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Monday, August 1, 2011

Who let the cat out of the bag?

My cats love to hide in odd places. I've found cats napping in the kitchen sink. I've found cats crammed into boxes much to small for them and I've found cats hiding in bags (like Norah in the photo above). Every time this happens the old saying, "...let the cat out of the bag" runs through my mind, which got me to wondering, where did this saying originate?

After some research it became clear that no one knows where "...let the cat out of the bag" originated. There are two theories being that in the 1700s or so farmers would trick buyers by selling them a cat in a burlap bag when they thought they were buying a chicken or a piglet. Another theory is that the phrase comes from English sailors being punished with a cat 'o nine tails, which was a whip. Researchers don't put much stock in that theory, nor can they find conclusive evidence of the farmer trickery.

So, I guess in this case, I'll just have to let sleeping dogs, er...cats, lie...which I highly recommend doing when you find a cat in a bag!

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