English idioms with cats

There are so many idiomatic phrases in English, so many that they can actually be divided into categories. Today we talk about idiomatic phrases with cats, some of them are also used in other languages, since cats behave the same way all over the world.

Let the cat out of the bag – reveal a secret

A cat has nine lives – Cats are known for their ability to survive dangerous situations, so the expression means someone has had many close calls or been lucky to escape danger multiple times.

A cat and mouse game – A situation in which one person or group chases another, often in a jocular and playful way.

A cat nap – A short nap, usually taken during the day.

A cat’s meow – Something that is considered very good or impressive.

A scaredy-cat – Someone who is easily scared or shy.

Curiosity killed the cat – Being too curious or nosy can get you into trouble.

Fat cat – A wealthy or powerful person, often used in a negative context to suggest greed or corruption.

Grinning like a Cheshire cat – A big, broad smile is often used to describe someone who is up to something mischievous.

It’s raining cats and dogs – it’s raining very hard, although this phrase is a bit old and not used much in modern British English

Look what the cat dragged in – Someone who has just arrived and looks unkempt or disheveled is said to be disheveled.

Play cat and mouse – Similar to a “game of cat and mouse”, it means engaging in a tantalizing chase.

Put the cat among the pigeons – Causing trouble or upsetting people by introducing something unexpected or controversial.

The cat’s out of the bag – The secret is no longer a secret; the truth has been revealed.

There’s more than one way to skin a cat – There are many ways to achieve the same result.

When the cat’s away, the mice will play – People often take advantage of someone else’s absence to do things they wouldn’t normally do when that person is present.

No room to swing a cat – When speaking of a very small room or premises

You can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but you can teach a cat anything – It is often suggested that it is easier to teach a younger person or animal something new.

You have a cat’s chance in hell -You have no chance of success.

You’re the cat’s whiskers – A compliment that means you are amazing or outstanding.

Last updated 2023-02-26 / Affiliate Links / Images from the Amazon Product Advertising API

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