Here at the Umbrella Shop, we love all things rain. We like big sloppy drops. We love that pelting down type that nearly hurts your skin. We can’t get enough of a slow, persistent drizzle. And over the years, we’ve heard our customers calling rain countless different things, which is natural when we see so very much of it.

But the one catchphrase for rain that we hear the most often is that it’s “Raining Cats and Dogs.” And there are lots of different potential origins for this term, so we thought we’d look at a few of them more closely.

The term “raining cats and dogs” was first used in the 1600s in a book, and then it caught on! Even famous author Jonathan Swift used the term in one of his literary tomes. In fact, Swift is one of the potential originators of the term…he wrote a poem titled “City Shower,” which described how after heavy rains that resulted in flooding, dead street animals, usually cats and dogs, would flow through the streets. Not exactly a nice image, is it?

Another idea is that “raining cats and dogs” stems from Norse mythology. Norse god of storms, Odin, seemed to keep a lot of company with dogs and cats, and witches perpetuated the black cats that would fall from the sky. Hmm. We think this concept sounds a little more dubious.

Or what about old England? There’s another idea that “raining cats and dogs” comes from the origins of thatched roofs. We’ve all seen them—roofs that appear to be made of tightly packed straw. Apparently cats and dogs liked to nestle themselves into the roof material since it was nice, warm, and dry. And then when it rained heavily, those pets would slip right from the roof. This seems plausible enough.

So what do you think? Where did the term come from? One thing’s for sure…the next time it rains cats and dogs, come get an umbrella. Heck, we even have ones with doggy prints!