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I lived in a scholarship house for all of one year when I was in college (in the US). At the end of every year, they held an event that they called "The Cat-Putting" in which a few residents would take turns telling a story. In the story they passed an imaginary cat to each other, but the primary focus of the story was to gently razz or roast all of the residents.

I remember that it was explained at the beginning of this event that it was dubbed "The Cat-Putting" because of an idiomatic expression that had something to do with cats, but I can't figure out what that expression might be.

Does anyone know what saying this might refer to, and how it might relate to this event? And has anyone else ever heard of a "cat-putting" or is this an event that is restricted to this one particular house?

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closed as too localized by Kit Z. Fox Dec 19 '12 at 17:35

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Two similar phrases come to mind: putting the shot, or "shot-put"; and off-putting. My guess would be that it had something to do with the first ("putting the shot"), and that the story involved throwing the cat - but it's no more than a guess. – MT_Head Jun 10 '11 at 20:33
The stories did not involve throwing cats. More like handing off. So I'm thinking not shot-put so much. And cats were central to the saying in question. – Kit Z. Fox Jun 11 '11 at 0:14
up vote 3 down vote accepted

"Cat-putting" is derived from the idiomatic saying, "Putting the cat among the pigeons", which is defined as follows:

Put the cat among the pigeons - A British term which means to cause an enormous fight or flap, usually by revealing a controversial fact or secret.

As said by yourself, the primary focus of the story was to gently razz or roast all of the residents, and this is a mild application of "putting the cat among the pigeons".

Hence the name, "cat-putting"!

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"Did you put the cat out?" "No, I didn't know he was on fire!" – MT_Head Jun 10 '11 at 20:59
YES! That must be it. What a strange expression. – Kit Z. Fox Jun 11 '11 at 11:24

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