herd cats

be like herding cats

To be very unwieldy or unmanageable; to be nearly impossible to organize. Usually said of a group of people. Getting all of the extended family into their right places for the reunion photo was like herding cats! It's like herding cats trying to manage all these different software development teams.
See also: cat, herd, like

herd cats

To attempt to coordinate or control subjects that are uncooperative. Often used as a point of comparison in the phrase "like herding cats." Trying to get my two toddlers out the door these days is like herding cats!
See also: cat, herd
References in periodicals archive ?
It's like herding cats, and how do you herd cats when you've lost your captain?
It's hard to herd cats, and even worse when you put the cats in charge of herding.
People who can herd cats, and nail Jello to a tree.
Trying to use the tools of a Western-style state to control these rooted societies was like trying to herd cats with a dog-training manual," he wrote.
And in the absence of cows, cowboys would be forced to herd cats or lasso sheep.
A fifth theory simply recognizes that trying to organize academics is like trying to herd cats.
Trying to predict it was as tricky as "trying to herd cats," said one yesterday.
Basically, I seem to have spent 2007, along withmany of its predecessors, trying to herd cats.
The trouble is that asking the public to put in serious suggestions is like trying to herd cats.
So whether you're a metrosexual, a contrasexual or an ubersexual who wants to herd cats, fork a tree or shuffle some muppets, this is the dictionary for you.
Making them into what you want them to be is almost like trying to herd cats," says Philip Schwartz of Children's Hospital in Orange, Calif.
In my previous position in the nonprofit world, I saw myself as a circus clown juggling dozens of balls, many of which were beyond my control, while swallowing a sword and trying to herd cats.
You have to know how to herd cats and be good at it," adds Nick Aguilar, who is completing his seventh year of serving on the county's board of education.
About the only perks of the job are getting to serve as acting mayor when Hahn is out of the city - which is not that often - and presiding over the City Council meetings - which former council President John Ferraro referred to as trying to herd cats.
Leading the Conservatives in their current state has been described as like trying to herd cats in a thunderstorm.