Alright Hercules, you may be bigger than I am, and you may have been here longer, but I am getting that last piece of chicken, thought Ronin, as he spied the unattended meat on the counter. He wasn’t really hungry, but the smell was driving him crazy, and he knew he’d have to get past his arch nemesis to get it.

Hercules sat seemingly undaunted, grooming himself a few feet away. Out of the corner of his eye, he spotted the movement of the smaller cat, circling around, trying not to be seen. Aw, Ronin thinks he’s going to steal the chicken, thought Hercules. How cute. He stretched, shaking out his back legs, and walked casually just a few steps closer to the object of their desire.

Ronin froze, and turned sideways, puffing out his long fur. This made him appear somewhat larger, but Hercules was familiar with that old trick, and looked him straight in the eye, as if to say, “Oh, have you grown since I saw you in the living room ten minutes ago? I hadn’t noticed.”

Ronin’s eyes widened as he arched his back, fur spiking out as far as possible. He met Hercules’s stare and voiced a deep growl, which translated roughly as “Back off, Jumbo. I saw it first.”

Jumbo, eh? I’ll give you Jumbo, thought the hefty tom cat as he mewled a much louder warning, meaning, “There’s no way you’re getting that chicken, runt. Give it up.”

Ronin hissed, the meaning of which is not fit for translation, and then immediately regretted doing so, backing up as he saw Hercules crouch down and prepare to pounce. Oh God, what have I done? He thought too late, scanning the room for escape.

But just then, a blur of coppery brown lumbered into the kitchen, followed by the clatter of plates hitting the floor as the family’s clumsy mutt snagged the chicken between his teeth, oblivious to the stand-off only seconds before. The two cats scattered, and headed for high ground, forced to watch their prize being appropriated by the moronic behemoth.

They watched Copper trot to his food bowl, and gingerly place the juicy piece of meat therein, licking his chops. He was just getting ready to partake, when a shrill voice startled him out of his euphoria. “What do you think you’re doing!” shrieked the alpha female of the house as she stormed into the kitchen, snatching the tasty morsel from his dish. Copper looked at her innocently, then looked back at the broken dishes behind him, and realized he may have done something bad.

“You know you’re not supposed to have chicken! Bad dog!” she shouted, as he slunk into a corner, tail between his legs.

Oh, you bumbling fool. You’ve ruined it for everyone, thought Hercules, as the chicken was unceremoniously dropped into a lidded trash can, and the human set to work cleaning up the rest of the mess.

The fat kitty jumped from his perch and sauntered over to the dog. He came close enough to touch noses, but then turned at the last second, lifting his tail high in the air to show his backside before walking away, pausing once to give a parting glare. Copper let the offense pass. He’d gotten too many swats across the nose from Hercules to go after him. Instead, he continued staring straight ahead, occasionally raising an eyebrow at his mistress to see if he was still in trouble.

Ronin, having watched the exchange, grew bold, and tried to duplicate it. But he, not having had the same experience in his confrontations with the canine, was met with a bark and a nip at the tip of his tail, and he ran from the room, chicken-less and once again stripped of his pride.