This is a proverbial expression that conveys the idea that revealing a secret or sharing confidential information is much simpler and more effortless than trying to undo or reverse the consequences of that disclosure.
The phrase uses the metaphor of a cat in a bag. When the cat is inside the bag, it is concealed and contained. Releasing the cat from the bag represents divulging a secret or letting confidential information become known. Once the secret is out, it is challenging or impossible to retract or undo the effects of that revelation, just as it would be difficult to put a cat back into a bag once it has been set free.
In a broader sense, the saying serves as a cautionary reminder about the potential repercussions of sharing sensitive or confidential information. It highlights the importance of discretion and being mindful of the consequences that may arise from disclosing secrets or private matters. Once secrets are revealed, the damage or impact caused by that disclosure can be extensive and irreversible.
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