Understanding the fear of cats (Gatophobia)

Known as gatophobia and ailurophobia, the fear of cats is not as common as the fear of dogs.Nevertheless, the fear of cats can have a profound impact on people’s daily lives, preventing them from visiting cat-loving friends and forcing them to restrict daily activities.


People are usually afraid of cats for two reasons: they are afraid of the physical harm they may cause,Or they associate them with evil.

Physical injury

Although it may be difficult to remember when cuddling a kitten, cats are essentially predators. Domesticated domestic cats retain many of the same basic instincts as lions, tigers, panthers, and other big cats. Those who have been bitten or scratched by cats in the past have a higher risk of cat phobia.

Some people are not afraid of cats indoors, especially those that have already removed their paws but are afraid of encountering unfamiliar cats outdoors. Some people are only afraid of male cats. They think male cats are more threatening than female cats. Despite this, other people are still afraid of all cats and kittens, regardless of the situation, because they have witnessed or experienced a negative incident with a cat and kitten.

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Fear of evil

Throughout history, cats have alternately received respect and abuse for their so-called supernatural powers. In ancient Egypt, cats were worshiped as gods. It is believed that they are specially protected by Buster, the goddess of fertility and the moon. Dead cats are usually mummified and buried in the necropolis. Killing a cat intentionally or unintentionally is usually a capital crime.

Perhaps no movement is closely related to the witch hunting activities and vilification of cats in European and American colonies in the 17th century. Beginning in the Middle Ages, cats were often regarded as servants of witches and night messengers capable of executing witches’ orders. By the Salem Witch Trials in 1692 and 1693, it was generally believed that the cat was the connection between the witch and the devil itself.

Today, the fear of cats as a harbinger of evil is often rooted in religious phobias. In some cases, fear of evil is a manifestation of confusion, but modern therapists carefully consider the client’s religious beliefs before making a diagnosis.

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How people express their fear of cats

In some people, the fear of cats is so strong that it is triggered when they think of cats or kittens or hear purring. When it is triggered, various reactions are possible. A more obvious reaction is the “fight or flight” reaction-the person will quickly run in the other direction. Others may have panic attacks. Avoidance is also very common. Whether in real life or in more extreme situations on TV, this person will do everything possible not to pass the cat.


As with most other phobias, psychotherapy and counseling are usually required.The therapist may help find the root cause of the phobia, help you view the fear correctly, and then help you plan the steps and treatments to overcome the phobia. This seems to be an easy way, but it may be difficult for you to do it yourself.

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A common treatment is to gradually contact the cat.One can get used to cats in small steps. For example, they will first practice looking at cat photos, then watch videos and movies with cats, touch cat-like materials, play with toy cats, and finally hold the real thing. These steps should be carried out in a controllable and comfortable environment, with strong support from the therapist and family or friends.

Throughout the process, relaxation and visualization techniques are often used. They also help to re-adjust people’s mindsets and methodically rationalize their fears. In some cases, hypnotherapy may also be useful.