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My cats, like most cats, are utterly psychotic. Their psychosis manifests most strongly at the hours of 6:30 a.m. and 10:30 p.m., mysteriously the hours at which I am either struggling to maintain consciousness or contemplating unconsciousness. Apparently my stodgy circadian rhythms and the cats' combative impulses run on a similar schedule. When “Sugar” (aka SmallCat, Satan, or Varmint) was the sole household critter, her night-time crazies were called “Late Nite Bite Hour,” whereupon she would impede my progress through the house by launching herself bodily against my ankles and biting my feet with vigor and vim. It was supremely charming, I can assure you.

Later, I had the utter audacity to bring Griswald into the family, thus cruelly forcing SmallCat to share her shedding space with another animal. For the first 8-10 months, she assiduously ignored Griz, which was just as well, as he was busy catching up to her in size. Sure, he wanted to play with her, but she would just hiss dramatically then huff away with her tail in a puff. Once Griz caught up with Sugar, then surpassed her, however, he got a lot more bold about his attempts to jazz her up. When Griz started hassling Sugar, she transferred her aggressions from my feet to her intractable and hyperactive brother.

Early attempts at mutual play were rather unsuccessful.

He would drop down from higher perches; chairs, bookshelves, ladders, and tackle her. He would spring out, unbidden, from behind doors. He would gallop full-speed across the house and plow into her, football-player-style. As you can imagine, Sugar was not especially amused. More deep-seated hissing, growling, and tail-puffing, with occasional claws-retracted cuffs upside the head ensued. Out of these scrums, a pattern has developed, a predictable and ridiculous pattern which I have dubbed, “Mutually Assured Head-Kicking.” What happens is that one cat will pounce at the other, each will wrap his or her fore-legs around the other's neck, and nose-to-nose, curled around one another like Yin and Yang, they will enthusiastically bunny-kick each other in the head. Really, only a photo will do this ridiculous proposition justice. It is a losing game for each cat, but neither seems to ever realize it, so at least twice a day and often more frequently, I will find the cats locked in a futile battle of halfwits and hind-feet. And that's pretty much why I keep the little buggers around. No where else can you get that kind of rasslin', not even on Pay-Per-View.

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