1A small domesticated carnivorous mammal with soft fur, a short snout, and retractile claws. It is widely kept as a pet or for catching mice, and many breeds have been developed.
- Felis catus, family Felidae (the cat family); it was probably domesticated in ancient Egypt from the local race of wildcat. The cat family also includes the ocelot, serval, margay, lynx, and the big cats
- Domestic cats may breed much more frequently, as often as 3 times a year, as they are not typically limited by nutrition or climate.
- There is a guy in Bedfordshire who has sold the world's most expensive cat - a cross breed between a domestic cat and a feral one.
- Pedigree dogs and mongrels performed the same overall, but pedigree cats scored marginally higher than mixed breed cats on all the tests.
1.1A wild animal of the cat family: a marbled cat See also big cat.
More example sentences
- Twice I had come across wild mountain cats, narrowly escaping death.
- They had seen lynx cats wild in Spain and were sure they were not mistaken.
- His works feature a variety of cats like the snow leopard, jaguar, tiger and lion in various settings.
1.2Used in names of catlike animals of other families, e.g. native cat, ring-tailed cat.
- Civet cats are not true cats, but short-haired mammals with long bodies, short legs, and tails.
- Cane toad toxin is very effective against virtually all Australian native species that attempt to eat toads, from small frog-eating reptiles to the Quoll (Australia's native cat).
- We're now seeing some wildlife we never saw before - ring-tailed cats, green herons, beaver.
1.5 short for catfish.
1.6 short for cathead.
1.7 short for catboat.
2 informal , chiefly North American (Especially among jazz enthusiasts) a man: this West Coast cat had managed him since the early 80s the cat went crazy on the horn
More example sentences
- It's a sequel to last year's Masses, which found Spring Heel Jack collaborating with New York's most important underground jazz cats.
- Don't you cats know this polka jazz is strictly from squaresville?
- I also loved the sophistication and harmony of jazz, the melody and, of course, the great solos that jazz cats played.
verb (cats, catting, catted)[with object] Nautical Back to top
all cats are grey in the dark (or US at night all cats are gray)
- proverb The qualities that distinguish people from one another are obscured in some circumstances, and if they can’t be perceived they don’t matter.Example sentences
- Franklin says that just as all cats are grey in the dark, all women would be the same for pleasure.
- The old adage that at night all cats are gray is in fact quite true.
- The sole bit of worldly advice my mother ever gave me was that all cats are grey in the dark.
cat and mouse
- A series of cunning manoeuvres designed to thwart an opponent: he continues to play cat and mouse with the UN inspection teamsMore example sentences
- Fighting terrorism is a dangerous game of cat and mouse, and for the moment, it appears that the mouse has gotten a little smarter.
- Protesters and police play cat and mouse for several hours.
- And so begins the taunting game of cat and mouse, which puts Joe's relationship and mental health in jeopardy.
a cat may look at a king
- proverb Even a person of low status or importance has rights.Example sentences
- Still, as they say - appropriately for the visual media - a cat may look at a king.
- The cat is pleasantly impertinent to the king and Alice notes that a cat may look at a king, so he isn't being uncivil.
- It is devoted to the proposition that if a cat may look at a king, a thief may win and woo a princess, with plenty of wizardry to help him.
the cat's whiskers (or chiefly North American meow or pyjamas)
- informal An excellent person or thing: this car is the cat’s whiskersMore example sentences
- They're the cat's meow and I love them so much!
- You're still the cat's meow, baby, wherever you are.
- For some women, casual relationships are the cat's pyjamas and fair dues to them, that's their own prerogative.
has the cat got your tongue?
- Said to someone who remains silent when they are expected to speak.Example sentences
- If others wanted to know what had been said, they would ask, ‘Tell us, or has the cat got your tongue?’
- ‘What's the matter, little girl, has the cat got your tongue?’
- A brief silence ensued and the prince continued to gaze at her, which only persuaded Christine to then ask, ‘Has the cat got your tongue?’"
let the cat out of the bag
- informal Reveal a secret carelessly or by mistake: now that Viola had let the cat out of the bag, she had no option but to confessMore example sentences
- Gavin Anderson apologises to those in the know for letting the cat out of the bag about this secret haven
- So let the cat out of the bag: admit that what you're really up to is a satire on the state of arts funding.
