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Kitty Speak

Learn the meaning behind some popular feline sayings.

Learn the meaning behind some popular feline sayings.



Recently, while my daughter, Cherri, was house hunting in San Diego, she rejected a property with a really nice garden because she and her husband concurred that when it came to the bedrooms, there was simply no room to swing a cat.

There’s no way that Cherri would ever grab one of her beloved felines and swing it by the tail, but the expression is a common one to convey a small, confined space. In fact, the English language is littered (if you’ll pardon the pun) with such expressions and proverbs.

The swing a cat expression is said to date back to the time when British sailors who didn’t toe the line on board ship were flogged with a cat o’ nine tails – a whip that had nine leather strips with knotted ends said to resemble a cat’s tail. Sometimes, the areas were so confined, that there was not enough room to swing the cat.”

What is so interesting is that so many of the cat-related expressions we use in our daily lingo are based on certain feline physical actions and really translate well in our popular culture.

**Get the August 2012 issue of CAT FANCY to read the full article or click here to purchase a PDF version.**

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