A CAT WITH A BROOD OF CHICKENS.
One of the strangest freaks of fancy ever displayed by an animal is that of a Cat taking possession of a brood of Chickens, and caring for them with a maternal care equal to that of the mother hen. The history of the family is briefly as follows: In May last, a hen belonging to Wm. Simpson, of Excelsior, hatched out a brood of eight chickens, but she died a day or two afterwards, when a Cat which had come to the place a few months before, seeming to realize the motherless condition of the little chicks, took upon herself the responsibility of fostering them. It took but a short time for the chicks to learn to follow and nestle under their foster mother, and they were inseparable companions until the chicks became so large that they no longer required a mother’s care. The Cat followed them about with a watchfulness that was wonderful, and guarded them from the dangers incident to young chickenhood with the loss of but two of the brood, which were smothered by her efforts to collect them all under her. It was a source of sorrow to the mother when her troublesome brood no longer required her care, and she followed them about for some days, before she could make up her mind to give them up. About the 15th of August a second brood came off and the mother hen was shut up and the young chicks put into the care of the Cat, when the latter evinced her satisfaction by immediately taking charge of them, and since then has treated them as her own, the same as she did the first brood. The Cat is quite young, and has never owned any kittens, which makes the display of motherly instinct and affection all the more wonderful. When the premises have been invaded by dogs or children, she has displayed the fierceness of the feline nature, but to all who belong there she is as gentle as a kitten need be. A portrait of the Cat and her brood by H. A. Ball is correct as likeness could be, and shows her in her efforts to hover them.
Photographed from Nature by H. A. Ball, Excelsior, Minn.
Carte de visite c.1870 - Janus Museum collection.