27 Idioms for Cats: Feline Phrases


These expressions are not about our feline friends literally but convey unique meanings that spice up our conversations. Let’s unravel the mystery behind some common “idioms for cats.”

idioms for cats

What is an idiom for cats?

Idioms are phrases that don’t mean exactly what the individual words say. They often carry a figurative or symbolic meaning.

When it comes to “idioms for cats,” these expressions use cats metaphorically to convey certain ideas or situations.

IdiomMeaningIn a Sentence
Cat’s out of the bagA secret has been revealed or exposed.When Jenny accidentally mentioned the surprise party, the cat was out of the bag, and everyone knew.
Curiosity killed the catBeing too curious can lead to trouble or danger.Bobby’s curiosity about the abandoned house nearly got him in trouble. Remember, curiosity killed the cat!
Let the cat out of the bagTo reveal a secret.Sarah couldn’t contain her excitement and accidentally let the cat out of the bag about the upcoming project.
When the cat’s away, the mice will playPeople will misbehave or take advantage of freedom when those in authority are not around.The students knew the teacher was absent, so when the cat’s away, the mice will play – they became quite unruly.
Grinning like a Cheshire catTo have a broad, mischievous grin.After winning the game, Tim couldn’t stop grinning like a Cheshire cat.
CopycatSomeone who imitates or copies others.Alex was always a copycat, wearing the same clothes as his favorite singer.
Rain cats and dogsHeavy rain.We had to cancel the picnic because it started to rain cats and dogs.
Like herding catsTrying to control or organize something challenging.Managing the class without the teacher felt like herding cats – chaos everywhere.
Cool catA stylish or effortlessly composed person.Lucy, with her leather jacket and sunglasses, always looks like a cool cat.
CatnapA short, light nap.After a tiring morning, I decided to take a quick catnap before continuing my work.
Fat catA wealthy and influential person.The fat cat of the business world made another successful deal.
Scaredy-catSomeone who is easily frightened or timid.Johnny didn’t want to go into the haunted house; he’s such a scaredy-cat.
The cat’s pajamasSomething or someone excellent.The new video game is the cat’s pajamas – everyone loves it!
Look what the cat dragged inExpress surprise or disapproval at someone’s unexpected arrival.Well, look what the cat dragged in – I wasn’t expecting to see you here!
Cat and mouse gameA situation where a person tries to trick or deceive another.Negotiations turned into a cat and mouse game as both parties tried to outsmart each other.
There’s more than one way to skin a catMany methods to achieve the same result.When it comes to problem-solving, there’s more than one way to skin a cat – find what works best for you.
Belling the catTaking on a dangerous or difficult task.Agreeing to lead the project was like belling the cat – challenging but necessary.
The cat is on the roofTrouble is imminent.When the boss called an emergency meeting, we knew the cat was on the roof.
Cat’s meowSomething or someone highly admired.The new car is the cat’s meow – everyone in the neighborhood wants one.
Like a cat on a hot tin roofRestless or anxious.Waiting for the exam results had me pacing back and forth like a cat on a hot tin roof.
Cat got your tongue?Why are you silent? Why aren’t you saying anything?Staring at me with wide eyes, she asked, “Cat got your tongue?”
Cat’s whiskersTo think highly of oneself.Ever since he won the championship, he’s been walking around like he’s the cat’s whiskers.
The cat is out of the bag (again)A secret has been revealed or exposed (once more).Despite the efforts to keep it quiet, the cat is out of the bag again about the surprise party.
Cat’s cradleA complex or difficult situation.Untangling the mess in the project felt like trying to figure out a cat’s cradle.
Cat’s eyesReflective road markings.The road was so dark; we could only see because of the cat’s eyes reflecting our headlights.
Not enough room to swing a catVery little space.The tiny apartment was so cramped; there wasn’t enough room to swing a cat.
Like a cat on a mouse huntEager or excited.Waiting for the concert to start had me feeling like a cat on a mouse hunt.

Metaphors can paint unique pictures of cats, like comparing them to graceful dancers in the moonlight. To explore more metaphors for cats, you can visit this link: Metaphors for Cats. Similarly, similes offer comparisons that help us understand cats better, such as saying they are as mysterious as a secret. Discover additional similes for cats here: Similes for Cats.


