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Cat Idioms in English

March 6, 2024 English Comments Off

Welcome, cat lovers and language enthusiasts alike, to our whisker-twitching journey through the fascinating world of Cat Idioms in English! Cats not only rule our homes with their fluffy tails and irresistible charm but also leave their paw prints all over the English language. From “letting the cat out of the bag” to being “curious like a cat,” these creatures have inspired a plethora of expressions that we use in our daily chatter. Today, we’re diving into the most amusing and insightful Funny Cat Idioms in English, complete with Cat Idioms in English with Meaning to tickle your fancy and enrich your vocabulary.

Whether you’re preparing for exams, such as the idioms for CAT exam, looking to spice up your language with some catchy cat phrases, or simply a feline aficionado eager to explore Cat Idioms with Meanings, you’ve landed on the right page. This blog post promises a lighthearted yet informative exploration of 50 Idioms on Cats, showcasing how these expressions add color and creativity to our conversations and written expressions. So, curl up in your cozy corner, and let’s unravel the tales behind these purr-fectly wonderful Cat Idioms in English, making our communication even more engaging and entertaining.

Cat idioms in English not only add a humorous twist to our language but also carry deep meanings and fascinating stories behind their origins. By the end of this post, you’ll have a treasure trove of Funny Cat Idioms in English to share at your next gathering or to sprinkle throughout your writing, making it as captivating as a cat’s mysterious gaze. So, stay tuned as we leap like a cat into the heart of English idioms, unraveling the cat’s cradle of phrases that await us. Whether you’re aiming to ace your language exams or simply wish to indulge in the delightful world of idioms for cat exams, our guide to catchy cat phrases is here to entertain and educate. Let’s embark on this feline-inspired linguistic adventure together!

Cat Idioms in English

1. A cat in gloves catches no mice

Meaning: Being too cautious may lead to missed opportunities.

Explanation: Encourages taking risks to achieve goals.


  • Taking risks in investing can lead to gains.
  • Entrepreneurs often can’t afford to be too cautious.
  • In credit management, sometimes boldness pays off.

2. A cat may look at a king

Meaning: Everyone has the right to be curious or interested.

Explanation: Asserts that all people, regardless of status, have certain freedoms.


  • Even a junior employee can question company policies.
  • Curiosity about law isn’t limited to lawyers.
  • Interest in mortgage rates is universal, not just for bankers.

3. A cat nap

Meaning: A short, light sleep.

Explanation: Suggests a brief rest can be refreshing.


  • A quick sleep before a conference call can help.
  • Students often take cat naps during study breaks.
  • Taking a cat nap helps with recovery from fatigue.

4. A cat on a hot tin roof

Meaning: Someone who is extremely nervous or anxious.

Explanation: Describes a person who is restlessly worried.


  • I felt like a cat on a hot tin roof before the interview.
  • Waiting for loan approval can be nerve-wracking.
  • Discussing insurance claims often has this effect.

5. A cat’s paw

Meaning: Someone used by another to achieve their ends.

Explanation: Describes being manipulated unwittingly.


  • Be wary of being a cat’s paw in office politics.
  • Some charities worry about being used as cat’s paws.
  • In fraud cases, innocent people can become cat’s paws.

6. A cat’s whisker

Meaning: A very small distance or amount.

Explanation: Indicates something is very close or nearly the same.


  • Lost the race by a cat’s whisker.
  • My credit score was a cat’s whisker from perfect.
  • The bid was a cat’s whisker away from winning.

7. A copycat

Meaning: Someone who imitates another’s actions.

Explanation: Points to a lack of originality.


  • Copycat software rarely surpasses the original.
  • Avoid being a copycat in fashion.
  • Marketing strategies often face copycat challenges.

8. A fat cat

Meaning: A wealthy and powerful person.

Explanation: Often used to describe someone in a negative light.


  • Fat cats influence political donations.
  • The mortgage industry has its share of fat cats.
  • Lawyers sometimes defend fat cats in court.

9. A scaredy-cat

Meaning: Someone who is excessively scared.

Explanation: Highlights an overly timid approach.


  • Don’t be a scaredy-cat about trying new technologies.
  • Investing in the stock market isn’t for scaredy-cats.
  • Facing a medical treatment can make one feel like a scaredy-cat.

10. Bell the cat

Meaning: To undertake a dangerous or difficult task.

Explanation: Refers to taking on a challenge that others are afraid to.


  • Someone had to bell the cat and speak to the boss.
  • Belling the cat can mean confronting a bully.
  • In legal reform, it’s about who will bell the cat.

11. Cat and mouse game

Meaning: A situation where one party continually evades or outmaneuvers another.

Explanation: Describes a strategic interaction, often with one trying to catch the other.


