Cat and mouse, often expressed as cat-and-mouse game, is an English-language idiom dating back to 1675 that means "a contrived action involving constant pursuit, near captures, and repeated escapes." The "cat" is unable to secure a definitive victory over the "mouse", who despite not being able to defeat the cat, is able to avoid capture. In extreme cases, the idiom may imply that the contest is never-ending. The term is derived from the hunting behavior of domestic cats, which often appear to "play" with prey by releasing it after capture. This behavior is due to an instinctive imperative to ensure that the prey is weak enough to be killed without endangering the cat.
In colloquial usage it has often been generalized (or corrupted) to mean simply that the advantage constantly shifts between the contestants, leading to an impasse or de facto stalemate.
Other articles related to "cat and mouse":
... O'Byrne fell quiet again, but Lee insisted throughout the period 1594-96 that he was a traitor to the crown, and a new initiative against him was directed by the lord deputy, Sir William Russell ... After the Christmas festivities of 1594, Russell drove O'Byrne from Ballinacor in a three-day offensive and garrisoned his house ...
Famous quotes containing the words cat and, mouse and/or cat:
“You call to a dog and a dog will break its neck to get to you. Dogs just want to please. Call to a cat and its attitude is, Whats in it for me?”
—Lewis Grizzard (19461994)
“A mouse does not run into the mouth of a sleeping cat.”
—Estonian. Trans. by Ilse Lehiste (1993)
“A few years before I lived in the woods there was what was called a winged cat in one of the farmhouses.... This would have been the right kind of cat for me to keep, if I had kept any; for why should not a poets cat be winged as well as his horse?”
—Henry David Thoreau (18171862)