A cat person? A dog person? Maybe both? There is no shortage of expressions that contain a reference to our furry friends in the English language. Let’s get down to learning some. Cats take the lead, dogs will follow in a future post.
Curiosity killed the cat
Use this idiom when you think someone is asking too many questions and perhaps shouldn’t.
“Stop the interrogation if you don’t want to get into trouble. Curiosity killed the cat.”
Has the cat got your tongue?
You can say it to someone that remains quiet in a situation where they are expected to say something. It can be shortened to “cat got your tongue?”.
“So, what where you up to? …. (silence) …. Cat got your tongue?”
A person who copies other people’s behaviour, ideas, fashion style, etc.
“He called himself a writer but he was nothing but a copycat.”
Let the cat out of the bag
Reveal a secret.
“Now that you let the cat out of the bag, everybody knows they are going to fire me.”
While the cat is away, the mice will play
When someone in charge is away, subordinates will do as they please.
“Not even half the work was done in the hours I was out of the office. I suppose that while the cat is away, the mice will play.”
Put the cat among the pigeons
Do or say something that causes trouble and angers people
“He is very aware that his incendiary comments put the cat among the pigeons.”
No room to swing a cat
A very confined space.
“Yes, living in a studio in Paris sounds luxurious but there wasn’t room to swing a cat.”
A cat in gloves catches no mice
If you are too polite or cautious, you will not get what you want.
“You will not get it just by asking. Give them arguments; show them what you are capable of. As the saying goes: a cat in gloves catches no mice.”
A cat nap
To doze for a short time during the day.
“A cat nap is said to restore alertness and enhance performance.”
Someone, especially a child, who is easily scared, just like wild cats are when coming across people.
“Come on! Don’t be a scaredy-cat. I am sure you will like the ride and ask for more once you’ve tried.”