- 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.
In the 1965 animated television special A Charlie Brown Christmas, the character Lucy lists a number of phobias to Charlie Brown and incorrectly states, "If you’re afraid of cats, you have ailurophasia." The word-forming element "-phasia" is a scientific Greek suffix used to form the names of disorders and phenomena relating to words and speech, such as cryptophasia, aphasia, dysphasia, and schizophasia.
In the 1969 horror film, Eye of the Cat, where the protagonist planning the murder of an elderly woman has a fear of cats.
In the 1988 anime City Hunter 2, despite his herculean physique, it was revealed that Umibozu has a fear of cats.
In the 1989 anime Ranma 1/2 the character principal Ranma Saotome has a fear of cats.
In the 2016 anime High School Fleet the character Mashiro Munetani has a fear of cats. In the 2017 anime Nyanko Days, the character Arashi Iketani has a fear of cats.
The title character in the comic strip Big Nate has ailurophobia.
The character Robbie Jackson, in the BBC soap opera EastEnders has the condition.
Impractical Joker Sal Vulcano has ailurophobia.
Xiumin of musical group Exo developed ailurophobia in his childhood due to being attacked by a cat. He apparently overcame his fear at some point in his mid 20s, as he's had a pet cat since at least December 2016 and stated cats as his favorite animal in the seventh volume of the Exo-L Japan Official Book, which was released February 2018.