What does cat’ mean in this context?

The man sitting in the iron seat did not look like a man; gloved,
goggled, rubber dust mask over nose and mouth, he was a part of the
monster, a robot in the seat. The thunder of the cylinders sounded
through the country, became one with the air and the earth, so that
earth and air muttered in sympathetic vibration. The driver could not
control it-straight across country it went, cutting through a dozen
farms and straight back. A twitch at the controls could swerve the
cat’, but the driver’s hands could not twitch because the monster that built the tractors, the monster that sent the tractor out, had
somehow got into the driver’s hands, into his brain and muscle, had
goggled him and muzzled him-goggled his mind, muzzled his speech,
goggled his perception, muzzled his protest.
(John Steinbeck, The
Grapes of Wrath)

What is cat’? Is it displaying a certain pronunciation for cat or does it mean something else?


It refers to the tractor:

The Free Dictionary:

6) cat – a large tracked vehicle that is propelled by two endless metal belts; frequently used for moving earth in construction and farm work

The most famous tractor company in the world is Caterpillar Tractor, known as “cat” for short, which is why the term is sometimes used to mean “tractor.”

Source : Link , Question Author : Listenever , Answer Author : Persian Cat

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