A few years ago a series of videos went viral in the form of a challenge in which cat owners had to place a cucumber near their cat and, as if it were a bomb, the cats immediately jumped in fear at the sight of the cucumber.
Frightened cats running away from cucumbers. Yes, cucumbers. This image is probably familiar to you, because it comes from one of those Internet challenges that expose animals to counterproductive and dangerous situations, just for the sake of laughter. That’s what happened when feline pet owners started placing this vegetable behind them, or even throwing it near them, and like it was a bomb, cats immediately jumped up in fear. This movement has become the humor of the moment without knowing where it came from. But why does this happen to them?
The answer isn’t entirely clear, but there is every reason to believe that cats’ fear of cucumbers could be because they think it’s a snake. That’s what Jill Goldman, an animal behavior scientist, told National Geographic in 2015. The color and shape of the vegetable can be mistaken for a snake about to attack them, which is why they jump and hide their paws to avoid it.
Pam Johnson-Bennett, author of Think Like a Cat, agrees with these observations. She adds that placing cucumbers near cats’ feeding areas, where their food and water bowls are, confuses them even more because they associate these areas with safe areas.
A natural fear
The mystery of why cats hate cucumbers is usually explained by the natural fear of snakes. To a feline, a cucumber may look like a cucumber enough to trigger its fear response and cause it to jump a few feet in the air to avoid being bitten.
The first thing you need to understand is that cats are genetically wired by instinct to avoid potential predators, including snakes. So if a cat sees something crawling on the ground very close to it, it is scared. In fact, nothing you wouldn’t do out of fear, maybe even snakes.
They thus demonstrate that having a highly developed hunting ability does not mean that they also have the ability to avoid being hunted, because in addition to being predators in their environment, they are also prey. easy.
A space invasion
However, they are aware that they can be attacked at any time, as these animals constantly monitor the changes taking place around them, and crossing one in the tranquility of a meal does not amuse them.
However, it can also happen that their reaction is not related to the vegetable itself, but to the fact that the object invades their personal space behind them. A sudden and unexpected change in their environment, like seeing a cucumber appear where there was nothing seconds before, is enough to alarm them and cause anxiety and stress.
Before you prank your cat, remember that anxiety is a disorder that can affect pets too, so make sure you’re not playing a trick on them, cucumber or no cucumber.
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