Did you know that long before cats and kittens[baby cats] invaded the internet with their cute and funny videos (and pictures), these loveable creatures invaded the English language with idioms and expressions?
Actually, cats are as much a part of the English language as they are a part of your Facebook and Youtube entertainment.
In my opinion, you aren’t fluent until you know at least a few cat idioms, and today we are going to teach you the thirteen most important and popular cat expressions that every English learner needs to know.
1. Cat Got Your Tongue? (say something!)
It’s very common to say “(Has a) Cat Got Your Tongue?” when you’re asking somebody why they aren’t speaking. It’s not disrespectful
, and is often very effective communication. This expression originates
times when kings punished liars by cutting off their tongues and then feeding it to their cats.
2. A Copycat (a person who copies/imitates another)
Kids often call each other “copy cat” when somebody copies them, and adults may joke around with this too. For example, a young boy who copies his brother’s haircut may be called a copycat.
当孩子们之间有人抄袭别人的时候，他们就会称那个抄袭的人为“copy cat”。成人之间有时也会用这个开玩笑。例如，一个年轻的男孩模仿他哥哥的发型就很可能被叫做“copy cat（模仿者）”。
3. It’s Raining Cats and Dogs (it’s raining very hard)
This is very commonly used to describe the weather when it’s raining hard. The origin of this expression comes from the fact that cats were once known to symbolize
strong wind, and dogs symbolized rain.
4. Scaredy Cat/ Fraidy Cat (coward)
cat is someone is afraid to do something. The “y” is a diminutive
used by kids. Adults may jokingly use these too. Because cats are known to back down (escape, run from) dogs, kids use this to make fun of their scared classmates.“
A fraidy or scaredy cat”用来描述某人害怕做某件事。“y”这个音节经常被小孩纸使用。成年人也可能用这个来开玩笑。因为，众所周知，猫会害怕、逃避狗，于是孩子们便用这个来取笑他们胆小的同学。
5. Let the Cat Out of The Bag? (accidentally tell a secret)
To let the cat out of the bag is to unintentionally
ruin a secret. An example of this might be if you accidentally reveal
a surprise birthday party to the person the party is for. The origin of the idiom is said to be in medieval
markets when Piglets (baby pigs) were put in a bag to be sold, and every once in a while a seller would try to replace the piglet with a cat (which was cheaper), until somebody would open the bag and let the cat out (ruining the thief’s secret).
"let the cat out of the bag”是指无意中泄露了秘密。举例来说，你无意中向寿星泄露了将要举行的生日派对。这个成语的由来是这样的：据说是在中世纪的市场，小猪是被放在袋子里出售的，有一次卖方会试图将小猪换成小猫（更便宜），如果不是有人打开袋子，让猫跑出来（拆穿了奸商的秘密）。
6. Fat Cat (rich and powerful person)
Fat cat is a colloquial
way to describe someone who has a lot of wealth and power. If you think about a stereotypical rich person (at least traditionally), the image may resemble a well-fed cat that is almost never skinny.
7. Cat Burlgar (skilled, sneaky burglar/thief)
A Cat Burglar is a thief or robber who robs somebody’s home in a silent and sneaky
way. Think of a cat walking in the dark, with ninja
-like movements, almost without making a noise.
“A Cat Burglar”是那种会用安静而狡猾的方式盗窃别人家的小偷或强盗。想象一只在黑暗中行走的猫，它有忍者般的动作，几乎不不会发出任何声响。
8. Play Cat and Mouse (to strategically chase, tease, torture)
To play cat and mouse is for somebody or something to chase the other in a very strategic
, teasing, and game-like way (like a cat chasing and playing with a mouse). Think of a superhero movie when the villain
is chasing an innocent
person in a cruel, strategic way.
“play cat and mouse”玩猫捉老鼠的游戏，是指某人或某事用战略性的手段挑衅和追逐着其他人（就像猫在追老鼠）。想象在一个超级英雄电影里面，反派人物在用各种残忍狡猾的方式追杀一个无辜善良的人。
9. Look What the Cat Dragged In! (an unpleasant surprise to see you)
This is a way to express surprise, and sometimes disgust
at a person who shows up. The person may very well haggard
(exhausted, dirty, and/or not in the best shape). We may use this in an ironic
tone to welcome somebody for a pleasant surprise too. If you have a cat that goes outside, you know that they bring back all kinds of unpleasant things. For example, just yesterday my cat Meru walked in with a pigeon [type of bird] in his mouth.
10. Cat Fight (fight between two women)
Because women often scratch, claw, and yell when they fight, like cats do (that’s the stereotype
at least), an intense
fight between two women is often called a cat fight (noun).
11. Cool Cat (somebody who is cool and/or popular)
A cool cat is somebody who is hip, cool, and in style. This is basically the definition of the world cool, but that’s an adjective, so to call somebody a cool cat is like saying that he’s a hip/stylish and/or popular guy. Just like Meru in the picture up top, a cool cat is calm, content, and has everything under control.
“A cool cat”经常用来形容那些嬉皮士，耍酷炫酷和追赶潮流的人。这是对“cool”这个词的基本定义，但这只是一个形容词，所以称某人为“cool cat”酷猫，就像是说某人是嘻哈派/有范或者很时髦的人。就如高而冷酷的猫-Meru王子（Meru是动漫作品《Keroro军曹》剧场版2－《深海的公主》中的一个角色。），他镇定、满足而且掌控一切。
12. Catnap (sleep for a short period of time)
To take a napis
to sleep for a little bit during the day (up to an hour maybe), so a catnap is an even smaller and lighter period of sleep time, imitating a cat who sleeps for just a few minutes.
“take a napis”是指在白天小憩一会儿（可能最多一个小时），所以“catnap”是指比这更短的睡眠时间，就像猫那样只睡几分钟。
13. Land on Your Feet (recover quickly from a bad experience or obstacle)
This one doesn’t have cat in it, but it’s a clear cat metaphor, as cats are famous for landing on their feet when they fall. The same is true for people with resilience
(the ability to recover quickly after difficulties) who, like cats, always seem to land on their feet.