A blate cat makes a proud mouse (Scotch). An idle, or stupid, or timid foe is never feared.
A cat has nine lives, a woman has nine lives. In Middleton's Blurt Master Constable, 1602, we have: "They have nine lives apiece, like a woman."
A cat may look at a king. In Cornwall they say a cat may look at a king if he carries his eyes about him.
"A Cat may Look at a King," is the title of a book on history, published in the early part of the last century. On the frontispiece is the picture of a cat, over it the inscription, "A cat may look at a king," and a king's head and shoulders on the title-page, with the same inscription above.
A cat's walk, a little way and back (Cornwall). No place like home. Idling about.
A dead cat feels no cold. No life, no pain, nor reproach.
Heywood. In Essex folks add: And a cat has two Sundays. Why?
The shape of a good greyhound:
A head like a snake, a neck like a drake, A back like a beam, sided like a bream, A foot like a cat, a tail like a rat.
Ale that would make a cat talk. Strong enough to make even the dumb speak.
"A spicy pot,
Then do's us reason, Would make a cat
To talk high treason." - D'Urfey.
A half-penny cat may look at a king (Scotch). A jeering saying of offence - "One is as good as another," and as a Scotchman once said, "and better."
Clarke, 1639. No good workman wears gloves. By some is said "muzzled."
A piece of a kid is worth two of a cat. A little of good is better than much that is bad.
A scalded cat fears cold water. Once bit always shy. What was may be again.
As cat or cap case.
"Bouser I am not, but mild sober Tuesday, As catte in cap case, if I like not St. Hewsday."
The Christmas Prince, 1607.
Hazlitt. So old as to be likely to be doubly gray.
Walker. The voice of the cat is melancholy.
As melancholy as a gib-cat (Scotch). As an old, worn-out cat. - Johnston.
"I am as melancholy as a gib-cat or a lugged bear."*
Shakespeare. Gib-cat; an old, lonely, melancholy cat.
Before the cat can lick her ear. "Nay, you were not quite out of hearing ere the cat could lick her ear." - Oviddius Exultans, 1673, p. 50. That is never.
* A lugged bear is a bear with its ears cut off, so that when used for baiting there is less hold for the dogs.
Dun, besides being the name of one who arrested for debt in Henry VII.'s time, was also the name of the hangman before "Jack Ketch." - Grose.
"And presently a halter got, Made of the best strong teer, And ere a cat could lick her ear, Had tied it up with so much art."
1664, Cotton's Virgile, Book 4.
By biting and scratching dogs and cats come together. - Heywood. Quarrelling oft makes friends.
Sir G. C. Lewis's " Herefordshire Glossary." Clammed means starvation; that is, care killed the cat; for want of food the entrails get "clammed."
Care killed the cat, but ye canna live without it. To all some trouble, though not all take heed. None know another's burden.
Care will kill a cat.
"Then hang care and sorrow, 'Tis able to kill a cat." - D'Urfey.
Alluding to its tenacity of life and the carking wear of care.
Heywood. Letter by F. A. touching the quarrel between Arthur Hall and Melch Mallorie, in 1575-6, repr. of ed. 1580, in "Miscy. Antiq. Anglic." 1816, p. 93. "For never yet was good cat out of kinde." - English Proverbs, Hazlitt.
Cats and Carlins sit in the sun. When work is done then warmth and rest.
Cats eat what hussies spare. Nothing is lost. Also refers to giving away, and saying " the cat took it."
Cats hide their claws. All is not fair that seems so. Trust not to appearances.
Clarke, 1639. Better away, than stay and ask pardon.
Every day's no yule; cast the cat a castock. The stump of a cabbage, and the proverb means much the same thing as "Spare no expense, bring another bottle of smallbeer:" - Denham's Popular Sayings, 1846.
He bydes as fast as a cat bound with a sacer. He does as he likes; nothing holds him.
He can hold the cat to the sun. Bold and foolish enough for anything.
He is like a dog or a cat. Not reliable.
He looks like a wild cat out of a bush. Fiercely afraid.
He's like a cat; fling him which way you will, he'll not hurt. Some are always superior to misfortune, or fortune favours many.
He's like a singed cat, better than he's likely. He's better than he looks or seems.
He stands in great need that borrows the cat's dish
Clarke, 1639. The starving are not particular. The hungry cannot choose.
He lives at the sign of the cat's foot. He is hen-pecked, his wife scratches him. - Ray.
He waid gar a man trow that the moon is made of green cheis, or the cat took the heron. Never believe all that is laid to another.
Honest as the cat when the meat is out of reach. Some are honest, but others not by choice.
How can the cat help it when the maid is a fool? Often things lost, given, or stolen, are laid to the cat.
If thou 'scqp'st, thou hast cat's luck, in Fletcher's Knight of Malta, alluding to the activity and caution of the cat, which generally stands it in good stead.
Til not buy a cat in a poke. F., Chat en Poche. See what you buy; bargain not on another's word.
Just as quick as a cat up a walnut-tree
D'Urfey. To climb well and easily. To be alert and sudden.
Let the cat wink, and let the mouse run. For want of watching and care much is lost. - Hazlitt's "Dodsley," i. 265. The first portion is in the interlude of "The World and the Child," 1522.