Why are domestic cats scared of cucumbers?

Although this precise question has been asked and answered many times, I will throw my hat into the ring, briefly. There are two reasons why cats are scared of cucumbers, (1) they are hardwired to avoid snakes as they’ve inherited an instinct to regard them as dangerous and the cucumber has similar dimensions, except for its length, to a snake and (2) it is a strange object which looks as if it is a living creature to a cat and, as they are unsure, they quickly evade it once spotted.

Cucumber looking like a snake. Image: MikeB from images in the public domain.
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles:- Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

It’s a simple question of survival and playing safe to avoid injury. The instinct to survive is completely natural. Their high jump to avoid the cucumber is a reflection of their athleticism and fast twitch muscles. Interestingly, we can’t say that all cats are frightened of snakes because quite a few wildcats prey on snakes and are very good at it. In particular I am thinking of the diminutive sand cat which is a past master at killing and eating snakes while avoiding being bitten. They are the only true desert cat and reptiles, including snakes, are quite high on their list of prey animals. It depends on which dry, arid or desert-like landscape they live in as to whether snakes are on the menu.

The sand cats of the Sahara have a reputation among the nomads who live there of being snake hunters. They regularly kill horned vipers and sand vipers according to a French researcher, Dragesco-Joffé. You can read about this if you wish by clicking on this link. And here.

Sand cats eat ten percent of their body weight per day
Sand cats eat ten percent of their body weight per day. Photos: straightdope.com and Google Images

Evolution turns full circle

In an ironic twist of natural evolution, the domestic cat uses its inherent fear of the snake to help protect itself when sleeping. You may have noticed that when a tabby cat curls up on a warm surface, on a summer’s day, they look like snakes! Clearly during the evolution of the domestic cat’s wild cat ancestor, they learned to use their understanding of the danger of snakes to appear to be one themselves.

Curled Cat Coiled Snake Comparison
Curled Cat Coiled Snake Comparison. Image: PoC.

This evolutionary quirk has been carried forward into the domestic cat. Not all domestic cats are tabbies but at one time all domestic cats were indeed tabby cats. That era was throughout the time that the ancient Egyptians worshipped the cat.

Cats and Cucumbers

Forget cats and dogs, its all about cats vs. cucumbers…

Posted by FailArmy on Monday, November 20, 2017


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It is speculated, and it is probably true, that all domestic cats during the ancient Egyptian era were tabby cats. Only later on did the huge variety of coats develop because there was no need any more for a camouflaged coat as domestic cat became companions of people, living in their homes and finding security therein.

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