When the Cat's Away, the Mice will Play

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Without the presence of authority, people will do as they please even of breaking the rules


  • This idiom has been used in many languages since the 17th century. It is natural that if there is a cat in the house, the mice are very reluctant to come out of holes. On the other hand, of the cat is not in the home, mice often tend to feel safer and rarely hide. The expression uses “the cat” as an authoritative figure to describe the situation when the authority is not present on the occasion.

As soon as the parents left, the children started a fight. When the cat’s away, the mice will play.

Submitted on February 25, 2019


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