, longago.


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II.
A LITTLE INNOCENT WHO KNOWS THE FAMILY SECRETS.

When a startling discovery which virtually concerns every atom ofhumanity has been rounded into a fact, so that the average humanintellect may grasp and, after thoroughly comprehending its value,make the proper application of it, the sooner it is given to theworld for the benefit of the human race, if benefit there be in thediscovery, the better for the world and all that are upon it.

Such a fact, and one which will go far to revolutionize society, hascertainly been discovered, and, I hope, may be presented in so clearand comprehensive a manner that "he who runs may read," and readilyrealize its vast importance to the world, although its developmentwill, undoubtedly, spread the greatest alarm wherever it is madeknown.

It will not be denied, when I make the assertion, that in everyhousehold, in the hovel of the poorest as well as in the mansion ofthe richest, in the storehouse, the factory, the workshop, the mill,the foundry, the newspaper office, the schoolhouse, the hospital,the theatre, the counting-room, the great libraries, the ships andthe political headquarters, even in the grand capitol buildings atWashington, and penetrating, without hindrance, into the very secretCabinet meetings at the White House, and almost everywhere throughoutthe whole inhabitable globe, there exists a spy upon whose ears fallthe secrets-9- of a nation, which, if breathed at some inopportunemoment, might be its ruin. With an air of insouciant nonchalance,this ever-present spy meanders everywhere and, with ears alert tocatch the softest whisper, gives token only of a feeling of innocuousdesuetude when scenes and secrets of the most astounding characterare being developed to the understanding.

From time immemorial these facts have existed with the knowledge andconsent of everybody, but, strangely enough, without a thought thatit might be possible for the Cat to communicate the secrets thussurreptitiously obtained through the careless confidence of humanity.

The safety of such confidences lies entirely in the assumptionof what has hitherto been regarded as a fact, and, although suchutterances have been made in the presence of this universal spy,there was no possibility of their communication to the outer worldbecause of its lack of power to do so. The astonishment following therecent discovery lies in the fact that this overweening confidence ofman has been sadly misplaced, for I may state with the firmest faithin the proofs which have been presented to me, that, notwithstandingthe belief to the contrary, the whole world has been misguided andthe ever-present feline community has a language of its own, and,further, that it has become intelligible to more than one individual,myself among the number.

The importance of this startling discovery cannot be overestimated.It vitally concerns every human being in the known world, as mayreadily be perceived after a moment's thought. The possibility ofthe existence of a language as a means of communication of thoughtsand ideas between animals has, for ages, been a subject of commentwith many, while to those whose association-10- with and fondnessfor the animal kingdom cannot but admit that there is no doubtconcerning the truth. In fact, innumerable evidences of signs andverbal communications between what are incorrectly stigmatized asdumb beasts are constantly being demonstrated to the world but,unfortunately, described as evidences of instinct, although bearingevery proof of thought emanating from the soul as uttered by thehuman being.

I may be considered as aiming too high in my declaration of what Ishall proceed to prove, but it is with a firm belief that I shallbe fully able to substantiate my assertion and convince the reader.Such wonderful evidences of the astonishing sagacity of animalshave come to the knowledge of every man and woman that, when theseinstances are remembered, I consider myself well on the road towarddemonstrating the assertion that there is a language of communicationbetween animals.

Explain to me, if you can, why, if they do not possess souls, whenshrouded in slumber, the horse will neigh and prance, the Cat willcry, the lion will roar, the monkey will chatter and the dog willbark and whine while dreaming, even as a human being will giveevidence of a restless mind when the animal senses are dormant.

Some years ago I possessed a dog who learned, without instructionand with little difficulty, to turn the knob and thus gain admissionthrough the outer door of my house to the interior. Last Winter I wasin possession of two Skye terriers, to whom I frequently remarked ina quiet tone of voice, in the morning, that I would take them outfor a walk in the afternoon, and, at the hour when they had beentaken out by me upon previous occasions, they invariably put theirnoses together and communicated their ideas. As a result of suchcommunica-11-tion first one and then the other, then both worried mewith their paws and called to me unceasingly, until I kept my wordwith them. These are but two of the countless instances which havecome under my observation, as numberless cases have been met with byothers, proving, beyond denial, that these and other animals are asfully possessed of memory as is that nobler animal, man.

Call it instinct, if you will, but is that not to be considered asmore than instinct which prompts the Cat to distinguish betweenthe friend and the enemy of its master and mistress, and even toprotect them from the attacks of an enemy at the risk of the lifeof the animal? The number of such instances is legion. Surely thefaithfulness of our domestic animals cannot be doubted, but we maydoubt the humanity of man to the animal kingdom when the evidence ofthe same senses in what are termed the lower animals is said to beinstinct, while in the human it is called soul and mind.

It has frequently been remarked by those who have made a study ofthe animal kingdom that the intelligence of the lower animals, inmany matters, is far superior to that possessed by human beings. Forinstance, the natural, living, breathing barometer is a Cat, andthere are none better. When a Cat washes herself in the ordinarymanner, we may be sure of bright, sunshiny weather, but when shelicks herself against the grain of her fur or washes herself with herpaw over the ear, or sits with her tail to the fire, there will be astorm.


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III.
LIKE UNTO OURSELVES.

At certain stages in our great journey we sit down and take aretrospect, going over, hand in

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