RMW: the blog

Roslyn's photography, art, cats, exploring, writing, life

Feline Friday – #54 – it’s raining cats and dogs


Frankie in the rain

It’s raining in Los Angeles! Everybody’s freaking out! Not just the humans…

Hey, Frankie, it isn’t raining in the bedroom… but Frankie is taking no chances. After all, it’s raining cats and dogs out there.


So I was wondering what is the origin of the phrase “it’s raining cats and dogs?”

According to Everyday Mysteries, Fun Science Facts from the Library of Congress: https://www.loc.gov/rr/scitech/mysteries/rainingcats.html

The first recorded use of a phrase similar to “raining cats and dogs” was in the 1651 collection of poems Olor Iscanus. British poet Henry Vaughan referred to a roof that was secure against “dogs and cats rained in shower.” One year later, Richard Brome, an English playwright, wrote in his comedy City Witt, “It shall rain dogs and polecats.” (Polecats are related to the weasel and were common in Great Britain through the end of the nineteenth century.)

In 1738, Jonathan Swift published his “Complete Collection of Genteel and Ingenious Conversation,” a satire on the conversations of the upper classes. One of his characters fears that it will “rain cats and dogs.”  Whether Swift coined the phrase or was using a cliché, his satire was likely the beginning of the phrase’s popularity.  Other British writers have employed less popular phrases, such as “it’s raining pitchforks” or “it’s raining stair-rods,” to describe the shaft-like appearance of heavy rains. But Swift’s phrase may have been memorable enough to stick in the mind of the public.

Swift also wrote a poem, “City Shower” (1710), that described floods that occurred after heavy rains.  The floods left dead animals in the streets, and  may have led locals to describe the weather as “raining cats and dogs.”

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Author: RMW

I am an explorer and creative person. I've had many jobs, careers and interests... everything in life and the universe fascinates me. Born in Brighton, England, I've lived my entire adult life in Los Angeles, California. A few years ago I rediscovered photography which is a great excuse to get outside and look. I'm also in the process of re-writing some of my unpublished short stories and possibly a novel. .

11 thoughts on “Feline Friday – #54 – it’s raining cats and dogs

  1. It’s raining here too, Roslyn…but, it’s supposed to be snow. Enjoy the rain!


  2. Rain is always good for us in southern spain. We must have water for when we get the hot and dry summer. Not sure when I’m in the UK some places have too much! I suppose if pigs could fly it might really rain cats and dogs! We do have some strange expressions!


    • Today we have sun but hopefully more rain next week… we are in a seven-year drought and not out yet. One year when I visited England it seemed like it rained every single day for an entire month… you just have to deal with it! When I visited southern Spain (Andalucia) it was very very hot and we came back to London where it was grey and raining… nothing is perfect! But I adored Andalucia anyway… great memories!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Glad you enjoyed the Andalucian brightness. Hope you do come out of the drought. Water sources were our first worry here but we are on the north side of the Sierra and do get plenty of rain. Bit depressing sometimes when you’re British but water is key to everything!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I always wondered about that expression!


  4. Interesting history! And Frankie is wise in not taking any chances 🙂


  5. A good raincoat, but probably not the best place to play unsupervised!!!


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