Thursday, April 25, 2013

Thursday Trivia: What the cat dragged in!

It's certainly not the most flattering of sayings. As we cat people know, cats can drag in some pretty, well...gross and disgusting things! And indeed, today the phrase is used to describe someone a bit bedraggled in appearance. 

With its casual phrasing, we would have guessed that it had its roots in the Deep South (U.S., that is). But we found two different web sites that claimed the saying originated in Dublin, Ireland in 1984.

This guy dragged in something yummy! (photo: Creative Commons)

They say a 6 year old boy made the comment after a fellow classmate walked in late to school. His teacher and fellow students thought it was so funny that the saying caught on. Or so they claim.

But 1984 seems awfully recent for a saying that feels like it's been around forever.

We have our suspicions. What do you think?

Cat-ch Phrases


  1. We would agree and say the saying is older. Have a terrific Thursday.
    Best wishes Molly

  2. Our Robin used to drag in some things you truly wished she had not...and that was every day. We haven't had any outdoor babies since.

    Katie's Mom

  3. je ne connaissais pas ce dicton, mais les chats gardent toujours leur élégance. bon jeudi, ronrons d'Opale et SOnye

  4. We don't have a clue, but it looks pretty yummy!

  5. My mother said that to me as a kid waaaaaay back in the medieval times … well before 1970 anyway!!!

  6. we are going to go with WAAY older than 1984.....

  7. I know I have certainly heard that phrase before 1984!
    Well, as long as the cat doesn't bring a cockroach in, that's fine. LOL.

  8. It sounds like something my human's grandmother might have said... WAY before 1984!

  9. Ive heard that saying for year's but I'm not telling you how many..BOL xx00xx

    Mollie and Alfie

  10. (Sadly) I'm old enough to know that I heard that saying earlier than 1964...And my cats have dragged in some strange things over about a live possum on the kitchen floor :)

  11. I think it came from whatever a cat did drag in. At least that's what I've thought for ?? years!

  12. We are pretty sure that we kittehs have been dragging in things to the Beins fer a long long time. TBT says he would bet dinars that there is even an old Persian saying about that.

  13. We think that saying is much older too.

  14. We think that saying has been around for a long time. Mom says she remembers it from when she was a kitten and that was eleventy billion years ago.

    The Florida Furkids

  15. We think that phrase has been around longer than 1984. The mom says she heard it when she was a kid...and that was waaaaay before 1984. ;)

  16. Our Dad says this was used on him after he would come home from woods camping trips and that is way way longer than the 80's. Purrs

  17. GOsh! Mommy is older than dirt and her Mommy used to sat that to her when she was little and gots all dirty!
    PS - Yous should see the dead thing Kozmo dragged in yesterday!

  18. I was around way before 1984, and I am sure the saying was around before I was. I'm sure someone will know more and pass it on. Purrs and hugs, Janet

  19. Here's what I found on a site called word
    Yes, any cat owner (who allows them outside) can attest to their habit of bringing dead (or nearly so) prey back to the domicile. (One of ours left a dead mole on the porch just two days ago.) The habit isn’t restricted to farm cats.
    Last time we discussed this (back at the old site) someone came up with a Carl Sandburg citation of “something that the cat brought in” from 1922. Using Googlebooks, I’ve been able to antedate this.

    1901, Henry Lawson, The Country I Come From, “when we hauled him aboard he looked like something the cat had dragged in, only bigger.”

    1913, The Railroad Telegrapher, v. 30, “Look what the cat dragged in.”

    (dates verified)
    The 1901 example is Australian, by the way.

    Hope this sheds some light on things, Janet


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