Cat Slang: Patience

C'mon, c'mon! When it comes to patience, cats aren't known for their tolerance.


Cats are many things, but patient isn’t usually one of them. They want what they want and they want it now. Because waiting isn’t one of their favorite verbs, there are quite a few at slang terms that describe their irritation with it, as well as the intense focus that’s sometimes necessary during waiting periods. As Tom Petty once wrote, “The waiting is the hardest part.” Cats are known to be huge Tom Petty fans.

My feline informant came to me this week with a fine collection of top-secret Fanglish, all about the unfair need to wait for things. Poor kitties have it so hard, don’t they? Life can be unfair when you’re a kitty. I’m sure Tom Petty probably wrote something about that as well.

The hunger games
The racing around and meowing that happens while a human prepares cat food.

The Lady grabbed the can opener, signaling the opening of the hunger games.

Head waiter
A cat with his head poked under curtains or blinds, waiting for a human to return.

Felix knew it was almost time for The Man to return home, so ran to the front window to become a head waiter.

Waiting with baited breath
Waiting for a mouse or other prey to become available.

Snowflake thought she’d seen a mouse run across the kitchen floor, so she waited with baited breath.

Worth his/her wait in treats
A human who arrives home late, but is bearing treats for the cat, which makes the delay acceptable.

Noodles would normally be impatient with The Lady’s delayed return home, but knew she was worth her wait in treats.

Pandora’s box
The phenomenon of cats instantly gathering while a human opens a newly-received shipping box, followed by the unavoidable problems associated with one box and multiple cats.

The Lady’s recent delivery from UPS unleashed a Pandora’s box situation between Mittens, Snowball, and Maurice.

Wait watcher
A cat watching another cat wait for a meal to be served.

Peanut loved being a wait watcher because Marshmallow acted like a lunatic while The Man opened up cans of cat food.

Wait bench

A bench or chair near the front door, where a cat sits and waits for a human to arrive home.

Bruce heard the garage door open and claimed his spot on the wait bench.

The young and the restless

Young cats who have lots of energy and not much patience for waiting.

Curly, Donut, and Lucy (the young and the restless) impatiently raced up and down the stairs because they were anxious to play with the new wand toy.

Not panning out
Not working out for a cat to use a litter box because a human is in the middle of cleaning it.

Maurice walked into the bathroom, saw The Lady dumping his litter box, and knew his immediate plan for an afternoon poo was not panning out.

The intense waiting preceding a cat’s attack of a moving cursor on a computer screen.

Maurice crouched into precursor mode while he watched The Lady shop online.

Please join us again next week for a new list of terms. Oh, and my little feline informant asks that we keep our communication on the down low. Divulging top-secret info is a big no-no in the cat world. We wouldn’t want to get anyone in trouble.

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