Feline Phrases – cat quotes and cat-based idioms

All cats are gray in the dark – people are pretty much the same regardless of appearances.

Alley cat – person with loose morals

Another breed of cat – something very different

Cat around- lead an aimless, immoral life

Cat burglar – silent thief

Catcalls – booing or heckling

Cat got your tongue? – Why aren’t you talking? May date to middle ages when body parts severed for punishment were fed to the cats or pigs.

Cat nap – short rest

Cat’s meow, cat’s pajamas, cat’s whiskers – special

Cat walk – narrow place to walk, requiring balance

Fat cat – well fed and pampered, wealthy

Cat on a hot tin roof – jumpy – from the play by Tennessee Williams

Pussyfooting around – moving carefully, not promising anything – like a hunting cat

Playing cat and mouse – being sneaky, secretive, like hunting

Not enough room to swing a cat – reference to cat-o-nine tails in the cramped quarters of a ship

When the cat’s away the mice will play – good off when not supervised.

More than one way to skin a cat – this saying actually relates to cleaning catfish, which has skin too tough to eat.

kittty-curiousCuriosity killed the cat – being too nosy can land you in trouble. This saying was penned by Ben Jonson in Every Man in His Humor.

“I believe cats to be spirits come to earth. A cat, I am sure, could walk on a cloud without coming through.” Jules Verne.

“I have lived with several Zen masters — all of them cats.” Eckhart Tolle.


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