cat ice n [Engl colloq or dial; EDD (at cat sb.1 1.) “ice from under which the water has receded; very thin ice”] chiefly Nth
A thin layer of ice; see quots.
1902 Earle Old Time Gardens 453 cMA, “Cat-ice,” too, is a good old New England word and thing; it is the thin layer of brittle ice formed over puddles, from under which the water has afterward receded. If there lives a New Englander too old or too hurried to rejoice in stepping upon and crackling the first “cat-ice” on a late autumn morning, then he is a man; for no New England girl, a century old, could be thus indifferent. 1916 St. Charles Daily Cosmos–Monitor (MO) 14 Dec 1/6, The “cat ice” floating on the river makes navigation almost impossible even now and it is getting worse all the time. 1950 WELS (The first thin ice that forms on a pond) 1 Inf, cwWI, Cat ice [forms] in depressions in fields, edges of pools—just like glass; looks like the eye of a cat, with bubbles in the ice; or a cat would break it stepping on it. 1955 U.S. Arctic Info. Center Gloss., Cat-ice. . . Thin ice formed before underlying water receded. 1967–69 DARE (Qu. B33a, The first thin ice) Infs PA200, WY4, Cat ice. 1979 UpCountry Feb 26 ME, The bay was crested with whitecaps and cat-ice covered the puddles.