#1: Put a mirror in front of your feeding bowl. Cucumbers generally approach from directly behind and often attack while the victim is eating. Make sure the mirror is above you and tilted downwards so that you can clearly see the floor behind you. Should you spot a cucumber sneaking up, turn around to face the cucumber and back slowly out of the room. Whatever you do, do not panic and jump wildly into the air! You’re likely to come down directly on top of the cucumber.
#2: Encourage your caregiver to find alternatives to cucumbers, such as broccoli, green peppers, and cabbage, all of which are far less likely to attack cats.
#3: Have your caregiver attach a small bell to any cucumbers he/she is keeping in the house.
#4: Install an alarm system. A simple reflecting light diode can be set up so that when a cucumber breaks the beam an alarm goes off. Such systems can be tied to local police departments to notify them when a cucumber attack has occurred. Be aware, however, that police department reaction times on calls where cucumbers are involved can range widely and it has been reported that in some urban areas the police may not respond at all to a cucumber incident.
#5: Have your caregiver pickle the cucumber. A pickled cucumber can easily be detected by smell, usually long before it has had time to sneak up behind you. Be aware, however, that if you find yourself in the vicinity of a corned beef sandwich, the danger of nearby pickled cucumber presence will likely be increased.
#6: Encourage your caregiver to get a dog. Cucumbers have a deathly fear of dogs, which often mistake them for chew toys. As a cat, naturally, you too may have a deathly fear of dogs, but remember: the enemy of my enemy is my friend.
#7: Sleep during the day but be vigilant at night. Cucumbers are thought to be nocturnal and to generally hunt at night. (These reports come from dogs, however, and are therefore suspect.) Should you spot a cucumber at night, or anything you believe might be a cucumber, or really, anything even remotely cucumber-shaped, meow loudly to notify others of the danger. Caregivers have a tendency to sleep at night, which makes them less than ideal as sentries against the cucumber menace, but if you meow loud enough, they will no longer be asleep.
#8: Carry a peeler. This is often your only defense once a cucumber has attacked. But remember to always peel away from your paw and do not let your caregiver put the shavings down the garbage disposal once you have vanquished the cucumber. It won’t clog but the disposal will make that horrible sound not unlike the horrible sound the vacuum cleaner makes. Encourage them to throw the peelings into the garbage pail instead, the beautifully silent garbage pail.
#9: Sometimes the best defense is a good offense, so remember to search the house on a regular basis for hidden cucumbers. Better for you to surprise them than for them to surprise you. When you discover a place a cucumber might use as hiding hole, pee in that spot so that your caregiver becomes aware of the danger and removes the potential lair. Caregivers aren’t fond of this practice, of course, but which is worse, a peed on carpet, or a hidden cucumber?
#10: Make sure your caregiver takes cucumber danger seriously. Human beings, for reasons inexplicable to the rest of us, seem to find the phenomena of a cucumber sneaking up on a cat hilarious. They often do nothing to stop it. In fact, they have been seen deliberately placing cucumbers near unsuspecting cats, thus jeopardizing our safety, all for a cheap laugh. These, of course, are morally depraved individuals, but even the average caregiver may not understand the real dangers cucumbers pose to cats. Educate your caregiver about cucumber infestation. Explain to them the fundamental facts about cucumber aggression. Organize a neighborhood watch. Rubbing against things a lot also helps. It’s not clear why, but it must be helping or it wouldn’t feel so good.
Header photograph: By Nikodem Nijaki (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons