Why are cats scared of cucumbers?

Everyone has seen the cat who's scared of cucumbers, but few know the truth behind the clip. TAG24 takes a look at whether and why cats are scared of cucumbers.

Are cats really scared of cucumbers, or is it all just a big fat hoax?
Are cats really scared of cucumbers, or is it all just a big fat hoax?  © Collage: IMAGO/Pond5 Images/Zoonar

It's a viral clip like no other: a cat is so terrified of a cucumber that it jumps high up into the air, freaks out, and runs away in a huff.

While hilarious, you can't help but feel sorry for the fluffy fellow, frightened of a green log that's unlikely to cause any harm – at least until the vegetables rise up against us all.

So what's going on with cats and cucumbers?

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In this cat guide, TAG24 will tackle this question for the ages. Are cats genuinely scared of cucumbers, or is it all a hoax? And, if it's true, why are they so fearful of a vegetable?

Are cats scared of cucumbers?

Yes, some cats are frightened of cucumbers and will jump if they unexpectedly appear. It's not so surprising if you really think about it, how do you think you'd react if a cucumber as big as your leg crept up on you and suddenly appeared when you were trying to enjoy a nice evening meal? You probably wouldn't like it!

Back in 2015, a video surfaced of a cat freaking out over a cucumber. Because it quickly went viral, people instantly started testing it out, placing green logs in the path of unsuspecting felines and laughing with glee when the poor little things kept leaping higher than Michael Jordan.

So naturally, that led to an avalanche of Google searches for one question: why are cats scared of cucumbers?

Why are cats so scared of cucumbers?

Your cat will freak out at the sudden appearance of a cucumber likely because it thinks that the vegetable poses some kind of danger. Cats are nervous creatures and will get scared at many things, often expecting the unexpected to be dangerous or worrisome in one way or another.

Some people believe that a cat's fear of a cucumber comes down to its fear of snakes. Any cat owner from a country in which snakes are common, though, will understand that this is utter rubbish. Indeed, cats are far more likely to attack a snake than to run away from one – even if such an animal does genuinely pose a threat, unlike your humble green log.

Cat anxiety is a very real thing, especially when it comes to food. Have you ever noticed that the videos usually revolve around food in more ways than just the cucumber itself? Well, there's a reason for that. In any situation where a cucumber has genuinely scared a cat, it's because the kitty was distracted, and the vegetable had suddenly appeared out of nowhere.

While a cat is eating, drinking, sleeping, or performing some activity that involves intense and continuous attention, its senses are heightened as it uses sound and smell to monitor the goings-on and keep itself safe. In such a situation, if its senses deceive it and it doesn't notice a change, then that can be very scary for the cat.

How do cats respond to a perceived threat?

On top of that, when a cat believes that something has snuck up on it, its automatic response is to assume that this something is a threat. As the good folks over at Paws Chicago explain, there are four responses to such a situation: flight, fight, freeze, and appeasement (sometimes also known as submission).

These four points help to bring all that we have discussed together, as they perfectly attribute an explanation to why cats get so scared of cucumbers. When they discover the green veggie sitting behind them, they assume that it's a threat and will either freak out and run away, go in for an attack, stop where they stand, or lie down and look at the cucumber.

Your cat's environmental needs are important for this very reason. These poor little fluff balls can get pretty nervous and jumpy in strange or foreign situations and will respond far stronger to environmental stimuli than we think. As a result, cat owners should keep their homes consistent, as quiet as possible and as predictable as can be reasonably expected.

Despite the complexity of the cat vs. cucumber dilemma, it all boils down to one very simple and easy-to-understand thing: in the context of those viral videos, the cats are getting scared by the cucumbers because they had appeared out of nowhere.

Are cats scared of any other vegetables?

With that explanation in mind, it seems very simple and straight forward to expect that cats will have exactly the same reaction to any other vegetable. It's not because they are scared of the vegetable, it's that the vegetable appeared out of the blue and with no clear warning.

The same could go for almost any household object, to be honest. If a chair suddenly appeared, or a water bottle, or a fluffy toy, your cat would likely jump and seem a little bit frightened. They'd also get scared if you suddenly appeared, without any warning (though that would be hard to achieve).

We wouldn't recommend it, though. Don't ever purposefully scare your cat. It's cruel and unfair and will hurt your relationship with your feline friend. Keep things calm, respectful, and loving.

Where does the cat scared of cucumbers meme come from?

According to Know Your Meme, the cats v. cucumbers meme has its origin in a 2015 video posted by YouTuber Doki Doki and spread on Reddit. The story was then picked up by the British newspaper The Telegraph in a story that shocked the net, causing millions of people to not only watch the many viral videos that emerged from the latest meme, but research why this phenomenon exists.

What's interesting, though, is that the meme turned out to be true. Usually, these situations end up being revealed as hoaxes perpetrated for the views and clout associated with viral online content. In the case of "cat v. cucumber," it turned out that its popularity was both justified and fascinating!

Cover photo: Collage: IMAGO/Pond5 Images/Zoonar

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