PLATO: THE STORY OF A CAT by A. S. Downs
1. One-day last summer, a large, handsome, black cat walked gravely up one side of Main Street. He crossed, went half-way down the other, and stopped at our house. He came up the steps and paused by an open window.
2. We saw him and spoke to him, but he took no notice. He put his paws on the sill and looked around the room as if wondering if it would suit him. After thinking a minute, he came in, and from that hour took his place as an important member of the family.
3. At Christmas, we gave Plato a sweet little basket, with soft cushions, to be his own bed. When we put it before him, he showed neither surprise nor curiosity. He looked at it proudly, as if such a bed should have been given to him long ago. He stepped in carefully and curled himself gracefully upon the soft cushions.
4. It was soon seen that Plato was very fond of his basket and was reluctant to share it. When little Bessie put her doll in, he looked so stern and walked so fiercely toward them that Dolly's heart sank within her, and Bessie said, "Please excuse us, Plato." If balls and toys were carelessly dropped there, he would push them out without delay, and if visitors took up the basket to examine it, he would watch them intently, as if to say, "You're not going anywhere with my basket. I've got my eye on you."
5. One cold afternoon, he was noticed walking up the avenue with a miserable, little, yellow kitten dragging herself after him. She was so thin you could count her bones.
6. Upon one of the shed doors was an old-fashioned latch, which by jumping, Plato could reach and lift with his paw. Having opened the door, he pushed his poor, yellow straggler in and followed himself. She lay down at once on the floor, and Plato began washing her with his rough tongue while we brought her a saucer of milk. While she ate, Plato rested, looking as pleased as if he were her mother at her enjoyment. The lunch finished, the washing was resumed, and she soon looked more respectable.
7. But Plato was not finished. He looked at the door leading to the parlor, then at her, finally bent down tenderly to her little torn ears, as if whispering, but she would not move. So, taking her by the back of the neck, he carried her through the house and dropped her close to his cherished basket.
8. Then he appeared a little uncertain about what to do. The basket was nice and warm; he was tired and cold; it had been a present to him; the street wanderer was dirty still, and the rug would be a softer bed than she had ever known. Were these his thoughts, and was it selfishness he conquered when at last he lifted the shivering homeless creature into his own beautiful nest?