Page:Once a Week, Series 1, Volume II Dec 1859 to June 1860.pdf/161

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148
[February 11, 1860.
ONCE A WEEK.

them, except such as are of a nature to convey vibrations—as shaking the ground, striking the floor with a hammer—and the animal will remain perfectly indifferent. Crack a whip as loudly as you will, imitate the barking of a dog, clap the hands, in fact, make any noise, except such as may convey vibrations, and the result will be the same—indifference on the part of the animal.

If, however, there is the smallest spot of black, brown, or grey on the coat of the cat, or if the iris be any other colour than blue, or greyish-blue, then the power of hearing will be the same as in another animal.

Deaf white cat dozing unaware of a dog barking at it

This naturalist had a cat, which he procured while a kitten, the coat was perfectly white, and the eyes were perfectly blue. This cat, which at sight of a dog made off with rapidity, paid not the slightest attention to his barking, if she did not see him. At the end of a few months the iris became of a deeper colour, and the cat began to show signs of attention when a bell was sharply rung about a yard from her ear. But unfortunately the further progress of the experiment was interrupted by the death of poor puss, she having been worried in the street by a dog whose barking she had not heard.

Professor Hevsinger, a German, has drawn attention to another extraordinary peculiarity of white animals; viz. their inability to resist the injurious effects of external agents, which to other animals are perfectly harmless.

And we are told by Carillo, by Marinosci di Martini, and by Menni di Lecce, that in Naples and Sicily eating of Hypericum crispum, or, as it is called there, Fumulo, acted perniciously on white but not on black sheep; causing in the former the wool to fall off, the head to swell, and death itself to supervene in a couple of weeks. On this account, in Tarentino, where this plant is very common, black sheep alone are kept.

Spinola, in his work on the Diseases of Swine, says that buck-wheat, Polygonum fagopyrum, if eaten at its time of flowering, causes diseases in white and partially white swine, which are not produced by the same agent in black animals.

Another fact bearing upon the point of the