You've all heard the phrase "a red herring". It's a technique used to distract you from your current pursuit.
But did you know in a literal sense, there's no such thing as a red herring?
The term came about when describing a kipper that was very heavily smoked for preservation - a process used prior to refrigeration.
The curing process turned the flesh of the kipper a reddish color.
What does that term have to do with a pet blog - other than the fact all 3 cats are now drooling over all this fish talk?
If you use a red herring to throw someone off your scent, you're referencing a hunting hound from old England.
The earliest reference is in a pamphlet dated 1599 by the Elizabethan writer Thomas Nashe. He writes, "Next, to draw on hounds to a scent, to a red herring skin there is nothing comparable."
Somehow, out of this grew a tale that a red herring was used to confuse the noses of hounds chasing a fox. Yet Michael Quinn writes in his blog "World Wide Words" that actual historical mention of the red herring isn't to trick a dog or throw him off the scent, but rather to train the dog to follow a scent in the first place.
How its meaning was flipped 180 degrees can be traced to the writings of a political journalist from the early 1800s who purposely skewed its meaning.
The use of the phrase caught on and became an idiom for purposeful redirection still in popular use today.
Sources: Wikipedia and Michael Quinn