Notebook

ROUSSEAU. “Do you like cats?” BOSWELL. “No.” ROUSSEAU. “I was sure of that. It is my test of character. There you have the despotic character of men. They do not like cats because the cat is free and will never consent to be a slave. He will do nothing to your order, as the other animals do.” BOSWELL. “Nor a hen either.” ROUSSEAU. “A hen would obey your orders if you could make her understand them. But a cat will understand you perfectly and not obey them.” BOSWELL. “But a cat is ungrateful and treacherous.” ROUSSEAU. “No. That’s all untrue. A cat is an animal that can be very much attached to you; he will do anything you please out of friendship. I have a cat here.”

Conversation with Rousseau, 15th December 1764, “The Journals of James Boswell”.

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