Don’t Take a Cat Nap! This Story’s the Cat’s Meow!

2013年10月22日 VOA, Words and Their Stories.

Read and understand the article. If you may have any difficult words to pronounce and words you cannot understand, always ask your teacher.

*Teachers will divide the article into 2-3 paragraphs to help you understand and check the pronunciation of the difficult words.


*Read the words carefully.

  1. canary /kəˈneri/ (n.)a small usually yellow or green tropical bird that is often kept in a cage
  2. drag /ˈdræg/ (v.)to pull (someone or something that is heavy or difficult to move)
  3. fraidy-cat /ˈfreɪdiˌkæt/ (n.)scaredy-cat — used mainly by children or when speaking to children
  4. herding /ˈhɚd/ (v.)to gather and move (a group of animals)
  5. supervision /ˌsu:pɚˈvɪʒən/(n.)the action or process of watching and directing what someone does or how something is done : the action or process of supervising someone or something


Don’t Take a Cat Nap! This Story’s the Cat’s Meow!

* Read the text below

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 (1)Cats are the most popular pets among Americans. So it is not surprising that there are many expressions about cats.

(2) Some cats like to catch small birds, like canaries. If someone looks very proud or satisfied with himself, we say he “looks like the cat that ate the canary.”

(3) Sometimes, a cat likes to play with a small animal it catches. So if you “play cat and mouse” with someone, you change between different kinds of behavior when dealing with another person. For example, a child might offer something sweet to her little brother and then take it away when he reaches for it.

(4) A cat will often catch a small animal and present it to its owner. The saying that “looks like something the cat dragged in” describes something in bad condition.

(5) Two old and funny expressions describe something that is the best or finest. Americans might say that something is “the cat’s meow” and “the cat’s pajamas.”

(6) Children might call a child who is easily frightened a “fraidy-cat” or a “scaredy-cat.”

(7) A “copycat” is someone who acts just like someone else or copies another person’s work.

(8) A “fat cat” is a person with a lot of money.

(9) You may have known that cats spend most of their time sleeping. Sometimes people sleep for a short time during the day. This is called a “cat nap.”

(10) If you tell about something that was supposed to be a secret, we say you “let the cat out of the bag.” If you are not able to speak or answer a question someone might ask if “the cat has got your tongue.”

(11) Have you ever watched children in a classroom when their teacher leaves for a few minutes? “When the cat’s away, the mice will play” means people sometimes misbehave when there is no supervision.

(12) You may have heard this expression: “curiosity killed the cat.” This means being too concerned about things that are not your business might cause problems.

(13) If your home is very small, you might say “there is not enough room to swing a cat.” But you probably should not try this at home!

(14) If you ever had cats as pets, you know it is difficult to train them or to get them to do something. Cats are not like sheep or cows that can be moved in a group. So we say a difficult or impossible job “is like herding cats.”


*Let’s talk about the article base on the questions below

  1. Do you like animals? Which do you prefer as pet, a cat or a dog? Why?
  2. A saying goes, “When the cat is away, the mouse is at play”. Do you agree with this saying? Please explain your answer?
  3. Are you fond of taking cat naps if you have time? What do you think are the benefits of short naps?

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