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Slices of Life: A catfight

It was an all-out catfight. One like I'd never seen before — at least not between the two of them, whom I know pretty well. They usually get along, or at least stay out of one another's way. But on this day, the claws were definitely out.

To be fair, their capacity for sound decision making was off; both of them were a little tipsy. Heck, beyond tipsy. They were higher than kites — or cats as the case may be.

Their judgment was as slurred as their speech may have been — had they been able to speak. But as it was, a meow was all we could expect or hope for. Well, that and maybe a hiss or snarl or screech or purr.

The two felines in question were my pets. And I confess that responsibility for their dual tipsiness rested firmly on my shoulders. I'm their supplier. Ever since last spring when I started my own homegrown operation I've provided them with their stash.

Of catnip.

It all started innocently enough. I'd tried growing catnip from seed on a number of occasions, but never had any success. Then, in a stroke of luck, I found an already growing sprout at a nursery and planted it in our backyard garden. Last summer, the herb grew from tiny to medium and produced a few stems for us to pick. The cats loved each offering.

Come winter, I expected that would be the end of it.

This spring, however, the plant sprouted anew. It turns out catnip is a perennial and will return to the garden year after year. I couldn't believe my (not to mention my cats') good fortune.

This year, our catnip went from tiny in the spring to enormous by mid-summer. The plant is so plentiful we are able to harvest large stems daily. The cats roll in it and wrap themselves in the leaves; they lie in it; they sleep on it; they nibble on it. In short, they bring themselves to a fuzzy state of euphoria.

They love to get tipsy, or perhaps a better term would be nipsy. It's become an afternoon ritual — a peaceful and serene ritual. Until yesterday.

The both of them were pretty nipped up and lying on the patio with their noses buried in the greenery. All was calm. All was bright. Until all heck broke lose.

The little girl cat, in a state of tranquil bliss, reached over to put her paw on the shoulder of her older and much bigger brother. He must have interpreted this gesture of kindness as an aggressive move for his catnip because he declared an instant state of war. Meowing and pouncing ensued.

She moved to get away from him and he followed. She was still feeling the effects of the herb, however, and returned to her relaxed perch, seemingly oblivious to his angst. He loomed menacingly and pounced again. She narrowly escaped a tackle, running off into the yard to the safety of a secret hiding spot, howling all the way.

He returned to both his nip and an inebriated sense of supremacy.

A few minutes later, she returned and they each found their own spot on the patio. Peace was restored to the backyard so I went into the house to make supper, feeling just a bit like a drug dealer, yet knowing tomorrow I'd restock them both with their supply.

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