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Scaring Cats: What You Need to Know About Cats and Cucumbers

Scaring cats for fun isn’t funny.

Cats can sometimes react quite dramatically to being surprised or frightened. They might leap off the floor, twist around, squeal, or run away, limbs going every direction as they slip on the floor. Sometimes these behaviors can give humans a giggle. In fact, there's been a recent trend of people trying to elicit such reactions in their cats while videotaping it.

Are Cats Afraid of Cucumbers?

An example of this viral video craze is the trend of people quietly placing a cucumber on the floor behind their cat while he is eating. When the cat turns around, he encounters the out-of-place produce and may react with one of these startled behaviors.

So, what gives? Are cats scared of produce? The answer is . . . not particularly. However, in this instance, the cucumbers appear where the cat isn't expecting it. This elicits a startle reflex, an instinctual response in which the cat tries to get away from the area as quickly as possible.

A cucumber may also be particularly apt to cause this startle response because the cat may be concerned that it is a snake, a creature that can be dangerous to a cat in the wild.

Also, many of these videos show that the cucumbers are being placed in a cat's feeding area. This is a particularly bad idea because this spot should be a safe sanctuary for a cat.

Why Is Scaring Cats a Bad Idea?

Scaring cats in the way that's portrayed in the cucumber videos is not a good idea for several reasons.

  • It could result in injury. A cat that is highly startled, leaps into the air while twisting, or takes off without having good footing on a slippery floor could easily be injured.
  • Household items could be broken. A cat running rampant through the house could easily knock over and break belongings.
  • Your cat could develop anxiety. You want your cat's life to be as peaceful as possible. Cucumbers appearing out of nowhere to trigger his startle reflex while his humans laugh isn't peaceful. In fact, it could result in generalized anxiety. In cats, chronic stress leads to unwanted behaviors such as urinating inappropriately, scratching household items, or being aggressive.

Final Thoughts

We all love our cats and enjoy having fun with them. It's important to remember that you want your cat to be having fun with the activity, as well, not feeling fear and stress.

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