The Origins of 6 Famous Dog and Cat Related Sayings

It is no secret, that dogs and cats have always occupied a special place in human hearts. From rhymes and limericks centred on dogs and cats to many famous sayings and much more, the variety seems limitless! As a result, they have woven themselves into our language and culture. Many sayings involving these beloved pets have stood the test of time, each with a story of its own. At Country Boarding for Cats and Dogs we have delved into the origins of six cat-related sayings, providing seven famous examples. We hope you find this article interesting!

1. “Barking up the Wrong Tree”

If someone is pursuing an unsuccessful course of action, they are said to be “barking up the wrong tree.” This phrase originates from hunting dogs. When a dog chased prey up a tree, it would bark at the base of the tree. If the prey had already moved to another tree, the dog was indeed barking up the wrong tree.

2. “Let Sleeping Dogs Lie”

We all know this one! This saying advises against stirring up trouble or controversy. It’s believed to have roots in the fourteenth Century in the form of “It is nought good a slepyng hound to wake.” Waking a sleeping dog can lead to unexpected consequences, just as provoking a dormant issue might cause unexpected problems.

3. “Fight Like Cats and Dogs”

This phrase suggests an intense and hostile argument. Dogs and cats, despite their popularity as pets, are known for their sometimes-contentious relationships. The saying highlights the contrast in their behaviour, emphasising intense conflict.

4. “The Cat’s Out of the Bag”

A variation of “let the cat out of the bag,” this phrase means that a secret has been revealed. Its origins can be traced back to the practice of fraudulently substituting a less valuable animal for a piglet in a sack, cheating the buyer. Once the cat was out of the bag, the trick was exposed.

5. “Curiosity Killed the Cat”

This warning against unnecessary curiosity suggests that being too inquisitive can lead to trouble. Its origins are uncertain, but it may have evolved from an earlier phrase, “care killed the cat,” where “care” meant worry or sorrow. Cats’ naturally curious nature might have inspired this saying. For those of you who are avid fans of 80’s music, you may recall the successful British pop band, Curiosity Killed the Cat, whose name inspired a pop band to adopt it as their own.

6. “Sick as a Dog”

When someone is very ill, they are as “sick as a dog.” The phrase might have emerged from the idea that dogs tend to eat unpalatable or harmful things that can sometimes make them ill.


These sayings have become part of our everyday language, reflecting the deep and enduring relationship between humans and their furry companions. They provide insight into how dogs and cats have been perceived throughout history, and even though they might be rooted in old customs or experiences, they continue to be relevant in our modern world. If you’re keen to reserve a spot for your canine companion at our expansive fifteen-acre secure dog park, do not hesitate to reach out. You can contact us at 01462 742658. We look forward to your call.