Gato con guantes no caza ratones
Language Resources

Proverb: Gato con guantes no caza ratones

Along with idioms about times of year or agriculture, in Spain, idioms about animals are also very common. Usually the animals are humanized and are used to teach us a lesson. This idiom is a good example.

Cats have always been taken for astute and capable animals. So why is it suddenly represented as a clumsy thing incapable of catching a mouse in this idiom? The gloves go from being elegant accessories to being an impediment for carrying out a task.

It could seem logical; when we decide to carry out a task we should do it using the appropriate means and without anything that may hinder us in reaching our goals. But who has not misspent their time trying to solve a problem the hard way when there was an easier way to get the task done?

This idiom reminds us, indirectly, that we’ve got to cut off our problems in the most direct way, practically “bare handed” and that any device used when it is time for us to solve them can make the topic more arduous and difficult. Why would we want to put on gloves to catch a mouse if we’ve got claws underneath?