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.

Picturesque Expressions: A Thematic Dictionary, 1st Edition

  • I've never heard it before- although it is immediately understandable. – Jim Feb 22 '16 at 5:15

As posed, the question calls for anecdotal answers, which will be as reliable as the individual responders' perception and memory.

A bit of poking around the web reveals a few quoted instances of the phrase that suggest locale. An archive at University of Miami has the phrase in a letter by a New Hampshire soldier during the American Civil War.

The database of DARE at University of Wisconsin suggests that it's relatively rare among respondents to the DARE surveys.

As a (relatively) ancient denizen of (relatively) rural New England, I attest that the expression hasn't come up in my hearing in my lifetime.

Possible correction: I may have heard it about 60 years ago, spoken (if foggy memory serves) by a then-octogenarian who, having been born and raised in Great Britain, became a merchant seaman and immigrated to the US by jumping ship in Canada and then making his way through the woods across the US border - circa 1910. If he didn't actually use the expression, he definitely should have. He was a colorful talker.

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  • "Poor as Job's cat" contrasts nicely with "fit as a butcher's dog." – David Garner Feb 24 '16 at 10:54

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