We’ve all seen one of those viral videos when someone puts a cucumber behind a distracted cat, they turn around and then go absolutely nuts when they see it.
They either jump a couple of feet in the air, scramble away in a panic, or attack with full fury.
While this can be super amusing and fun to watch, it does raise the question – why are cats afraid of cucumbers?
Let’s take a closer look at the relationship between cucumbers and one of our favorite species of pet.
Are Cats Afraid Of Cucumbers?
There have been so many videos on the internet now that it’s pretty true to say that cats are scared of cucumbers.
Of course, not all cats are afraid of them – we’re sure you can also find plenty of videos where the cat turns around and just stares at the cucumber unimpressed.
In fact, cucumbers are actually safe for your pet cats to eat. Although they may not be as appetizing or nutritious as meat, cats are able to eat them due to their high water content.
This means you can find a lot of pictures online of cats safely snacking on a cucumber. So, it’s safe to say that not all cats are afraid of cucumbers.
However, a lot of cats do react in fear when they spot a cucumber so close by – so why is that?
Why Are Cats Afraid Of Cucumbers?
The first reason why cats may be afraid of a cucumber is because they are just simply surprised to turn around and see one right behind them.
These viral videos often take place when the cat is distracted such as when they are in the middle of eating or grooming.
The cats do not hear their owner place the cucumber behind them and then when they turn around, they jump in surprise.
So really, this reaction could just be a normal act of surprise that is a sign of some vendetta against cucumbers.
Because – be honest – if you were to turn around and see a cucumber on the floor right behind you, wouldn’t you jump and wonder how it got there?
In these viral videos, the general reactions of the cats involved include jumping up, hissing, freezing, yelping, and their fur standing on edge.
These are all common signs of fear and anxiety, but also of surprise – if you were to swap out the cucumber with something else like a tomato or potato, perhaps the cat would react in the same way.
However, pure basic surprise might not just be the only reason why cats react so fiercely to cucumbers.
The American Association of Feline Practitioners have said that a cat may be on the defensive because they are not used to the smell of cucumber.
It’s no secret that a cat’s sense of smell is way sharper than humans so if a cat is not familiar with how cucumber’s smell, they could be more on guard and alert when around cucumbers because the smell is strange to them.
This may be another reason why cats are so spooked when they see a cucumber – because they don’t know what it is and see it as a potential threat.
Some people have noted how similar a cucumber is in color and length to a snake – so cats may mistake a cucumber for a potentially dangerous predator at first glance.
This could be why cats run away – their flight or fight response kicks in because they have mistaken the cucumber for a snake trying to creep up on them.
They run (or stand and act aggressively) because they think they might be about to be attacked or eaten.
Sometimes, a cat will realize straight after they jump that the cucumber is not a predator or threat but others will continue to be wary and aggressive when around a cucumber.
Should I Scare My Cat With A Cucumber?
While it can be entertaining seeing your cat react with such drama over something as harmless as a cucumber, it is not so entertaining for the cat in question.
Scaring your cat unnecessarily can cause stress and anxiety, especially if your cat is already very skittish. They may start trembling or acting out in aggression that is uncharacteristic for them.
Serious stress can also lead to more medical issues such as vomiting, hair loss, and diarrhea.
Also, cats are not willing to stay at home and stick around the things that stresses them. If they think that there is a threat in their home and they choose to run, they may find an escape route out of your house.
Cats that venture outdoors are put at serious risk of injury or death, plus they may end up completely lost and never find their way home again.
A cat might also seriously hurt themselves in the panic that comes with mistaking a cucumber for a threat. All that jumping around and running away may cause them to hurt themselves.
So, although these viral videos are amusing to watch, we would not recommend that you try the trend out for yourself. You could seriously harm your cat physically or emotionally by purposefully scaring them.
It’s better to not force or trick your cat to be anywhere near something it is not comfortable with as this can cause them to panic and feel stressed, resulting in multiple other medical side effects.
So – are cats afraid of cucumbers?
In most cases, only momentarily. A cat jumping in surprise at a cucumber is just that – surprise. They weren’t expecting something to be right behind them when they turned around so they just jumped.
You would react the same way if you turned around and someone unexpected was standing right behind you.
However, some cats may mistake a cucumber for a threat or predator. This is because they may be unfamiliar with their scent and thus put on their guard, while others may think a cucumber is a snake due to their similarities in appearance.
This is not confirmed, but it is a logical explanation why cats can react so violently to a cucumber.
Although watching your cats’ reaction to a cucumber can be entertaining, it’s certainly not recommended you do this. Not only can your cat seriously harm themselves while reacting, they could learn to distrust you and run away from home.
So, treat your cats with respect and don’t try to purposely scare them with a cucumber – you may only regret it afterwards.