I am afraid Jet was a little cross at times; yes, I am sure he was, and I, one of his most intimate friends, ought to know.
It was when I was a little girl, that we had this cat called Jet, a great, shining, black creature. I loved Jet, oh! very much indeed, and I think he liked me a little; but he was never so fond of me as he was of my mother.
I liked to hold Jet in my lap, and to smooth his soft fur, but he would soon tire of me and jump down. I never tried to hold him after he was tired, for he had a very bad habit of growling and showing his teeth. Jet was not at all fond of company either, which troubled me greatly, because I was always pleased to have visitors come to the house. He would run away and hide, and if I tried to coax him out of his hiding place he would growl and put up his back and hissed.
And if another cat came into our yard – oh! you should have seen Jet then! He did not wait to put up his back, but, taking one look at the stranger, darted away in full chase after him. All the cats of the neighbourhood soon learned that they must never do more than run across our back fence, and the more swiftly they could run across, the better for them.
But, by and by, all this changed. I never understood just how the acquaintance began, but a poor, forlorn old cat, with one ear gone and a part of his tail missing, came to live with Jet.
Yes! Jet, who had never allowed another cat within fifty feet of our house, took this friendless stranger under his care, let him share his bread and milk, and even permitted him to sleep in the soft bed which had been made especially for Jet’s own use in a box under the back porch.
Little by little Jet’s nature changed, until he became so gentle that he would lie sleepily on the doormat and only wink when other cats wished to cross the yard. I used to think that as the tramp cat and Jet lay together after dinner in the sunshine, old Tramper would chat between naps with his younger friend.
He would tell Jet how glad he ought to be that he had always had such a good home, and that he ought to be getting wiser as he grew older; and that wise people do not like to growl and to be cross and quarrelsome. They are cheerful and happy, and like to see others have good times. I felt sure that Tramper, as I called him, used to talk in this way to Jet, although I never could catch him saying anything; whenever I came near they would both doze or pretend to be fast asleep, or, at any rate, not talk so that I could understand.
However that may be, I do know that Jet was better as an old cat than ever he was as a kitten; and that his growing better dated from the time when he was kind to poor, friendless Tramper.