Felinophobia is the irrational and persistent fear of cats, and is otherwise known as galeophobia or gatophobia. Individuals who’ve felinophobia keep away from cats at any time when possible. When they see or have the anticipation of being near a cat, they can be very afraid. This fear might manifest itself in many physical and emotional symptoms including: breathlessness, dizziness, excessive sweating, nausea, dry mouth, feeling sick, shaking, heart palpitations, inability to speak or think clearly, a sensation of detachment from actuality or a full blown anxiety attack.
Individuals affected by felinophobia often avoid places where they know cats will be present, reminiscent of pet shops and shelters and friends houses that have cats. If they see a cat on the street, they could be paralyzed in fear.
Seemingly baffling is the fact that most individuals who are suffering from felinophobia are not afraid of cats scratching or otherwise hurting them. Rather, they are scared of contact with the cat at all they are afraid the cat will nuzzle, rub up towards them, or jump in their lap.
Some researchers believe that there could also be a genetic link to this fear of cats. Sometimes, felinophobia can also occur in response to a traumatic event involving cats.
If you know someone with felinophobia, a very powerful thing you are able to do to help her or him is to take the worry seriously. Don’t make fun of her or him and don’t attempt to talk her or him out of the fear; these things will not help, and sometimes leave the person feeling misunderstood and invalidated.
If you already know someone with felinophobia who refuses to come back to your own home because you might have a cat, provide to meet her or him at a neutral place where there are not any cats or offer to come visit him or her instead. Don’t stress your buddy or family member to come to your house when you’ve got a cat.
Felinophobia is a real fear that needs to be taken seriously. If you suffer from felinophobia, you might seek treatment with cognitive-behavioral therapy and really gradual exposure therapy to fight the fear.