Do you prefer cats or dogs? I like both but think I'm probably more of a cat person. In this post, I'm going to teach you some cat-themed idioms we use in English.
It's like herding cats.
Have you seen how a dog can control sheep and make them go where the farmer wants them to go? This is called "herding". Cats probably wouldn't be as easy to control as sheep! We use this expression when we are having difficulty organising a group of people, either to go somewhere or to do something.
There's more than one way to skin a cat.
This means that there is more than one way to do something. (I don't like this one! I love cats and don't like the idea of somebody removing the skin!)
There's not enough room to swing a cat.
This means that the room or space is small and cramped. (This probably doesn't mean the animal. A cat o' nine tails is a kind of whip.)
Look what the cat dragged in.
We say this when somebody unwelcome arrives. We also say it in fun when someone arrives late or looking untidy.
You look like the cat that got the cream.
You look proud or very pleased with yourself.
That put /will put the cat among the pigeons.
That caused / will cause an argument or an upset.
She's having kittens!
She's very worried, angry or upset about something.
Have a cat nap (or catnap)
Have a short sleep.
A person who is easily scared.
A person who copies what other people do instead of having their own ideas.
A fat cat
A person with a highly-paid job and a lot of power.
To grin like a Cheshire cat
To smile a very big smile. This comes from a cat in "Alice in Wonderland" which has a big smile and can become invisible.
Don't let the cat out of the bag.
We say this when we have a secret, for example, planning a surprise birthday party. It means be careful what you say and don't tell anyone. Don't let the secret out, even by saying something accidentally.
Curiosity killed the cat.
Curiosity can be a dangerous thing. This expression means you shouldn't ask too many questions because asking questions might get you into trouble.
When the cat’s away the mice will play.
This means that people tend to do what they want when the boss isn't there.
Click here to learn some dog idioms.
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