What is Being Afraid of Cats Called?

Caitlin Dempsey

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The upper chest and head of a black cat with spots of white fur.

A fear of cats has several different names. The most commonly accepted term for being severely afraid of cats is ailurophobia. The term stems from the Greek words αἴλουρος (ailouros), for cat ‘cat’ and φόβος (phóbos) for ‘fear’.

Other names for a strong fear of cats are: felinophobiaelurophobiagatophobia, and cat phobia.

Ailurophobia is an anxiety disorder

Ailurophobia is not a mild fear or dislike of cats. People with ailurophobia experience severe reactions to the presence of cats, even if seen remotely on a screen. Exposure to felines causes. someone with ailurophobia to experience excessive sweating, trembling, racing heart, dryness of mouth, and other markers of a panic attack.

A person whose is severely afraid of cats is known as an ailurophobe.


London, L. S. (1952). Ailurophobia and ornithophobia. Psychiatric Quarterly.

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Caitlin Dempsey
Caitlin Dempsey holds both a master's in Geography from UCLA and a Master of Library and Information Science. She is the editor of Geographyrealm.com and an avid researcher of geography and feline topics. A lifelong cat owner, Caitlin currently has three rescued cats: an orange tabby, a gray tabby, and a black cat.