Cat phobia (Ailurophobia): how to stop being afraid of cats?

Ailurophobia is the term used to refer to a person who has fear panic of cats whatever the reason, this being generally unknown. As is the case for all phobias, this is very disabling on a daily basis, especially since you can meet a cat at any time during a walk, with friends or quite simply in your garden. Difficult to live with, the phobia of cats may require treatment by a psychotherapist.

How does ailurophobia manifest itself?

The phobia of cats affects both adults – men and women – and children. It can be extremely severe to the point that an “ailurophobe” cannot stand contact with a cat, or even see one. It can not stand its purring or anything that can evoke the animal from near or far such as a cat toilet, a litter bag, a kitty basket or cat food, or even cat hair. on a carpet, a garment …

By extension, people who suffer from this type of phobia generally find it difficult to look at other felines whose size and various physical characteristics are quite similar to those of the cat.

The fear experienced by a person who suffers from the phobia of cats is of a great intensity, and can very quickly turn into panic. The victim is unable to control their reaction, especially if they come across a cat by surprise. The symptoms generally felt are the following:

  • Sudden sweating,
  • Tremors of the arms and legs,
  • Abdominal spasms,
  • Itches,
  • A skin allergy,
  • Dizziness,
  • Palpitations,
  • An asthma attack,
  • Hyperventilation,
  • A fit of tears
  • An anxiety attack …

Some people even think they are going to die. It is also quite common for this fear of the cat to disturb an individual’s peace of mind at any time of the day or night, and regardless of the activity in progress. All it takes is a parasitic thought and panic resurfaces.

All these manifestations are also observed in people who suffer from arachnophobia for example. Note also that the phobia of spiders is even more frequent than that of cats …

Identify the cause of ailurophobia to better fight it

As with any type of phobia, you should already know what is the origin of this fear panics in an attempt to cure it. Cat phobia is not genetic and we don’t really know why. A few avenues remain to be studied. It could arise from the ancestral fear of felines dating back to the days of gatherer-hunter-fishermen, when men were then very exposed to the risk of get killed by these wild animals. This could explain that by visualizing a physical characteristic specific to felines, such as vibrissae, fur, head shape, etc., a kind of survival reaction is triggered.

These characteristics are coded signals well anchored in people suffering from ailurophobia and in general, they are unable to explain why they are afraid of cats, nor since when, their visceral fear having apparently always been present.

A psychotherapist will however try to understand at the level individual how this phobia arose. Is this a psychological trauma following a bite or scratches? Is the phobia linked to mythology because let’s not forget that the (black) cat has long been considered an animal that bad luck ? To find the initial cause, this professional must know the history of his patient. It is only afterwards that he can put in place the most suitable therapy.

How to cure your phobia of cats?

Before knowing how to cure ailurophobia, you have to ask yourself if it is really possible … and the answer is Yes. It is certainly not easy, because the fear of the cat is ancestral. The difficulty is even more important if the subject has always practicedsystematic avoidance. The therapists are clear on this subject and unanimous: the more one stays away from the object of his phobia, the more the fear intensifies. Specialists talk about self-reinforcement mechanism. In fact, fear leads to avoidance, and the latter increases fear… So it’s a vicious circle.

The therapeutic management of ailurophobia goes through the progressive confrontation with a cat in order to reduce and then eliminate the fear it triggers in the subject. To do this, we use the behavior therapy and at the cognitive therapy. Some therapists supplement these therapies with hypnosis sessions, others ask their patients to express themselves through drawing. This is called theart therapy. Regardless of the method used, the goal is for the patient to succeed in expressing previously repressed emotions and / or traumas. It’s a long process.

We must neither make fun of a phobia, nor panic the person who suffers from it by confronting him by surprise with the very object of his visceral fear. It is a difficult situation to live with, victims suffer a lot and when their phobia is particularly developed, daily life can be very disturbed because they feel in permanent state of general insecurity. Better then encourage a person who has a phobia of cats to consult a psychotherapist so that sessions can be scheduled. This can at least help him because ailurophobia is difficult to cure like many other phobias besides.

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