20 Interesting Cat Idioms in English

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In English, idioms enrich our language with colorful expressions, and those involving cats are particularly vivid. Cats are known for their unique behaviors and mysterious aura, making them perfect subjects for idiomatic expressions. These cat-related idioms add charm and wit to our conversations.

Here are 20 cat idioms, their meanings in a nutshell, and examples to illustrate their use.

Cat Idioms

1. Let the cat out of the bag

Meaning: Reveal a secret unintentionally.

Example: He let the cat out of the bag early.

2. Curiosity killed the cat

Meaning: Being too curious can be dangerous.

Example: She learned that curiosity killed the cat.

3. Fight like cat and dog

Meaning: Argue violently all the time.

Example: They fight like cats and dogs daily.

4. Look like the cat that got the cream

Meaning: Look very pleased or smug.

Example: He looked like the cat that got the cream.

5. Play cat and mouse

Meaning: Tease or torment someone before attacking.

Example: The debate was like playing cat and mouse.

6. Has the cat got your tongue?

Meaning: Why are you not speaking?

Example: What’s wrong, has the cat got your tongue?

7. Like herding cats

Meaning: Very difficult to control.

Example: Managing them was like herding cats.

8. Rain cats and dogs

Meaning: Rain very heavily.

Example: It’s raining cats and dogs out there!

9. Cat nap

Meaning: A short, light sleep.

Example: I just need a quick cat nap.

10. Not enough room to swing a cat

Meaning: A very small, cramped space.

Example: There’s not enough room to swing a cat!

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

Meaning: People misbehave when authority is absent.

Example: They partied when the cat’s away.

12. Cat got your tongue?

Meaning: Why are you not speaking?

Example: You’re silent, cat got your tongue?

13. Cat on a hot tin roof

Meaning: Someone in an uneasy position.

Example: He was like a cat on a hot tin roof.

14. Fat cat

Meaning: A wealthy and powerful person.

Example: He’s a real fat cat now.

15. Copycat

Meaning: Someone who copies others.

Example: Don’t be a copycat, create something new.

16. Cat’s pajamas

Meaning: Something outstanding.

Example: This new phone is the cat’s pajamas.

17. Scaredy-cat

Meaning: Easily frightened person.

Example: Don’t be such a scaredy-cat!

18. Cat’s meow

Meaning: Something considered cool or stylish.

Example: Her dress is the cat’s meow.

19. No room to swing a cat

Meaning: Very limited space.

Example: This closet has no room to swing a cat.

20. Cat in the sack

Meaning: A disappointment or swindle.

Example: Buying unseen goods is a cat in the sack.

Related: Learn 20 Hand Idioms (with Meanings and Examples)

Cat Idioms

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