Cats and cucumber videos on the Internet, explained.

There Is a Thing About Cats and Cucumbers on the Internet. Here’s What That’s About.  

There Is a Thing About Cats and Cucumbers on the Internet. Here’s What That’s About.  

The Slatest
Your News Companion
Nov. 18 2015 12:59 PM

There Is a Thing About Cats and Cucumbers on the Internet. Here’s What That’s About.  

Cucumber_11182015
Fear incarnate.

YouTube/The Huffington Post

What is going on?

Sometime within the past few months, the Internet discovered the fact that cats fear cucumbers. When you put a cucumber behind a cat while the cat is eating, the cat tends to turn around, freak out, and leap in the air. Since this discovery—no one is sure by whom, but Reddit is hard at work trying to figure it out—people have been making so many YouTube videos at the expense of these cats, and millions of humans have been watching them with great amusement. Due to the number of people who are amused, those in the media have begun reporting on this viral trend and recommending that you do this to your cat in order to become a YouTube star.

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Wow. Why are cats afraid of cucumbers?

No one really knows. Outlets including National Geographic, the Telegraph, and I Fucking Love Science have put resources into answering this question with “science.” But so far, it remains a mystery. Is it the color? The pattern? The shape? The scentless-ness? The fact that cucumbers may resemble deadly snakes? Or maybe it’s just that you’re startling an animal with a foreign object when it least expects it, and so it freaks out just as you might if someone you trusted startled you with an unexpected phallic vegetable while you were alone, you jerk.

Should I scare my cat with a cucumber?

No. For some reason, National Geographic thought it was necessary to consult cat experts and a “certified animal behaviorist” to tell you this. “If you cause stress to an animal that's probably not a good thing,” the behaviorist helpfully told Nat Geo. "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,” another similarly told the Telegraph. Thanks, experts! If you are still considering freaking your cat out for Internet fame, please take a moment to remember that house cats can kill.

Rachel E. Gross is the science web editor at Smithsonian.