The climate’s been so inconsistent lately—random winter storms, polar vortexes—maybe you should stop listening to science for weather reports and go back to the only source you can really trust: your cat.
That’s the suggestion of H.H.C. Dunwoody, an Army first lieutenant who suggested in 1883 that rather than putting our faith in meteorologists who can’t predict the weather “for a longer period than two or three days, and frequently not longer than twenty-four hours,” we should follow the wisdom of animals.
In his book Weather Proverbs, unearthed by NPR, Dunwoody documents a long list of widely-held folk beliefs about weather predictions, including signals from bears, foxes, and goats, but he particularly focuses on cats. Here’s what you should look for.
- When cats sneeze it is a sign of rain.
- The cardinal point to which a cat turns and washes her face after rain shows the directing from which the wind will blow.
- When cats are snoring foul weather follows.
- It is a sign of rain if the cat washes her head behind her ear.
- When cats lie on their head with mouth turned up [on their back] expect a storm.
- When a cat washes her face with her back to the fire expect a thaw in winter.
Apparently too many cats have been snoring, and not enough are washing their faces while turned away from the fire. Cat owners, get to it, and we just might survive this winter yet.