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Walk the cat back

Posted by Laurie Miller on April 05, 2010 at 13:06

Columnist Maureen Dowd, in the current New York Times, uses the phrase "to walk the cat back," apparently to suggest that a certain attempt to reverse a course of events is unlikely to succeed. I don't believe I've seen this one before, even though a simple Google search turns up many other instances of its use. It seems to imply a more structured approach to undoing perceived damage than would, say, "to put the cat back into the bag." Is this, indeed, what it means? Or is there a standard meaning for "to walk the cat back" of which I am not aware?