I live in Redmond, WA. and I know they are strict. If you run to clean you have to go to an emission certified mechanic and make sure your exhaust isn't leaking and then bring the letter from the mechanic to the emissions place. If you run to rich; same thing they will not pass you.
My main question would be; your a 96, so they are gonna be testing full OBDII. As I recall in my 96 they do not put a sniffer in your exhaust at all; they just plug into your OBDII. So is your check engine light on because of the lack of cats or was the system somehow bypassed. If the light is on its an automatic failure. But where do you live? if you live; some places don't require emissions testing such as Duvall, WA and more rural areas.
If you run a high flow cat it will pass emissions but a full delete with a sniffer test probably wont pass. If its just an obdII scan youd be ok. If the cat delete is throwing an 02 sensor code you can buy an 02 sensor spacer bung that in my experience will get rid of the code because the sensor is out of the direct exhaust stream. Im running a magnaflow high flow cat($100-150) and personally think the cost of one beats the cost of not having one and getting caught(even though getting caught is pretty uncommon).