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Created by Dr. Julia Rossi

English Language Level Placement Test – (TEFL)

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1 / 20

What is a simile?

2 / 20

Identify the simile in the following sentence: “She swims like a fish.”

3 / 20

What is a metaphor?

4 / 20

Which of the following is a metaphor?

5 / 20

What is an idiom?

6 / 20

What does the idiom “break the ice” mean?

7 / 20

What is an adjective?

8 / 20

Choose the adjective in the following sentence: “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.”

9 / 20

What is an abbreviation?

10 / 20

What does the abbreviation “e.g.” stand for?

11 / 20

What is a verb?

12 / 20

Identify the verb in the following sentence: “The cat sleeps on the sofa.”

13 / 20

“Out of the frying pan into the fire” is an example of:

14 / 20

Which of the following is an adjective?

15 / 20

The abbreviation “NASA” stands for:

16 / 20

Choose the metaphor in the following sentence: “Time is a thief.”

17 / 20

What does the idiom “hit the books” mean?

18 / 20

Which of the following sentences contains a simile?

19 / 20

“LOL” is an abbreviation for:

20 / 20

Identify the verb in this sentence: “They whispered secrets into the night.”

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Idioms for Cats

1. Cat’s out of the bag

Meaning: A secret has been revealed or exposed.

In a Sentence: When Jenny accidentally mentioned the surprise party, the cat was out of the bag, and everyone knew.

2. Curiosity killed the cat

Meaning: Being too curious can lead to trouble or danger.

In a Sentence: Bobby’s curiosity about the abandoned house nearly got him in trouble. Remember, curiosity killed the cat!

3. Let the cat out of the bag

Meaning: To reveal a secret.

In a Sentence: Sarah couldn’t contain her excitement and accidentally let the cat out of the bag about the upcoming project.

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

Meaning: People will misbehave or take advantage of freedom when those in authority are not around.

In a Sentence: The students knew the teacher was absent, so when the cat’s away, the mice will play – they became quite unruly.

5. Grinning like a Cheshire cat

Meaning: To have a broad, mischievous grin.

In a Sentence: After winning the game, Tim couldn’t stop grinning like a Cheshire cat.

6. Copycat

Meaning: Someone who imitates or copies others.

In a Sentence: Alex was always a copycat, wearing the same clothes as his favorite singer.

7. Rain cats and dogs

Meaning: Heavy rain.

In a Sentence: We had to cancel the picnic because it started to rain cats and dogs.

8. Like herding cats

Meaning: Trying to control or organize something challenging.

In a Sentence: Managing the class without the teacher felt like herding cats – chaos everywhere.

9. Cool cat

Meaning: A stylish or effortlessly composed person.

In a Sentence: Lucy, with her leather jacket and sunglasses, always looks like a cool cat.

10. Catnap

Meaning: A short, light nap.

In a Sentence: After a tiring morning, I decided to take a quick catnap before continuing my work.

11. Fat cat

Meaning: A wealthy and influential person.

In a Sentence: The fat cat of the business world made another successful deal.

12. Scaredy-cat

Meaning: Someone who is easily frightened or timid.

In a Sentence: Johnny didn’t want to go into the haunted house; he’s such a scaredy-cat.

13. The cat’s pajamas

Meaning: Something or someone excellent.

In a Sentence: The new video game is the cat’s pajamas – everyone loves it!

14. Look what the cat dragged in

Meaning: Express surprise or disapproval at someone’s unexpected arrival.

In a Sentence: Well, look what the cat dragged in – I wasn’t expecting to see you here!

15. Cat and mouse game

Meaning: A situation where a person tries to trick or deceive another.

In a Sentence: Negotiations turned into a cat and mouse game as both parties tried to outsmart each other.

16. There’s more than one way to skin a cat

Meaning: Many methods to achieve the same result.

In a Sentence: When it comes to problem-solving, there’s more than one way to skin a cat – find what works best for you.

17. Belling the cat

Meaning: Taking on a dangerous or difficult task.

In a Sentence: Agreeing to lead the project was like belling the cat – challenging but necessary.

18. The cat is on the roof

Meaning: Trouble is imminent.

In a Sentence: When the boss called an emergency meeting, we knew the cat was on the roof.

19. Cat’s meow

Meaning: Something or someone highly admired.

