Copy Cat, Dog Tired — Where do These Animal Expressions Come From?

December 3, 2013

Where in the world do these animal expressions come from? Really “copy cat”? Who came up with that and why tie it to a cat? I spent some time looking up where the expression came from and how it developed and (with all respect to the world wide web) found nothing that left me convinced that anyone really knows! Some experts on the web postulated that it stemmed from people watching kittens copy their mother. But if that was the case don’t all young animals do that? Why isn’t the expression “puppy photocopy” or “doggie duplication”? Now there are lots of animal expressions that we get (or at least we can make up a story to explain):

• “Hair of the dog” which is now often associated with hangover remedies, looks like it stems from the idea of using the hair of the dog that bit someone as the “cure” to ward off rabies.

• “Barking Up the Wrong Tree” probably stems from when a tracking dog acts like it has treed its prey but no prey is in the tree.

• “Let Sleeping Dogs Lie” might be a warning stemming from the notion that some dogs snarl, growl or even bite when started from a sleep.

But all that gets us back to “copy cat.” Where does it come from? Any ideas for this or other animal expressions and idioms? Leave a comment here with your thoughts and follow our blog for more ideas, news, and fun facts about pets!

Thanks for reading!

3 Responses to “Copy Cat, Dog Tired — Where do These Animal Expressions Come From?”

  1. Grant Garl

    Now you have gotten thinking, not a total rarity, but I know the source of the copy cat saying. It has something to do with predatory cats imitating the behavior of their prey in order to have them for dinner.

    Reply
  2. Deb

    Good question… I heard the same that its kittens imitating their mother so it is interesting to see what others have to say. This gets you thinking…

    Reply

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