Thursday, January 23, 2014

Thursday Trivia: Cat-eyed

Well, oddly enough this one stumped us!

The definition was easy enough to track down. Noah Webster states it originated from a cat's famed ability to see in low light, or almost-dark conditions. And believe it or not, that was the earliest reference in print that we could find, only dating back to 1828.

We have to thank for a brief reference to an origin date of around 1605, but the site didn't bother to explain to us why they chose that date, nor give us any specifics on where it was used.

Try as we might, the earliest use of this phrase in print that we could find (other than in a dictionary or reference book) is from Arthur Stringer’s The Prairie Wife, written in 1915.

And we know it was in use prior to that!

We suspect our inability to track this one down might stem from the fact that it is so ubiquitous.

Faraday, being "cat-eyed" about it all.

Oh, and no, cats cannot see "in the dark." They need some form of light, however weak, to make out objects. And cats like Faraday and Maxwell don't see as well in the dark as Allie does!


Webster, Noah. Entry for 'Cat-Eyed'. Noah Webster's American Dictionary. 1828.
Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, Giving the Derivation, Source, Or Origin of Common Phrases, Allusions, and Words that Have a Tale to Tell, by Ebenezer Cobham Brewer. Cassell, 1895.


  1. We have night lights everywhere so that the cats don't go bump in the dark! :)

    the critters in the cottage xo

    P.S. Faraday , you are a handsome boy!

  2. well, cats can see in dim light, not complete darkness (that was on Freekibble the other day lol)
    Love the new look to your email subscriptions!

  3. Hi certainly are being cat-eyed my's nice that we can see better than most humans do - well, let's face it, we do almost everything better than most humans do right????

    Hugs, Sammy

  4. Faraday, you have purrfect cats eyes!!

    The Florida Furkids

  5. Yes, those are perfect cats eyes!

    Hey, we, too, have night lights everywhere...only we thought it was for our silly human. LOL.

  6. You know we thought all cats see well in the dark. Always learning something new here. Have a tremendous Thursday.
    Best wishes Molly

  7. Deer Faraway,
    So you must be deer-sighted cuz you're a sign ease cat and all? Is that why you don't see as good as Allie? Or is it cuz Allie is the boss of you... like Katie, um I mean the Boss, is the boss of me?

  8. It worked, it worked. You came up in my mails, pictures and all BOL xxoxxx

    Mollie and Alfie

  9. ::Swoon::
    Mes thinks Faraday looks delishious!
    Mes knows mes can't see as well in the dark as Kozmo and Jo-Jo.

  10. I see a little bit to well in the dark , say's my mom-person when I tossing around my toy's in the middle of the night :)

  11. Did you find anything out about the gem stones that have a cat-eye in the center? Our Mommy has one. Purrs and paw-pats, Lily Olivia, Mauricio, Misty May, Giulietta, Fiona, Astrid, Lisbeth and Calista Jo

  12. The only thing I think is important is that we cats can see better in the dark than humans. That puts us at an advantage always!

  13. I have never heard that expression before!! We do have "cat's eyes" (reflectors) in the road so drivers can see in the dark!

  14. faraday...thatz de best cat eye ona cat if we ever saw a cat eye...N frank lee we purrsonal lee iz glad we canna see two much in de dark....whoa... our scaree food serviss purrson a sleep iz enufff ta gives a zombeez nite mares....

  15. Like Austin, I have never heard that expression before. You do have lovely cat eyes though.

  16. What a great photo of you, Faraday! We are surprised that the saying was so difficult to pin down, but the older it is, the more likely it is that no one remembers where it comes from!

  17. Looking good, Faraday (through both human eyes AND cat eyes). :)

    Thank you, dear pals, for purring and praying for Moosey. He seems to be feeling pretty good for now (his appetite is much better, and his energy level, too)... we're just waiting for those blood tests to come back to see where we go from here.


  18. That just shows how pawsome that expression is as it was so popular that no one thought where it start and Faraday modeling "cat-eyed" well.

  19. Thank you for sharing this info - didn't know cats couldn't see in complete darkness. I suspect Kizzie's sight may be better than mine in the dark, though.

  20. Interesting - as usual. I love coming to your blog (when I can get M to come over here) because we always learn something new.


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