In a Sentence: The new car is the cat’s meow – everyone in the neighborhood wants one.

20. Like a cat on a hot tin roof

Meaning: Restless or anxious.

In a Sentence: Waiting for the exam results had me pacing back and forth like a cat on a hot tin roof.

21. Cat got your tongue?

Meaning: Why are you silent? Why aren’t you saying anything?

In a Sentence: Staring at me with wide eyes, she asked, “Cat got your tongue?”

22. Cat’s whiskers

Meaning: To think highly of oneself.

In a Sentence: Ever since he won the championship, he’s been walking around like he’s the cat’s whiskers.

23. The cat is out of the bag (again)

Meaning: A secret has been revealed or exposed (once more).

In a Sentence: Despite the efforts to keep it quiet, the cat is out of the bag again about the surprise party.

24. Cat’s cradle

Meaning: A complex or difficult situation.

In a Sentence: Untangling the mess in the project felt like trying to figure out a cat’s cradle.

25. Cat’s eyes

Meaning: Reflective road markings.

In a Sentence: The road was so dark; we could only see because of the cat’s eyes reflecting our headlights.

26. Not enough room to swing a cat

Meaning: Very little space.

In a Sentence: The tiny apartment was so cramped; there wasn’t enough room to swing a cat.

27. Like a cat on a mouse hunt

Meaning: Eager or excited.

In a Sentence: Waiting for the concert to start had me feeling like a cat on a mouse hunt.

10 Quizzes About The Idiom in The Article

Quiz 1: Cat’s Out of the Bag

  1. What does the expression “Cat’s out of the bag” mean?
    • A. Cats are escaping.
    • B. A secret has been revealed.
    • C. A cat is carrying a bag.
  2. In which sentence is “Cat’s out of the bag” correctly used?
    • A. We adopted a new cat, and the bag is out.
    • B. When John accidentally mentioned the surprise party, the cat was out of the bag.
    • C. The cat’s bag is missing.

Quiz 2: Curiosity Killed the Cat

  1. What does the idiom “Curiosity killed the cat” suggest?
    • A. Cats are curious creatures.
    • B. Being too curious can lead to trouble.
    • C. Cats should not be curious.
  2. Choose the correct usage of “Curiosity killed the cat.”
    • A. It’s essential to satisfy your curiosity.
    • B. Bobby’s curiosity about the abandoned house nearly got him in trouble. Remember, curiosity killed the cat!
    • C. Cats are always curious, and that’s a good thing.

Quiz 3: Let the Cat Out of the Bag

  1. What does the phrase “Let the cat out of the bag” mean?
    • A. Releasing a pet cat.
    • B. To reveal a secret.
    • C. A cat carrying a bag.
  2. In which situation would you use “Let the cat out of the bag”?
    • A. Talking about a cat’s escape.
    • B. Sarah couldn’t contain her excitement and accidentally let the cat out of the bag about the upcoming project.
    • C. Describing a cat’s pajamas.

Quiz 4: When the Cat’s Away, the Mice Will Play

  1. What does “When the cat’s away, the mice will play” imply?
    • A. Cats and mice are friends.
    • B. People will misbehave when those in authority are not around.
    • C. Cats and mice should not coexist.
  2. In which scenario would you use “When the cat’s away, the mice will play”?
    • A. Describing a peaceful classroom.
    • B. The students knew the teacher was absent, so when the cat’s away, the mice will play – they became quite unruly.
    • C. A cat’s favorite game.

Quiz 5: Grinning Like a Cheshire Cat

  1. What does “Grinning like a Cheshire cat” mean?
    • A. Cats in Cheshire grin a lot.
    • B. To have a broad, mischievous grin.
    • C. Only Cheshire cats can grin.
  2. Choose the correct sentence using “Grinning like a Cheshire cat.”
  • A. After losing the game, Tim couldn’t stop grinning like a Cheshire cat.
  • B. Cats in Cheshire always grin.
  • C. Winning the competition, Tim couldn’t stop grinning like a Cheshire cat.

These quizzes test your understanding of the idioms mentioned in the article. Enjoy solving them!

Conclusion

Next time you hear someone talk about the cat’s pajamas or mention that the cat is out of the bag, you’ll know they’re not just talking about feline fashion or a runaway pet. These idioms for cats add a unique touch to our language, making it more interesting and expressive.

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