By James Johonnot

New York
D. Appleton and Company

Note: Only the short section on cats is included here.


Children love pets; they never tire of stories; and they are delighted with jingle and the fun of incongruity. Mother Goose reigns supreme in the fairy-land of infancy. Through these loves the little opening minds may be led by careful observation, comparison, and descriptions - steps at once necessary to mental growth, and leading up to the portals of science. By insensible degrees, play may be made to merge in study, and fun take on the form of fact.

Upon these ideas of the basis and method of thought, this little work has been constructed. A few familiar nursery rhymes serve to connect the present with the past thought of the child. The pet of the household - the cat - is studied. From the obvious in structure and movement, the mind is led to see relations, and adaptation of structure to functions and outward conditions. As each new animal is introduced, the study goes on by comparisons, showing resemblances and differences, and pointing toward scientific classifications.

This and kindred works will be of little use, however, if the lessons stop with the book. The whole intent of the method is to incite to a study of the animals themselves - the matter in the book directing attention, arousing interest, and serving as a guide to observation.

An endeavor has been made to present the pleasant side of animal life. To this end the affection, the intelligence, and the uses of our servants and friends have been dwelt upon, and ideas of violence have received but a passing notice. That we should be kind to animals is a necessary inference from observed relations, and this obviates the necessity of a formal exhortation or a cut-and-dried moral.

As a reader, this. book is designed to supplement the regular reader of the grade. Common and familiar language is used, but no effort has been made to reduce the expressions to baby-talk, or to construct halting sentences with words of three or four letters only.


The Cat and the Fiddle
LESSON I. What the Cat Does.
LESSON II. The Grateful Cat.
LESSON III. What the Cat Wears
- Who Stole the Apples?
LESSON IV. Patch and the Mouse
- Tommy and the Chickens
LESSON V. How the Cat Moves.
LESSON VI. Daisy and her Plays.
LESSON VII. How the Cat Eats.
LESSON VIII. Old Tom and the Eagle
LESSON IX. How the Cat Sees
- Pussy's Visit
LESSON X. Miss Muffet and Fluffy
- Fluffy and the Mouse

HEY, diddle, diddle, The cat and the fiddle,
The cow jumped over the moon;
The little dog laughed
To see the witch-craft,
And the dish ran away with the spoon.


1. Come, Jessie! put your kitty up in the cradle, and take a good look at her. She looks very pleasant. Can you tell us anything about her?

2. Yes! the other day I saw her come out of the barn with a mouse in her mouth.

3. She would lay the mouse down and let it run a little way, and then would pounce upon it and catch it again.

4. By-and-by she got tired of playing with it, and then she bit off its head and ate it up.

5. One day I saw her creep slyly along the ground and spring upon a little bird; but it flew away out of her reach. In a little while I heard it sing up in a tree.

6. I was glad that she did not catch the bird, but she looked sorry. When she catches birds, I think she is a naughty pussy; but perhaps she does not know any better.

7. I like to hear her purr, and have her rub against my hand, for then she is good and ready to play. It is great fun to see her run round after her tail.

8. But sometimes she growls and looks cross, and then I am afraid to touch her for fear she will scratch me.

9. When she is hungry she comes and mews until she gets something to eat. Some cats will jump upon the table and steal meat, but my kitty knows better.

10. She does not like dogs. One day a strange dog came into the yard and barked at her.

11. Then her back came up, her fur stood out straight, and she growled and spit at him.

12. When he tried to bite her, she gave him a scratch on both sides of his nose, and ran up a tree out of his reach.


1. A LADY tells this pretty story of how a cat showed its thanks to a kind friend who had helped it in distress :

2. While living in a country place, one day the cat ate some rat-poison, but not enough to kill it. It was very ill, and cried like a little child. Its pain and heat were so great that it would dip its paws in water to cool them, though cats nearly always keep away from the water.

3. At last it went to the lady, and, mewing and looking up to her in a most pitiful way, seemed to ask for help. The lady took the poor thing in her arms, and tried in all ways she could think of to relieve it.

4. She bound it up in cool, wet cloths, and gave it medicine and gruel, and took care of it all day and night. The cat was soon better, and after a day or two it was as well as ever; and this was the way it took to show how thankful it was to the lady for her kindness:

5. One night, after she had gone up-stairs, she heard a mew at the window; and, upon opening it, there was the cat with a mouse in its mouth.

