In which part(s) of the U.S. can one still hear the colorful simile, (as) poor as Job's cat?
poor as Job - Poverty-stricken, indigent, destitute. The allusion is to the extreme poverty which befell the central character in the Book of Job. In spite of a series of devastating calamities, Job remained steadfast in his faith and trust in God, and has long been the personification of both poverty and patience. I am as poor as Job, my lord, but not so patient. (Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part II I,ii)
A related expression, poor as Job’s turkey, is credited to Thomas C. Haliburton (1796–1865), a Canadian judge and humorist. Haliburton, using the pseudonym Sam Slick, described Job’s turkey as so poor that it had only one feather, and so weak that it had to lean against a fence in order to gobble. Job, of course, never had a turkey — poor or otherwise — as the bird is a native of North America. A variation is poor as Job’s cat.