Idiom:  Play cat and mouse

Cat playing with a toy mouse, illustrating the idiom "cat and mouse". Caption: My roommate and his girlfriend played cat and mouse for 2 years before they finally got engaged.


Idiom:  (play) cat and mouse

  • A series of planned actions involving pursuit, captures and repeated escapes.

Example sentences

— The serial killer played cat and mouse with the police for ten years, leaving a trail of notes and clothing items from his victims and anonymous phone calls.

— A:  You're not answering his calls?  I thought you liked that guy.  B:  I do but he's playing cat and mouse with me so I'm doing the same.

— I feel like this candidate is playing cat and mouse with us.  Do you think she has another job offer or maybe she's interviewing with a lot of other companies?

— If you want to go into collections then you  better start getting used to playing cat and mouse with clients.

— We thought we had a buyer for our house but the real estate agent was just playing cat and mouse with us.

— Online dating is like a game of cat and mouse where you can't even be sure if the person you're exchanging messages with is real.

— My employer is playing cat and mouse with me.  I've done everything that they've asked to get a promotion and raise but they keep changing the parameters.

— Why are you playing cat and mouse with us?  We can tell you changed your grades on your report card and your teacher said you've missed five classes this month.


  • a con game
  • delay tactics
  • smoke screen

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