- Ailurophobia is a type of specific phobia: the persistent, irrational fear of cats. It comes from the Greek αἴλουρος (aílouros), "cat" and φόβος (phóbos), "fear".
The phobia manifests itself in different ways. Some sufferers experience it almost all the time, others just in response to direct stimuli. Some possible situations that can trigger the fear of cats are: hearing purring, seeing a cat in real life, imagining the possibility of a cat attack, the thought of meeting a cat in the dark, cats in pictures and on television, and cat-like toys and cat-like fur.
There are many ways to treat ailurophobia; treatment is usually carried out by a psychiatrist or other therapy specialist.
One strongly motivated patient was able to recover by slowly becoming accustomed to cat fur by first touching varying types of velvet, then becoming accustomed to a toy kitten, and finally a live kitten which the patient subsequently adopted.