If you type the words “cat” and “cucumber” onto YouTube’s search bar you will find a million different compilations of unsuspecting cats leaping in fear at the sight of a cucumber. These types of videos became viral a few years ago and raised the very important question: why are cats so afraid of something as harmless as a cucumber?
Some believe our feline overlords confuse this green and long vegetable with a snake, which would justify their shock. Snakes are extremely dangerous predators and cats’ instinct could tell them to run and avoid such a threat.
Another theory is that it’s the circumstance in which they are presented with the cucumber that provokes this fearful response. In most of these videos, cats are relaxed and frequently eating out of their bowl when someone silently places the cucumber behind them. When they turn around, they find something they have never seen before suddenly appear behind them. Wouldn’t you be surprised too? Felines have a strong fight or flight response and tend to be scared or at least wary of the unknown. In this case, the cucumber – quiet, unmoving and foreign – could perfectly well represent a danger to our kitties. So, they freak out!
Seeing a cat jump in the air because of a silly cucumber might seem funny, but if we look at it from the cat’s point of view, it’s a bit cruel. Imagine this: you are relaxed at your home, having a nice meal and suddenly something completely unfamiliar sneaks up behind you! You might think it’s just an innocent prank but try explaining that to your cat!
Before you decide to try this little experiment on your kitties, think about their health. They might hurt themselves or break something as they try to flee, and it can really affect their mental health by increasing their stress levels. Cats are extremely susceptible to stress and it can trigger most common behavior problems and some diseases like obesity, diabetes, excessive grooming, cystitis or digestive issues. Intentionally subjecting your pets to this kind of stress can also affect their relationship with you: they might become fearful of you or unable them to feel relaxed in your home. Is that the kind of home you want to provide for your furry babies? Of course, not!
Now that you know all this, we are certain you won’t try to pull any pranks on your innocent kitty. But how about your friends and family? Do they know? Have they tested their pet’s fearlessness? Share this info with them and help cats everywhere have a meal in peace!