Animal Phrases, Dog and Cat Sayings, Plus More

A bunch of common phrases related to animals, along with their meanings and possible origin!


Bird Phrases

Birds Of a Feather Flock Together
People tend to associate with others who share similar interests or values.


Love Birds
A pair of people who love each other; they are like small parrots that are called ‘lovebirds.’


Sitting Ducks
Someone or something that is in a vulnerable position; being in danger.


The Early Bird Gets The Worm
Arriving first or early can be advantageous and increase one’s chances of success.


Ugly Duckling
Someone who seems plain at first in appearance or capability, but later turn out to be quite spectacular.


Dog, Cat Sayings

All Bark And No Bite
Being full of talk, but with little or no action behind it.


Barking Up The Wrong Tree
To make a wrong assumption about someone.


Curiosity Killed The Cat
Typically said to people who are being too nosy, as their prying behavior may lead to harm.


Raining Cats And Dogs
A saying that’s used to describe heavy rainfall.


Scaredy-Cat
Being afraid of doing something; terrified.


You Can’t Teach An Old Dog New Tricks
It can be challenging to teach a person something new, especially if they are set in doing things a certain way.


Horse Sayings

Beating a Dead Horse
To bring up an issue that has already been resolved or that has already been talked about at length.


Don’t Look a Gift Horse In The Mouth
When you receive a gift from someone, do not be ungrateful.


Hold Your Horses
To tell someone to wait, or to stop. (e.g., I’m not ready to leave yet, hold your horses.)


Long In The Tooth
Old in age. Mainly used when referring to people or animals, but it can also be used when referring to objects.


Other Animals

An Elephant Never Forgets
A person who has a good memory.


Crocodile Tears
This means someone is expressing sorrow in an insincere way.


Cry Wolf
This refers to someone who is lying.


Elephant In The Room
Ignoring a large, obvious problem or failing to address an issue that stands out in a major way.


Fish Out Of Water
A person who’s in a situation that they are unfamiliar with.


Give a Man a Fish
It can be more beneficial to teach someone a useful skill (like fishing) than filling a need for them once.


Happy As a Clam
The state of being happy; feeling delighted.


I Smell a Rat
A suspicious feeling that something is not quite right; awry.


Like Shooting Fish In a Barrel
Something that is easy to do; an action that’s simple to accomplish.


Playing Possum
Pretending to be dead, or to be deceitful about something.


The Straw That Broke The Camel’s Back
A series of annoying occurrences that eventually lead to one final thing that causes a person to lose their patience.


Animal Phrases Phrases All In One Spot!

One thing I noticed while writing about phrases is that there are plenty of expressions out there that refer to animals! Cats, dogs, fish, elephants, rats, and so on… with such a variety of animals showing up in phrases, it made me want to make a separate page about them! Why? Well, it’s a convenient way for me to keep track of the many animal phrases I come across, and having them all located in one spot is fun for anyone who is interested in learning specifically about sayings that contain animals in the name.

Obviously, there are more animal phrases that exist and these are not all of them, but I’ll be sure to add any others I find to this page.