Cape Town - Over a third of cats across the globe display an irrational fear of cucumbers, informal research suggests.
A gin company has stepped in to ensure harmony is restored ahead of World Cucumber Day on June 14.
Hendrick's gin enlisted the help of animal behaviourist Dr Roger Mugford - previously master trainer to the British Queen’s corgis - to create a cucumber exposure programme to help our feline friends cope at this particularly troublesome time.
Cats and their exaggerated reactions to cucumbers are a staple of the cat video theme on YouTube.undefined
Mugford says the suspicious nature of cats is what leads to the innate fear of the cucumber – the oddnessof the green fruit makes them feel uneasy.
Cunning cat-friendly tips include:
* Playing some suitably serene music to help cats relax and forget about cucumbers.
* Incremental exposure may acclimatise cats to cucumbers – limiting their fear.
* Trying not to appear frightened yourself when confronted by a cucumber - the more loyal cats out there may jump to your defence.
* Rest assured that once the cucumber is submerged in a gin and tonic, cats will not experience anxiety of any kind.
“The cucumber is at the core of our gin, which is infused with cucumber itself, the gin that is, not the cucumber - a cucumber is wholly made of cucumber”, says David Piper, Hendrick’s Global Brand Ambassador.
“Cats have an illogical fear of cucumbers - so as inventors of the cucumber garnish, we have to act responsibly and ensure cats feel at ease as we enjoy our Hendrick’s libations garnished, of course, with a cucumber, on World Cucumber Day. Did I mention the importance of cucumbers?”
He added: “I’ve witnessed a lot of odd things in my time, but I never thought the humble cucumber could provoke such a profound reaction. It is something of a bolt from the green for kitties. We encourage everyone, everywhere, to take the necessary precautions to ensure curious individuals worldwide can celebrate World Cucumber Day with a slice of the unusual.”
Mugford says: “It is a real and scientific phenomenon that cats are a tad on the timorous side when it comes to cucumbers. “ estimate that approximately a third of cats worldwide are scared of the glorious fruit, and even more in busy cities, as they’re not used to such curious country objects.”
Mugford's statistic is based on his conversations with cat owner communities.
Mugford advises that if owners do come across any anxiousness, playing music is a great way to calm cats down, claiming that Beethoven in particular is a popular choice for cats worldwide. He recommends putting a cucumber in a paper bag and leaving it on the floor in the lead up to the day, giving them a chance to discover the cucumber themselves and in their own time.
“I would strongly advise cat owning individuals to take it slow, starting a cucumber exposure programme in the week leading up to World Cucumber Day, giving them time to acclimatise.”
* In honour of World Cucumber Day, Duncan McRae has created the Catnip & Cucumber Cooler .
Catnip & Cucumber Cooler
50ml Hendrick’s Gin
20ml Fresh lemon juice
10ml Elderflower cordial
8-12 Leaves of catnip
20ml Cloudy apple juice
50ml Fresh cucumber juice
70ml Soda water
Combine Gin, lemon, elderflower and catnip in base of tall glass and muddle. Add ice, cucumber, apple juice and churn. Add more ice, top with soda and garnish with a cucumber wedge and catnip sprig.
IOL, adapted from a press release