Pet and Petability


“He’s riled!” I cautioned Kathie. She goaded our cat with her forearm. He lunged, wrapped his front legs around her arm and grabbed her wrist in his mouth. I was certain his teeth would draw blood, but she swore that in all their play times he never broke skin. I voiced that he needed a break.

“Oh, no. He can take it.” She went into what she calls her “ocelot sound”. It’s a strange repetitive aa-aa-aa-oh noise that she machine guns at him through parted lips. (How it has anything to do with an ocelot is beyond me. I don’t believe she knows what an ocelot sounds like but I bet her it’s nothing like her noise.) Lloyd, his ears plastered close to his head, tightened his eyes to slits as he glared, grabbed her arm and stabbed with clenched jaws.

“Riled,” I said, “Is that the word I mean?” Why did it not sound right ? Had I ever looked it up before? I went to and did just that.

Riled – angry Part of Speech: adjective, Definition: being mad, often extremely mad Synonyms: affronted, annoyed, antagonized, bitter, chafed, choleric, convulsed, cross, displeased, exacerbated, ferocious, fierce, fiery, galled, hateful, heated, hot, ill-tempered, impassioned, incensed, indignant, inflamed, irascible, irritable, irritated, maddened, nettled, offended, outraged, piqued, provoked, raging, resentful, sore, splenetic, storming, sulky, sullen, tumultous/tumultuous, turbulent, uptight, vexed, wrathful.

All those described Lloyd. Kathie loves to get him riled.

One slushy day, Lloyd came in from outside with his white feet covered in dark brown, muddy muck. She shut him in the bathroom and I listened to the ruckus that followed: water running at the sink, a silent pause… Kathie’s cursing, shower door sliding open, more cursing, shower door sliding shut, tub water running, a long, low, God-awful yowl, another silent pause… scuffling, cat curses, girl curses; then the two appeared as Kathie toweled a wet-furred cat who despises water.

Riled – incensed Part of Speech: adjective Definition: very angry Synonyms: atend of one’s rope, buffaloed, bugged, bummed out, burned up, dogged, enraged,exasperated, fuming,furious, hacked, hot and bothered, huffy, indignant, infuriated, irate, ireful, mad, miffed, on the warpath, peeved, rousted, rubbed thewrong way, steamed up, up in arms.

Later, Lloyd scrambled down our hallway, took cover behind a plastic tote, and slowly peered from behind. Surprise tag is his favorite game. He loves it more than playing with his furry mouse. Kathie stepped into view from around the kitchen corner, then disappeared. Lloyd charged full speed down the hall, made an attempt to leap toward her from the side, then retreated full speed to his hiding place so quickly that he bumped his head against the plastic tote. Instead of slipping behind it, he sat down, turned with dignity at the place of his demise, and began to wash. (Displacement activity; that’s what my old psychology book called it.) Kathie laughed at him and scooped him up. He rubbed his face against hers and licked her nose.

Riled – angry Part of Speech: adjective Definition: Feeling or showing anger. Antonyms: cheerful, happy, joyous, pleased.

The mistress and her pet-mate. They always get over it and make up.


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