Why you shouldn’t sneak up on your cat with a cucumber

Or any other vegetable, for that matter.

 

Towards the end of 2015, the internet went into meltdown with pictures and videos of people sneaking up on their feline friends with cucumbers. Since then, there’s no shortage of videos like this one:

And while seeing a cat lose its mind over something as benign as a cucumber is hilarious, we also have to remember that cats don’t actually know what cucumbers are.

Most of the videos show owners sneak up behind their cats while they’re eating, place the green vegetable gently on the floor, and back away to watch the mayhem unfold. Nine times out of ten, the cats show a fear response by leaping into the air, running away, or scratching at the cucumber.

IFL Science report that it’s likely the ‘unexpected sight of a cucumber behind them that’s frightening, not the cucumber itself: an unexpected pineapple would likely be just as jarring.’

 

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Unexpected items placed in a cat’s core territory can cause prolonged stress.

 

Some have speculated that as domestic cats are basically mini-big-cats, they still have a predator-avoidance instinct. Dr Roger Mugford told the Telegraph, “Cucumbers could represent the danger of a snake or another predator. It’s not an inherent feature of cucumbers, just their unusual context.”

Cats are curious creatures, they’re naturally suspicious, somewhat neurotic and they like routine. As they’re not used to seeing cucumbers on the floor, as funny as it sounds, it can cause stress.

Cats will mostly only turn their backs to a room and eat when they feel safe and secure, and placing unexpected items in these ‘safe-zones’ (or, core territory) to startle them could cause prolonged stress. So as funny as it may be, it’s probably best not to. They just don’t get the joke.

 

Read next:

Why don’t cats like water?

Why aren’t cats as domesticated as dogs?

Big cats like boxes too: video

 

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