Idioms about cats

Here is a list of idiomatic expressions using the word cat.

Be the cat’s whiskers

When you are the cat’s whiskers, you are better than anybody else.

  • Ever since he asked her out on a date, she thinks she is the cat’s whiskers.
  • She thought she was the cat’s whiskers in her lovely blue gown.

 Has the cat got your tongue?

This expression is used when someone does not say anything when you expect them to.

  •  Has the cat got your tongue? Why didn’t you say anything when he called you names?
  • Cat got your tongue? You are unusually silent today.

Let the cat out of the bag

To let the cat out of the bag is to reveal a secret unintentionally.

  • I didn’t want anyone to know about our trip to Bangkok, but my girlfriend let the cat out of the bag by stupidly tweeting about it.

Like the cat that got the cream

When you look like the cat that got the cream, you look very pleased.

  • You look like the cat that got the cream. What’s the matter?
  • When Susie came home yesterday she was grinning like the cat that got the cream, but she didn’t say what the matter was.

Look like something the cat dragged / brought in

If somebody looks like something the cat dragged in, they look very untidy.

  • You aren’t going out like that – you look like something the cat dragged in.

Not have a cat in hell’s chance

To have no chance at all

  • He hasn’t a cat in hell’s chance of winning the election.
  • She doesn’t have a cat in hell’s chance of getting that job.

Set the cat among the pigeons

To set the cat among the pigeons is to cause trouble.

  • The minister’s remarks about abortion and premarital sex set the cat among the pigeons.

 When the cat’s away, the mice will play

Used to suggest that people will do whatever they want when someone in authority is not there.

  • I don’t think we can leave the kids alone. When the cat is away…
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