White cat eating a cucumber

Just what is it that makes cats scared of cucumbers?

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Why are cats scared of cucumbers?

By Natasha James Content Writer

Updated on the

You can’t have missed the viral videos on YouTube of cats jumping a foot in the air when they notice a cucumber on the floor beside them. Funny? Without a doubt, but just why do our feline friends react so violently to the humble salad item?

To us humans, a cucumber is up there with the more harmless food items in our fridge but to a cat, they can provoke the most intense reaction. Let's delve a little deeper into just what makes our moggies so afraid.

Are cats really scared of cucumbers?

Well, it certainly seems so. There are a few theories doing the rounds but experts are yet to come up with a single, definitive answer. Most feline behavioural experts agree that rather than the cucumber itself, the fear comes from the unexpected.

In many of the videos that flood the internet, you’ll see an owner sneakily placing a cucumber on the floor while a cat is feeding or their back is turned.

According to animal behaviour specialist Dr. Roger Mugford, a cat’s natural startle responses are triggered due to the unexpectedness of seeing an unusual object when they’re not expecting it.

Cats are generally pretty wary of their surroundings. They're known for having lighting quick reactions to any perceived dangers so it’s likely that they will have an intense reaction to any surprises placed beside them.

Do cats think that cucumbers are snakes?

Another potential theory mooted by animal behaviour specialists is that cats are hard-wired to avoid snakes. This means that the sudden appearance of a long, slim green object could cause cats to think fast.

Certified animal behaviourist, Jill Goldman, told National Geographic that when cats' natural startle responses are triggered, they will try to get out of there as quickly as possible and then reassess from a distance.

What’s more, if a cat sees something “slithering” along the floor, they’ll jump high in the air to save themselves from being bitten.

Why are cats scared of bananas?

It seems that cats aren’t just scared of cucumbers but of bananas too. Yes, another harmless kitchen item doesn't go down well with moggies. It turns out that the banana doesn’t smell great to cats. Bananas secrete a chemical that is toxic to felines so a cat may react intensely to a surprise banana too.

Are cats scared of water?

While we’re exposing all of our four-legged friend’s fears, we thought we'd cover water too. It seems that many cats are also hydrophobic and will avoid water at all costs. Animal behaviourist experts say that this could be because cats struggle to dry off effectively after getting wet and the water can strip the fur of oils or irritate their skin. 

Cats vs cucumbers

Although the videos of cats are really quite fun, it seems that us cat owners should avoid playing practical jokes on our furry friends.

Cat behaviour experts advise against pranking our cats as this can lead to an erosion of trust. What’s more, kitties could injure themselves, break something or develop long-term stress issues.

All in all, not the general effect we’re hoping to have on our four-legged buddies.

There are so many ways to have fun with our cats, that scaring them seems unnecessary.

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