Why Are Cats Terrified Of Cucumbers?

Cats may seem fierce and aloof, ready to take on the world and conquer their enemies – until a cucumber appears.

If you’ve ever had a cat in your life, you likely know about the cucumber trick. You slide a cucumber behind your cat while they’re occupied and when they finally notice it, they freak out!

Many people have taken to social media to share about their “cats versus cucumbers” and it’s made many people curious: Why are cats so terrified of the green fruit?

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

According to ABC News, felines’ fear of cucumbers has little to do with the cucumber itself. Instead, the fear stems from their innate fear of snakes.

Speaking with ABC News, animal behaviorist Con Slobodchikoff explained: “Cats are genetically hard-wired through instinct to avoid snakes. Cucumbers look enough like a snake to have the cat’s instinctive fear of snakes kick in.”

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Cats have incredibly sharp instincts, so when something appears behind them unexpectedly, it catches them off guard and can spook them. Having that item look like a snake just takes that fear to the next level.

It’s not just cucumbers that trigger this reaction in cats either, but bananas do as well as sticks! Basically, anything that might resemble a snake that sneaks up behind your cat could trigger a reactive, primal response.


It’s not just snake-like objects or critters that cats are afraid of. They’re also afraid of water!

Cats being water-avoidant is a pretty well-known stereotype. According to Purina, their dislike of water ties back to their primal instincts, similar to their dislike of cucumbers. Water can weigh a cat down, making them slower and less agile. As Purina explains, “When their entire fur gets drenched, a cat will feel weighted down and unable to move at their normal agility levels.”


Some cats don’t mind water as much as others, but most tend to avoid it and for good reason. Purina further notes that felines largely evolved in dry desert-like areas, where their exposure to water would be minimized. It’s unlikely companion cats had much of a chance to evolve into water-loving creatures!

While many pet owners expose their cats to “scary” situations to record their reactions, it’s probably better to avoid that. No one wants their pets to be in distress, even if it’s funny to watch.

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