The Fear of Cats or Ailurophobia and How to Overcome?

For the majority of the population, cats are among the common pet to have at home. However, people suffering from Ailurophobia have problems simply watching cats close to them; some might have problems looking at anything that keeps reminding them of felines or hearing their voice.

It is because Ailurophobia is particularly stressful for individuals experiencing it. These things can prevent you from living your life to the fullest and makes situations awkward for you.

What is Ailurophobia?

Ailurophobia is an extreme fear of cats that causes anxiety in the presence of or dreaming about them. This phobia is also referred to as Elurophobia, Gatophobia, and Felinophobia.

You could be scared of cats if you have been attacked or bitten by one. It is also possible that you hate cats. In any instance, you would not want to try to communicate with them, and you are unlikely to be very concerned about them.

A phobia is more than just a mere fear or hate. If you suffer from Ailurophobia, you might spend considerable time stressing about cats and planning to overcome the fear.

What Are The Symptoms?

Ailurophobia is characterized by excessive dread after seeing and hearing a cat. Even watching cartoons or gazing at photographs of cats might cause symptoms.

Whenever you wonder about them or come in touch with the subject of your fear, you will experience both physical and mental symptoms.

The most common physical symptoms are:

  • Pain or stiffness in the chest
  • Heavily sweating or increased heart rate
  • Difficulties in regular breathing
  • Indications of anxiousness, discomfort, or dizziness
  • Shivering and trembling
  • Stomach ache, particularly when picturing an upcoming situation where a cat would be there

The most common psychological symptoms are:

  • Getting nervous and scared thinking about cats
  • Getting terrified of going to new places where there might be cats.
  • Spending plenty of time considering how you may encounter cats and how you can escape from them
  • You feel extremely anxious and afraid on hearing their voice or a hiss

These symptoms might have an impact on your daily lifestyle. You may, for instance, avoid meeting a friend who owns kittens or relocate to a different neighborhood where pets are not permitted. Alternatively, you may notice yourself ignoring colleagues who discuss their domestic cats.

Furthermore, if you suffer from any phobias, you may even be familiar with the idea that your concerns are unreasonable or unlikely to damage you. This knowledge commonly leads to added suffering and feelings of helplessness, making it challenging to seek treatment.

What Causes Ailurophobia?

Phobias are known to have a specific origin. Ailurophobia could be triggered by being bitten by a feline as a child or watching another person being harmed. Genes and surroundings may also have a role.

Various phobias, particularly animal phobias, are common among children. Perhaps you have been used to having a fear of felines for a long time, although you can’t really think of a memory-triggering incident.

It is quite possible to acquire a phobia even without experiencing a bad encounter with the thing you are afraid of.

People are typically terrified of felines for one of two primary reasons: either they are fearful of the severe violence they may cause, or they think of them as evil creatures.

Physical Harm

Cats are predatory animals by temperament, which might be difficult to recall when holding a little kitten. Most of the identical fundamental impulses exist in domestic cats as they do in leopards, tigers, jaguars, and other giant cats. Someone who has been attacked or injured by a cat before is more likely to acquire a fear of cats.

Some individuals are not frightened of house pets, especially ones with no claws; however, they fear felines they meet outside. Some people are terrified of male cats, believing that they are more dangerous than females. The rest of them are terrified of all cats, irrespective of context, after witnessing or directly experiencing a bad incident.

Fear of Evil

Felines have been adored and hated throughout history because of their assumed supernatural abilities. Felines were worshipped as gods in Ancient Egypt. They were said to have been under the unique shelter of Bast, the queen of the moon and fertility. Cats were commonly preserved and placed in large cemeteries. Murdering a cat was frequently a punishable crime, whether on purpose or by mistake.

Although no event is more intimately associated with the criticism of cats than the 17th-century witch trials across Europe and the American territories. Cats were commonly considered witches’ slaves, midnight agents capable of fulfilling the witch’s will, starting in the Medieval Era. Cats were traditionally considered to be witches’ ties to the devil itself through the period of the Salem Witch Trials that occurred in 1692 and 1693.

The fear of felines as foretold of evil is now mostly a religious phobia. Fear of evil can indicate abnormal thoughts in certain situations, although modern psychologists are mindful to consider clients’ cultural views before diagnosing the disease.

Is It Fear Or Is It Phobia?

Although some individuals are terrified of cats; but, not all fears are called phobias that require medical attention. Sometimes a real question is if it is a fear that has to be addressed or one that can be resolved. If you dislike cats or have been attacked or injured by one in the past, you may feel scared and hesitant. You could attempt to stay away from cats or refrain from caressing them. But, it is likely that you will not have any severe side effects as an outcome of the bad encounter, and your phobia of cats will fade after a certain time, and you will be fine with cats again.

