Looking at the question of, ‘why do cats hate zucchini?’ I’m not talking about the taste.
I’m talking about the crazy that’s sweeping the internet of placing a zucchini, or a cucumber behind a cat and watching them jump out of their skin in shock.
First of all, I want to point out that I’m not a fan of putting any vegetable or object behind a cat to scare them.
I’ve never done it with my cats and it’s pretty obvious it’s cruel. But it does raise some interesting questions into why cats jump up in fear over a seemingly harmless vegetable.
What Is a Zucchini?
For those who don’t know exactly what a zucchini is, this vegetable which is also called a courgette is a delicious summer squash.
Well, I call it delicious because I enjoy eating zucchini, but it’s not for everyone.
They are usually around 15 – 25cm in length. They are a dark green color, although there is a striped dark and light green courgette, but it’s not as commonly seen.
They look similar to cucumbers, hence the nature of this article. But at the same time, you can tell they are different vegetables as they are a lot thicker.
Why Do Cats Hate Zucchini’s Being Placed Behind Them?
There are two theories as to why cats are so scared to find a courgette/zucchini, cucumber, etc behind them:
Primal fear – Some scientists and pet behavioral experts believe it can be tied back to a cat’s natural survival instinct.
To turn around and see a long, green object, they immediately think it’s a snake or some other kind of threat and instinctively jump away.
Just think how you’d feel to turn around and suddenly see something a similar size ratio as a cucumber-to-cat has ‘magically’ appeared behind you.
Shock – Of course it’s a shock to find a zucchini has crept up and sat behind a cat. But for a lot of cats, there would be a similar reaction to anything that has appeared behind them.
So while placing cucumbers and zucchini has become the online meme, there is a chance that it’s the fact an object has appeared rather than what it looks like.
All cats are different. Some are more jumpy than others, but I see a lot of sense in this theory. Cats are curious and cautious creatures, it’s really no surprise they have the reaction they do.
Is It Dangerous Placing a Zucchini Behind a Cat?
It is potentially dangerous to their health, yes.
Even though these videos go viral and hundreds of thousands of people laugh at the sight of cats leaping feet into the air in fear, let’s stop for a minute and think about it.
You’re putting your cat under unnecessary stress just for your own amusement if you’re doing this, and laughing at others isn’t much better.
Cats are fragile creatures, and we have to work hard to build up a bond with them. It’s particularly cruel to older cats.
Scaring them out of their wits only damages this bond and reduces the trust they have in you, and how safe they feel at home.
Don’t do it!
This short YouTube video is an example of what kind of reaction you can expect if a cat finds a zucchini behind them: