Is It Ethical To Scare Your Cat With A Cucumber?

Of course not!

What’s the matter with these people?

I had been blissfully unaware that someone discovered that cats are freaked out by cucumbers. This spawned a large number of “hilarious” online videos of pet felines finishing a meal and turning around to see the dreaded green things behind them, resulting  in spectacular leaps in panic. We often hear the cackling of the cat’s owners, who probably are Jimmy Kimmel fans.

I bet they would also enjoy their beloved animal companion’s reaction if they set off a cherry bomb near Fluffy.

What assholes. The Golden Rule is not usually applicable to lower species, but humans don’t enjoy being terrified, and neither do cats. This is animal abuse.

12 thoughts on “Is It Ethical To Scare Your Cat With A Cucumber?

  1. It astonishes me that anyone would, for their own amusement, terrify a pet. And worse, that they do not understand that this places them in the exact same category as all child and animal abusers. Who says we are ‘civilized?’ And who will send these clips to the ASPCA?

  2. I’m guessing that at some deep level, something about cucumbers sets of the cats’ “snake alarm”. It is noxious to deliberately mess with pets’ heads that way.

    • I was just about to post this. Some instinctual fear of thin green long things? Snake!

      But watching this video reminded me of one of my old dog’s favorite games. Take a bunch of old blankets and hide her favorite plastic bone among them. She’d pull, throw, dig, or whatever the blankets until she found the bone. One time she managed to pull out the bone and get it behind her without noticing. Kept going at the blankets for a minute or so, and then she saw the bone with her peripheral vision. Kind of ignored it, then it clicked what it was, turned around, and then she jumped probably as high as the cats in the video above. It was accidental, and she managed to get over it as she kept asking to play that game.

      • Sounds like a terrier to me. Our Jack Russells (and Spuds) played the “pretend to be surprised by hidden toys” game. Our Mastiff liked the “Evil biscuit” game, where she would growl at and pretend to be afraid of a new treat.

  3. I could only watch a portion of the video.
    It’s obvious that this invokes something that is seared into the DNA of cats that shrieks DANGER to them.
    Those doing it clearly find it hilarious. I wonder if they find setting cats’ tails on fire equally funny.
    This is supremely unethical.

  4. I have a neighbour whom I visit regularly, who is both a vegetarian and a serial cat owner. Would it be ethical to inform him of these findings? If I do not, he mightr absent mindedly wander around with a cucumber, and if I do, he might be tortured with guilt over the possibility of past failings of his.

    If you want another perspective on cruelty to animals, read Evelyn Waugh’s “Black Mischief”.

  5. I agree with your assessment.

    Here is what is the matter with these people:

    Scaring is fun!

    I am not sure that any other animal engages in scaring activity leisurely. Yet, people ride roller coasters, go to Haunted Houses, sky dive, bungee jump and attend Carrot Top concerts-willingly.

    And, we do it because the danger is largely an illusion of danger; dying is not an appreciable risk in the activity, though accidents happen. (Rock-climbing? Climbing Everest? That is just dumb.)

    And, we scare each other voluntarily. I have jumped out from behind a door to scare my kids. It might be a practice that evolves out of playing peek-a-boo with a baby. It is a jarring recognition of the senses. And, it is harmless fun, because there is no danger involved, and it is an understood activity. It is a form of play.

    And, it is the sort of activity we see in animals. Kittens will often stalk and attack each other in a form of play that tends to develop their senses and coordination.

    In that sense, cats and humans share scaring and pouncing as a fun activity. Humans can even engage in that kind of play with cats, where they can pounce on you, or you engage them in stalking behavior.

    But, scaring a cat with a cucumber is truly scary for the cat, even if it is funny for the person. That is where it passes over into sadism. Because, while I may sneak up on my kids, and give them a hug, or jump out at them, it is not something people do all the time. If you are scaring your kids every day to the point that they are afraid, you have crossed the line where it is no longer a form of play.

    Scaring them with a cucumber? That’s just mean.


  6. I guess I don’t see an issue with it. It’s like scaring someone when they turn a corner. Joke was on us anyways. My cat wasn’t scared at all.

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