- The rather inappropriately named Defence Minister let the cat out of the bag by admitting that there isn't really a threat after all.
like a cat on a hot tin roof (British also on hot bricks)
- informal Very agitated or anxious.Example sentences
- I am like a cat on a hot tin roof, walking around the house in the early hours of the morning, struggling to type because my hands are shaking in agony.
- The jury has been out since Wednesday, so he has been like a cat on a hot tin roof here.
- DeFrancesco runs wild over the keyboard like a cat on a hot tin roof before the orchestra recapitulates the pungent main theme.
like herding cats informal
- Used to refer to a difficult or impossible task, typically an attempt to organize a group of people: controlling the members of this expedition is like herding catsMore example sentences
- Trying to make sense of which way a woman will go is like herding cats.
- Getting the British people to panic is like herding cats.
- Viewed from the front bench, discipline is said to be like herding cats.
like the cat that got (or stole) the cream
- informal Self-satisfied, having achieved one’s objective: you sit in this office like the cat that got the cream and expect the world to revolve around youMore example sentences
- We're still at the party, where Sophie is smiling like the cat that's got the cream and telling Sally that things with Blake feel just like they used to.
- Anyway, we spent the night together and now he's like the cat that's got the cream, whereas I'm wondering if I've done the right thing.
- Johnny feels like the cat that's got the cream.
look like something the cat brought in
- informal Look very dirty or dishevelled.Example sentences
- They probably could earn better money elsewhere, they have their lives opened to scrutiny, then in the studio they're treated like something the cat brought in.
- One of them says we look like something the cat brought in and Malachy has to be held back from fighting them.
- He grinned as they entered: ‘Look what the cat brought in’.
not have a cat in hell's chance
- informal Have no chance at all: the plan did not have a cat in hell’s chance of succeedingMore example sentences
- I can grin pleasantly and make nice speeches, but I don't have a cat in hell's chance of getting anywhere.
- The American-based organisation are in the United Kingdom because they don't have a cat in hell's chance of getting away with their propaganda in the United States.
- Good luck to all the home nations - including the three who don't have a cat in hell's chance of winning it.
put (or set) the cat among the pigeons
- British Say or do something that is likely to cause trouble or controversy.Example sentences
- We certainly set the cat among the pigeons when we broke the news that Britain's biggest building society would face a demutualisation vote in July.
- ‘If you didn't grant permission again it would really set the cat among the pigeons,’ he said.
- Our Peter has been putting the cat among the pigeons.
see which way the cat jumps
- informal See what direction events are taking before committing oneself.Example sentences
- Like real Dutchmen we wait to see which way the cat jumps before a company will stand up and profess to produce the discs for the European market.
- But the others are undecided, waiting to see which way the cat jumps.
- Then it will be interesting to see which way the cat jumps.
when (or while) the cat's away, the mice will play
- proverb People will naturally take advantage of the absence of someone in authority to do as they like: ‘His parents are away for the weekend.’ ‘I see—while the cat’s away.’More example sentences
- However, it rings true that when the cat's away, the mice will play,’ said Dronkers.
- He left last night, straight from work, and as you know, while the cat's away, the mice will play.
- It's certainly a case of while the cat's away, the mice will play - what they get up to is barely legal!
who's she—the cat's mother?
- see she.
Short for catalytic converter. models fitted with a cat as standard
More example sentences
- It also cleans up the engine's emissions, which means smaller cats are needed, and the manufacturer claims that these help to improve low-rev throttle response.
- A clogged cat prevents exhaust gases from flowing smoothly out of the engine; thus, it won't be able to clean them properly.
- So the obvious key to reducing pollutants is to heat the cat faster.
Short for catamaran.
- Wright said it would be possible to refit the fast cats, as suggested by Kvaerner Masa Marine.
- BC Ferries has been trying to unload the three fast cats ever since the boats were built.
- The fast cats were on their way from BC Ferries' Deas Dock to Canada Place, where they will be sold on Monday.