Put a little elbow sweat into it

The speaker’s daughter was brushing the cat very lightly.  Wanting to get more fur off since the cat was shedding, the speaker uttered this nice malaphor.  It is a congruent conflation of “elbow grease” and “break a sweat”, both meaning to put forth a large effort or amount of energy to complete a task.  “Work up a sweat” might also be in the mix as it also means to exert a lot of energy to complete a task.  This one reminds me of one of my favorites: “Let’s roll up our elbows and get to work”. https://malaphors.com/2012/07/30/lets-roll-up-our-elbows-and-get-to-work/

A tip of the hat to John Kooser who realized he had uttered the malaphor, and then promptly sent it in.