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The cat bites its tail: meaning


"Gosh, the cat is biting its tail!" - We have all heard this saying somewhere before. But what exactly does it mean? And do cats really bite their tails? You can find out more about the strange saying here. Hopefully nobody bites into this cat tail - Shutterstock / successo images

Whether it means "there the cat bites its tail" or "there the dog bites its tail" is of no importance. There is a saying with both animals. Whether dog or cat - we say both when a certain situation seems pretty hopeless.

What does "The cat bites its tail"?

The meaning of "the cat is biting its tail" always refers to a thing or situation that is, so to speak, going round in circles. It can also be a paradoxical situation that starts all over again. A thing or situation that is described as "the cat bites its tail" could also be synonymously referred to as a vicious circle or circular reasoning. Mostly it is about cause and effect being mutually dependent.

An example of the phrase

An example of the use of the proverb is the following: A man has a problem: his internet connection at home has failed. However, its Internet provider can only be contacted via email or the Internet. Since he cannot access the Internet, he cannot reach the Internet provider and the Internet provider cannot solve the problem. "The cat bites its tail!" The man could then shout.

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Do cats really bite their tails?

In fact, cats, especially kittens, occasionally bite their own tails. This can happen, among other things, out of the play instinct or because they do not always recognize that the tail really belongs to them. It is no different with dogs. Dogs sometimes even bite their own tails due to a jump act - so the saying also makes sense with a dog. In the video below you can see a funny cat trying to catch its own tail.

The symbol of the cat spinning in a circle is therefore analogous to the thing or situation that also spins in a circle and where a solution seems to be far away. Incidentally, the phrase is closely related to the saying: "The mouse does not bite a thread".