August 10, 2017
Cat videos have always been extraordinarily popular on YouTube, but more recently pet owners have captured a newer phenomenon: cats freaking out at cucumbers.
In these videos, cat owners will sneak up on their pets while they’re eating, placing a cucumber behind them.
Once the cats finish eating and turn around, they’re faced with the cucumber and react by jumping and getting around them to run away.
But why exactly does this behavior occur?
Cats Are Always on the Alert
As natural predators to the end, even the laziest cats are constantly aware of their surroundings and on the hunt for prey.
Their survival instinct makes them fearful of everything from flashing lights to noisy cat toys. Unfamiliar objects appearing at random near them can easily startle them.
Mistaking Cucumbers for Snakes?
While it may not be the cucumber itself that frightens the cat, it’s the overall change in environment that can evoke a scared reaction.
If something has silently sneaked into the environment in their presence, the cat could easily mistake the cucumber for a predator preparing to attack.
Cucumbers are long and green, which can cause cats to think a snake has crept up behind them.
Is It Cruel to Scare a Cat with a Cucumber?
It may be tempting to try scaring your feline friend with a cucumber based on the perceivably funny reactions you’re likely to get, but in reality this could be relatively cruel to your cat.
Tricking your cat into thinking a dangerous animal has snuck up behind him or her can cause traumatic stress, and doing this repeatedly could even lead to more aggressive or other troubling behavior, or even result in PTSD in some cases.
Cats can also hurt themselves when attempting to maneuver around the cucumber, jumping into nearby counters or other objects resulting in injury, or they may break valuable items nearby.
However, if you have completely lost your mind and want your cat to become familiar with an inanimate cucumber as a lifelong companion, it’s better if you introduce the cucumber to them directly rather than have it sneak up behind them, as they’ll likely never get along if the latter keeps happening.
Try to Resist the Urge to Leave a “Cucumber Surprise” for Your Cat
Even if you simply want to present a cucumber as a surprise gift for a cat—which would be odd considering there’s nothing of interest in them for a felines—you would do well to avoid piquing their stress and instead piquing their curiosity.
And while the cucumber ultimately will never hurt the cat, the cat will likely have the same reaction over and over each time it’s presented as a surprise.
One way to see this differently is to imagine someone constantly dropping a fake spider on you when you have arachnophobia.
It wouldn’t be so funny, and while you may not fall for it eventually, a cat won’t likely ever learn that it’s just a prank.
So, please avoid doing the cucumber trick to your cat, as it does more harm than good.