cat with cucumber

You may have come across some of the funny YouTube videos and memes going around on the internet of cats fearing cucumbers, and might be wondering what the cause for their reaction is? Cats are generally afraid of things that sneak up on them and it is their natural reaction to jump and look frightened because it could be dangerous.

In recent years, there have been many humorous videos circulating the internet where cat owners have placed a cucumber near an unsuspecting cat and filmed the reaction of their cat dramatically freaking out them. Although these videos are funny to humans, they may be a cause of stress for your cat.

This article will provide you with the possible reasons cats seem to fear cucumbers.

The 3 Reasons Why Cats Are Scared of Cucumbers

1.  They Resemble Snakes

The most common reason cat owners think cucumbers scare cats is because the slender green vegetable resembles a snake. Cats are always on alert and to suddenly turn around to see the cucumber placed behind them can terrify them because they can view it as a potential predator. Most experts agree that it is not exactly the vegetable itself that scares cats, but that it resembles a snake. If a cat is suddenly surprised by a cucumber, it might believe it is a snake coming to attack them which is why they jump and act alarmed.

So, when your cat turns around to see an object that resembles a snake, it’s easy to understand why this would be so frightening. However, some cats are known to be curious about real snakes and do not usually show much fear, which leads us to the next theory.

2. Flight or Flight Instinct

A cat who is not expecting a green cucumber to be behind them may turn around and have an extreme reaction to the vegetable lying there because they are not expecting this unforeseen vegetable to be there. This can trigger a cat’s flight or fright response which leads them to jump and run away. Your cat is probably more frightened by the prospect that something unforeseen is creeping up behind them when they turn around, rather than their first thoughts being that it is a snake!

3. Unexpected Object

If your cat turns around to see something they were not expecting to see, your cat will instantly be startled. A sudden, unexpected object appearing behind a cat who did not expect to turn around and find something there will certainly result in a shocked reaction because this usually-alert animal has been startled. You’d be shocked, too!

Dr. Sievert (a DVM Kansas-based veterinarian) says “If you have ever watched your cat, you will know that he’s aware of everything around him, and if something suddenly moves unexpectedly, he will react to it. His eyes will widen, and his entire body goes on high alert.” This can explain a cat’s extreme reaction, such as jumping up in fear or shock.


Although the prank videos are funny and entertaining for humans, they can be a scary and traumatizing experience for your cat. Cats do not understand that the vegetable was placed behind them as a joke, so their initial reactions of shock and fright are real, and it is not recommended to try and reenact this with your cat.

This can leave your cat feeling vulnerable and stressed, according to veterinarian Gary Richter, who sees plenty of animals each day that have behavior problems stemming from traumatic events. While your cat’s reaction might be funny, the real causes behind their extreme actions toward cucumbers are typically the result of fear and shock.

Featured Image Credit: tugol, Shutterstock