Why your cat might be scared of a cucumber and why you shouldn't test it.
Cats have long been a favorite subject for YouTube videos and online posts, but a new type of video has been going around in recent days: people frightening cats with cucumbers.
Let me paint you a picture. Your cat is sitting calmly at its food bowl, eating its evening meal. You sneak up and place a cucumber behind it before tiptoeing away and turning on your camera. Your cat finishes eating, turns around and suddenly jumps feet into the air. Don’t believe me? Watch the video below:
Your first reaction might be to laugh — the clips feel a bit like a gag after all — but you can be sure that the cats don’t find it funny.
Cats, who aren’t used to seeing a cucumber on the floor, may be surprised by it and feel threatened. Many foreign objects could have the same effect. It has been hypothesized that cucumbers seem scarier than other vegetables because of their snakelike shape and color, which causes them to go into fight-or-flight mode. There is a good chance that you would run away too if you saw what looked like a snake on the ground.
Cats tend to associate their feeding area with safety, so testing out this trick could cause them undue stress. Not only could they jump and damage your household objects or hurt themselves, they could begin to link food with danger and remain anxious for days.
“If you cause stress to an animal that's probably not a good thing,” said Jill Goldman, a certified animal behaviorist in southern California. “If you do it for laughs it makes me question your humanity.”
So, next time you want to introduce a new object into your household, let your cat come and discover it gradually at its own pace. You can be sure that it will. Cats are curious creatures after all, but you wouldn’t want your curiosity to kill — or harm — the cat.