Enslaved by Felinophobia

Understanding people who fear cats is the first step toward freedom. Learn how you can help a person with felinophobia.

By Audrey Pavia | Posted: Thu Apr 1 00:00:00 PST 2004

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"Some people have traumatic events that cause this fear, but in most cases, it's a slow and gradual process that occurs without a trauma," Wilson said. Some researchers believe the tendency to develop phobias, such as felinophobia, may have a genetic link.

What may be surprising to cat lovers is that people with a fear of cats are not necessarily anxious people in other areas of life. Most likely, these individuals have come to associate cats with a time of stress in their lives. "When they see a cat, they associate that stressful feeling with the cat," Wilson said.

Cat owners with friends or family suffering from this phobia often find themselves put out by the problem. If you know someone with this phobia, he or she may refuse to come to your home or demand that your cats be locked away when visiting you.

While the demands of the felinophobe can be extremely confusing and even irritating to cat lovers, keep in mind how difficult it must be for the affected person, who must find completely avoiding cats in modern society nearly impossible.

"Unfortunately, for most felinophobes, their most effective method of avoiding the fear is by avoiding cats," Bassett said. "This can be effective to some degree until they fall in love with someone who is a cat lover or become best friends with someone who owns three cats. And certainly, they will confront the occasional cat on the street in their neighborhood."

Consequently, people suffering with felinophobia are plagued by a tremendous fear that may confront them at any time in their lives.

Help for the Afflicted
If you know someone who is tormented with a fear of cats, you can take steps to help him or her.

First, have compassion and understanding for the problem. This means avoiding the temptation to talk the person out of his or her irrational fear.

Whether a person with felinophobia is willing to seek treatment or not, it's important for friends and loved ones to be compassionate. "Fear of cats is a very powerful phenomenon," Wilson said. "People with this problem feel quite scared and out of control."

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Reader Comments

Janet    Bethlehem, PA

4/18/2010 7:30:28 AM

good article thanks

Gina    Rochester, NY

10/13/2008 6:19:26 AM

Interesting.

Jennifer    Suwanee, GA

10/12/2008 8:56:20 PM

Serioulsy? I had no idea. Fear of dogs I can understand...they can bite and attack. But to fear the mere presence of a cat?

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