Image credit Wikipaintings, Portrait of Pierre Loti, Henri Rousseau, 1891, oil on canvas, 24" x 20", held by Kunsthaus, Zurich, Switzerland.
With his unmistakably clear, simple line, which made him a pioneer among the naive or primitive artists, Rousseau brings his personage close to the viewer, combining exotic elements such as the fez and the turned-up moustache with an ordinary, middle class appearance. The tabby cat, captured in an attitude of noble detachment, is almost a "quotation" of the affectionate words that the writer dedicated to his inseparable but also inscrutable feline friend.
My take? The kitty is waiting for some milk, and wondering why it's taking so long.