Herding Cats: the meaning of “herding cats”

Herding Cats: the meaning of "herding cats"

Herding Cats

Having one cat at home and summoning him to follow you is not a difficult task. Having two or even three should not be a problem, especially if you have food on you. Probably even five or six, or a little more. But try to control 15 or 20 cats, and you will find yourself herding cats. But the truth is that the expression “herding cats” is used as an idiom. Why cats?

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The Meaning of “Herding Cats”

This expression is usually referred to a situation that requires the control and coordination of a large group of people. We then say that managing such crowd is like herding cats.

The expression is used in instances where there is usually one coordinator and many people under his control. For example, you could say, “Managing programmer is like herding cats“, or in education, one could say, “Managing students is like herding cats.”

It is interesting to note here that the expression can be demeaning at assigning people characteristics of cats, in the sense of being out of control. Because the truth is, you would hardly be able to control a herd of cats.

One can also think that comparing people with cats is associating them with employees that can be controlled, especially with the stereotypical examples of programmers and domesticated cats.

How Would Cats Really Behave if They Were Herded?

It is impossible to herd cats. Interestingly enough, the domestic cat at your home would probably never accept being herded. But why is this? It’s simple. Cats simply do not see the need or any benefits in living in groups.

Besides this, cats are more autonomous than dogs and they usually like to travel by themselves. In other words, they tend to do their own thing, alone.

Here in Dogalize we have everything you need to be the best cat owner. We do not promise to make a good “cat herder” out of you, but we can share tips, tricks, and resources to help raise your cat the way he deserves.