cat and mouse

Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Wikipedia.
Related to cat and mouse: Tom and Jerry

cat and mouse

1. A phrase used to describe the suspenseful relationship between one being pursued and the pursuer. We've been hiding out here for days, and I can't handle this cat and mouse game any longer—I'm calling the police!
2. A phrase that describes how one plays with or teases someone before turning violent or vicious, likened to the way in which a cat toys with a mouse before killing it. If we have any hopes of getting the prisoner to crack, we need to play a cat and mouse game now, in the early stages of the interrogation.
3. A game in which children stand in a circle and raise their arms to let one player into the middle. Then, they lower their arms to keep out a second player, who is chasing the first. Let's play cat and mouse! I'll go first—everybody else, circle up!
See also: and, cat, mouse
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

(play) cat and ˈmouse (with somebody)

(informal) (keep somebody) in a state of uncertainty, being sometimes kind, sometimes cruel: The police were playing cat and mouse with him; letting him feel safe in the hope that he would make a mistake and then they could arrest him.The authorities have been playing a cat-and-mouse game with the protestors.
This expression refers to the way a cat plays with a mouse before killing it.
See also: and, cat, mouse
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

cat and mouse, game of/to play

Toying with a helpless opponent or victim. The cat, ready to pounce, was recorded by Jonathan Swift (“She watches him as a cat would watch a mouse”). The cat-mouse analogy most often has been applied to authorities who may do as they wish with those in their power.
See also: and, cat, game, of, play, to
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
See also:
References in periodicals archive ?
CAT And Mouse explores the lives of those caught up in the Holocaust through the eyes of a child.
Cat And Mouse follows Chaim's journey from his family home, to the Warsaw Ghetto and the death camps of Auschwitz, Belsen and Terezin.
From watching the TV cat and mouse cartoons, you would think the two animals sharing the same house would be forever at each other's throats.
Gemma said: "It's our own little cat and mouse story.
Written and directed by Julia Smith, Cat and Mouse has been put together by citybased Imagineer Productions and provides an unsettling visual exploration of the lives of those children - represented as mice - who were caught up in the horror of the Final Solution.
PIRATE mice are plaguing HMS Belfast this May Day in a children's event called Play Cat and Mouse running from April 22 to May 2.