cat's paw, (be made) a

(redirected from a cat's paw)

cat's paw

A dupe or tool for another, a sucker, as in You always try to make a cat's paw of me, but I refuse to do any more of your work. This term alludes to a very old tale about a monkey that persuades a cat to pull chestnuts out of the fire so as to avoid burning its own paws. The story dates from the 16th century and versions of it (some with a dog) exist in many languages.
See also: paw

cat's paw, (be made) a

A dupe, a sucker who does another person’s dirty work. The term comes from an ancient tale about a monkey who wanted to get some roasted chestnuts out of the fire and, not wanting to burn his own fingers, got his friend the cat to use his paws for this purpose. There are numerous versions of the story in various languages; often it is a dog that is made the dupe, but in English it is the cat’s paw that has stuck over the years. Also see pull the chestnuts.
References in periodicals archive ?
Caption: A cat's paw is a hard-working tool, responsible for emotions, protection, and cooling.
A CAT'S paw was amputated after getting snared in an illegal trap.
Vets are fighting to save a cat's paw after it was almost severed by an illegal gin trap in Northumberland.
A SICK attack in which a cat's paws were cut off was being investigated last night.
They are also used to mark a cat's presence in an area; when scratching at a tree trunk or a patch of turf, a cat's paws secrete substances called pheromones, whose odor is detectable to other felines.