It was World War II, and the captain was attempting to rally the GIs on the eve of a big offensive.
"Out there," said the captain, "is your enemy. The man who has made your life miserable, who is working to destroy you; the man who has been trying to kill you day after day throughout this war."
Private Johnson jumped to his feet. "My God! The cook’s working for the Germans!"
A cat will clean itself with paw and tongue after a dangerous experience or when it has fought with another cat. This is an attempt by the animal to soothe its nerves by doing something natural and instinctive.