Why are cats afraid of cucumbers and bananas?

Why are cats afraid of cucumbers and bananas

We all remember those viral videos from a few years ago about cats being spooked by cucumbers and bananas.  If you haven’t seen those videos in a while, as a refresher, these were the videos where the cats were preoccupied, and then someone sneakily puts cucumber behind them. 

When the cats notice, they shoot up the air in fear.  Why in the world do cats have such a huge reaction over cucumbers and bananas?  That’s because cats are afraid of things sneaking up on them.

Cucumbers and bananas that sneak up on them

Cats are terrified about anything that sneaks up on them, including cucumbers and bananas.  Cats are known for being super sharp and alert – they are predators in the wild, after all. Naturally, they have very good situational awareness.  They’re very sensitive to movements and changes in their environment.

In other words, they’re used to being the sneaks, but they’re not used to other animals, or in this case things to sneak upon them.

When they finally realize that there was a sneaky cucumber waiting for them without them hearing it approach, as with anyone or any animal, your cat will be surprised – and not in the best way.

As you may have noticed from the videos, cats were busy, digging their heads down their food bowls when someone places the cucumbers or bananas behind them. You may not know this, but cats only eat when they are absolutely sure that they are safe.  They associate eating with security. In the wild, cats are most vulnerable when they are eating or defecating (hence why they like it when you’re around when they poop, and they’re around while you’re in the toilet). This is why when they see an unexpected vegetable behind them as they turn around spooks them so much.

Is the cucumber a snake?

Another reason suggested as to why cats are skittish over cucumbers is that they may associate it to snakes. In the wild, aka outside your lovely home, snakes are deadly predators to cats. Cats have the innate fear of snakes sneaking upon them as a result.  Evolutionarily, they are hard-wired to avoid snakes. Anything that looks like a snake – from eggplants to ears of corn may elicit this reaction from them.  Their first reaction might be to assume that this green thing is a snake who is about to attack them.  They might be so scared that they’d want to get away from the perceived danger so much that they leap into the air as an automatic defensive response.

How old is your cat in human years? Try our cat age in human years calculator.

Triggering this natural startle response on your cat may cause it to injure itself accidentally.  They might break something, hurt someone, or hurt their heads in their desperate move to get away from the cucumber. Other than that, scaring your cat this way may give it prolonged stress. Frightening your cat unnecessarily may instigate mental health problems for them.  Every time you do it, you risk inflicting psychological damage to your pet cat.  Please don’t do it.

It is highly recommended that you don’t pull the cucumber prank, or any other joke that could result into your cat being surprised.

If you are just looking to introduce this green vegetable or yellow fruit to your furry friend, the best way to do it is gradually and from a safe distance.  You’ll find that cats aren’t actually afraid of cucumbers when properly introduced to it.

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More related questions about scared cats, cucumbers and bananas

Is it a good idea to scare my cat for entertainment?

It isn’t very nice of you to scare your cat any prank. The reason is they may do something erratic at the moment and injure themselves. It could hit something as it was jumping up in fear, causing that thing to break, hurt themselves.
Or the very worst, cause long term mental health problems if you get your cat too scared.

How to calm a scared cat?

If your cat is scared, stressed, or upset for any reason including cucumber related reasons, here’s how you can help it:  respect your cat’s space. No matter how much you want to comfort your cat with a cuddle, don’t do it. 
By nature, cats are territorial and they won’t appreciate you being clingy and intruding their space at a stressful time. Secondly, be patient. Your cat may take a while, to readjust especially if they’re a bit of a scaredy-cat, to begin with.

What are other things my cat may be afraid of?

Different cats have different sensitivities when it comes to different things.  Aside from some sneaky cucumbers and bananas, here are some other things your cats may be spooked by loud sudden noises like popping balloons, vacuum cleaners, and fireworks.
Cats are also afraid of water because their fur isn’t really meant to be wet, strong odors like citrus fruits, onions, and vinegar due to their highly sensitive sense of smell, feeling restrained, and change – may it be different people or different environments. 
As much as possible, try to keep your kitties feeling safe. While it may be funny to get a weird reaction from your cat when they’re scared, putting your cat through this ordeal is not the greatest for their health both physically and mentally.  It is advised that you keep your home a safe haven for yourself and for your furry roommate for both of your sakes.

What happens if you put a cucumber next to a cat?

If you place a cucumber behind or next to a cat, it might very well cause it to leap into the air in fright. If you place a cucumber behind your cat, it might think that it is a snake. It will react as if it had been a snake, and make the cat leap in the air in fright.

Are bananas toxic to cats to eat?

Bananas are not toxic for cats, and a tiny bite of a banana now, and then is probably fine. But there is not really a good reason to give your cat banana. It is much better to give your cat a good meat-based snack with lots of protein.

Do cats like the smell of bananas?

Cats don’t like the smell of bananas. The outer skin of bananas is known to be toxic to a cat. It is for the same reason, that many cats dislike citrus fruits like lemon and orange. The smell in bananas that they don’t like comes from potassium.
You can use this knowledge, and try rubbing potassium chloride on surfaces where you don’t want the cat, like on a chair you don’t want the cat to stay on.

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