The cats like crunchy food. They get fat on it, but I'm not an ogre; just before I go to bed I give them each about a tablespoon of Crunchy Wonder, and I listen to their collar tags ping off the metal bowls as I change clothes.

Last night I put the food that had been requested every 3 minutes for the previous 2 hours as they sat there impatiently waiting...but they didn't eat. They both sat there and stared into the bowls, as if hoping the amount would quadruple and they would have enough to munch on all night long.

I peeked over their little heads, thinking perhaps there was a bug; Max won't eat bugs and becomes seriously distressed if ants are on his food, but everything looked fine from where I stood. No bugs, the amounts looked pretty much equal, and it wasn't end-of-the-container crunchy food dust. They should have been shoving their faces into the bowls, making disgusting, greedy, gluttonous sounds.

Then I realized Max was staring at the dish in front of Buddah, and Buddah was staring at the dish in front of Max, and it clicked.

Every night, Buddah eats from the dish on the left, Max gets the one on the right. When I poured out their crunchy snack, Max had been sitting on the left, and Buddah walked up to the empty space on the right.

But it was all wrong and no one was eating until they figured out what felt weird.

With a sigh, I picked Buddah up, nudged Max over with my foot, and set Buddah down...whereupon the pinging of tags against metal bowls and much smacking of the lips began.

Now I wonder if I hadn't done anything, would they have still been sitting there this morning, waiting for the weirdness to pass?

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