Behind the cat's slitted green eyes cold fury grew. How dare these flea-ridden rodents insult a brave warrior and fierce hunter like himself. Using long words, he could not understand, to make him look foolish. If he could get one paw free there would be slaughter and screaming from these upstarts. He would break their backs and toy with them before they died.
The King Rat was exasperated. Getting anything useful from captive cats took so long. He took a deep breath and spoke again. “Your taciturn truculence is not to be endured. Remove him from my exalted presence. Truncate his whiskers and depilate his caudal appendage, then send him back in ignominy and disgrace to his masters with a pretty roseate bow round his neck with a dependant tintinnabulum. Perhaps then the next one we capture will talk.” The King Rat swaggered away followed by his courtiers and left the cat to his fate.
The rivalry and battles between rats and cats had been going on from the mists of time. The poor simple minded dogs were subservient to whichever species had the upper-hand at any one time, give them a bone and tell them how loyal they were, as long as you did it im simple words, and they were happy. What the rats missed out on in physical strength against the cats they more than made up for in cunning and guile.
The cats really hated being laughed at or being made to look foolish. Their sense of dignity was easily offended and they were then not able to think rationally because of their rage. The rats used this to their advantage. Whenever a rat spoke to a cat they always used the longest most obscure words they could think of. It did not matter if the words were really correct either, sometimes using the wrong words confused the cats even more.
In the Queen Cat's palace Her Majesty Araminta lay on her velvet cushion watching her kittens play around her. The eldest, Aster, came up and nuzzled her, “Mother, will you tell us a story before we go to sleep?”. Gathering her kittens round her Araminta started the best known story in the cat world.
“Once upon a time, in the far distant past, when cats first ruled the world we were worshipped and cared for by creatures called people. They were odd creatures, they were huge and they walked around on two legs. They built palaces for us to live in that they called houses. Every day they would lay down offerings of food and drink for us. They provided us with soft places to sleep and warm fires for us to bask in front of. When we had an itch they would scratch us and when we wanted to play they would amuse us. They even made war on the rats for us, trapping them and poisoning them in their millions. Those were golden days for cats. Sadly those days did not last. Something happened that we still don't understand. For some reason the people went mad. They started fighting each other. They built weapons and bombs and their numbers grew fewer and fewer. Eventually there were none left. We kept some of the palaces they had built for us and had to start fighting the rats ourselves. However, some of our wise cats say that if we keep living in our palaces someday the people will come back and our days will be restful again.”
Araminta looked at her sleeping kittens. Her mother had told her the same tale, how she hoped that it would come true and she could concentrate on raising her kittens rather than always fighting the rats.