Some may suggest they just don’t like the arrogant nature of cats, but the truth is there may be a long held fear of felines that might be couched in humorous accounts of the nature of a haughty kitty.
The experts call this fear Ailurophobia.
Can those who fear cats the most explain why they are frightened by these bundles of fur? Most of the time they cannot.
Those who fear felines may drive out of the way to avoid being in close proximity a cat. They may refuse to go outside if a cat is in view and they wouldn’t even consider the possibility of petting a cat. Living with a cat would be totally out of the question.
For those who live with Ailurophobia the fear is as real as any other phobia and the symptoms may be just as pronounced.
Causes of Cat Fear
For many individuals there may be two predominant fears that make ‘affection’ a word that will not be used in reference to cats.
- The fear of physical harm from the cat.
- The fear that the cat may be intrinsically evil.
These fears may have their root in pop culture where images of cats can provide feelings of either an inherent evil or a stalking predator.
Knowing that the domesticated house cat is a relative of voracious hunters like the lion and tiger may not make this easier for the ailurophobe.
The Signs of Fear
- Rapid heart rate
- Profuse sweating
- Acute anxiety
- Dry mouth
- Stiff extremities and a tightness of the chest
- A refusal to look at a cat
It has been suggested that cats enjoy hanging around those who fear them the most. Cat behavior seems to suggest that the cat may actually view the Ailurophobe as the least threatening. Those who pay a lot of attention to a cat may be viewed as challengers. Since most who fear cats will not look at them the cat views them as safe.
Overcoming the Fear of Cats
Therapy can provide a great deal of help in overcoming your fear. Part of the role of therapy is to help you learn more about why you fear and help you discover that what you have believed about cats may be untrue.
Most fear is rooted in a lie that was believed sometime in your past. You may have observed a parent who demonstrated a fear of cats so the fear you have may have been learned from observation. A cat may have scratched you when you were small. The fear you felt then may be preventing you from understanding that most cats can provide a great deal of gentle affection.
A desensitization therapy can help you become comfortable around a cat over a multi-step process. The end result may allow you to be in the same room without the panic that would typically send you into flight mode.
Like many fears Ailurophobia may elicit a sense of embarrassment. You see, the reason many will simply make fun of cats is they may feel humiliated that they should be afraid of an animal that seems to harmless to so many.
Seeking the help of a professional or simply a trusted friend may go a long way in minimizing your fear and helping you gain a new appreciation for the cat.
Have cats become a source of fear for you? Can you pinpoint a time when you first learned to fear cats? Can knowing that information help you overcome your fear? We’d love to hear how you’re dealing with this phobia.
The fear of cats is also referred to as:
- cat phobia
- fear of cat phobia
- feline phobia
- cat phobia fear name