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 Dunwoody documents a long list of widely-held folk beliefs about weather predictions particularly focusing 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.