Right, there is much conscious training involved to reach the level of the striped cat. This conscious effort is, not really a detriment, but a cul de sac on the road of attaining supreme skill.
The notions of negating an attack or thwarting a defense are representative of striped cat thinking! If that's how you view the world then everything is about attacks and defenses. Swordsmen of the early 1700's were apparently wary of thinking this was true skill.
Have to describe it so people understand what's going on, but the point is that it becomes an inherent quality and skill without the need to summon, conjur or consider in order to execute. Water flows under foot to erode another's purchase on the ground, but the water doesn't consciously make such a choice: it simply does what its nature dictates.
But heck, outside of parable, the vast majority of martial artists should consider it an uncommon triumph to do what any of those cats could do. The mice, whether a match for a given cat or not, always fought for their lives: they did not offer their paws to be grabbed in the spirit of collusive harmony.