Prognosticating cat nothing to sneeze at
WEATHER BY DAY
Do you share your home with a cat?
We do, and some days, it's quite an adventure. Now that Dougal is a senior cat, he feels entitled — like some people, I suppose. He meows incessantly when he is hungry and must be fed immediately. If he spots a few birds in the backyard, we are expected to drop everything and open the door for his highness.
It might sound like I’m complaining, but I love our big tabby. I was always more of a dog person, but since I trained Dougal to sit for his treats and come when he’s called, I’m OK with this cat.
I grew up on a farm, surrounded by animals. We had chickens and roosters, cats and dogs, a pony and lots of cows, calves and heifers. Grandma loved them all, except maybe the cats — she tolerated the cats. One day, I asked grandma what she had against cats. She said: "they are mysterious."
When you look back, it’s easy to find many old superstitions surrounding cats and their ways, and many of those have a weather connection.
In Britain, it was believed that rain was likely if a cat busily washed its ears.
In Holland, cats could predict the wind by clawing at carpets and curtains.
In early America, if a cat sat with its back to the fire, there was a cold snap coming. If it slept with all four paws tucked under, bad weather was on the way.
Sailors were particularly superstitious and spent a lot of time watching the ship’s cat. If the cat licked its fur against the grain, it meant a hailstorm was coming. If it sneezed, rain was on the way, and if it was frisky, the wind would soon blow.
Some sailors believed cats could start storms through magic, so they always made sure the cats were content. I have a sneaking suspicion that Dougal and most other felines play that card as often as they can.
Have you noticed animals behaving a little differently when there’s a change coming in the weather? I’d love to hear about your dog, cat, hamster, or birds and how they help you get ready for what's in store.
You can email your observations to weathermail@ weatherbyday.ca.
Cindy Day is the chief meteorologist for Saltwire Network.