We’ve watched videos online of kittens trembling before a seemingly harmless enemy… cucumbers. These videos have gone viral and cause a lot of laughter, but we’re yet to answer the question, “Why are cats afraid of cucumbers?”
In this article, we’ll examine some theories related to this question.
Is the fear of cucumbers written in a cat’s DNA?
Are cats and cucumbers old enemies? Did a cat ancestor eat a cucumber salad and got hurt? Did cucumbers attack the cat and scratch it? Behaviorist Mikel Delgado states, “No, I don’t think cats are inherently afraid of cucumbers,” meaning that the fear of cucumbers isn’t written in the cat’s DNA.
Why are cats afraid of a cucumber?
1. Because It Surprises Them
Cats are creatures of habit and follow certain routines. Delgado believes that they react like that only after having been caught off guard while engaged in an ordinary activity such as eating.
“Their eyes are looking forward, just like ours,” Delgado explains. “This is a very common morphology on the faces of all predators. So, when a cat is absorbed by a routine (ex. food), it isn’t possible to realize that an object exists behind it due to its face and eyes structure. A cat is often surprised and scared even if there’s a person behind it or another cat it hasn’t noticed. Maybe the same thing happens when suddenly she realizes a cucumber is behind it.”
The same thing happens with people when they’re absorbed in a task, and suddenly, something or someone appears behind them. In fact, if you show calmly and from a distance a cucumber to a cat, it’ll most likely not panic or get scared at all because the element of surprise that terrifies her is absent.
2. Because It Reminds Them of A Snake
There are other theories explaining why cats are afraid of cucumbers! One of the most interesting and valid theories is that cats are afraid of cucumbers (a similar phobia is observed in bananas) because their shape resembles several snakes, and the fear of snakes is etched deep into the cat’s DNA.
So a cat’s reaction to a cucumber may appear comical to us, but it can be an instinctive, reflective reaction due to the cat mistaking the cucumber for a dangerous snake.
After all, as we’ve mentioned before, stress can cause serious problems in the cat, such as vomiting and diarrhea, and behavioral changes, such as not using its sandbank.
Closing, I’d like to suggest reading Maria Savva’s detailed article on cats and stress! I strongly believe that by understanding the importance of stress and how to deal with it, our relationship with the cat will shift to another level.