MG Communications

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Cats get a bad rap in Spanish

Posted by Mary on November 24, 2012 at 4:10 PM

For some reason, cats seem to be included in many insults in the Spanish language, as well as placed quite frequently in sentences referring to certain things, most often not in a good way. For example, if you want to say "something is fishy" in Spanish, you would say literally that "there is a cat locked up in here." Aqui hay gato encerrado.

If you want to say "to defend yourself fiercly", the literal translation would be "to defend yourself like a cat with their belly up." Defenderse como gato panza arriba. Somehow, I think that one sounds better in Spanish than the literal English translation.

Whichever way you look at it, the poor cat seems to be seen as sneaky, mean, feisty, or silly. Being a new, first-time cat owner, I tend to agree. A cat's personality is multi-faceted, and seens to change from situation to situation. Obvioulsy Spanish speakers have discovered those idiosyncrasies of the feline species long before I did. I leave you with several other "gato" favorites I have uncovered.

He was conned. They gave him a cat for (instead of) a hare. Le dieron gato por liebre

To pull it off. To carry the cat to the water. Llevarse el gato al aqua.

To complicate things unnecessarilly. To look for three feet on a cat. Buscarle tres pies al gato.


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