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

Phobia Of Cats (Ailurophobia): How To Stop Being Afraid Of Cats?

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

How Does Ailurophobia Manifest Itself?

Cat phobia 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. He can’t stand his purring either, nor anything that can evoke the animal from near or far such as a cat toilet house, a bag of litter, a kitty basket or cat food, even cat hair on a carpet, clothing…

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

There fear felt 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 his reaction, especially if he finds himself face to face with a cat by surprise. THE symptoms generally felt are the following:

  • sudden sweating,
  • Tremors of the arms and legs,
  • abdominal spasms,
  • Itches,
  • 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 cats to disturb an individual’s tranquility at any time of the day or night, and regardless of the activity in progress. All it takes is a parasitic thought and the panic resurfaces.

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

Identify The Cause Of Ailurophobia To Better Fight It

As with any type of phobia, you must already know what is the origin of this panic fear in order to try to heal from it. The phobia of cats is not genetic and we do not really know the reason. A few avenues remain to be explored. It could derive from the ancestral fear of felines dating back to the time of the gatherer-hunter-fisherman, 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, shape of the head, etc., a kind of survival reaction is triggered.

These characteristics are coded signals entrenched in people with ailurophobia and in general, they are unable to explain why they are afraid of cats, or 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 it 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 search for the root cause, this professional must know the patient’s history. Only then will he be able to set up the most suitable therapy.

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How To Cure Your Phobia Of Cats?

Before knowing how to cure ailurophobia, we must ask ourselves if it is really possible… and the answer is Yes. It is certainly not not easy, because the fear of the cat is ancestral. The difficulty is greater still if the subject has always practiced systematic avoidance. Therapists are clear on this subject and unanimous: the more one keeps away from the object of his phobia, the more the fear intensifies. Experts talk about self-reinforcing mechanism. In fact, fear leads to avoidance, and the latter increases fear… So it’s a vicious circle.

There treatment 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 resort to the behavioral therapy and at the cognitive therapy. Some therapists supplement these therapies with hypnosis sessions, others ask their patient to express themselves through drawing. This is called the art therapy. Regardless of the method used, the goal is for the patient to be able to express previously repressed emotions and/or traumas. It is a long process.

One should 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’s a difficult situation to live with, the victims suffer a lot from it and when their phobia is particularly developed, daily life can be very disturbed because they feel permanent state of general insecurity. It is therefore better encourage a person who has a phobia of cats to see a psychotherapist so that sessions can be scheduled. This can at least help him because ailurophobia is difficult to cure like many other phobias.

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