Early on in lockdown, it was mooted that whilst dogs were delighted to have humans invade their daytime territory, cats were maybe not quite so thrilled at their routines being so rudely interrupted. Our particular canines and feline seem pretty happy, with tailwags and purrs aplenty, even if there has been some keyboard chaos. Cats and dogs are all-the-more-cherished companions in such times of isolation, but observing their antics these past weeks has prompted me to re-reflect on the many references to them in our language. A small selection:
Like herding cats; Has the cat got your tongue? Let the cat out of the bag; Looks like something the cat dragged in; Take a cat-nap; Be a copy-cat; Put the cat amongst the pigeons; Like a cat that got the cream; Fat cat; Not a cat in hell’s chance; The cat’s pyjamas/whiskers; Pussyfooting around and one I’d forgotten… A cat may look at a king – meaning we all have rights, whatever our status.
It’s raining cats and dogs; Fight like cat and dog; It’s a dog’s life; A dog’s dinner; Why keep a dog and bark yourself? Sick as a dog; Gone to the dogs; Dog-eat-dog; Let sleeping dogs lie; Doggy bag; Can’t teach an old dog new tricks; Hair of the dog; Like a dog with two tails; Dog-tired; In the dog-house and Three-dog night – with Aborigine or Eskimo origin – meaning a very cold night, requiring the extra warmth of 3 dogs on your bed.
Our (two) dogs do end up on the bed sometimes … and the cat – well – he’s super-helpful around the office with his specialist skill of thinking inside the box.