You may have seen a variety of funny videos on TikTok or YouTube that feature cats being teased with cucumbers. You laugh as you watch cats running from the cucumbers as though their lives are in significant danger. You wonder to yourself why cats basically become unglued when they see a cucumber. and question if there is a scientific explanation for the behavior.
Cat is fearful of cucumbers because they thought they are snakes or can be startled and scared if you sneak up from behind with the cucumber
What may shock you is that the experts have a variety of explanations as to why cats are so afraid of cucumbers. Once you learn what the reasons are, you will no longer believe that the cats and cucumbers video or cat scared of cucumber gif you stumble across are funny anymore.
Cats Think Cucumbers Are Snakes
Cats are hard wired to fear snakes. The fear of snakes is protection to cats because this fear helps cats to avoid getting bitten and losing their lives.[Source] If cats see a snake, or anything that remotely resembles a snake, they will jump high into the air to avoid the danger.
To a cat, a cucumber looks like a snake. Cucumbers are slippery in the same way snakes are, and they have the same shape. Because of this, cats will avoid cucumbers like the plague.
What Does A Cucumber Do To A Cat?
Just think about how you feel when someone unexpectedly sneaks up from behind you. You feel startled because you are not expecting someone to suddenly be there, and it is even more frightening when someone abruptly appears behind you because you are not able to see that person coming. Cats are no different than we are in that way.
When you sneak up on a cat, this causes a startle response. Cats may react in several ways when they are startled. When cats become startled, they will cry out, run or jump high into the air.
If someone sneaks up from behind a cat with cucumber, this will trigger the cats startle response. The cat will be scared because of being startled, and the fear will be compounded by the fact that the cucumber looks like a snake in the eyes of a cat.
Why Are Cats Scared Of Cucumbers And Bananas?
According to Mental Floss, besides cucumbers, cats fear many types of fruits and vegetables including bananas when they suddenly appear from behind.
They are especially fearful when they are startled during an activity, such as eating. It is not so much that cats are terrified of all fruits and vegetables because not all fruits and vegetables resemble snakes.
Cats are just fearful of being startled in general, especially if they are distracted during an activity.
Cats need to feel safe while they are eating. The last thing you want to do is pair an essential activity, such as eating, with a fear response. If you pair eating with negative associations, you will have much bigger problems on your hands.
Why Cats and Cucumbers Videos Are Not Funny
You may think that there is no harm if a cat gets a bit startled. You may reason with yourself that your cat is not in any danger, so scaring your cat a little is no big deal. The fact of the matter is, scaring your cat with cucumbers or any other objects is cruel and inhumane for a variety of reasons.
Scaring Cats for entertainment Causes Panic
When you scare cats with cucumbers or startle them by sneaking up behind them with various objects, you cause your cat to panic. When a cat panics, this puts their nervous system into overdrive as they are now contending with a stress response. Subjecting your cat to stress for entertainment is not good for either their mental or physical health.
Also, when a cat panics, there is a chance something else bad will follow. When trying to escape what is causing fear, cats will run and jump wildly, putting them at risk of injuring themselves.
Just think of how horrible it will be if a cat runs and jumps, ends up knocking the glass over, and then incurs a severe injury that causes an emergency trip to the animal hospital.
Depending on how bad the injury is, your cat may need serious medical attention that requires a lengthy hospital stay. Not to mention, you can end up being saddled with a huge hospital bill. And just think, all of this can be avoided by not following a viral craze.
Scaring Cats for Fun Can Cause Your Cat to Experience Chronic Stress
National Geographic states that when people scare their cats for fun, there is a good chance that the cat will experience chronic stress. What this means is that the cat will continue to feel stress long-term, even after the scary event has long since passed. These cats remain in a state of hyper vigilance, like how a war veteran does after the battle has ended.
Because these cats remain in a state of hyper vigilance, they can never relax. When they are under constant stress, this can cause other health problems to develop later, such as heart disease.
Chronic stress can also cause your cat to develop behavior problems. Some of the behavior problems your cat can develop because of chronic stress are:
- Withdrawing and resorting to hiding more.
- Showing increased aggression towards other cats and people.
- Urinating and defecating outside of the litter box.
- A heightened startle response.
- Becoming clingy to their humans.
- Excessive grooming.
- Scratching on surfaces is more than the norm.
- Engaging in Destructive behaviors.
- Losing interest in activities that were once enjoyable.
- Engaging in repetitive behaviors.
Chronic stress is difficult to cure. Sure, you can try to work with your cat and use positive associations to demonstrate he or she has nothing to fear, and that sometimes works. But often, damage is permanent, and these cats sometimes need medication lifelong to deal with their anxieties.
So, the next time that you come across a cats and cucumbers video or a cat scared of cucumber gif and feel tempted to scare your cat with a cucumber for fun, avoid the temptation.
It is not worth it to cause your cat to be fearful for entertainment and potentially create long-term issues. Now is not the time to follow the crowd.