Raining Cats and Dogs – Common Sayings
A torrential rain. As in, “It’s raining cats and dogs.”
Most say it came from …
In the 1500s human beings had the pleasure of living in homes with thatched roofs. In these strange times, humans for some reason didn’t want their pets shitting in their homes and so they were always kept outside. The animals would keep themselves warm in the little nooks in the thatching on the roofs and store their food and porno up there for a rainy day.
When an especially rainy day did come along, the animals would either get washed off of the roof or would come leaping down looking for better cover. The story goes that the townsfolk would look out their window, see pets falling from the sky, and proclaim it to be “raining cats and dogs.” Then they would probably burn a witch or something.
So is that true?
Apparently the saying didn’t come about until the 17th century, not the 16th. So, we’ll just move on and call this a complete lie.
Unfortunately there are so many suggested origins of this one that it’s hard to tell if any of them are more than legends mutated by time and people who like to lie. One story says 17th century sewage systems (if the town even had one) were prone to massive flooding, washing out dead dogs and cats that had fallen in. This would leave some to believe that dead animals were literally falling from the sky. Why the sight of a dead animal on the ground would cause anyone to assume it fell from the heavens, as opposed to just falling over dead the normal way, is anyone’s guess.
Others claim it goes all the way back to Norse mythology (the storm god Odin had two hounds). Still others say it has to do with the freak occurrence of frogs or fish falling from the sky (after being swept up by storms and flung miles away) and that the saying “it’s raining cats and dogs” is just a way to say it’s raining even harder than the time it rained fish. Still it seems like a catchier idiom would have been, “It’s raining bears!” or “It’s raining human babies! Quick, catch the babies!” followed by frenetic screaming.
Anyway, there’s no hard and fast proof for any of them so take your pick.
A lot of the English language seems to have been developed as some kind of elaborate practical joke. It’s full of little sayings and idioms that on their face make no sense at all, and if traced back to their origins are downright horrifying.