6. It had climbed up a tree that grew against the house, and, when the window opened, it came in and laid the mouse at the lady's feet. It rubbed against her, and purred loudly, as if it said, "See what a fine mouse I have brought you !"

7. The cat thought a mouse the best of all things, and this best it gave up for itself, and brought to its best friend, the lady..

8. This she did for a long time every day, and when, afterward, she caught mice for her kittens, one mouse was laid aside for the lady. If the kittens tried to eat this, she gave them a little pat, as if she said, "That is not for you !"

9. After a while the lady would take the mouse, and thank puss with a pleased look and a kind tone, and then give it to the kittens, the cat looking on well pleased while they ate it


1. COME, Jessie, take your cat in your lap and look at her again. Can you tell me something more about her?

2 Yes! Pussy has a thick coat of soft fur to keep her warm, so that she can run out of doors in cold weather.

3. She does not need to have clothes like ours, and mamma does not ever have to mend her coat. Her fur all grows one way, and it is so thick that, when it rains, the water runs off and does not wet her skin unless it rains hard.

4. She likes to have me stroke her from head down, but she does not like to be rubbed other way. I know for one that it hurts more to have the hair pulled up than down.

5. She has long whiskers on each side of her mouth and nose, and some folks call them smellers. This is what I read about them in the "Cat's Picture-Book":

6. "I dare say you have seen a cat stick his whiskers out straight on each side of his face. Let us see what he does it for.

7. "Have you not seen a cat creep through a hole that seemed too small for him? I have, and I used to wonder why he did not stick fast.

8. "But Tom knows what he is about. He comes to the hole and spreads out his whiskers, and if they can get through without touching, he knows there is room for his body, and so he goes on."

9. Pussy's ears are large and stand up straight, so that she can hear the least nibble of a mouse, or the sly tread of a rat.

10. She has paws on her fore legs which she uses like hands. Her paws have each five toes, but her hind feet have only four toes each. Some few cats have more toes on each foot.

11. Dogs wag their tails when they are pleased, but pussy waves hers from side to side when the boys plague her, and she is angry.


Who stole the apples?
"I," said dog Snow - "to play with, you know;
I stole the apples."

"Who saw him steal ?"
"I," said the cat-" mewed 'Snow, don't do that:
Don't steal the apples.' "


1. Patch was a fine old cat that lived in a farm-house, and looked after all the rats and mice that came about. She wanted to visit all the rooms where there were mouse holes; so she learned to open doors for herself.

2. When she wanted to go out, she would jump up and hold on to the handle of the door with one paw, and with the other raise the latch; then she would drop down and push the door open.

3. One evening, as the lady of the house was sitting at the fire before the candle was lit, Patch came into the room with a live mouse, and began to play with it.

4. The mouse watched his chance and ran into the bedroom, the door of which stood open. Patch followed, but could not catch him.

5. Pretty soon the cat came out of the bed. room in a great hurry. She went to the lady and mewed, and then went to the candle and back several times. The lady thought the cat acted queerly, and at last she got up and lit the candle.

6. Patch started off for the bedroom, and looked back and mewed, as if asking the lady to come also. The lady took the candle and went in to see what was the matter.

7. The cat at once went up to a curtain, put up her paw as far as she could reach, and touched it. The lady shook the curtain, and down dropped the mouse, which Patch caught at once. Mousey had run up the curtain out of reach, and so Patch went and got the lady to come and help her catch


1. TOMMY was a famous mouser, and he kept the house clear of rats and mice. He would catch birds, but he never ran after the chickens.

2. The hens were shy of him at first, but they became used to him and would scratch just the same while he was about. One day he was taking a nap on the grass, and the chickens mounted upon his back and head, as you see in the picture.

3. This was too much for Tom; so he got up and went upon the porch to finish his nap, where the chickens would not disturb him.


1. Now, Jessie, look at your kitty's feet and see if you can tell us how she can catch mice and birds so easily.

2. I will try. Pussy has long and sharp claws, but they are drawn back into her foot, so I cannot see them.

3. The bottoms of her feet are covered with a thick skin, so that it does not hurt her to walk over stones and rough places.

