Have you ever wondered...
about the idiom "cat got your tongue"? When you really give it some serious thought, it is a rather disgusting concept from anyone's point of view - except of course maybe a dog.
But, consider how it must sound to a young child, a child not yet capable of distinguishing between literal and figurative language. Can you imagine the scenario that might play out in a kindergartner's mind when presented with the following set of questions from an adult?
"What's the matter? Why won't you answer my question? Has the cat got your tongue?"
First, of course the kindergartner reaches for his tongue to make sure it is still there. Then with mouth clamped firmly shut, he begins searching his surroundings for any sign of felines. You see, his impressionable personality is in the process of acquiring a new irrational fear of cats. The idea that there are cats roaming the earth stealing the tongues of unsuspecting children has now been planted in this naive child's brain as a result of this revolting idiom.
Yes, I know what this idiom is supposed to mean. A person chooses not to answer a question when they are supposed to. But, the child in the previously described situation sure didn't. And because of that, he might never enjoy the companionship of a feline friend.
Finally, why did the originator of this idiom decide to designate cats as the villains? What about alligators for example? I mean they don't limit their intake of human flesh to just tongues. They chomp up entire people. This phrase would actually be a little kinder to their overall reputation.
Oh well....at least this might explain the reason for some people's ailurophobia (persistent, irrational fear of cats).
Enlightening comments about today's thought are welcomed, so please feel free to share.
Until next time, remember...
If the English language made any sense, a catastrophe would be an apostrophe with fur.
- Doug Larson