20 DECEMBER 1930, Page 27

Dogs and Cats

As Mr. Joseph says, " the cat cannot fairly be compared with the dog. Four legs and a tail and a fondness for a cosy place on the heartlirug are about all they have in common." Neither can their respective lovers .ever agree. The truth is that every cat's champion has more than a touch of dog about him : he is content to serve, to love blindly and never to understand. And every dog-lover has something of the cat about him : it pleases him to be admired, to be the creature upon whose whim small destinies depend. We have here two books which display these different attitudes. Mr. Joseph begins his with stories about his own eats. He

tells of Scissors, the war-kitten who was missing " when the division moved to another part of the line, of Lillywhite, who loved the sergeants' mess, and then he goes on to describe the cats of peace.

Minna Minna Mowbray," a short-haired tortoiseshell tabby, with tiny white paws to match her piquant face," has a whole chapter to herself, and we would have it longer. Minna is enchanting, but not an exemplary mother, even though she

adores having kittens." As soon as her sons and daughters begin to be of importance in the household, Minna takes them for long walks from which they do not return to the maternal roof.

Lovers of " the tiger in the house " who may wish to make a Cat's Pilgrimage (and there are, I am certain, many quite devout enough) might take Mr. Joseph's book for guide. They could begin by visiting Emily, of the Home Office, call upon Nigger, the Law Courts' cat, and look in on Tabs, of the War Office, who is said to have -removed a large mouse from the trouser leg of a Deputy Director of Military Intelligence and Operations without waking its wearer." They could look up Donald and Jenny, of the Guildhall, and Abanazar, who lives at Downing Street and has known several Prime Ministers. Besides these, there are Mr. Joseph's own cats (he once had fourteen) at the Regent's Park, and any number of country eats, whose stories have been sent to the author from all parts of the world. Those who wish to visit the innumerable Roman cats, who live suitably in Trojan's Forum, must hurry, for these are now going to be removed to the suburbs where they will be treated as honoured pensioners of the Italian Government."

Three chapters of the book form a symposium of cat stories and contain accounts of famous cat owners, with extracts from their works. Gautier's preface to Fleurs du Mal is one of the most exquisite of these. lie writes of Baudelaire :-

" He loved these charming creatures, tranquil, mysterious, and gentle, with their electric shudderings, whose favourite attitude is the elongated pose of sphinxes, who seem to have transmitted their secrets to them.. . . It might almost be said that cats divine the idea which descends from the brain to the tip of the pen, and that, stretching out their paws, they wish to seize it in its passage."

If the cat intercepts his master's thoughts, the dog steals his heart, but, even so, no dog-lover will be warned against the thief either by Mr. Kipling or by Mr. Walker, who writes :— " 'Yes, you have gone, and, someday, forget,

But, oh, sad little ghost that haunts me yet I . .

Lot me still hear beside my bed at night A basket creak . . . ("Hullo ! are you all right I ")

Let me imagine at the well•scratched gate Reproachful welcome . . " Master, you are late! "

Mr. Walker tells in rhyme of good dogs and bad dogs, high dogs and low dogs. His heroes are as varied as the rats of Hamelin. Evidently he sees with their eyes and almost smells with their noses, for his verse shows his understanding of the joys of walking, rolling, motoring, and rabbiting. We are grateful both to him and to Mr. Stitmpa, the illustrator, for allowing us to know so many of those dogs of theirs. Our thanks are also due to Herr Dolbin, whose pictures for Mr. Joseph's enchanting book show his love for cats in many