Fact Check: Are Cats Afraid of Cucumbers?

Videos showing cats being scared at the sight of a cucumber placed behind them have been going viral in recent years.

In the clips, the felines can be seen suddenly jumping or walking away when they see the fruit next to them.

The Claim

The claim has been made in several videos on YouTube and social media.

Owners have been filming their cats' reactions after they put a cucumber near them while their pet was looking elsewhere.

In several videos, cats can be seen getting scared when they turn around and see the fruit.

Some even leap in the air when they spot the cucumber.

The Facts

Sara Atkinson, CEO of Yorkshire Cat Rescue, told Newsweek that cats are not afraid of cucumbers per se. The animals become scared due to a change in circumstances around them.

She said: "If you had a cucumber in your house and your cat walked past it, it wouldn't have a problem with it. It would sniff it, but it wouldn't jump in the air out of shock.

"What is happening in these videos is that people are putting something behind the cat that wasn't there, which happens to be a cucumber. Then the cat turns around and the situation on the floor isn't as it was when the cat went there or turned towards the wall."

Atkinson explained that the sudden change in the environment makes the cat jump as the animal feels like the object "puts them out of their safe environment."

She added: "I guess you could do it with pretty much anything of that size, you could put a tile or a book, just something that wasn't there, and a cat would probably have a very similar reaction.

"What cats need is a safe environment where things don't change massively or if they do change, they change in a way that the cat gets used to it."

Atkinson also said there is also a possibility that cats may associate the shape of the cucumber with snakes, which can be deadly predators.

Norwegian Forest Cat next to a cucumber
Stock photo of a Norwegian Forest Cat next to a cucumber. Experts have explained cats are not afraid of cucumbers per se, but they get scared if they see a sudden change in the environment around them. Astrid860/Getty Images

Cat behavior consultant Alice Chau told Newsweek that cats "don't like surprises" due to their hunting nature.

She said: "They are really hunters in their nature, as a hunter, when something suddenly changes in the environment it is usually bad news."

The expert added: "Cats need to hide, need to feel safe in their territories, need a routine."

Any object put behind them, which was not there before, could make a cat scared and cause the same reaction seen in the viral videos.

Experts suggest avoiding making cats scared on purpose as owners do in the viral videos as it is damaging for the animals.

The Ruling

False.

Cats are not afraid of cucumbers, but they get scared if they see a sudden change in the environment around them.