Cat Behaviors: Why Are Cats Afraid of Cucumbers?

Videos of cats being silly and acting strangely go viral all the time, and most are extremely hilarious. Binge-watching several of them together can be a fun activity whether you’re sitting on the couch with your cat(s) or taking a break at the office. From grumpy cat to cat breading, felines definitely are a regular source of online entertainment.


Another trend that’s become viral is using cucumbers to scare your cat. Although it can be a silly prank, it’s actually a pretty big dill to your cat. There are several theories as to why cats act so paranoid around the green gourd.

Why Are Cats Afraid Of Cucumbers

It’s important to remember that most house cats share traits with their larger feline family. Your kitten has the same instincts as Simba, Aslan and the lion in the MGM logo. Despite their domesticity, cats still retain a portion of their predator instincts, which is why they love to pounce and they just can’t wait to be king (que: Elton John’s Circle of Life on the playlist and channel their inner Simba). But what does this impulse have to do with cucumbers?

One theory suggests that a cucumber reminds a cat of a snake, a natural predator. The long, snake-like vegetable acts as a trigger, causing the cat to instinctively jump like Jordan in his prime. According to Constantine “Con” Slobodchikoff, an animal behaviorist and author of Chasing Doctor Dolittle: Learning the Language of Animals, “cats are genetically hard-wired through instinct to avoid snakes.” This could explain why when they see the vegetable, they turn into Indiana Jones: “Snakes! Why did it have to be snakes?”

The sudden appearance of a cucumber could also explain why cats are so skittish in its presence. A facet of the viral trend is suspense, sneaking up to a cat while it’s eating and placing the cucumber behind it. When feeding, cats are at their most relaxed. The abruptly placed cucumber, an unknown foreign object, catches them off guard during a moment of vulnerability. This might be the reason why cats freak out as they turn around and realize what’s behind them. Imagine if you were quietly enjoying a meal and someone unexpectedly crept up on you – even if you knew them – and surprised you. You’d be startled too, right?

How It Can Affect Your Cat?

So cats aren’t really afraid of the actual cucumber, per se, but it’s the circumstance that can give them a fright. The real bummer is, this can cause prolonged stress, so it might not be a good idea to make this a regular habit. After all, you probably wouldn’t be a fan of seeing Freddy Krueger every day. Remember, cats view your home as their home. It’s a place of comfort and security. Disrupting that serene setting by regularly scaring them can really disrupt their lives, leading to an irregular diet, loss of hair or even prevent them from using the litterbox. Oh no, you didn’t?

So instead of giving your cat a fright, it might be best to just leave the cucumbers in the crisper drawer or make a cucumber sandwich. They’re delicious, trust us.

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