A yawn is an involuntary reflex where the mouth is opened wide, and the lungs take in a lot of air. The air is then exhaled slowly. During this time, the eardrums stretch, and the eyes may also close tight, causing them to water.
No thought or action has to be taken to produce a yawn, and the process is similar for everyone. Yawning commonly occurs either before or after sleep, which is why it is usually considered a sign of being tired. Yawning also occurs frequently in people who are doing boring or tedious things.
There is also a social aspect to yawning. Yawning appears to be contagious among humans and other animals, and the contagiousness of a yawn is well documented but hardly understood.
Cats are deeply curious creatures. Recent evidence suggests that these tiny lions see us as inessential landlords, or rubbish, fur-lacking kittens. A new internet craze involving our feline companions has unveiled another piece of strange information: For some utterly bizarre reason, they appear to be terrified – utterly terrified – of cucumbers.
In the vast majority of the videos, cat owners are seen sneaking up behind their pets as they’re facing the other way – mostly eating – and placing the green, elongated vegetable behind them. As the cat turns around and spots the unexpected item, it loses its mind, leaps into the air, and gets away from it as fast as it can. In some videos, the cats then engage in a stare down with the cucumber, waiting in vain for it to make its first move.
But the question remains: Why on Earth are cats frightened by these innocuous vegetables?
To be fair, there aren’t any videos of cats seeing a cucumber from a distance and then walking up to interrogate it, so perhaps it’s the unexpected sight of a cucumber behind them that’s frightening, not the cucumber itself: An unexpected pineapple would likely be just as jarring. As it turns out, Dr. Roger Mugford, a specialist in animal behavior, told the Telegraph: “I think that the reaction is due to the novelty and unexpectedness of finding an unusual object secretly placed whilst their heads were down in the food bowl.”
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.
“Cats have to be suspicious of the unknown: It could represent the danger of a snake or another predator,” Mugford continued. “I suspect that there would be the same reaction to a model spider, a plastic fish or a human face mask.”
Sometimes, you can’t help but notice that instead of brown poop, what you’ve just dumped into the toilet has a distinctly green twinge even perhaps a St. Patrick’s Day type of bright neon green color.
To understand why green’s OK sometimes, you have to know why it’s usually brown. Normally, your liver helps you digest fats you’ve eaten by producing a greenish fluid called bile. That fluid does many helpful things: It helps you break down fat for the rest of your body to absorb, it has anti-microbial properties, can neutralize acidity or pH for vitamin absorption and enzyme activity, and it keeps you regular.
Bile mixes with food and waste products to form stool in the large intestine. When things are working as they should, bacteria in your large intestine break down the bile through a process called oxidation, which helps turn whole mixture brown.
When bile does not have time to be broken down, green happens. Some foods—like spicy foods, coffee, and alcohol—make your body fast-forward through the digestion process, so there’s not enough time for bile to be broken down. This may happen if you don’t usually consume these foods and drinks, or if you consume a large quantity. Healthy digestion involves a breakdown of bile, so most of the time, your body will adjust and slow down accordingly. Your gut may not respond to these foods the same way each time, so don’t be alarmed by the occasional color change.
Other reasons it might be green:
Artificial coloring in candy or processed foods. But you’re not eating those, right?
A higher-than-usual volume of leafy greens. If you decided to change things and go all-in on greens like spinach or kale, or even green foods like kiwi, avocado, or cucumbers, you may have green poop until your digestive tract adjusts.
Diarrhea. That’s a sign of extreme fast transit through your colon. Sneaky things that give you diarrhea include medications or supplement ingredients like senna, which can be found in digestive enzyme/probiotic/health products claiming to help you lose weight. Food allergies and celiac disease can cause diarrhea as well.
If you experience an occasional green bowel movement (once every few weeks or month), it’s probably okay, especially if you have a diet high in vegetables. However, if it’s consistently green when you flush, you should consider seeing your doctor especially if your stools are liquid in consistency and are more frequent than your normal bowel habits. It could be a sign of a number of things, including carbohydrate enzyme deficiency, pancreatic disease, irritable bowel syndrome, or an infection. Best to get it checked out.