English Idioms About Cats

There are tons of fun idioms about cats in English, but here are five of our favorites!


Curiosity Killed the Cat

The first cat idiom that we will talk about today is curiosity killed the cat. This is a funny way to warn someone that if you are too curious, you might end up getting hurt, or in trouble. Too many questions, or too much curiosity can lead to dangerous situations.

We use this idiom because we often we joke that cats have nine lives and can live forever. However, they actually get hurt quite often for doing things they aren't supposed to, such as getting stuck up in trees, or falling off tall shelves. Therefore, sometimes being too curious can actually kill a cat!

Examples

Andrew was very curious about the abandonded building and wanted to sneak in to explore. His friend told him that it's very dangerous, and he shouldn't go because it's not safe. After all, he said, curiosity killed the cat!

Alexis kept asking her friends about what her boyfriend is planning for her birthday. They knew he was throwing a big surprise party and would be heartbroken if she found out, so they told her to stop asking so many questions, curiosity killed the cat!

I was very curious to hear about why my coworker get fired, but my boss warned me that curiosity killed the cat and that it was none of my business.


Scaredy-Cat

Do you have a friend who is always scared? You could call them a scaredy-cat, but they probably wouldn't appreciate it very much! 😹 Someone who is overly nervous, or always frightened is known as a scaredy-cat. You can also call this type of person a fraidy-cat

This expression alludes to the skittishness and anxious behavior of cats. 

Examples

Don't be such a scaredy-cat, just give spicy food a chance!

At the amusement park everyone except for Sandra went on the biggest roller coaster. We made fun of Sandra for being a fraidy-cat, but she's so afraid of heights that she couldn't help herself.

Michael was not feeling well, and needed to go to the doctor, but he's a scaredy-cat and is afraid of needles, so he stayed home and just got sicker!


Let The Cat out of the Bag

Have you ever accidentally told a secret, or shared something you shouldn't? If you have, you let the cat out of the bag. We use this phrase to say that you let a secret 'escape'. Someone who constantly lets the cat out of the bag could be called a blabbermouth or a gossip.

Examples

Christine told us not to tell anyone that she is pregnant, but I accidentally mentioned it to a friend and let the cat out of the bag. I felt awful!

Lynn told me that she was quitting her job. I didn't realize this was a secret, and I let the cat out of the bag by telling her coworker. Luckily, her boss wasn't mad!

My fiancΓ© and I weren't ready to tell our parents we were engaged, but when I forgot to take off my engagement ring, the cat was out of the bagπŸ’

CatNap

The next idiom is catnap. If someone takes a very short nap, you can say that they took a catnap. We use this expression because cats are known for sleeping for short periods of time throughout the day.

Catnaps are great because even though they are very quick, you can usually get a good boost of energy from them!

Examples

I have a half hour before my next meeting and I'm exhausted! I guess I'll try to squeeze in a quick catnap!

Wow, I only slept for 10 minutes, but I feel so refreshed! What a great catnap!

Jolene had a long drive ahead of her, so she took a catnap so she could stay awake.


Cat Got Your Tongue

To close out this post, we will talk about the idiom cats got your tongue. We use this idiom when someone has nothing to say, or when they are unusually quiet.

This may be an easy one to remember, because it's quite visual! If the cat has your tongue, you are literally unable able to speak! πŸ‘… 😸

Examples

I had a big speech prepared, but when I got up on stage, I froze! Cat got my tongue!

Why are you so quiet? Cat got your tongue?

Lilly was very opinionated but today she didn't have much to say. I wondered if the cat got her tongue!

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