The anxiety and feeling of being near a cat are absolutely distressing for people with a severe phobia, but, they have no idea what is the right thing to do. They seem to have no method of comforting themselves mentally, and finding a kitten in an unexpected location might have severe outcomes. Instead of the signs or thoughts fading away with every moment, they sometimes worsen, and the second time they encounter a cat may be much more unsettling than the previous one.

How Is It Diagnosed?

Consider consulting a psychologist to evaluate the situation overall if you suspect you have Ailurophobia. Your general physician may be able to suggest to you a specialist who has the expertise in identifying phobias.

A phobia is identified when stress or anxiety interferes with your everyday life or negatively affects your well-being.

Ailurophobia can be identified if:

  • Anxiety is triggered by the presence or idea of cats on both a physical and psychological level.
  • You make every effort to avoid cats.
  • You devote considerable time thinking about future cat encounters.
  • You have had these problems for at least six months.

 How Does Someone Express His Fear For Cats?

Ailurophobia is so severe in certain individuals that it is aroused only by imagining a cat or kitten or suddenly hearing a meow or a hiss. When it is provoked, it can cause many types of behaviors. Among the most noticeable is a “fight-or-flight” reaction, in which the individual will escape in the opposite direction. Others could get a panic attack. Ignorance is also normal in which a person would go to any extent to avoid coming into contact with a kitten, including both in reality and more severe circumstances on television.

Seeking Out Treatment

Treatment for phobias is important as, without help, you cannot conquer your fears by yourself. Irrational fears are your body’s natural response to a signal from your mind that you might be in danger. Natural anxieties are buried deep into your brain to protect you. When it forms anxieties of other reasons, on the other hand, it is a reaction to a particular incident that occurred previously that made you hate something. Your brain thought it could be something that required warning you, so it signals your body that you might be moving towards danger.

To eliminate any phobias, you must change how your brain believes and acts, but this is not always as easy as you may anticipate. You will notice that the feelings return every time you promise yourself that you will not let it cause any problems to you again. They make their way back stronger, yet they appear to be much worse since you were pretty confident you would be in charge this time. Therefore, proper treatment is essential.

Seeking therapy from a psychological healthcare expert is an excellent method to help yourself stay healthy and get back to your daily routine. There is no excuse for living every day in anxiety, and when you get the help you need, you will be able to overcome your fears way faster and smoother. Not just that, but it is possible that you will completely overcome your fears without experiencing any symptoms. You might not want to have a pet cat; however, you will not mind seeing them wandering on the roads.

How Is It Treated?

Developing a phobia does not always indicate that you will require therapy. If you can easily ignore cats, Ailurophobia will not significantly impact your everyday life.

However, avoiding the root of your fear is not always easy or even advisable. For instance, imagine you have begun seeing someone who owns a cat. Or, possibly, you really liked cats until you experienced a negative encounter with them.

Exposure Therapy

Behavioral therapy and counseling activities are highly required, as they are with many other phobias.

A therapist can assist you in determining the fundamental source of the phobia, putting the anxiety into context, and developing a strategy for conquering it. It may appear to be an efficient technique, but it might be challenging to implement by yourself.

Exposure therapy is generally acknowledged as among the most helpful phobia therapies. To combat ailurophobia, you will start by looking at photographs of cats. After that, you may also want to see cat clips and touch a plush or toy cat. You will gradually sit close to a kitten in a crate before feeling a friendly cat.

Systematic desensitization is a kind of exposure treatment that entails developing calming strategies to assist control fear and panic while undergoing counseling.

Eventually, you will be able to link felines to a relaxed reaction rather than a fear with the help of these practices.

Cognitive-behavioral Therapy

If you are not convinced with exposure treatment, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can be a better option. You will start to recognize and reframe distressing thinking patterns using CBT.

CBT will most certainly include some cat encounters, so you would be able to manage your stress levels easily during this time.


Although there are no drugs especially developed to cure phobias; but, some of them can assist with short-term treatment.

Some of the medications are:

  • Beta-blockers

Beta-blockers can assist with bodily symptoms, including speeding heartbeat and nausea. They are usually taken before entering an environment that causes physical issues.

  • Benzodiazepines

These are medications that can assist with stress symptoms as well. They could be beneficial, but they often carry a significant addictive potential. These are usually only prescribed for frequent or short-term usage by your physician.

  • D-Cycloserine (DCS)

It is a medication that may assist the improvement of exposure treatment. According to the outcomes of a 2017 study released, exposure treatment may be more successful when combined with DCS. People often get benefits without having DCS medication.

Final thought

Phobias vary in depth and intensity, and so does the fear sensation of encountering them. Some individuals may only experience minimal signs, whereas others become utterly immobilized or dominated by the anxiety of experiencing something they are scared of. Therapy and medication might benefit you if you have Ailurophobia, which prevents you from enjoying various tasks or severely impacts your life.

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