AUDUBON, John James (1785-1851) Vol. I, Plate 1, Common American Wildcat
Painted by John James Audubon (1785-1851) with background likely by Victor Gifford Audubon (1809-1860)
Lithographed by J. T. Bowen &. Co.
Lithograph with hand color, paper dimensions: approximately 22 x 28 inches
From Vol. I, Part 1 of John James Audubon and John Bachman’s (1790-1875) The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America.
New York: V.G. Audubon, 1845-1848.
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The following passage is included in the accompanying description of Lynx Rufus, Guldenstaed. Common American Wild Cat:
“We once made an attempt at domesticating one of the young of this species, which we obtained when only two weeks old. It was a most spiteful, growling, snappish little wretch, and showed no disposition to improve its habits and manners under our kind tuition. We placed it in a wooden box, from which it was constantly striving to gnaw its way out. It, one night, escaped into our library, where it made sad work among the books, (which gave us some valuable lessons on the philosophy of patience, we could not have so readily found among our folios,) and left the marks of its teeth on the mutilated window-sashes. Finally, we fastened it with a light chain, and had a small kennel built for it in the yard. Here it was constantly indulging its carnivorous propensities, and catching the young poultry, which it enticed within reach of its chain by leaving a portion of its food at the door of its house, into which it retreated until an opportunity offered to pounce on its unsuspecting prey. Thus it continued, growing, if possible, more wild and vicious every day, growling and spitting at every servant that approached it, until at last, an unlucky blow, as a punishment for its mischievous tricks, put an end to its life, and with it to one source of annoyance.”