How do I Overcome a Fear of Cats?

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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 09 September 2019
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The fear of cats, or ailurophobia, is a common fear that prevents one from being near cats without feeling panic, fear, anger, or other types of stress. A childhood trauma may be at the root of the fear of cats, or someone may simply have an adverse reaction to the nature and habits of cats. Like any other phobia, the fear of cats cannot be solved without first discovering the root of the fear. From there, you may be able to treat the phobia by treating what has caused the fear; combining this approach with progressive exposure to cats and information about cats can help alleviate the fear.

one of the most common causes of the fear of cats is the fear of pain caused by cats. While most cats are quite docile, some cats are prone to biting or clawing, which can be painful when directed at humans. Understanding why cats claw or bite can help alleviate that fear. Sometimes cats extend their claws when they feel content. Sinking their claws into materials and objects may actually be a sign of contentment, so if a cat extends its claws into your clothes or skin, it may actually be a sign that the cat likes you or feels comfortable with you. While this does not relieve the pain in any way, it may help you understand that the cat is not being malicious, and a fear of cats may not necessarily be warranted.


Pop culture or influence from others may also cause a fear of cats. Cats are sometimes portrayed as harbingers of evil in movies, television, and books, and many sufferers of ailurophobia carry the fear from such pop culture images. In this case, at least two options are available for overcoming the fear of cats: one is to research the history of cats and understand their behaviors and symbolic nature, and the other is to seek professional therapy. A therapist may be able to help you sort through the causes of your fear and provide strategies for being functional around cats.

Most people who suffer from ailurophobia can overcome their fears by slowly exposing themselves to cats and cat-related subjects. Perhaps visiting the pet store to see cats from a protected vantage point will help the sufferer get used to being near them. Once you feel comfortable seeing cats, it may be time to go to a friend's house to see his or her cat. Have the friend hold the cat so you can see it from a distance. Do this several times until you become comfortable being in the same room with the cat. Then, perhaps it is time to try to touch the cat. Pet it while a friend is holding it, for instance. This slow progression can help you become more accustomed to cats, and while you may not become a cat lover, you will at least become functional around them.


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Post 1

My phobia of cats has gotten worse over the years. I am a 59 year old woman who has anxiety attacks over a picture of cats, the presence of cats. I will not get out of my car if I see a cat in the vicinity.

I came on this webesite to find out how to get rid of a couple of stray cats in my backyard. I constantly live in fear of cats and I don't know what to do. I keep a super soaker gun in my car, so if I have to defend myself against cats, at least I have that. Miserable.

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