For the past week, Twitter and Facebook have gone collectively nuts after learning that cats will freak out at the sight of a cucumber. In fact, there have been so many videos, Vines and Snapchats showing exactly what happens when you drop a vegetable behind your unsuspecting cat (although, in some cases, absolutely nothing happens), that the idea has gotten popular enough for the experts to start weighing in. And, almost unanimously, those experts are saying, “Knock it off.”
“If you cause stress to an animal that’s probably not a good thing,” animal behaviorist Jill Goldman told National Geographic. “If you do it for laughs, it makes me question your humanity.”
Unsuspecting Cats Get Completely Startled By … Cucumbers? Yep.These cats are not as cool as their stealthy cucumber stalkers.
Posted by HuffPost Lifestyle on Saturday, November 14, 2015
Goldman says that the cucumbers are triggering the cats’ innate “startle responses,” which instinctively cause them to try to flee when they’re confronted by something that frightens them. Other animal experts say that placing the cucumbers near the cats while they’re eating can violate their trust, as they often feel safe and secure near their feeding areas.
in a sense, we are all the cat who leaps in terror at the sight of a motionless cucumber
— greg katz (@gkla) November 16, 2015
The animal experts say that cats, like people, probably do not enjoy being startled on purpose — or repeatedly.
“You wouldn’t want to meet someone new by having them shoved right in your face,” Goldman says.
I don’t know, that actually sounds like it would liven up an otherwise boring business meeting: “HI, THIS IS JEFFREY, LOOK HOW CLOSE HIS FACE IS!”