4. When I feel of her feet, I find that the bottoms are soft, so that kitty is able to move about without making a noise.

5. When she is hunting, she creeps along so quietly that the mouse does not hear her until she is so near that she can spring upon it.

6. Then her sharp nails come out, as you see in this picture, and the little mouse is caught by his coat and cannot get away.

7. I see that the nails upon her hind feet are not so sharp as those on the front ones. She does not catch mice with her hind feet, and so only the nails of her fore feet need be very sharp.

8. When pussy runs up a tree, her sharp nails hold on to the bark, and she uses her hind claws as well as the fore ones. This is what I read in a book a little while ago about a cat's claws, and I thought it very strange:

9. "The claws of a cat grow very fast, just as our nails do, and, if the cat did not rub them off, they would grow so long that she could not use them. So, when the cat feels that her nails are getting too long, she scratches something hard until she wears them down to the right length.

10. "You have seen the cat stretching up and scratching the side of the door or a tree: this is the way she has of paring her nails."

11. When pussy is angry or afraid, her sharp claws come out of her foot, and she makes ready to scratch.

12. My pussy knows that a dog is stronger in the jaws than she is; and so, when a strange dog comes about, she gives him a scratch with both her paws, and then gets into some safe place as soon as she can.


1. WHEN Nellie was a little girl, she had a present of a pretty white kitten, which she named Daisy, and the two soon became good friends.

2. While Nellie was at breakfast, the kitten would sit at her side, and once in a while it would reach up and touch Nellie's elbow, as if it said, "It is my turn now." When Nellie walked out, Daisy went along like a little dog, and at night she had a soft, warm bed by Nellie's side.

3. Little girls used to come and play with Nellie, and Daisy always took a part, and seemed to enjoy the fun as much as the children did. One of the games was hide-and-seek, and this Daisy soon learned to play as well as the best of them.

4. After this, at any time when Nellie would hide and call "coop," the kitten would jump up and look about until it found her.

5. When Daisy grew up and had a kitten of her own, she taught the young one the game she had learned. The kitten would go and hide and give one mew, and the old cat would search in every corner of the room until she found it.

6. Sometimes the mother-cat would pretend not to see the kitten when close to its hiding-place, and, when the kitten jumped out, Daisy would start back as though scared, just as children often do.

7. Then the two would roll over each other, and race about and have a great romp together.


1. This time, Jessie, I wish you would tell us something about the mouth of your cat, if you are not afraid she will bite you.

2. No! my kitty will not bite me; she knows I will not hurt her. Come, pussy, open your mouth and let me take a good look at it.

3. I see four long teeth in the front part of her mouth. The two on the upper jaw are the larger, but the two on the under jaw are the sharper.

4. When she shuts her jaws, these teeth would easily go through the skin and flesh of a rat or mouse, and very likely would break its bones.

5. Between these long teeth in front I can count six funny little teeth on each jaw. They are too small to be of much use. Back of her long teeth I can see three or four on each jaw, and these are sharp and stand up like saw-teeth.

6. When pussy licks my hand, I can feel that her tongue is rough, and this is what I read about it in my cat-book:

7. "The cat's tongue is covered with little hooks, all pointing backward, so that when the food is in her mouth, the rough tongue helps her swallow it. With this rough tongue she laps up milk, licks the plate clean when she is fed, and licks the meat off from bones.

8. "The dog's jaws are strong, so he crushes bones and eats the meat, bones and all; but the cat's jaws are not strong enough for that, so she gets the meat off with her rough tongue."

9. My pussy keeps clean by licking her fur, the hooks on her tongue brushing the dirt off. It is funny to see her wash her neck. She first licks her paw and makes it wet, and then she reaches up to her neck and uses her paw like a brush.

10. The old mother-cat licks her kittens all over, and keeps them clean before they can do it for themselves. She uses her jaws to carry her kittens about before they can walk. She takes them up carefully by the nape of their necks.


1. I WILL now tell you a story of a cat that made good use of his claws and teeth.

2. In a country place by the seashore an old eagle used to sail around in the air looking for something to eat,

3. If she saw a rabbit or a hare, or a little lamb or kid, she would pounce down and seize it in her strong claws, and fly away with it to her nest high up among the rocks.

