Ben has a life-long interest in language and is particularly interested in the expressions, phrases, and idioms that contribute to it.
Feline Proverbs and Sayings: What Are They?
All languages use proverbs, many of which started life as wise sayings or advice. These brilliant snippets from the past, created to be memorable, provide guidance from previous generations' learning about our lives' essential aspects. These proverbs cover every topic we can imagine
The exciting thing about a proverb is that it can carry its message and be understood immediately without requiring further explanation or examination. This article explores proverbs and sayings gathered from around the world that involve the characteristics of the cat.
What is a Proverb?
Proverbs are used to connect us to other people and the wisdom of the past.
— BBC Global News Ltd, November 21, 2016
A Cat’s View of Its Place in Life
1. A cat's a cat, and that's that.
An American proverb. Short, concise, and to the point.
2. In a cat's eye, all things belong to cats.
This English proverb confirms what all cat owners already know only too well.
3. I gave an order to a cat, and the cat gave it to its tail.
A Chinese proverb that sums up the two sayings above quite nicely.
4. A cat knows you are the key to their happiness—a man thinks he is.
It seems the cat knows your place better than you do yourself.
What Is A Proverb?
A proverb is a short sentence that people often quote, which gives advice or tells you something about life.
— Source: Collins English Dictionary
Cats and Their Interaction With People
5. Happy owner, happy cat. Indifferent owner, reclusive cat.
A Chinese proverb. Snappy, to the point, and accurate.
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6. If you want to know the character of a man, find out what his cat thinks of him.
As the proverb suggests, the cat is the shrewd judge of character, not easily fooled, and able to see past outer pretense.
7. Beware of people who dislike cats.
This Irish saying suggests something dubious about people who cannot bring themselves to like cats.
8. Cats have an amazingly keen sense of hearing but go conveniently deaf when you call.
I can confirm the validity of this saying. I have yet to find a cat that answers a command the way a dog would. They much prefer to do things in their own good time.
9. When I am in the doghouse, my cats still come to visit.
The cat seems unswayed by other house lodgers' trivial spats and goings on.
10. I got rid of my husband. The cat was allergic.
This statement says it all—know your place.
Cat People Will Understand This Video
Cats Know Who Is in Charge—Do You?
Every cat owner learns only too quickly how the hierarchy will be once the cat moves in.
11. The purity of a person's heart can be immediately measured by how he regards cats.
I have often thought that this was a vicious rumor put out there by those sneaky cats.
12. Everyone knows cats are on a higher level of existence. These silly humans are just too big-headed to admit their inferiority.
I have never heard my cat say this, but somehow, I know he means this.
13. A cat knows precisely what you are and treats you accordingly.
You should be in no doubt about this.
14. Blessed are those who love cats, for they shall never be lonely.
A chance for a bit of peace would be fantastic—even if only for a minute.
15. For a man to truly understand rejection, he must first be ignored by a cat.
One of the first lessons a cat teaches you.
A proverb expresses a truth based on common sense or experience.
Cat Proverbs Continued
16. A person who manages to understand a cat is qualified to understand almost anything else.
There is no denying it; cats are complicated things.
17. Those who dislike cats will be carried to the cemetery in the rain.
This Dutch saying confirms what all cats want you to believe.
18. Cats are so unpredictable. You never know how they'll ignore you next.
It never ceases to amaze me how creative a cat can be in finding unexpected new ways to blank you out.
19. Cats leave paw prints on our hearts.
How very true.
20. There are many intelligent species in the universe. They are all owned by cats.
You should never be in any doubt about it.
An Explanation of What Proverbs Are
Proverbs About Cats in Your Home
Those of us with a cat in the home soon realize that it will never be the same again.
21. It's the cat's house. I merely pay the mortgage.
Yet further clarity on the relationship between cat and cat owner.
22. Books, cats, and fair-haired little girls make the best furnishing for a room.
A French proverb. A saying in an idyllic tone.
23. A house without a dog, a cat, or a little child is a house without joy or laughter.
A proverb from Scotland that supports the accuracy of the previous French version.
24. Free to a good home—female cat or husband.
Please don't say I didn't warn you!
25. Happy is the home with at least one cat.
An Italian proverb—obviously created by a cat lover—but with a semblance of truth.
26. We have a friend who hates cats. Every time he comes to the house, the cat sits on his knee.
Just the cat letting him know that he knows, that you know, that he knows—cat mind games afoot.
27. A cat will wait until you've read your morning paper before tearing it to shreds.
It must have been a more polite cat than mine!
28. A cat makes all the difference between coming home to an empty house and coming home.
It is true—you are never alone once the cat moves in.
29. Never feed your cat anything that doesn't match the carpet.
Never was a more accurate statement made. I would opt for laminate flooring if I were you.
30. Anything on the ground is a cat toy. Anything not there yet, will be.
Cats and Their Association With Luck
There is a great deal of folklore surrounding cats (mainly black cats). While many cultures consider a black cat a sign of good luck, others think them to be the opposite and a symbol of impending bad luck. Here are a few sayings associated with cats and success:
31. You will always be lucky if you know how to make friends with strange cats.
An American proverb.
32. A cat assures its owner of good luck.
A Chinese proverb.
33. The cat is magical and the bringer of good luck.
An Indian proverb.
34. To kill a cat brings seventeen years of bad luck.
An Irish proverb. Even though these proverbs cover a massive part of the globe, they all view the cat as indicating good fortune.
