This picture is part of a series of twenty sketches made by J.-J. Grandville to illustrate the various expressions of cats. It comes with the following descriptions, referring to the first and the second drawing respectively:
Miss Betty walks along the corridor, with a pathetic mewing; Miss Betty is hungry, she hasn’t been given her milk yet. The cook is late and might have been harsh, hence the rightful and touching complaint.
Here in contrast is a little master cat, whose pretty spiritual face is alert, filled with deep concern. He was suddenly interrupted in the middle of his games by the noise of a copper basin, or by the approach of a stranger’s voice. He is ready to jump and dash off.
The caption reads in the original French:
Plainte et souffrance. — Préoccupation causée par un bruit particulier.