Definition of when (or while) the cat's away, the mice will play in English:

when (or while) the cat's away, the mice will play

phrase

proverb
  • People will naturally take advantage of the absence of someone in authority to do as they like.

    ‘‘His parents are away for the weekend.’ ‘I see—while the cat's away.’’
    • ‘He was propping up the bar when she entered the pub, because, as he explained with a wink, ‘Fiona's organizing a charity lunch and, while the cat's away…’.’
    • ‘But when the cat's away, the mice will play and that's exactly what the players will be hoping to do while their big game-breakers are missing.’
    • ‘It's certainly a case of while the cat's away, the mice will play - what they get up to is barely legal!’
    • ‘But, as they say, when the cat's away, the mice will play, and so they did.’
    • ‘His employees decide that while the cat is away the mice will play and their search for adventure quickly develops into farcical madness.’
    • ‘We''ve always enjoyed that restaurant, but you were right in saying when the cat (the owner) is away the mice will play.’
    • ‘It looked like a case of: when the cat's away, the mice will play.’
    • ‘However, it rings true that when the cat's away, the mice will play,’ said Dronkers.’
    • ‘He left last night, straight from work, and as you know, while the cat's away, the mice will play.’