Maybe it is the doctrine that an attacking army is the one to pursue a defeated enemy, while a defending army doesn't pursue when the attacker retreats. Maybe that is something we are missing. I can see this being a general doctrine, in one way, because of the threat of ambush. That a retreating army could lead the hunter into a trap. But as you have pointed out most of the excuses given do deal with the fatigue of the defending armys troops.
It could well be when you tangle with a wildcat, you are just as happy to see the wildcat go and leave you alone.