It is pretty safe to say that, according to many sources of the internet, cats and cucumbers do not get along well at all. A plethora of videos show cats jumping, startled by the mere sight of the cucumber, but the question is: why are they scared of cucumbers specifically?
Well in this article we take a closer look at the link between cats and cucumbers, why they make them go crazy and whether or not it is safe to startle your cat with them.
Why are cats scared of cucumbers ?
Quite similar to the little feline quirk of sitting on the floor in a makeshift box made out of tape, a cat being startled and jumping at the sight of a mere cucumber may seem like quite the unusual behavior, but this specific response is based entirely on instinct.
So, if you are planning to try this unusual prank on your cat, keep in mind that it relies solely on the element of surprise, and quietly placing the cucumber just out of the cat’s sight. And once they turn around to see what their owner is doing, the cat may become startled by the unexpected object right next to them that definitely was not there before.
As it was explained by the American Association of Feline Practitioners, felines have an incredibly superior sense of smell, as well as hearing, and that “heightened stress can occur due to strong or strange smells or sounds.” So, unless a cat spends a significant amount of time around produce, specifically cucumbers, it will not be accustomed to its scent and would be on high alert when confronted with its strange smell. They may also get spooked at the sight of the vegetable for any of the following reasons listed.
A fear of snakes
It’s common for people to have a fear of snakes, but it is also common for cats to have a fear of them. Even though domestic cats are more predator than pray, there are a couple animals that prey on cats such as coyotes, snakes and birds of prey. Many experts theorize that a cat may associate the shape of the cucumber with that of a snake, but this theory is equally met with as many experts that disagree.
According to Dr. Pamela Perry, not only do cats sometimes hunt snakes, but, depending on their personality, some felines are more easily frightened than others: “It might be the fearful ones who are most likely to react to the appearance of a strange object behind them that was not there a minute earlier.” Dr. Perry cautions that with consistent teasing, a cat will associate fear with the human playing the prank, not just the cucumber.”
The amount of anxiety that would be caused by the mere presence of a cucumber near them is because of the fact that this famous prank is usually pulled when the cat is eating. Many cat owners already know, but a cat’s feeding area is almost sacred. Felines are naturally very territorial of their food and, for all they know, this vegetable may want to steal some of their wet food!
Since the cat sees the cucumber as a threat, and when confronted with this threatening situation, it responds with fear and anxiety, as explained by PAWS Chicago. This reaction is instinctive and is basically concluded of jumping up or simply freezing up in place, yelping and so on.
Is it safe to scare your own cat with a cucumber ?
Although it is funny and entertaining to watch cats perform zany antics like their famous zoomies, both around the house and in videos, scaring your cat just for some entertainment value is not particularly fun for the cat itself.
This prank causes them a lot of anxiety and stress, unnecessarily so, which can lead to trembling and aggression. Some medical issues with stress include vomiting, hair loss and diarrhea. Felines that feel anxious or threatened will most likely look for an escape route which can lead to physical injury since they are leaping, jumping and/or running away.
Is it safe for cats to eat cucumbers?
Instead of playing tricks and pranks on your cat, why don’t you try offering cucumbers as a refreshing snack for them? It is perfectly safe to do so, and your cat won’t associate a sliced or a diced cucumber with the tubular vegetable that scares the ever loving daylights out of them
As with many other fruits and veggies that are safe for cats to eat, cucumbers will make a great snack for your feline friend. You can offer them a small and seedless chunk of cucumber, keep in mind though, the plant’s leaves are poisonous to cats so avoid contact between them. However, before offering your cat any other people foods, it is strongly recommended to do thorough research since many foods that are safe for us are toxic to them.
Although it may seem like a perfectly harmless prank, using a cucumber as a jump scare for your feline friend isn’t particularly healthy for them, both emotionally and physically. Instead of doing that, you can engage your kitty in safe and fun activities that can strengthen your preexisting bond.