Still raining cats and dogs…

This happy runner is slowly losing her happiness.

The rain is driving me crazy!! I am used to at least run for an hour outside every day and then spend some more time walking, making my sunshine intake 2-3 hours most days (more on weekends).

At the moment my sunshine intake is very close to zero.

I have been going to the gym most days now and my tempo training is going well (one good thing with the rain). Today I am going to try a Burn and Firm Cardio exercise on the treadmill out of SHAPE magazine (another good thing: I am trying new workouts). I really should be running 10-12 miles for my San Diego race, but I can’t face that on a treadmill.

I am a fair weather runner. I learned to tolerate the odd drizzle starting during my long runs, but I am not going out there while it’s pouring… or raining “cats and dogs”, which is an expression I learned in school and still – after 16 years of living in countries where English is the native language – I don’t get the expression.

Why is it raining “cats and dogs”? It’s rather cruel, isn’t it? And it’s not like you send your cats and dogs outside. Even they hate the rain after a few days (weeks now).

The German expression (used while I grew up) is “Es regnet Bindfäden.”, which translates to “it’s raining strings”. And when you look out of the window and it is pouring, the rain looks like it’s coming down in strings rather than drops. An expression that makes perfect sense. But cats and dogs?

Seriously, someone explain, please! 🙂

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~ by tatjana.k on April 28, 2012.

6 Responses to “Still raining cats and dogs…”

  1. The rain hasn’t quite reached us yet today – I think we are supposed to get soaked all day tomorrow! Heading out now while we have the chance! My sympathies! Soon be summer – then we’ll be complaining about the heat! 🙂

  2. Rain, rain go away!!! I’ve always wondered about the origins of the raining cats and dogs!

  3. Sorry it is still raining!! I have actually begun to enjoy rain runs 🙂 I’ve done 12 on a treadmill and it was no fun! Hang in there!! The sun will be back soon 🙂 and – your question about the phrase “raining cats and dogs” is a great one! As someone who grew up speaking English, it never made sense to me, either 🙂 now I have to look that up….

  4. I strongly dislike running in the rain as well. I’m a wimp – I just don’t like being wet, and my glasses get covered in water and I can’t wipe them off and I can’t see. Wearing a hat does nothing to help, either. So, you’re not alone – given the choice, I’ll almost never run outside if it’s even so much as sprinkling.

    I can answer your query about ‘raining cats and dogs’ – one of my favorite columnists for a paper over here just answered this question, actually, in a sort-of column! According to him (warning: maybe don’t be eating anything when you read this):

    “It turns out that the phrase probably arose in 17th and 18th century London, and it involved poor sanitation. London back then was a filthy place. People died left and right of dread diseases with comical names, like “St. Vitus’ Dance” or “consumption” or “dropsy.” They would have “fits of apoplexy.” They would succumb to “grocer’s itch.” They would be afflicted with “scrofula.” Their lives were awful, or, as Thomas Hobbes famously wrote — “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.” If it was that way for people, imagine what it was like for animals. Stray dogs and cats prowled the streets, surviving by their wits, eating, among other things, diseased rats. Dogs and cats tended to die early and often.

    This is from an unsigned online essay about Olde London:

    An amazing variety of filth slopped down London’s cobblestone streets. Along with dirt, dust and animal manure, there was the ever-falling London rain to add to the mess. Cesspools of human waste collected in puddles everywhere. Dead animals (dogs, cats, rodents, even horses) were left to decay in the streets. In darker corners of the city, an occasional human corpse might even be found. To add to all this, horse-drawn carriages with heavy metal wheels often splashed through puddles, slopping the street’s putrid muck all over strolling pedestrians

    And when it rained heavily in London of the 17th and 18th centuries, it often rained hard — huge gullywashers that would quickly overcome the meager capacities of the storm sewers. Streets would flood, and atop the flood would float all the detritus of the city, most notably the gassy, bloated corpses of cats and dogs, which would rise to the top.

    Life is horror. Humor and irony are one of the greatest tools we have to deal with that disturbing fact. So it is that some wit noted these corpses and created the meme that they had rained from the sky. The wit may or may not have been Jonathan Swift, but it is indisputable that Swift made it stick. In a 1710 poem “Description of a City Shower,” he writes:

    “I know Sir John will go, though he was sure it would rain cats and dogs”.

    In a Complete Collection of Polite and Ingenious Conversation, Swift forever cemented the meme: “I know Sir John will go, though he was sure it would rain cats and dogs”.”

    So, there you have it! 🙂

    • Thank you for the explanation. It makes perfect sense now and I am glad that the city got a little cleaner. 🙂 Rainwater is still collecting in unsightly and sometimes smelly puddles, but I am glad to report that no dead cats nor dogs nor corpses are afloat.

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