  • Negotiating insurance claims felt like a cat-and-mouse game.
  • Tracking down software piracy is a constant cat-and-mouse game.
  • Avoiding credit card debt requires not playing a cat-and-mouse game with spending.

12. Cat burglar

Meaning: A thief who enters and leaves their target location undetected.

Explanation: Refers to stealthy, skilled thieves, much like a cat’s silent movements.


  • Security systems aim to deter even the most adept cat burglar.
  • A famous cat burglar was caught after a daring jewelry heist.
  • Installing motion sensors can help catch a cat burglar.

13. Cat got your tongue?

Meaning: Asked when someone is unexpectedly silent.

Explanation: Suggests someone’s inability to speak due to surprise or nervousness.


  • Faced with the loan officer’s questions, it was like the cat got your tongue.
  • During the conference call, when asked for input, did the cat get your tongue?
  • When discussing treatment options, many patients find the cat’s got their tongue.

14. Cat in the bag

Meaning: To purchase or agree to something without full knowledge of its condition.

Explanation: Warns against making decisions without sufficient information.


  • Buying a house without an inspection is like buying a cat in the bag.
  • A degree from an unaccredited institution might be a cat in the bag.
  • Signing up for hosting services without reading reviews can be a cat in the bag situation.

15. Cat on the wall

Meaning: Someone who is indecisive or neutral.

Explanation: Describes a person who hesitates to pick a side.


  • When it comes to choosing electricity providers, I’m like a cat on the wall.
  • During the attorney selection, remaining a cat on the wall isn’t wise.
  • In deciding whether to donate to a cause, don’t be a cat on the wall.

16. Cat’s cradle

Meaning: A complex or intricate situation.

Explanation: Indicates something complicated or difficult to solve.


  • The new software project is a real cat’s cradle.
  • Figuring out the best mortgage rate turned into a cat’s cradle.
  • Organizing the conference call schedule was like solving a cat’s cradle.

17. Cat’s eyes

Meaning: Reflective road markers.

Explanation: Named for their reflective quality, similar to a cat’s eyes glowing in the dark.


  • Cat’s eyes on the highway improve night driving safety.
  • Installing cat’s eyes is a common road safety measure.
  • The absence of cat’s eyes can make night driving riskier.

18. Cat’s meow

Meaning: Something outstanding or excellent.

Explanation: Indicates top quality or appeal.


  • This new smartphone model is the cat’s meow.
  • Her presentation on recovery methods was the cat’s meow at the conference.
  • Finding a no-fee transfer service is the cat’s meow for small businesses.

19. Cat’s pajamas

Meaning: Someone or something considered cool or excellent.

Explanation: Similar to “cat’s meow,” denotes something highly admirable.


  • The latest electric car model is the cat’s pajamas.
  • Our new lawyer is the cat’s pajamas in handling contracts.
  • That degree program is the cat’s pajamas in its field.

20. Cool cat

Meaning: Someone who’s extremely cool.

Explanation: Describes a person who’s fashionable or admirable.


  • The new marketing director is a really cool cat.
  • He’s known as the cool cat of the coding boot camp.
  • Using renewable energy makes you a cool cat in today’s world.

21. Curiosity killed the cat

Meaning: Warning that excessive curiosity can be harmful.

Explanation: Advises caution in seeking information or delving into unknown areas.


  • Delving too deep into credit reports, remember curiosity killed the cat.
  • In investigations, curiosity killed the cat but satisfaction brought it back.
  • Researching treatment options can overwhelm you; curiosity killed the cat.

22. Enough to make a cat laugh

Meaning: Something very silly or absurd.

Explanation: Points out the ridiculousness of a situation.


  • The claims made by the opposing party were enough to make a cat laugh.
  • His explanation for the late loan payment was enough to make a cat laugh.
  • The conference call mishaps were enough to make a cat laugh.

23. Fight like cat and dog

Meaning: To argue or fight frequently.

Explanation: Describes a relationship marked by constant conflicts.


  • The lawyers fought like cat and dog over the settlement details.
  • In credit negotiations, it’s common to fight like a cat and a dog.
  • Siblings sometimes fight like cats and dogs but still love each other.

24. Grinning like a Cheshire cat

Meaning: Smiling very broadly.

Explanation: Implies a very satisfied or somewhat mischievous smile.


  • After winning the case, the attorney was grinning like a Cheshire cat.
  • She was grinning like a Cheshire cat when her credit got approved.
  • Seeing the donation total, the charity organizer was grinning like a Cheshire cat.

25. Has the cat got your tongue?

Meaning: Asked when someone is unusually silent.

Explanation: Queries why someone isn’t speaking or responding.


