CAT COMMENTS BY LADY VIOLET GREVILLE
PLACE AUX DAMES, BY LADY VIOLET GREVILLE - The Graphic, 19 August 1893
The fear of rabies and the talk about Pasteur has led many people to dislike the presence of the familiar dog and to deprecate him as a household pet, especially where there are children. Some people, like Lord Roberts, cannot sit in a room with a cat under pain of physical discomfort, and others mistrust the feline nature, and shrink from scratches. [. . .]The other pet was more harmless. It was a species of cat from Australia, but resembled rather a mongoose than a cat. It had brown fur and the brightest of eyes, and was devoted to its mistress. It would sit tip and beg like a squirrel, and crawl engagingly into her lap. If these little creatures can stand the climate, they would certainly make pretty and uncommon pets.
PLACE AUX DAMES, BY LADY VIOLET GREVILLE - The Graphic, 2 March 1895
ONE has always heard the nursery superstition that cats will, if permitted, lie on babies' chests and stifle them in their cradle, but I had never realised the fact till the other day, when lying in bed in a darkened room someone opened the door and a thing which seemed enormous to my startled, sleepy senses suddenly jumped with one light bound on to my chest, and sat there staring at me with two great green fiery eyes. A delicate child would probably have gone off into fits ; as it was, I confess, the feeling was most unpleasant, for I am one of those people, not so rare after all, and numbering heroes like Lord Roberts in their company, to whom the presence of cats is physically repulsive. Yet cats are considered harmless and valuable household pets; to my mind there is always something tigerish and false about them. They are intensely selfish, too, attaching themselves rather to the comfortable fireside than to the individual. They are the type of the materialist - easy-going, sensual, and self-loving, while as regards others, poor little scared mice or pretty innocent birds, to see them stalking the one in the garden, or playing with the other when they have it in their clutches is a lesson in cold-blooded cruelty worthy of Machiavelli. I confess that the gambols of kittens are pretty, and that their limbs have a peculiar supple grace charming to the eye of an artist. Especially is this the case with Angoras and Persians, who are certainly very beautiful. It is said that if you wash an Angora it will never take the trouble to clean itself again, which proves even more positively that it is of the species of epicurean philosopher; while Nature again seems to have made a mistake in the economy of their constitution, for Angoras generally die of a disease brought on by licking their fur, which comes off easily, and is eventually swallowed in small quantities, causing inflammation of the stomach.
PLACE AUX DAMES, BY LADY VIOLET GREVILLE - The Graphic, 2 July 1898
Cats likewise held their show in the Botanic Gardens, under the presidency of the Duchess of Bedford, and received their due meed of appreciation. The cat character does not appeal to me; their attachment to places rather than to people shows to my mind such primarily bad taste, and their preference of the kitchen to the parlour such vulgarity of mind as kills my capacity for affection. Nevertheless, I can see their feline beauty, the gracefulness of their movements, the charm of their poses, especially in the pictures of Mdme. Henriette Ronner, but their minds, their individuality, must be distinctly put on a lower plane than with dogs, whose sympathy and clear-sightedness sometimes become painfully human. The wild cat from Hungary is a splendid animal, the Manx cat a curiosity, and the Persian cat, especially when in the kitten stage, an adorable little bundle of fluff, most amusing in its gambols. But cats as pets seem to me waste of time. Their place is on the house- tops, their true tasks sordid and mean, their great characteristic, cruelty.
PLACE AUX DAMES, BY LADY VIOLET GREVILLE - The Graphic, 1 September 1900
Lean cats have been well in evidence in London lately - cats deserted by their owners who have gone to fresh fields and pastures new and forgotten their home favourites. But are they really favourites? Nobody would forget a dog; why, then, the cat ? Probably the cat has become a kind of kitchen institution, such as the table or the dresser, a thing cook likes to have about her and will feed when she has scraps. But nine people out of ten do not bestow a thought on their cat or feel the smallest thrill of affection for it. Then why the pest of cats? Want of thought, probably, and custom. A valuable cat is cared for like a dog, and not allowed to run about on the tiles and make night hideous. Instead of a wholesale lethal chamber a tax on cats would put a stop to the practice of neglect at once. Cats are not necessary for the killing of mice, and it is probable that a well-fed, sleek cat rarely kills a mouse; certainly she never eats one. The tax would prevent people keeping cats unless they were genuinely favourites, and in that case they would be looked after, and we should be spared the spectacle of gaunt, miserable, woe-begone skeletons stalking about the street a prey to dogs and boys' ill usage.
PLACE AUX DAMES, BY LADY VIOLET GREVILLE - The Graphic, 25 July 1903
Now that town is emptying the season of the cats commences. These wretched animals, unhoused, half-starved, diseased or mangy, prowl around, carrying dirt and infection with them. A tax on cats would be benefit to society at large. All the feline tribe which have no owners or collars to be destroyed (painlessly, of course), and the hideous night noises thereby diminished. It is the greatest mistake to suppose that the domestic cat keeps away mice. They can be quite as effectually destroyed without her frequently most inefficient services.