What Does A Cat in Gloves Catches No Mice Mean?

A Cat in Gloves Catches No Mice Meaning

Definition: If you are too polite or cautious, you may not always get what you want.

The proverb a cat in gloves catches no mice means that being too careful or too polite can actually cause a person to be unsuccessful in reaching his or her goal. It does not mean that someone should be physically aggressive or cruel in his or her attempt to reach a goal.

Rather, the proverb suggests that the goal seeker should be firm and determined.

Origin of A Cat in Gloves Catches No Mice

define a cat in gloves catches no miceThere is no record of the proverb’s first use in English. A similar French proverb, which literally translates to “a gloved cat will never mouse well,” has been used since the 14th century.

The proverb is a reference to a cat’s hunting style. If a cat does not use its claws, it will not catch the mouse it is hunting. Similarly, if a person really wants to achieve a goal, being polite or meek may not help him or her. In some cases, a more aggressive or confident approach may be required.

Examples of A Cat in Gloves Catches No Mice

meaning of cat in gloves catches no miceThis proverb is not commonly used in everyday speech. It may be used to encourage someone to be more confident in his approach to getting something he wants. The following example conversation between two coworkers illustrates the correct use of this proverb.

Brian: I really want that promotion, but I don’t want to seem desperate.

Jeff: If you want it, speak up, and tell the boss why you’re the best man for the job. A cat in gloves catches no mice.

More Examples

“We might be the first to dare to say that publicly, but we have never feared being first to tell the truth, because a cat in gloves catches no mice.” – MarketWatch

Summary

The proverb a cat in gloves catches no mice means that being careful or cautious may not always be the best course of action.