Why Are Cats Really So Afraid of Cucumbers?

Vegetables are nothing to be afraid of!
Scared Cat

Shutterstock/ Igor Zakowski

Pictured: a cat after seeing a cucumber.

Some vegetables are legitimately scary. Turnips, for example — what the heck are those? Cucumbers, however, are generally considered to be fairly benign by all species except for one: cats. Recently there has been a spate of videos posted online of cats going from a state of docile contentedness to sheer terror after noticing that a regular old cucumber has been placed behind them while they’re distracted, usually by eating. They leap in the air, scurry as far away from the terrifying botanical berry as possible, and generally freak out for a few seconds. So… what gives?

A few theories as to why cucumbers startle cats have been tossed around. The most likely one, according to National Geographic, is that it’s simply something new and unexpected placed near them when they’re not expecting it. Cats are also hard-wired to associate the color green with snakes, so they might be mistaking the cucumber for a predator. They think that they’re in imminent danger and aren’t willing to take the risk that they aren’t, so they high-tail it out of there as quickly as possible.

Most experts agree that if you have a cat, you really shouldn’t subject them to this experiment. Regardless of the reason it happens, seeing that cucumber triggers a moment of intense stress and panic, and while fleeing they can easily injure themselves. It’s also cruel to place it near them when they’re eating, because they generally consider those spots to be safe and secure.