Why are Cats Scared of Cucumbers?
Cats are very aware of their surroundings. They’re not predators, but macropredators, meaning they aren’t at the top of the food chain. So, it makes sense that they fear unfamiliar things that threaten them. But why are cats scared of cucumbers?
Several years ago, cat owners posted videos of their felines freaking out at seeing a cucumber hidden behind them. Theories abound about why the cats were so afraid of seeing a cucumber. If a cat being scared of cucumber puzzles you. Here are a few explanations about why this happens.
Cucumbers’ Size, Shape, and Color Scare Cats
One theory about why cats fear cucumbers is that this veggie reminds cats of predators. The cucumbers’ green color is similar to many reptiles. One reptile that can harm cats is the Nile monitor. These cat-eating lizards are dangerous to pets. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Service is working hard to remove the Nile monitors in areas along canals and ponds where they live. They’re olive brown and yellow, which is similar to a cucumber.
A cucumber’s shape may also scare your cat. This veggie is long and narrow, similar to the size and shape of a snake, a natural predator of cats. Even though cats aren’t natural prey for snakes, snakes have eaten cats and other small mammals. Depending on what area you live in, your cat may come in contact with a snake which could lead to a conflict where your cat is harmed or even killed.
Cats Don’t Like Surprises
If you’re a cat parent, you know your pet doesn’t like surprises. Cats get afraid of things such as:
- When you leave suddenly
- Other animals
In the videos, a cat parent lays a cucumber on the floor behind their cat, looking in another direction. When the cat turns and notices the cucumber, they freak out. Their exaggerated response is comical but not surprising. Cats prefer to avoid being surprised by something they didn’t expect. When they see the cucumber, they think it’s crept up on them and will attack. Some suggest that you could put any vegetable or fruit behind a cat and would get the same reaction.
Is Scaring your Cat With a Cucumber Bad?
Generally, it’s not a good idea to scare your cat. Here are some reasons why.
Causes anxiety and stress
Scaring your cat on purpose causes anxiety and makes your cat jumpy. If you do this too often, it could even cause behavioral problems. According to experts, frightening your cat could have long-term behavioral and psychological stress. This could lead to poor health. Fearful cats may have irrational reactions, such as fear of food or their food dish.
You become unsafe to them
Cats are part of the family. They depend on you for food and shelter. In return, they give you their affection and love. If you scare your cat with a hidden cucumber, as people do in the video, your cat begins to associate you with the prank. Your pet won’t feel safe around you. Even if you mean the prank as a joke, animals can’t understand this. Your cat will mistrust you and become cautious around you.
What to do if your Cat is Scared all the Time?
If you’ve pranked your cat too much or they’re just super fearful, there are some things you can do to help calm your cat.
If your cat has been fearful or scared, here are some signs they might display.
- Crouching low to the ground
- Hiding beneath the furniture or in small spaces
- Back arching
- Wide eyes
- Swishing tail
- Tail tucking
Turn negative situations into a treat for your cat
Provide calm bonding times with your cat. If your cat is afraid when people come over or around another pet, try to make these situations positive. When someone comes over, give your cat a treat. Give lots of praise when she approaches your neighbor who drops in. Help your cat associate these situations as an opportunity for something they like. This will eventually help them feel less frightened in this situation.
Help your cat feel cozy and safe
Cats love feeling safe. They’re territorial, so they need to feel they have a space to call their own. If you have young kids, your cat may need a designated area for their food dish, water, and a litter box. Choose a space that your kids can’t get in. You may want to install a catio. A catio is a small enclosure for your cat you often build outside a window or door. They are partially or completely screened in. This little area gives your cat their own space, plus the ability to observe the outdoors safely.
Other things to add to your catio include:
- Water bowl
- Rug or cushion to lay on
- Scratching post
- Little box
- Shelves for your cat to sit
Spend Time with your Cat
Spending time with them is a good start to encourage your cat to feel safer and less scared. Always speak in a calm voice to your cat. Never chase after your cat or pull them out from under the bed because this will scare them. When your cat comes out to see you, wait to approach them. Instead, say hello and sit down. See if she comes over to you or you can hold out a toy for her to smell. Give your kitty lots of praise when she does this. Before you know it, your fearful kitty will be cuddling next to you on the sofa while you watch television.
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