Cats and Their Association With the Supernatural
Cats have a long association with the supernatural. Exactly why this is is still something of a mystery. Some say it is because cats have a highly tuned sense of sight and hearing, allowing them to sense energies and auras that we can only imagine.
35. If you stared deep into a cat's eyes, you would be able to see into the world of spirits.
An English proverb. People have always found a cat's eyes "unnatural" and somewhat disturbing. It is hardly surprising then that we often associate with the supernatural world.
36. My soul feels as disturbed as if a cat were treading my heart.
A Chinese proverb.
37. If you take even one of a cat's nine lives, it will haunt you forever.
Another proverb reminds us it is wrong to consider hurting a cat.
38. Thousands of years ago, cats were worshipped as gods. Cats have never forgotten this.
Cats at Night
Cats are creatures of the night, and consequently, some proverbs and sayings are related to this association:
39. After dark, all cats are leopards.
40. It's always blackest just before you step on the cat.
Beware—you will never see this predator coming.
41. All cats look grey in the dark.
42. In the dark, all cats and all girls are beautiful.
A proverb from Hungary.
Cats and Dogs—Like Chalk and Cheese
The different characteristics between cats and dogs often highlight variations in opinions or arguments.
43. Dogs remember faces, cats' places.
An English proverb. It perfectly describes the difference between the canine and the feline.
44. The dog for the man, the cat for the woman.
This English proverb says more about people than it does about the dog and the cat.
45. The dog may be wonderful prose, but only the cat is poetry.
This French proverb is very elegant in its description.
46. In the long run, even a dog will compromise with the cat.
This Hungarian proverb recognizes the superior creature.
47. Dogs believe they are human. Cats believe they are God.
It seems the cat has a higher aspiration.
48. Dogs have owners; cats have staff.
No point in arguing. We all know it.
49. Having done wrong, the cat will always try to make it look like the dog did it.
Sneaky, these cats.
50. A cat may look at a king.
Even a person of low stature or importance has rights.
51. Buy a dog a toy, and it will play with it forever. Buy a cat a present, and it will play with the wrapper for 10 minutes.
A true statement. Try it for yourself.
52. Every dog has its day—but the nights are reserved for the cats.
The night and darkness are synonymous with cats.
53. After a time, even the dog begins to compromise with the cat.
It seems that the cat can wear down the resolve of anyone or anything,
Cats and Mice
Cats love to hunt. It is just the way it is, and many cats seem to want you to see their prowess as a hunter for yourself. After all, why would they keep bringing home their haul of small beasts to show you? If you are considering taking in a cat as a pet, you had better prepare yourself for seeing a mouse or little bird on the living room floor.
54. When the cat's away, the mice will play.
The place will wreck and ruin without a figure of authority present to keep everything in order.
55. It takes a good many mice to kill a cat.
The odds do seem stacked in the cats' favor.
56. A cat with gloves never catches mice.
A Greek proverb—even a cat needs its tools (the claws) to do the job correctly.
57. A cat is a lion to a mouse.
It's just a matter of your perspective.
58. When the mouse laughs at the cat, a hole is nearby.
A proverb from Nigeria. I hope for the mouse's sake; the hole is very close.
59. It is not from the love of God that the cat catches mice.
A proverb from Iran.
60. The cat who frightens the mice away is as good as the cat who eats them.
A German proverb.
61. It is better to feed one cat than many mice.
A proverb from Norway. Sound advice for those plagued by mice.
62. An old cat likes young mice.
A Greek proverb. The wily old cat knows how to exploit the young mouse's inexperience.
More Proverbs Relating to The Cat's Ability to Hunt
The ultimate predator. Its stealth, speed, and determination in hunting prey are unsurpassed. Many proverbs and sayings from around the world relate to this aspect of the cat.
63. A cat in the grass is a tiger in the jungle.
This English proverb tells of the cat's prowess as a hunter.
64. A cat is a lion in a jungle of small bushes.
Like the English proverb above, this Indian version relates to a cat's prowess as a hunter.
65. When rats infest the Palace, a lame cat is better than the swiftest horse.
Originating in China, this proverb confirms that the right tool for the job is a necessity.
66. If cats had wings, there would be no ducks in the lake.
An Indian proverb. A frightening thought: a cat with wings.
67. All cats love fish but fear to wet their paws.
I have yet to see a cat that enjoys getting wet.
68. If you can't feed the cats, then you must feed the rats.
69. Cats don't catch the old birds.
It seems that the old birds are more experienced and savvy about what's going on.
70. A cat always knows whose meat it eats.
The Wariness and Curious Nature of the Cat
71. A cat with a straw tail keeps away from fire.
An English proverb. Know your weaknesses.
72. A cat bitten once by a snake dreads even rope.
An Arabian version. We all need to learn from our experiences.
73. That cat that has its mouth burned by drinking hot milk will not drink even buttermilk without first blowing upon it.
This Indian proverb has a similar message to those above.
Cats Are Like This
74. Cats are like potato chips. You can never have just one.
How many people do you know who end up living in a house full of cats?
75. Cats are like a pygmy lion who loves mice, hates dogs, and patronizes human beings.
Cats in a nutshell!
76. Cats are like a thing of beauty, strength, and grace that lies behind that whiskered face.
Phew! Last Proverb! This Cat Is Exhausted
77. The cat has nine lives—three for playing, three for straying, and three for staying.
This saying has to be the most commonly known cat proverb and seems to incorporate all the critical aspects of a cat's life and times.
Rab on September 20, 2018:
You keep a dog but you feed a cat !