It is often pointed out that we have many names for the things we value. Money, for example, can be called moola, big bucks, benjamins, bones, bread, and more. The list goes on and on. Luckily, we also have countless idioms and colloquial sayings that involve dogs and cats. Clearly we value our fur-babies. Enjoy this list of some of the most common dog and cat sayings and their meanings. “It’s raining cats and dogs!” Probably one of the most famous dog and cat sayings. It just means that it’s raining really hard, but this phrase has been in use since the mid-1600’s!
Common Cat Sayings
“Get a look at this cat.” In this example, ‘cat’ refers to a man, typically expressed with disbelief or surprise. “She’s such a cat.” Referring to a woman who is gossiping or tends to gossip. “She’s a cat on a hot tin roof” A Southern saying that refers to someone who seems nervous. It was popularized following the Pulitzer-Prize winning Tennessee Williams play titled, “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.”
“What’s the matter? Cat got your tongue?” A question often directed humorously toward people who are struck speechless, who are not answering a direct question, or who are not participating in a conversation. “The police and perpetrator were playing a cat and mouse game.” Describing a tactical back-and-forth engagement or situation where two parties try to seek and evade each other. “That cat has nine lives.” A saying that refers to a person who has survived against the odds or evaded multiple disasters. “I’m going to take a cat nap.” Taking a nap can be any level of restful or length of time. A ‘cat nap’ is one that is brief, but restful.
Tongues? I didn’t get any tongues!
“Why do you look like that cat that ate the canary?” This saying is used to describe someone who looks smug, sometimes like they are trying to hide some level of guilt. “Oh, look at what the cat drug in.” A phrase used to be welcoming while showing surprise at someone’s entrance to a gathering. “She’s such a scaredy cat.” This is often used to describe people who are jumpy or sacred easily. “Well, the cat is out of the bag now.” Used to express that a secret has been exposed.
“I need my cat nap . . . ”
“When the cat’s away the mice will play.” A common way to remind people that as soon as authority isn’t present, the situation will lead to chaos or rule-breaking. “Remember, curiosity killed the cat.” This phrase is often used as a warning to people who would pry into personal business or who would investigate events or people who want to remain out of the public eye. “She’s just the cat’s meow.” A saying used to describing someone who is desirable or impressive. This can also be used as a way to sarcastically say that someone thinks they are desirable or impressive when they may not be.
“No, the cat is still in the bag!”
Dog & Cat Sayings was inspired by our previous article, " National Work Like a Dog Day " To ' work like a dog' refers to the days when our canine companions had an almost exclusively professional relationship with humans. Today, working dogs work long hours and dangerous jobs to keep us entertained, safe, and healthy.
Common Dog Sayings
“My Dogs are barking.” A saying that refers to tired and aching feet. “That experience will dog him forever.” A bad, but memorable event that someone will not be able to get away from, either because they remember it too often, or because the people around that person won’t let him forget it. “She was dogging them for insulting her earlier.” To criticize someone or something or to give them a hard time. To be negative toward someone. “I feel sick as a dog.” This saying is one of the oldest known sayings involving the word, ‘dog.’ It dates back to the 17th century and is used when we want to describe someone who is really sick.
“Remember. Barking dogs seldom bite.” This phrase is often used to be a comforting way to say someone who yells a lot or seems threatening most likely won’t actually do any harm. “Hey, please call off the dogs.” Used to ask or demand that someone call off a hunt or pursuit. It can be a request to literally call off attack dogs, or a way to demand that someone stop threatening behavior. “The dog ate my homework.” A common phrase that is used to describe a poor excuse for not completing a task, project, or assignment on time. “Every dog has it’s day.” Meant to be comforting, this phrase is used to tell someone that everyone has an opportunity to be successful.
“Barking dogs seldom bite...Well, it depends on our mood!”
“The team wore a hangdog expression after losing the game.” Describing someone who looks down, sad, or self-pitying. It can also refer to someone who is looking shamed or defeated. “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” This refers to someone who is having a hard time changing their ways or someone who is being stubborn about doing something a certain way. “Those friends are going to get you in trouble. If you lie down with dogs you’ll get fleas.” Often used to refer to guilt by association, this phrase is used to express that the company one keeps may do more harm than good. “Let sleeping dogs lie.” A common way to instruct someone not to stir up trouble unnecessarily.
“Every dog has it’s day. And mine one is today!”
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What’s in a name?
Idioms, colloquialisms, and other popular dog and cat sayings can have a multitude of meanings and uses. What we are really doing when we refer to dogs and cats in so many different ways and in so many different situations, is expressing that they are on our minds. We relate activities, emotions, and situations to our dogs and cats because we spend time with them and think about them often. Eventually, their constant presence in our lives makes it into our language and expressions through common dog and cat sayings we don’t even think twice about.