While these videos are funny to watch (though more on that below), you may have come away with a common question:
But — why are cats scared of cucumbers!?
We turned to one of our favorite vets for some answers.
“If I put a plastic spider on the floor behind you, or a mannequin in the entrance of your apartment, chances are you would have a momentary freak-out before realizing either wasn’t real,” Dr. Alex Blutinger, a veterinarian with BluePearl Pet Hospital in New York City, told The Dodo.
Turns out, cats just aren’t fans of anything sneaking up on them.
As cat parents know, cats keep up a pretty cool front — they like to always be aware of what’s going on around them and they only settle down to eat or nap when they know there aren’t any immediate dangers around them.
That means that, in those videos, when you see their owner sneak that creepy cucumber behind them while they’re eating, the fact that they aren’t expecting a foreign object to be right behind them is enough to make them literally jump in shock.
It’s their fight-or-flight mechanism switching on — and cats aren’t about to try to fight a cucumber.
Why? Well, because cucumbers can look a lot like snakes when they magically appear behind a cat.
According to Dr. Blutinger, “While we know cats as being predators (for our NYC apartment mice), they are also animals of prey. While most of the cats that we know have been domesticated, they retain their innate instinctual drive to protect themselves from predators as they would in the wild (i.e., from coyotes, owls, dogs and snakes). Cucumbers and bananas may resemble snakes or other predatory species to a cat.”
Now, before you go out and buy a bunch of cucumber snakes, it’s important to know that this entire experience is actually really scary for your cat.
“Cats are also creatures of habit and can become severely stressed with deviations in their routines or environment,” Dr. Blutinger said. “Stress can even lead to life-threatening complications such as feline urinary tract disease, a disorder causing cats to obstruct their urethra — a life-threatening emergency.”
So while the cats vs. cucumber videos had their moment, we still recommend keeping your cucumbers off the floor and in your salads.