Most translators these days work with software known as a CAT tool (Computer-Assisted Translation). The assistance takes the form of segmenting the text to be translated and committing your work to memory (the CAT’s). Naturally, photos of translators’ desks can be found online, showing cats draped across computer keyboards, captioned ‘Trying to work with the CAT’. In a small office, there’s probably ‘no room to swing a cat’.

There are so many idioms involving a cat. Triggered by an Agatha Christie title, I started with ‘putting the cat among the pigeons’ which is when a person says or does something to cause trouble in a group or make people angry. In Dutch, you throw a stone in the pond or a bat into the hen-house! That naturally ruffles a few feathers. A nervous person might be described as being like ‘a cat on hot bricks’ (US – on a hot tin roof). If you ‘look like the cat that got the cream’, you’re clearly pleased with yourself even though you don’t say anything, if ‘the cat has got your tongue’. Reveal a secret and you’re ‘letting the cat out of the bag’. It probably got into the bag because ‘curiosity killed the cat’.

As children, we were scolded for saying ‘She told me to do it’. Parents and teachers would respond with ‘Who’s she? The cat’s mother?’😊