Why Are Cats Afraid Of Cucumbers?

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why are cats afraid of cucumbers

Seriously. They're terrified.

Cats are hilarious — if they weren't there wouldn't be millions of videos, books, and blogs. Sometimes they're unintentionally funny, and other times, I swear they do something funny on purpose.

Cats can be deadly serious or just having fun and they make us laugh. We may not completely understand cat behavior but we enjoy it nevertheless.


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If you have one of these furry creatures, you know that they have distinct personalities. Every cat has their own meow, behavior, and set of mannerisms. Some cats love being affectionate and being pet, while other cats prefer a human hands-off approach. 

Cats enrich our lives, so why do we think of ways to scare them for our own amusement?

You're probably familiar with the hundreds of videos showing people scaring the crap out of their cats with cucumbers. But why are cats afraid of cucumbers?

These videos usually involve a cat eating its dinner or doing something so that they're completely oblivious to what's going around them. Someone sneaks in a cucumber so that when the cat turns around and spies the cucumber, the cat jumps up in fright.

I know that cats are afraid of vacuum cleaners, garbage trucks and dogs, but cucumbers?

"No I don't think that cats are inherently afraid of cucumbers," says Mikel Delgado, a certified cat behavior consultant, in an interview with Mental Floss

Cats are creatures of habit and if they usually don't have a cucumber waiting to pounce, it surprises the hell of them when one shows up. Delgado feels that the cats in the videos were duped by their humans while they were participating in a familiar activity.


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"I think that a lot of people were inadvertently startling their cats when they were already distracted. They were putting a strange object behind the cat while it was eating, the cat can't see the object, they're focused [on their food, as most cats are] and then they turn around..." and boom, they see a cucumber.

Now, there are some theories as to why cats are afraid of cucumbers: perceived danger. The cucumbers might look like snakes and other predatory slithering creatures. If you were having dinner and a snake appear behind you, you'd probably jump too. Perceived danger is serious business for a cat.

Here's the thing: you may think it's a good time and funny as hell to scare your cat with a cucumber, but it's not good for them. It can make them afraid to be in the situation where they got scared again.

Their behavior can change, they can become high-strung, nervous and even develop an eating disorder. It's like how you play with your cat — if you play too rough, they'll start to become more aggressive, and suddenly, they won't stop biting and scratching. How can your cat trust you when you're tormenting them with cukes?

The truth is cats are hilarious all on their own and without any help from you. So save the cucumber for your salad and just let Fluffy do their thing. 


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Christine Schoenwald is a writer, performer, and teacher who loves writing and performing personal narratives. She's had pieces in The Los Angeles Times, Salon, Woman's Day, Purple Clover, Bustle, and is a regular contributor to Ravishly and YourTango. Check out her website or her Facebook page.