I have seen wild cats abroad: most terrible-looking they are, and more dangerous than many larger animals. Nobody would offer to play any unfeeling tricks with them; a single look from their fierce, fiery eyes, glaring from the branches of a tree, round which they twist their long tails, would send the boldest of you scampering away. They grow larger, and their fur becomes much richer, when in a wild state. The good providence of God supplies them with very warm, thick coat, when they have no longer the benefit of a corner by the fireside. Oh that we would learn lessons of tender mercy by seeing how compassionately the Lord cares for the meanest creature that he has made!
But about young kittens: there are two things, often done through thoughtlessness, which are both very cruel indeed. One is to kill all her little ones, which not only causes great distress, but severe pain too, to the poor mother. God gives her milk to nourish the little creatures, and if one is not left to draw it off, the animal suffers much torment and fever from it. The other thing is one that no kindhearted person could do, or allow to be done, after being once told how exceedingly inhuman it is: I mean, putting the young ones to death in the mother’s sight. The agonies of a bitch, when she sees her puppies drowned, are really a call for divine vengeance on the wretch who could purposely be guilty of such an outrage on the tenderest feelings of nature. The cat, though inferior to the dog in many points, is a most loving mother, and very sagacious in protecting her young. She will often hide them so cunningly, that nobody can reach them; and I have seen a family astonished by the return of a cat which they had supposed was lost, with four or five wild-looking, lean kittens behind her, all their faces being well scratched by the sticks or other rubbish among which they were hidden. The dog never does so: its confiding character leads it to commit its young to its master’s care, little as he sometimes deserves such a trust.