Instinct in cats.
My cat Greysy deserted her 2
My kitten Miss Legge I took from its mother when she was a month old & cd not eat meat, so that it was a great deprivation. At Hartfield where we were, there was an old cat & kittens & about 2 days after we got there she adopted this cat & sucked it with the others. She had this mother for a fortnight & then nearly 3 weeks interval till we came to Shanklin where there were two old cats giving milk & 3 kittens. She took to both these cats & played with the kittens. One day I observed her snowzling in the stomach of the kittens, & constantly beginning to purr as soon as she thought she had found the tit. She did not leave off till its whole stomach was quite wet.—
our Ilkley cat used to suck its own stomach when it was happy just like a child does its thumb. It did it a great part of the day, & used to purr over it as if it was so good.—
- f1 3787.f1CD's annotations suggest that Henrietta's account of these incidents was intended as possible evidence for a planned treatment of instinct; however, her testimony on these points was not referred to by CD in any publication. In her manuscript autobiography (DAR 246: 11--12), Henrietta recalled that, as a child, she would sit `for long hours' watching her cats, and `sympathising with the cat's admiration of her kittens'.
- f2 3787.f2Henrietta refers to the period from 2 to 16 July 1858 when the Darwin children stayed at The Ridge in Hartfield, Sussex, the home of their aunt, Sarah Elizabeth Wedgwood (Emma Darwin's diary (DAR 242); see also n. 3, below).
- f3 3787.f3The Darwins were on holiday in Shanklin on the Isle of Wight from 27 July to 13 August 1858 (see Correspondence vol. 7, Appendix II).
- f4 3787.f4The Darwins stayed in Ilkley, Yorkshire, in 1859 (see Correspondence vol. 7, Appendix II).