First blood

dog might be attacking—or might be licking a sleeping cat in a perfectly friendly way. Either way, the cat’s space has been invaded and he won’t tolerate it. In the case of a clearly aggressive dog, the cat will assume his classic “inflated” posture—back arched, hair bristling out, looking larger and more menacing than before.

It’s a bluff, since the cat can’t kill a large dog, while a large dog can kill a cat. But many dogs will be taken in by the “inflated cat” and be content to bark and nothing more. The cat whose bluff fails will run when he can or fight if cornered. But the cat is never the aggressor in a cat-dog battle.

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