Is Should Not be Amusing to Startle and Scare a Cat

There are trends with cat news and videos. At the moment, in the news for a short while is what people consider to be amusing: domestic cats being scared by cucumbers placed behind them. Judging by the success of videos showing cats being scared by cucumbers, a lot of people find it highly amusing to see domestic cats jumping out of their skin when they turn around to see a strange object on the floor behind them. Invariably the cucumber is placed behind them as the cat is focusing on something particular, usually eating his food.

cat scared by cucumber

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I don’t find these videos using. Perhaps I am an exception. Perhaps I’m rather peculiar. I don’t know and I don’t care. I don’t think that it is a good idea to scare your cat for your amusement. I know it is not very important if your cat is scared just the once but it is the wrong mentality to obtain amusement from seeing anyone or any animal being scared especially when that strong emotion has been engineered by the person making the video.

And I don’t want to be a wet blanket and I don’t want to spoil the fun of others. I understand that people do want to amuse themselves. But there are a million and one ways for a person to amuse him/herself other than making a cat frightened or watching a cat being frightened by somebody else.

The reason why cats are frightened of cucumbers placed behind them is because the cucumber is a strange shape; it is object with which the cat is unfamiliar. And it suddenly appears behind them. Think about it. If something strange was suddenly placed behind us as we were focusing on something else and which we noticed when we turned around, we too might be frightened for that instant. It would be an unpleasant experience and you wouldn’t expect somebody to laugh about it. Although I do realise that some people find this amusing. Perhaps it is because I am more sensitive to the feelings of others. And I think this is the key to it. A lot of people are insensitive to the feelings of others. They are insensitive to what happens around them and the impact their behavior has on others. They are self-centred. They are inward looking if you like. It is good to be sensitive towards the feelings of others and by “others” I refer, of course, to cat companions or any other animal companion for that matter.

We do not want to stress up our cats to the sake of our amusement. Let’s think about other ways to amuse ourselves which do not rely on the unpleasant emotional experiences of others. Additionally, it a person constantly seeks to scare their cat it will backfire on the cat owner eventually as it will damage trust between cat and person and make the cat more fearful of his surroundings when the objective is the opposite.

Associated: Yelling at cats. I wrote this eight years ago.

Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

Note: sources for news articles are carefully selected but the news is often not independently verified.
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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

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13 Responses

  1. fern says:

    Wankers, your all a stupid lot of wankers. Now that’s funny.

    • Michael Broad says:

      Fern why are you are being so unnecessarily rude? We are not w** as you state. We are just people who love animals and are concerned about their welfare. Clearly you are the opposite.

      If you return and are rude again, you’ll be banned permanently.

  2. Irish Cornaire says:

    IMO tis not amusing to me,I dont like it when someone purposely sets out to scare me,I dont laugh,I get pissed off but thats me.

  3. kevin roche says:

    Yes, very well said michael.i very much agree and don’t watch them videos anymore because i believe that they are more focused on making people laugh than the well being of the cats in them..
    I would think that scaring a cat while he is eating would make him more apprehensive about approaching his food isn’t something i would ever do and i don’t think it’s funny…

    • Michael Broad says:

      Thank Kevin for your support on this. I believe that people have a developed a bit of a habit of seeking amusement from the domestic cat since the cat became an internet sensation. It is fine to be amused by our cat but I don’t like these amusing events to be engineered by people at the cat’s emotional expense.

  4. Albert Schepis says:

    Very aptly put Michael, and I do agree. It’s the antithesis of nurturing a trusting, happy relationship with our sensitive, loving companion.

    • Michael Broad says:

      Thanks Albert. I like fun and my cat amuses me sometimes but it is all natural and not deliberately engineered and it does not involve fear.

  5. I totally agree that intentionally scaring any animal shows a lack of sensitivity of other’s feelings. It also seems like a power trip that feeds the ego, although it may be unconscious. It would seem to break down any trust from the animal toward that human who creates strategies to get a laugh that come at the expense of an animal’s feelings of safety. Not too conscious or wise in my opinion. How do we feel when someone intentionally scares us? Even when it’s not intentional? My roommate says I scare her because I’m quiet. Maybe I should wear a bell…

  6. Serbella says:

    I saw those You Tube videos. I didn’t like the way the cats were scared. That would startle anyone, turning around after eating and seeing this strange new thing on the floor behind them. I think scaring a cat just for 15 seconds of fame on You Tube is a very bad idea.

    There was a video of a cat who sat on a stool next to a kitchen table and he obviously didn’t like the cucumber because he kept batting at it. That was more acceptable to me. I’d seen speculation online that perhaps cats just didn’t like the look of a cucumber because of some ancient memory of a snake predator, which is why some cats who weren’t surprised still reacted negatively. I was curious so I decided to test this out on Samirah. I did not ambush her while she was eating. She was in the bathroom drinking her water, I went into the living room and put the cucumber in the middle of the floor. Samirah strolled in, saw it, walked over and gave it a sniff. She rubbed her face on the cucumber and then she retired to her kitty condo and took a nap. She was not impressed.

    • Michael Broad says:

      Since I wrote this page there has been a spate of pages saying the same thing! That it is not a good idea to scare cats. Err.. yes, that makes sense 😉

      • Serbella says:

        People will do anything for You Tube. Or Facebook. They claim it’s not a good idea to scare cats and they show cat vids showing that same thing they tell people NOT to do. Humans are weird.

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