This summer, a popular YouTube video introduced the world to the strange fact that most cats absolutely freak out when they look up from a meal and discover a cucumber in their dining area. Like everything popular on the internet, “cucumbers scaring cats” videos spawned a passionate community, complete with a subreddit. And now it’s experiencing its next stage of internet evolution: a viral backlash.
The first video to have really taken off appears to have been posted to YouTube by a Japanese account in May; in July, for reasons lost to the mists of the internet, it was picked up as a viral video by several American outlets.
Animal-behavior experts haven’t reached a consensus as to why a surprise cucumber triggers cats’ panic response — it’s either the shock of seeing an unfamiliar object in their usually safe food zone or an instinctive reaction to something that looks like their ancestral predator, the snake. Either way, it’s clear from video after video that most cats lose their damn minds when this happens to them:
Either way, the original video and its imitators connected with people who love cats, and probably also people who hate cats. An entire community was soon formed on Reddit devoted to these videos; it now has more than 20,000 subscribers. The Daily Mail attempted to launch a backlash, railing against, to quote the URL, “appalling-videos-showing-pet-s-terrified-reactions-CUCUMBERS.html.”
As it turned out, the Daily Mail was too early. Last week, the internet — obeying its laws of eternal recurrence — resurfaced another video. Now that cucumbers scaring cats has caught on, the initial amusement has worn off and serious meme journalists have started to go negative. Gizmodo entreated cat owners last week to “resist the overwhelming urge” to spook their pets with vegetables. NPR did an entire segment.
And now the meme has finally reached its logical conclusion on Monday, when the Daily Mail covered this cat acting completely indifferent to a cucumber:
Same, kitty. Same.