Video posters are making a pretty penny on the internet sharing clips of their felines seemingly terrified of a cucumber. The most common videos show the pet's owners sneaking behind their beloved pets armed with a cucumber. When the cucumber gets into the cat's field of view, they literally dash off, jump up into the air, and seem genuinely terrified of the vegetable. The question is ‘why do they react this way?’.
Understanding feline behavior
It has long been thought that as cats are so small, this is what makes them seem so innocent, but the presents they occasionally bring back for us show otherwise. The dead and injured animals they bring to our door show the predatory behavior that seems more like that of their relative the lion. Their play is often laced with predatory traits including being fearful of items that move quickly, toys that make noises and objects they’re not expecting coming into view. As a predator, for self-preservation they naturally become startled should they encounter something they haven’t been in contact with before as part of the fight and flight reflex.
What is it that makes cats frightened of cucumbers?
Although cats seem to be frightened by the vegetable, it’s not the vegetable itself that causes your cat to jump. The reason they seem so fearful is the fact that they have been crept up upon with an object they don’t recognize. Cats are naturally alert and aware of their environment, so if they are caught off guard with something, they automatically panic. They feel the fear as much as we would if we were to turn around and notice a snake that wasn’t there seconds ago. The response to run away from the cucumber is because they don't recognize the cucumber as a familiar object.
Is it safe to scare cats this way?
Although scaring your cat with a vegetable may be tempting for giggles, likes, and follows, it’s not advised and could actually be deemed as abusive and cruel. The reason for this is that you are putting your cat under stress they don’t need to be put under. Doing it once could cause a heart attack, and over a longer period of time could actually cause aggression and behavioral problems, which of course you will want to avoid. By frightening them you could also cause your cat to put itself in unnecessary danger by leaping or running away from the cucumber.
It might be funny to you and even to those watching the video, but it can stun your cat to the point that they become fearful of their surroundings Being constantly on edge can put unnecessary stress on your cat's body. This is similar to the experience of being nice and relaxed and then being spooked by something you fear such as a lion or snake. This can help you to better realize how much you are putting your cat through for a few laughs.
If you want to post videos of your cat, then why not aim for the cute pictures of doing something that both of you will enjoy. That way it’s entertaining just as much for the cat as the audience.