Being a cat owner is an experience that comes with countless adorable moments, but there are a few head-scratching ones too that we are still trying to decipher. In this article, we’re looking at cats and cucumbers and why people shouldn’t get involved with the craze of these online videos.
Our intuition helps us figure out some of the weird likes and dislikes of our feline friends, such as why cats like to sleep so much or why cats adore boxes. But why are cats scared of cucumbers? This seems to be one of the most baffling reactions of all. If you’ve seen videos of cats scared out of their skin by a humble cucumber, no doubt you’ve got questions. But before we dive into the answers, it’s important to understand how a cat’s fear response works.
Why are cats afraid?
Our lovely felines tend to be independent creatures. They don’t have much use for living in a pack, as there is no partner when hunting and even to this day, they enjoy time by themselves. When you live life like a ‘lone wolf’, you’re naturally more on guard as you don’t have any team-mates to share the responsibility of look-out.
This is precisely why cats are more careful and pay more attention to changes in their environment than some pack-animals. Cats are hypervigilant beings, having a flight-or-fight response in the same way we do. The jump scare is not just something humans experience (and horror filmmakers aim for), it’s also a natural reaction that can happen to our pets too.
However, this doesn’t mean that cats are made only for a solitary life. Some of them love company, especially if they’ve been socialised from an early age. Although keep in mind that you should have plenty of resources such as water and food bowls in a multi-pet household so that finickity felines don’t get stressed out by sharing.
It’s also important to know that fearful behaviour in cats can cross the line into anxiety. So, if you notice changes in your pet’s appetite or mood, excessive vocalisation, or them following you around the house more often than usual, it’s best to talk to your vet about cat anxiety and how to help your furry friend feel more relaxed. As well as ensuring they have access to food and drink without competition, there are plenty of other things you can do to make sure they have some quiet space to unwind such as opting for some cat trees for a high-up perch or getting a cosey iglu-style cat bed that feels nice and secure.
Why are cats afraid of cucumbers?
Cats react because cucumbers look like snakes
The mystery of why cats hate cucumbers is normally explained by the natural fear cats have towards snakes. To a feline’s eyes a cucumber can look similar enough to the pesky reptile to elicit their fear response and make them jump a few feet in the air to avoid being bitten. We might find the reaction funny, but it’s actually a fascinating response, honed by millions of years of evolution that has kept their ancestors safe from snakes and other similar predators.
But some experts claim that cats don’t actually have a natural fear of snakes. Some felines are even known to hunt them. So, could there be a different explanation for why cats are afraid of cucumbers?
Cats are surprised by the sudden appearance of vegetable
Another possible explanation could be that cats don’t hate cucumbers and their reaction is not related to the vegetable itself, but to the fact that it ‘managed’ to sneak behind them. The cat versus cucumber videos show owners placing the cucumber behind their cat without them noticing. The sudden appearance of an object is enough to scare anyone out of their mind, cats included. So, it could be just a case of pets being alarmed by an unexpected occurrence rather than a personal vendetta with the green vegetable.
Why you should never scare your cat with a cucumber (or anything else)?
Shocking and startling your cat is no fun for them, no matter how adorable their reaction is. Plus, cats could develop fear and distrust towards you and even other humans, having a negative impact on the important pet-owner bond. Stressed cats can even be more prone to developing health conditions such as urinary tract disease. And remember anxiety is a condition that can affect pets too, so make sure you’re not triggering it by playing tricks on your cat, with or without a cucumber.
Something else that seems to rub cats the wrong way is water getting near their fur. Find out why this liquid has them spooked with our article about cats and water, next.