Can It Really Rain Cats and Dogs?


When somebody tells you, it’s raining cats and dogs, of course it does not mean cats and dogs are literally falling from the sky. You don’t have to panic. It just basically means it’s raining very hard (you might step on a poodle!). Though raining cats and dogs is an odd thing to imagine, what do you think is the history is of this idiomatic expression? Can it really rain cats and dogs?

One possible origin of this idiomatic expression could be about the flood which occurred during the Middle Ages causing the streets of England to be filled with corpses of stray cats and dogs. Another speculation was animals crawl into the thatch of the houses in the 16th century and they fall whenever a heavy rain occurs. However, these are just some assumptions and there is no proven etymology for this idiomatic expression yet.

On the other hand, there were cases of animals falling from the sky during severe storms. While there is no documented case of raining cats and dogs, there is, however, a rare meteorological phenomenon where the result was raining fish and frogs. There are several instances of this phenomenon and it has happened in different countries like India, Japan, Hungary, and Argentina. In fact, it is not limited on fish and frogs. In some countries, it has also rained worms, jellyfish, and spiders (yikes!). Here are some of the recorded instances where it rained animals.

  • In October 23, 1947, a biologist named Bajkov was eating breakfast with his wife in Louisiana when the waitress suddenly told them that it was raining fish outside. There was at least one fish per square yard and some vehicles ran over them. There were also fish that fell on the roofs of some houses. It’s must’ve felt weird to wake up with a lot of fish on your yard.
  • In June 7, 2005, it rained thousands of frogs on a small town in Serbia called Odzaci. However, a climatologist named Slavisa Ignjatovic claimed it was not an unusual event because the strong winds could’ve carried the frogs. Well, raining thousands of frogs is still bizarre for most people!
  • On February 2010, residents from a small Australian town called Lajamanu witnessed about a hundred fish falling from the sky.

There is no clear understanding on how this happens but a suggested hypothesis states that strong winds such as tornadoes or waterspouts suck these creatures out of their natural habitat and carry them to dry land. A waterspout is a tornado that forms over land and moves over water. Some have seen a tornado suck up an entire small pond.  That would seem to lead to the possibility that fish, frogs, or other living things could rain from the sky.

Though waterspouts are the most commonly accepted explanation for this phenomenon, other scientists proposed a theory that ay powerful updraft, or an upward current of air, can lift small animals to the sky throughout a storm.

There’s another weird mystery about raining animals. Though tornadoes and storms are acceptable explanations, some are wondering why there is only one species involved whenever this phenomenon occurs. It’s either raining fish or frogs, but it never been reported to rain fish and frogs at the same time. This is something to think about since fish and frogs certainly can be in the bodies of water at the same time and could get carried up by tornadoes or strong winds together. But how come its never rained fish and frogs at the same time?

Some also find it hard to believe the theory of waterspouts because no one has seen it happened yet. People only saw the animals falling from the sky, but they haven’t seen them being carried by a tornado. Of course it’s dangerous to observe a tornado just to prove that waterspouts do suck some animals out of their habitats. So we can conclude that its unlikely to ever rain cats and dogs, but raining frogs, fish, and other small animals is possible.

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