Expressions with cats

Cats have lived with humans for thousands of years, originally to control rodents like mice and rats, but more recently just as companions. As a result, there are many idioms and proverbs with cats. Animal idioms are hard to translate, though, because different nationalities have different views on the world around them. In French, I sometimes hear:

J’ai d’autres chats à fouetter (I have other cats to whip)

Your typical Briton would be horrified at this senseless brutality, and would use the expression, ‘I have other fish to fry’ (j’ai d’autres poissons à frire).

And if you told an Englishman that you had a cat in your throat (un chat dans la gorge), he would either call an ambulance or a psychiatric hospital. In English we say ‘a frog in your throat’ (une grenouille), because of the croaky noise that animal makes.

Here are a few more cat idioms. Try to complete them with the correct word.

1. (To disclose a secret) Let the cat out of the __________ .

2. (provoke an argument, stir up trouble) to put the cat among the ___________ .

3. (two people who don't like each other and are always fighting) to fight like cat and ________ .

4. (in investigation/espionnage : when one party is trying to avoid being caught by the other for a long time) a game of cat and _________ .

5.(question to a naughty child who can't find a good explanation for bad behaviour) What's the matter, has the cat got your ________ ?

6. (Industry bosses who are paid excessive salaries) _______ cats

7. (to describe a very small room or house) There's no room to ________ a cat.

8. (to describe an untidy girl, perhaps who has stayed out late or all night) Look what the cat has __________ in.

9. (something excellent, the best) The cat's ____________ .

10. (a warning not to be too inquisitive/nosy) ___________ killed the cat.


  1. bonjour mr jonathan je ete tres heureux de faire le texte et je tiens a vous remercier tres chaleuresement .

  2. Merci, j’adore vos communications.Je vous signale que le verbe : “frire” et que “frier” n’existe pas.

    Bien à vous, Denise

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