be made a cat's-paw

(redirected from were made a cat's paw)

be made a cat's-paw

To be used by someone else to achieve some end, especially in a duplicitous or cynical manner. Taken from a fable about a monkey who tricks a cat into using his a paw to retrieve chestnuts from a fire. The phrase can also be spelled without a hyphen. I thought that Jake really loved me, but in the end, I had just been made a cat's-paw so he could stir up jealousy in his ex-boyfriend. Most people suspect the mayor is being made a cat's-paw of the governor.
See also: made
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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.
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer