Théophile Gautier was a French artist, critic and writer whose friends included Victor Hugo and Alexandre Dumas, and whose many admirers have included TS Eliot and Oscar Wilde. His ‘Ménagerie intime’ (1869) includes fond recollections of the many cats in his life.
WINNING the friendship of a cat is a difficult business. The cat is a philosophical creature, methodical, quiet, tenacious of his habits, fond of order and cleanliness, who does not scatter his affections about indiscriminately.
He is quite ready to be your friend, should you prove worthy, but not your slave. In the midst of his tenderness he maintains free-will, and he will not do for you anything that he deems unreasonable.
But once he has given himself to you, what absolute confidence! what felicity of affection! He makes himself the companion of the hours of your solitude, melancholy, and toil.