I Listened to a podcast, in which the speaker attempted to explain what тренироваться на кошечках means and how it's used, yet I failed to grasp the meaning. Can someone explain?


2 Answers 2


Means "to train on a dummy" or "to practice the skills on a much simpler case".

Having been born back in the USSR and still being widely used by all generations, except may be the very old, it's quite a resilient meme from a film called "Операция Ы". Here's the scene where it's used: link.

It can be employed quite liberally in all sorts of conversations -- you can have a dialogue that goes like this:

-- Давай поднимемся на Эверест?

-- Может, сначала потренируемся на кошечках и покорим Эльбрус?

  • 4
    Aha! This is what we call a "dry run": A: Hey, let's go climb Mt. Everest! B: Maybe we should do a dry run and conquer Elbrus first?
    – CocoPop
    Commented Dec 4, 2018 at 21:24
  • This dialog is impossible in real life but you could meet such constructed phrases in graphomaniac style writings where authors want to show theirs "sense of humor". Commented Dec 16, 2018 at 0:49
  • @RomanPokrovskij Disagreed. If you google real-life examples how this phrase is used today -- in blogs, facebook posts, etc., i.e. in modern colloquial speech -- you'll find out that nothing stops someone from using the phrase in a dialogue that I made up. The dialogue is in a sense hyperbolic -- I don't really expect anyone to use the phrase with respect to things like Everest and Elbrus. But it's hyperbolic on purpose -- I wanted to show that there are virtually no boundaries as to how this phrase can be employed when one wants to refer to an easier situation.
    – user75619
    Commented Dec 16, 2018 at 15:20
  • in blogs, facebook posts - it is exactly a perfects samples of " graphomaniac style writings " Commented Dec 16, 2018 at 15:24
  • @RomanPokrovskij Well, it's modern colloquial speech... If people write like this, one should expect them to talk like this too. I think....
    – user75619
    Commented Dec 16, 2018 at 15:32

The only useful form in spoken language is direct movie citation: "тренеруйся на кошках".

Source is this movie, this episode: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s9aJqeeNVBQ

When this phrase could have a meaning "to train on a dummy" in real life dialog it is always a joke and almost never used for something else then friendly bulling: "you have no skill, find other fool :P".

Also to hear it you should directly trigger word "тренироваться": "я тренирую..", "я собираюсь тренивать.." .

E.g. playing chess with a friend, if you would comment you first moves: "this time I'm going train my King's Gambit" you would get back "тренируйся (лучше) на кошках" probably nine times out of ten.

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