Ailurophobia: Disproportionate fear of cats

Ailurophobia Disproportionate fear of cats



It is a specific phobia that causes a person to feel   fear so persistent and irrational  towards cats .   

The word ” Ailurus ” is a Greek term that means cat or cat’s meow. In this sense, the phobia of cats can be caused by a traumatic personal experience and in most cases it could have occurred during childhood.

Among the most frequent examples are scratches, nervousness of that animal when trying to escape or the projection of other types of fears not directly related to the animal itself.


Fear is created by the unconscious as a protection mechanism, since fear can be by generational transmission of fears related to survival.

For example: we can have “anchored” fears since the beginning of time, since they would be insecurities that man has faced since its origins ( fear of the dark, fear of dangerous animals such as tigers, lions, leopards and cheetahs … which curiously belong to the same species as cats ) with whom he has had to fight.

We would call this genetic memory, which can activate phobias without having had an incident with the animal in question.

In turn, this fear can be socially transmitted by our closest environment .

For example, if one of our parents are afraid of cats, we will probably “ catch ” their negative perceptions about that animal and learn to react with fear.

Possibly, our behavior towards cats is not spontaneous, but is the reaction of irrational fear and with exaggerated responses based on acquired behaviors.


People with ailurophobia experience high feelings of anxiety every time they detect the presence of a cat.

Likewise, the fear caused by these animals causes subjects with the disorder to constantly avoid contact with them.

If a person suffers from this phobia, they would not be able to bear anxiety in situations where they must have cats around.

Among the main symptoms, the person may have sweating, abnormal breathing ( gasping, hyperventilation and a feeling of suffocation ), rapid heartbeat, tremors, chills, confusion, pain and dizziness.

This sensation not only occurs if the person meets a cat, but can also be activated by thinking of one, by watching images or movies of cats, or by just hearing its meow.

In extreme cases, the person could have a panic attack or go into shock.


The ailurophobia can be treated with psychological therapy adecuad to .

Some of the techniques that have the highest success rate are systematic awareness and exposure to the stimulus that scares us .

Relaxation techniques to combat existing anxiety or neurolinguistic programming (NLP) can be included to learn how to reframe irrational thoughts about fear.

You can also work on the emotions caused by facing cats and re-elaborate safe solutions to problems.

Many people suffer from this type of phobia and feel misunderstood, since cats are normally harmless animals and many people enjoy their company.

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Alexa Clark specializes in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. She has experience in listening and welcoming in Individual Therapy and Couples Therapy. It meets demands such as generalized anxiety, professional, love and family conflicts, stress, depression, sexual dysfunction, grief, and adolescents from 15 years of age. Over the years, She felt the need to conduct the psychotherapy sessions with subtlety since She understands that the psychologist acts as a facilitator of self-understanding and self-acceptance, valuing each person's respect, uniqueness, and acceptance.

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