"I'm not sure I fully understand the traditions of this race," said general Zhlag, "but I don't think that's normal."
"You there!" called the commander. "Human. What are you doing?"
"I just want to talk for a minute," he shouted across the blasted field. "Don't shoot!"
"I've read about this," said the general. "Isn't a white flag more traditional?" he shouted to the messenger.
"We're in the middle of a war!" the messenger replied. "Not a lot of white flags handy."
"I suppose practical matters sometimes require one to deviate from tradition, but I've never heard of somebody calling a truce with a cat on a stick."
"Well, like I said. Not a lot of white flags around at the moment."
"It's not even a white cat!"
"Not a lot of white cats, either."
General Zhlag decided not to draw attention to what must already have been an embarrassing matter. "I take it you are speaking on behalf of the Earth people. What is it you wanted to say?" he asked.
"Just one thing," replied the messenger: "Sic him, Mittens!"
The cat launched itself from the pole like a fluffy cannonball, latching onto the general's face.
"Aargh!" yelled the general. "Retreat!!! Retreat!!!"
"I say," said the commander, sipping his space tea. "I don't pretend to be an expert, but I thought it was supposed to be dreadfully unsportsmanlike to use a white flag like that. It might even be a war crime."
"Well," shrugged the messenger, "it's lucky it was just a cat, then, isn't it?"