Animal Idioms: Cat

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Are you a cat lover? Or maybe you’re more of a dog person? Whether cats or dogs, people love their pets. The English language also loves them, as there are tons of expressions about both. In this post, we’ll learn some English sayings and idioms about cats. I have chosen just five idioms involving cats other idioms would be posted very soon.

#1 Curiosity killed the cat

Curiosity killed the cat.

Literal meaning: The origin of this idiom isn’t very clear, but the basic idea is that if you’re a cat who is too curious you may end up in a lot of trouble, e.g. chasing a bird too far up a tree or a rat too far down a drain, and the cat could be killed as a result.


#2 Look what the cat dragged in

Look what the cat dragged in

Literal meaning: This idiom refers to the way domestic cats will often go out and kill wild animals and then bring them back into the house for you to see.

Other forms: Look what the cat’s dragged in; Look what the cat’s brought in.

And also “to look like something the cat dragged in” meaning to have a very dirty, untidy or abused appearance. Looking like something the cat dragged in is not the way to arrive at a job interview.

This expression alludes to a cat’s bringing home birds or mice it has killed or savaged. Go shower and get changed, you look like something the cat dragged in!


#3 Has a cat got your tongue?

Has a cat got your tongue?

Literal meaning: This idiom apparently began being used by children back in the late 1800s with no sensible derivation known. It’s not hard to imagine this sort of expression being used in children’s language in the school playground and it’s often said by adults to children.

Anyone who has ever struggled to speak or express them-self will be able to relate to the idiom “Has the cat got your tongue.” Believe it or not, the cat gets my tongue every time she passes by. 🙂


#4 Let the cat out of the bag 

Literal meaning: The most likely origin of this phrase is very old originating in the 1500s and which refers to trying to trick someone at market by giving them a cat in a sack, or bag, instead of a piglet. Obviously, if you let the cat out of the bag then you disclosed the secret. 
 
The origin of this idiom isn’t very clear because there are other theories explaining where “let the cat out of the bag” come from, but the basic idea is that it would be hard to keep a cat in a bag wouldn’t it? I imagine it would struggle, it would move around a lot, and would want to come out. So you’d better not to let the cat out of the bag! This way you will always remember the idioms’ meaning letting out a secret!
 
Like so many idioms, no one is certain where this saying originated and in case somebody knows the secret, we’ll have to wait for him to let the cat out of the bag.

#5 No room to swing a cat

No room to swing a cat

Literal meaning: The origin is uncertain, whether it refers to actually swinging a cat in a room by its tail or is referring to the ‘cat o’ nine tails’ whip used by the navy to discipline officers. The expression dates back to 1665, which predates the first mention in writing of the ‘cat o’ nine tails’ by three decades.

That’s all for now, be sure to keep checking our blog for more idioms in the future! Know any clever animal idioms? We’d love to read them in the comments.

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8 thoughts on “Animal Idioms: Cat

    1. Oxford Junior Post author

      Thank you so much for dropping me a line and for suggesting to do a guest post. It seems to be a pretty good idea. But you should take into consideration that I’ve never made a guest post before. So I would greatly appreciate it if you kindly guide me on this matter and tell me what should I do exactly.

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      1. Marc-André

        Ah basically you get set up with your own author profile and you can rehash something you’ve already done or write something new. And of course you’d get a link back to your blog in those posts. 🙂

        Drop me an email and I can set you up and explain more?

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    1. Oxford Junior Post author

      You’re most than welcome, thank you so much for dropping by and leaving a comment. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate that. I have seen a cat using “letting the cat out of the bag” and “putting the cat among the pigeon” idioms and it was so cute and funny hahaha you can check it out yourself by visiting this link: http://oxfordjunior.co.uk/the-cat-and-the-parrot/
      Thank you dear Jean.

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    1. Oxford Junior Post author

      I am thankful, thank you so much for dropping by and I am very happy you’ve loved the post and the idioms. It’s good to meet a cat lover and a fellow blogger who shares the same feelings for cats and idioms 🙂 Thank you Freya.

      Reply

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