Well, you’ve done it again internet. You’ve found the weirdest new trend and turned it into the next big phenomenon. That trend is scaring cats with cucumbers, or what I like to call “cat-shaming.”
For the past few months, people have been finding a twisted yet hilarious pleasure in scaring the shit out of their cats by placing a cucumber next to them while they’re eating. As the cats finish eating their Meow Mix or Fancy Feast or whatever overpriced grub they’re given, they slowly turn around only to see this phallic green vegetable waiting there menacingly. The shock of being snuck up on by a cucumber normally jolts the felines into some pretty hysterical acrobatics.
Though these videos are surprisingly funny, many people think that playing these sorts of pranks on the cats puts a constant level of stress on them. As if they aren’t already stressed enough trying to catch the elusive laser dot creatures that don’t exist.
“If owners think this is amusing then I am appalled,” says clinical animal behaviorist Pippa Hutchinson.
“If you were to do this regularly you would put the animal under a lot of repeated stress and this would have a damaging effect on its body.”
“These cucumbers ARE scary…scary good at revitalizing my skin that is.”
While stressing your pet out seems like a pretty dick move, a fun little scare here and there shouldn’t be too harmful, especially since there have been no reports of serious psychological or physical trauma due to these pranks. Cats are obnoxiously skittish as it is, regardless of crafty cucumbers lurking in the shadows or not.
World renowned animal psychologist Dr. Roger Mugford believes that the cucumbers themselves aren’t necessarily scary. “I think that the reaction is due to the novelty and unexpectedness of finding an unusual object secretly placed whilst their heads were down in the food bowl,” says Mugford. “Cats have to be suspicious of the unknown: it could represent the danger of a snake or another predator. I suspect that there would be the same reaction to a model spider, a plastic fish or a human face mask.”
Personally, I don’t think these pranks are that mean-spirited. If cats have no problem pushing random shit off of countertops for sport, they can afford to be victimized by vegetables every once in a while. All is fair in love and war and animal pranks.