New lifestyle use discovered for cucumbers: scaring cats

Sunday 27th, December 2015 / 19:35 Written by
New lifestyle use discovered for cucumbers: scaring cats

By Antonia Lange — Cats may have nine lives, but if you want to take one away, show a cat a cucumber. Felines, it is claimed, have a deep-seated fear of the green salad vegetable, as documented by a new viral video craze. It works like this: Cat owner quietly introduces a cucumber into the scene as pet cat happily eats its food or has a nap. Upon seeing cucumber, shocked cat practically jumps into the air with fright.
Across the world, people are posting funny videos online of their moggy’s first confrontation with a cucumber.
There are many theories as to why cats get the shock.
One of the most common is that a cucumber looks like a snake.
But others doubt it.
“Cats are naturally cautious when they encounter something unusual,”explains Marius Tuente from Germany’s animal welfare organisation,the Tierschutzbund.” We’re dealing with a surprise effect combined with what, for the cat, is a strange object.”
A human might react in a similar fashion to a first view of another species’ peculiar food, suggests Tuente: “I think it’s going a bit too far to think the cat confuses the cucumber with a snake.”
Veterinary doctor Hildegard Jung agrees.”You would achieve the same result by using any other object the cat has never seen before,” she says.
Cucumbers are clearly inanimate — unlike a snake.
Besides, not every cat falls for the cucumber trick.
Animal welfare organisations contend it is cruel to alarm a cat for fun. Vet Jung scolds the cucumber video trend as “just plain wrong”.
“It’s not as funny for the cat as it looks for the human,” says Tuente.” The scare they get causes the cat to flee, which leads to a sudden rise in blood pressure and a much faster pulse.” If a cat no longer feels relaxed in its feeding area, this could lead to behavioural problems, he warns. — DPA