  • When asked about the transfer error, has the cat got your tongue?
  • During the treatment discussion, has the cat got your tongue?
  • Seeing the gas/electricity bill, has the cat got your tongue?

26. Herding cats

Meaning: Trying to control or manage a group that’s difficult to organize.

Explanation: Describes a challenging attempt at coordination or management.


  • Organizing a conference call with that team is like herding cats.
  • Getting all the documents for the loan application felt like herding cats.
  • Coordinating classes for the new semester is like herding cats.

27. In a cat’s eye

Meaning: Something is imagined or not real.

Explanation: Indicates that something exists only in one’s imagination.


  • The promise of easy money in investment is often just in a cat’s eye.
  • Thinking you can cheat on taxes without consequences is like seeing in a cat’s eye.
  • Believing in a no-effort degree program success is in a cat’s eye.

28. Let the cat out of the bag

Meaning: To reveal a secret or disclose something accidentally.

Explanation: Describes accidentally revealing information that was meant to be kept confidential.


  • I accidentally let the cat out of the bag about the surprise donation campaign.
  • Revealing the software launch date early was like letting the cat out of the bag.
  • She let the cat out of the bag about her credit card rewards strategy.

29. Like a cat on a hot tin roof

Meaning: Extremely nervous or agitated.

Explanation: Indicates someone is restless or uneasy, possibly due to stress or anticipation.


  • Waiting for the mortgage approval had me like a cat on a hot tin roof.
  • Before the conference call with investors, the CEO was like a cat on a hot tin roof.
  • He was like a cat on a hot tin roof the day before his lawyer appointment.

30. Like herding cats

Meaning: Attempting to control the uncontrollable.

Explanation: Describes an effort to manage a group or situation that is inherently difficult to organize.


  • Coordinating the transfer of medical records between hospitals is like herding cats.
  • Gathering all documents for the loan application was like herding cats.
  • Managing a remote team without proper software tools is like herding cats.

31. Look what the cat dragged in

Meaning: Used to comment humorously on someone’s arrival.

Explanation: Often said playfully when someone arrives disheveled or unexpectedly.


  • When he finally showed up for the mortgage meeting, “Look what the cat dragged in!”
  • She walked into the recovery session late, prompting “Look what the cat dragged in.”
  • After his all-night coding session, arriving at the software demo, “Look what the cat dragged in!”

32. No room to swing a cat

Meaning: A very small or confined space.

Explanation: Used to describe a place that is uncomfortably small or lacking in space.


  • My first apartment was so tiny, there was no room to swing a cat.
  • Looking at office spaces downtown, there’s just no room to swing a cat.
  • The classroom was packed, with practically no room to swing a cat.

33. Not have a cat in hell’s chance

Meaning: Having no chance at all.

Explanation: Indicates that success or survival is extremely unlikely.


  • Without a strong claim, we don’t have a cat in hell’s chance of winning the case.
  • They said I didn’t have a cat in hell’s chance of getting that loan approved.
  • With outdated software, that startup doesn’t have a cat in hell’s chance in this market.

34. Play cat and mouse

Meaning: To engage in a cunning or evasive interchange.

Explanation: Describes a situation where one party continually avoids being caught or pinned down by another.


  • Negotiating the insurance settlement felt like playing cat and mouse.
  • The attorney played cat and mouse with the witness’s testimony.
  • In the recovery of lost data, it’s a game of cat and mouse with the software malfunction.

35. Put the cat among the pigeons

Meaning: To cause a disturbance or stir up trouble.

Explanation: Indicates that an action or piece of information is likely to cause upset or chaos.


  • Announcing the credit policy changes really put the cat among the pigeons.
  • His decision to donate the inheritance put the cat among the pigeons in the family.
  • The leaked software prototype put the cat among the pigeons in the tech community.

36. Rain cats and dogs

Meaning: To rain very heavily.

Explanation: Used to describe a heavy downpour.


  • It was raining cats and dogs, so the conference was postponed.
  • I forgot my umbrella, and it started to rain cats and dogs during my loan appointment.
  • The electricity went out last night because it rained cats and dogs.

37. See which way the cat jumps

Meaning: To wait before making a decision until you see how things are going to develop.

Explanation: Advises a cautious approach, waiting to see the outcome of a situation before acting.


  • Let’s see which way the cat jumps before investing in that stock.
  • I’ll see which way the cat jumps with the housing market before buying.
  • We’re waiting to see which way the cat jumps on the new software update.

38. Set the cat among the pigeons

Meaning: To do or say something that causes trouble or controversy.

Explanation: Similar to “put the cat among the pigeons,” it’s about causing an uproar or commotion.


