"Curiosity killed the cat". We've all heard the saying before. But what was the cat curious about that got it killed?

  • 1
    This is on a par with Why did the chicken cross the road? Commented May 28, 2023 at 16:21
  • 1
    Please do not post this kind of question. It's really silly.
    – Lambie
    Commented May 28, 2023 at 16:22
  • What time exactly does the early bird get the worm? Commented May 28, 2023 at 21:55
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    I’m voting to close this question because it's not relevant for learning the English language, as far as I can tell. Commented May 30, 2023 at 19:25
  • @MarcInManhattan is the proverb common among various languages? For example, it's not used in Italian, Is learning a well-established proverb and its origins not useful for visitors?
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented May 31, 2023 at 6:29

1 Answer 1


Cats are notorious for getting stuck in trees, pipes, drains, jars and even up water towers.

WAREHAM — Firefighters are known to rescue cats in trees but on Friday, Onset firefighters saved a kitten that was stuck in a PVC pipe for days.

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What made the cat enter the narrow pipe in the first place? Probably their curiosity and propensity to explore nooks and crannies. If this kitty hadn't thankfully been rescued by someone, our feline friend would have surely died.

Wikipedia states that the aphorism stems from a much older version

"Curiosity killed the cat" is a proverb used to warn of the dangers of unnecessary investigation or experimentation. It also implies that being curious can sometimes lead to danger or misfortune. The original form of the proverb, now rarely used, was "Care killed the cat". In this instance, "care" was defined as "worry" or "sorrow for others."

In William Shakespeare 1599 play Much Ado About Nothing, there is the following line

What, courage man! what though care killed a cat, thou hast mettle enough in thee to kill care.

For greater detail about the proverb's origin see: The Phrase Finder and via Google books: Planet Cat: a cat-alog

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