4. The eagle became so bold at last that she would swoop down and carry off a chicken from the farm-yard close by the house.

5. One day old Torn, the house-cat, a big old fellow, went out to take a walk, and, as the weather was warm, he lay down in the sun to take a nap near by where the rabbits lived.

6. This old cat had done a great deal of hunting on his own account, and was not afraid of any. thing he had ever met.

7. The eagle saw Tom as he lay there asleep, and thinking she had found a nice, fat rabbit, she pounced down upon him and carried him off.

8. Tom awoke and found himself sailing through the air at a great rate, while something pinched him very unpleasantly in the back.

9. He turned and struck his sharp claws and teeth into the eagle, tore out her feathers, and then tore into her skin and flesh.

10. The eagle thought she had found a queer rabbit, and tried to let him go; but Tom held on and still tore and bit.

11. Soon the eagle began to lose strength and flapped slowly downward. At last she reached the ground so badly torn that she soon died, while the cat ran off with only a few scratches.


1. Now, Jessie, will you please tell us all that you have found out about your kitty's eyes?

2. Yes! When I looked at my pussy's eyes, in the bright sunshine, I saw that they are round and yellow, with a black streak in the middle running up and down.

3. The black spot in the middle of my eye is round, and I have read in a book that it is a hole to let in the light, and is called the "pupil."

4. The black streak in pussy's eye is the pupil, and it is almost shut up to keep out the bright light.

5. I looked into her eyes last night just before dark, and the pupil was
large and round, as is shown in this picture.

6. When, the pupil is opened so wide, more light is let in, and pussy can see very well when it is so dark I can not see anything.

7. In this way, with her big eyes open, she sees and catches rats and mice that come out of their holes in the night to get something to eat.

8. My kitty loves to sleep in the day-time on the nice bed in her basket, or on the rug before the fire. In summer she likes to go out and get a nap on the grass in the shade of a tree.

9. In the night, when she can see so well, she goes out to hunt and to make visits. When visitors come to see her in the night, we often hear an awful squalling, which I suppose is a "cat's concert."

10. In cold, winter nights, kitty mews to be let in, and she then likes to curl up on my bed.


"Pussy-cat, pussy-cat! Where have you been?"
"I've been to London to see the Queen."
"Pussy-cat, pussy-cat! What saw you there?"
"I saw a little mouse under her chair."


1. NOBODY knows where Miss Muffet came from. She walked into the kitchen one day and took her place by the warm fire, and she has been with us ever since.

2. Miss Muffet is a yellow-and-white cat. She is very quiet; but she likes fun for all that, and many a play the children have had with her.

3. When pussy had been with us about a year, we found her one bright May morning under the hedge in the garden with four tiny little kittens.

4. We got a basket and made a nice bed for them, and took them into the house. They grew up to be playful kittens; but one day poor Tinykins fell into a tub of water and was drowned.

5. We liked Fluffy the best; she looked so wise and would do such queer things. We found her one day sitting in front of a large open book, and looking for all the world like a girl learning her lessons.

6. At other times she would sit all alone as if she were thinking over some very serious matter.

7. One day we found them all in the barn, where pussy had gone to teach them to hunt mice.

8. We found that Miss Muffet had caught a mouse, and put it before the kitties, and Fluffy was just ready to pounce upon it as we came in We gave a great
shout; two of the kittens sprang back to their mother, and one rushed head first into a large boot that lay in one corner, and the mouse got away. Here is the story in verse:


1. "Once there was a little Kittie
Whiter than Snow;
In a barn she used to frolic,
Long time ago.

2. "In the barn a little Mousie
Ran to and fro;
For she heard the Kittie coming,
Long time ago.

3. "Two black eyes had little Kittie,
Black as a sloe ;
And they spied the little Mousie,
Long time ago.

4. "Four soft paws had little Kittie, Paws soft as dough;
And they caught the little Mousie,
Long time ago.

5. "Nine sharp teeth had little Kittie,
All in a row;
And they bit the little Mousie
Long time ago.

6. "When the teeth bit little Mousie
Mousie cried 'Oh!'
But she got away from Kittie,
Long time ago."



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