猫を被る (ねこをかぶる, neko wo kaburu) is a Japanese idiom that literally means “put on a cat”. It figuratively indicates the act of putting up a façade and pretending to be nicer than usual (i.e. hide one’s true colours). It alludes to the two-faced character of a cat, which is usually very cute but can be ferocious at times.
One of the most common examples of the act of “putting on a cat” is when a chatty person pretends to be coy and quiet around strangers. Another example is when one dates someone and acts kind and cool (and shows his/her true colours later). This word is often used to describe ぶりっこ (burikko), i.e. a girl who acts cute and coy around guys.
Usually, I am very talkative, but today I stayed quiet, hiding my real personality.
She is always talking a lot of sh*t, but when she is with her boyfriend, she pretends to be a nice person.
For cat/idiom lovers
Synonyms and Related Words
Synonyms: 良い子ぶる (pretend to be a good person; act obsequiously)
Synonyms in English: hide one’s true colours, hide oneself, put up a façade
Related words and phrases: 猫 (cat), 被る (wear, put on)