  • His proposal at the conference call really set the cat among the pigeons.
  • Revealing the credit fraud investigation set the cat among the pigeons at the bank.
  • The decision to transfer the popular teacher set the cat among the pigeons among students.

39. That’s the cat’s whiskers

Meaning: Something that is very good or appealing.

Explanation: Describes something of high quality or exceptional appeal, much like finding something delightful.


  • The new degree program at the university is that’s the cat’s whiskers.
  • Finding a mortgage rate that low was the cat’s whiskers.
  • His recovery after the treatment was quick; the doctors said it was the cat’s whiskers.

40. The cat’s out of the bag

Meaning: A secret has been revealed.

Explanation: Indicates that information previously hidden is now known to others.


  • Once the credit report error was fixed, the cat was out of the bag about my real score.
  • The cat’s out of the bag on our company’s new software launch.
  • After the donation amount was accidentally disclosed, the cat was out of the bag.

41. There’s more than one way to skin a cat

Meaning: There are several ways to achieve a goal.

Explanation: Suggesting multiple methods can lead to the same result, emphasizing flexibility in approach.


  • When it comes to saving on gas/electricity bills, there’s more than one way to skin a cat.
  • In debt recovery, remember there’s more than one way to skin a cat.
  • For hosting a virtual conference, there’s more than one way to skin a cat effectively.

42. To live a cat and dog life

Meaning: To live in a state of constant quarreling.

Explanation: Describes a tumultuous and conflict-filled relationship.


  • Roommates arguing over electricity bills might live a cat and dog life.
  • Partners debating mortgage options can feel like they live a cat and dog life.
  • Discussing loan repayment strategies shouldn’t turn into living a cat and dog life.

43. To put the cat back in the bag

Meaning: To attempt to stop a secret from being known after it has been revealed.

Explanation: Describes the futile attempt to conceal information once it’s already been disclosed.


  • Trying to deny the claim after the email leak was like putting the cat back in the bag.
  • After the conference call leak, the merger news was hard to put the cat back in the bag.
  • With the degree scandal public, the university struggled to put the cat back in the bag.

44. To throw a cat among the pigeons

Meaning: To cause consternation or panic.

Explanation: Similar to “put the cat among the pigeons,” it’s about causing upset or disturbance.


  • Announcing the credit limit reduction was like throwing a cat among the pigeons.
  • The surprise software audit threw a cat among the pigeons in the IT department.
  • The policy change on gas/electricity usage threw a cat among the pigeons in the community.

45. Turn the cat in the pan

Meaning: To change sides or loyalties for personal gain.

Explanation: Describes someone who switches their allegiance or opinion to benefit themselves.


  • In the attorney debate, he turned the cat in the pan to win the case.
  • The politician turned the cat in the pan during the donation scandal.
  • The consultant turned the cat in the pan, recommending a different software at the last minute.

46. Walk on the cat’s feet

Meaning: To move or act stealthily or silently.

Explanation: Describes someone acting in a quiet, cautious manner, avoiding drawing attention.


  • The auditor walked on the cat’s feet through the financial records.
  • In negotiating the transfer, she walked on the cat’s feet, keeping her strategy secret.
  • The credit agency’s investigation into fraud was done on the cat’s feet.

47. When the cat’s away, the mice will play

Meaning: People will relax or misbehave in the absence of authority.

Explanation: Suggests that without supervision, people tend to break rules or behave less seriously.


  • Employees often slack off on software updates when the cat’s away.
  • The students skipped classes; when the cat was away, the mice would play.
  • With the boss on vacation, productivity dipped—when the cat’s away, the mice will play.

48. Who will bell the cat?

Meaning: Who will take the risk to do something dangerous or difficult?

Explanation: Asks who dares to undertake a risky but necessary task.


  • Discussing loan terms, the team wondered, who will bell the cat?
  • In the conference on recovery methods, the question arose: who will bell the cat?
  • Facing rising hosting costs, the developers asked, who will bell the cat with management?

49. With cat-like tread

Meaning: Moving silently or stealthily.

Explanation: Indicates moving in a way that is quiet and unnoticed, akin to a cat’s light footsteps.


  • The team implemented the software update with cat-like tread, causing no disruptions.
  • The lawyer approached the sensitive topic with cat-like tread during negotiations.
  • To avoid alarming the market, the credit policy change was made with a cat-like tread.

50. You can’t teach an old cat new tricks

Meaning: It’s hard to change someone’s habits or characteristics, especially if they are older.

Explanation: Suggests that it’s difficult to alter established behavior or learn new skills later in life.


  • Convincing him to use new technology proved you can’t teach an old cat new tricks.
  • The attorney found that adopting new legal software was challenging for the senior partner.
  • Trying to switch the family to renewable energy showed you can’t teach an old cat new tricks.

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