Who doesn’t love cats? In addition of being our adorable furry pets, they can be found in many aspects of our lives, all around the world. You can find them in songs, stories, movies, toys, pictures and decorations, as well as in our spoken language of our daily life.
Here we present to you 9 cat-tastic cat idioms from around the world, in respect to each life of our furry friends:
1. The cat weeps for the dead mouse (Chinese)
Meaning: fake emotions
Have you ever seen a cat feeling sorry for a mouse and cry? Me neither. The English equivalent of this phrase would be “crocodile tears”.
2. I want to borrow even a cat’s paw (Japanese)
Meaning: being so busy, so you could use every help
When people are very busy, they would take any hand that would reach out to them for help. Even if it is a very small and furry one of our feline friends.
3. Let the cat out of the bag (German)
German: Die Katze aus dem Sack Lassen
Meaning: revealing true intentions or a secret
This German expression which is also used widely in English is actually a continuation of “Die Katze im Sack kaufen (to buy a cat in a bag)”, which means not knowing what you’re about to get.
4. Don’t throw the cat in someone else’s yard (Romanian)
Romanian: Nu arunca pisica în curtea altuia
Meaning: don’t blame someone else
Although I whole-heartly disagree, if we would equate a cat to being a “problem”, throwing it in someone else’s yard would not be the ideal way to take care of it. Please keep your cats in your own yard.
5. Have a cat to skin (Italian)
Italian: Avere una gatta da pelare
Meaning: to have a big problem.
The English equivalent would be “a hard nut to crack”. Maybe that’s a better alternative to “skinning a cat”. (Let’s hope this idiom always stays just an idiom).
6. To a good cat, a good rat (French)
French: à bon chat, bon rat
Meaning: to return a favor
In a perfect world, cats and rats would be friends, scratching each others’ backs, or returning the favor. But sadly this only happens in the world of idioms.
7. Like a cat on hot bricks (English)
English (British): like a cat on hot bricks.
Meaning : very nervous.
If you stepped on bricks barefeet on a hot summer’s day, you’d immediately understand why. Prepare to be jumping up and down like a nervous cat.
8. There’s a cat locked up (Spanish)
Spanish: Hay gato encerrado
Meaning: something is not right
This idiom translates to “something is fishy”, but in Spanish they use cats. Indeed, cats belong in freedom and not locked up in a cage.
9. The cat has cried (Russian)
Russian: Кот наплакал
Meaning : very little of something.
We have already mentioned crying cats, and came to the consensus that they do not have tears. Almost never, that a cat crying means “very little” of something(It’s used mostly in the context of money).