Videos starring cats afraid of cucumbers are popping up all over the Internet. In the videos, the felines face away, and their owners secretly place a cucumber behind them. When the cats turn around, they are startled by the fruit that wasn’t there beforehand, often leaping back.

Here we have tried to unravel this mistery and discover the reasons why cats are afraid of cucumbers.

# Cucumbers might remind cats of snakes

There are a few theories, but no definitive answer. Most experts agree that it isn’t necessarily the cucumber itself that scares cats. One of the most popular explanations is that cucumbers remind cats of snakes. “Cucumbers look enough like a snake to have the cat’s instinctive fear of snakes kick in.”

# Cats are surprised or scared

Another idea is that the sudden appearance of the cucumber is what scares the cat. This is similar to startling someone by sneaking up behind them. Animal behaviorists explain that the cucumbers are triggering the cats’ natural startle responses. If you have seen such videos of cats getting scared of cucumbers, you might have noticed that cucumbers are deliberately put behind cats when they are peacefully enjoying a meal with their heads buried in their food bowl. Cats only eat when they are sure that they are not immediately threatened by anything/anyone in the vicinity; in other words, cats associate their ‘food stations’ as areas where they are perfectly safe and secure.

Here’s why you shouldn’t try to scare cats with cucumbers

Although the videos showing cats afraid of cucumbers and other fruits are entertaining, experts advise against trying any similar pranks at home with your pet; doing so isn’t good for their health. Doing this, could cause cats to injure themselves, break something, or lead to prolonged stress.

Cats are shown to be suspicious of anything that moves rapidly, makes a lot of noise, or lights up erratically: essentially, anything that they don’t fully understand, which isn’t really that different from most animals, including humans. It’s also worth noting that cats are mostly solitary animals, and humans are as sociable as animals can be – so they’re baffled enough by us as it is. Freaking them out with unexpected cucumbers probably isn’t helping.

Trying to scare a cat like this is not just wrong, but actually quite cruel. That’s why, if you want your cat to not be scared of cucumbers, it’s best if you ‘introduce’ your pet to cucumbers gradually. And yes, you should do it from a safe distance.