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In these lines, Eliot indirectly compares the fog that covers the streets at night to a cat; it is an indirect comparison because he never directly states the word cat. However, if you look close at the details and put them all together like a puzzle, the clues are pretty clear. For example, he uses the following words and phrases to describe the fog: "rubs its back upon the window-panes," "rubs its muzzle," "licked its tongue," "slipped by," "made a sudden leap," and "curled once about the house, and fell asleep." All of these details, put together, paint a pretty clear picture of cats. They rub their backs and muzzles on things, slip by as they walk, and before going to sleep, often do a circle or two before settling in.
So, the fog is compared to a cat, using detailed word-choices and clues. It is a unique and apt description, one that gives the fog a clear personality and life to it, instead of having it be an inanimate object. I hope that helped; good luck!
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