IV. Cats, Tigers, and Scientists

Editors, Environment


The ordinary tolerant householder has no particular objection to seeing a cat about the house; apart from any possible personal liking for cats, he may readily be persuaded that they serve a useful pupose in that they keep down rats and mice, and thus protect his peace of mind and store cupboard, and also keep certain diseases at a distance. But he likes the cat to be entirely subordinate to himself, and reserves the right to kick the cat when he wants to. If it should turn out that a slight mistake had been made, and that his children had inadvertently received a present of a tiger cub instead of a kitten, he might be doubtful as to the advisability of keeping it as a pet; he would certainly have no doubts on the subject when subsequently, having grown, the animal tended rather to dominate the household, and possibly at a later stage objected strenuously to the ceremony of being kicked. There has always been a big body of people, which has generally included the social leaders, who have regarded the scientist as the cat. One is not speaking only of today, of course, as we can observe that attitude of mind right back to the earliest times of which we have record. Also, we now find a very large body of thoughtful householders pensively observing the cat, and wondering if it is a tiger cub after all, and growing rather rapidly.

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