It is hard to believe that someone is afraid of cats, because most people are moved by these creatures. But the fear of dogs does not surprise anyone, but both fears belong to the species of zoophobia and occur at approximately the same frequency. Let's find out what the scientific fear of cats is called, what causes it, and how to deal with it.
Aylurophobia: what is it
What is aylurophobia? Ailurophobia is a fear of cats, cats and kittens. A person is panicked when approaching an animal, at one glance at him or a photograph of a cat. The only safe place for aylurofob is his house. On the street, a meeting with an object of fear lies in wait at every corner.
What scares a person suffering from aylurophobia:
- direct contact with the animal
- direct gaze of an animal directed at a person
- the movement of the animal in the direction of man,
- the cat’s touch on the person
- type of coat
- record of cat's rumbling, meowing,
- the prospect of stumbling upon an animal in the dark.
A person is afraid that the animal will infect it with infections and parasites, bite or scratch, and cause serious injury.
Contact with aggressive animals
Most often this happens in childhood. Children still do not know how to communicate with animals, and therefore may be bitten or scratched. Or the child may be attacked by a street animal. Such contact with an aggressive animal turns into trauma. For injury, one small scratch and severe fright can be enough.
Fear after watching a movie
Based on the book by Stephen King, the film “Pet Cemetery” was shot. If a child or a person with an unstable, weak psyche sees this picture, then he may develop a phobia. The aggressiveness and danger of cats is shown not only in this film, any similar picture can cause psychological trauma.
The black cat crossed the road - unfortunately. Cat sneezes - to toothache. They don’t take a cat on the road - there will be no way. These and many other superstitions prevent a person from communicating with animals. It is strange that superstitious people do not notice many positive signs:
- Black cat on the porch - wealth in the house.
- A three-haired pet - for money and happiness.
- Blue-eyed cat - from enemies.
It is likely that superstition as a cause of phobia is usually combined with other factors, for example, personal injury.
Fear of disease
Cats, especially wild and stray cats, can carry a number of dangerous infections, for example, toxoplasmosis. One small scratch will be enough for infection. And if a pregnant woman becomes infected with this infection, then there is a risk of abnormal development of the fetus, mutations.
Fear of unpleasant consequences
Impressive and suspicious people will have enough of one idea that an animal from the cat family will scratch it. The expectation of negativity is usually combined with other factors. Usually this is preceded by a personal negative experience with cats or someone’s story about the dangers of an animal.
The mystery of behavior
In some religions and cultures, a cat is considered a sacred and mystical creature. In addition, there is a widespread belief that black cats are black magic. These superstitions and belief in esotericism, magic, mysticism make you wary of cats. Most often for this reason they are afraid of black cats.
Symptoms of fear of cats and their diagnosis
Symptoms can be divided into physical and psychological. The latter include avoiding the object of fear, anxiety at the mere thought of cats, an excited state, panic attacks.
- increased sweating
- high blood pressure,
- general weakness
- other individual reactions.
The course of ailurophobia is individual, during the diagnosis it is necessary to identify the severity of anxiety.
When diagnosing, it is worth paying attention to characteristic changes in the behavior of a person:
- General weakness, deterioration in overall health. The fearful person turns red or turns pale, his limbs freeze, pressure drops or rises, heartbeat slows or speeds up. Depending on the strength of the fear, the list of symptoms expands, and their severity intensifies.
- Fear of leaving home. On the street at every step you can meet a stray cat, most people also have representatives of this species at home. These facts make a person lock himself in the four walls of his house.
- Avoiding specific places. This category includes those places where a person has already encountered cats. Or those places where the probability of meeting animals is higher, for example, in a market square or in specialized cafes.
- Reluctance to visit people who have cats. This factor limits the social activity of a person, can deprive friends and acquaintances.
- Fear of toys, photographs, drawings of cats. This specific behavior is observed in the advanced stages of aylurophobia.
Self-treatment of aylurophobia
For self-control of aylurophobia, follow the following plan:
- Recognize the problem. No need to be ashamed to hide the problem.
- At the time of the attack, look for rational arguments, for example, remind you that domestic vaccinated animals are safe. They are smaller than humans and protected from disease. If the animal is not angry, then it will not attack. An attack is a defense. This is how animals behave in stressful situations that are themselves scared.
- Read a series of scientific studies about how cats help in the treatment of diseases, about the psychotherapeutic effect they have. In psychology, pet therapy is called pet therapy. This method is used in child and developmental psychology.
- Read stories about how cats predicted natural disasters or how they looked after small children. If a person treats an animal well, then the animal responds with warmth and love.
- Start approaching your fear: photos, cats of acquaintances, cats in a shelter, your pet.
Treatment of aylurophobia with a psychologist
For treatment, psychotherapy and, if necessary, drug treatment are used. Antipsychotics and sedatives may be prescribed. They regulate the work of the psyche, as a result of which anxiety decreases, panic attacks stop.
In the framework of psychotherapy, it is important to adhere to an individual approach. During the conversation, the psychologist determines the individual prerequisites for the development of phobia, selects the optimal treatment methods. Hypnosis and cognitive-behavioral therapy have a positive effect in the treatment of fears. During treatment, destructive attitudes and behaviors are identified, they are replaced by constructive patterns.
The effects of cat phobia
Phobia fear of cats responds well to treatment. But the prognosis depends on the stage of development of the phobia:
- A person experiences fear when approaching a cat.
- A person experiences fear as soon as the animal comes into view.
- Fear covers at the mere mention of an animal, a person is in constant expectation. It seems to him that the animal is about to jump out from somewhere and cause harm. This is a stage close to hysteria and delirium.
Vegetative signs are exacerbated. The physical consequences of a phobia include gastrointestinal diseases, heart disease, breathing problems, etc. From a psychological point of view, among the consequences can be called disorientation and desocialization.
Ailurophobia - what is it?
This is fear, horror, this is the body's defense mechanism. It seems to him that he is in danger, he is panicking. Man is haunted by a hunch of death. This feeling triggers many processes of the nervous system, which is manifested physically - chest pain, suffocation, tachycardia, etc. Such an attack of panic fear “covers” a person, although he understands that the animal will not do anything to him, but can do nothing about it .
How to treat phobia phobia cats
Defeating such a phobia is easy. It’s harder to find a normal specialist. A mediocre therapist, having heard about such an unusual problem, will probably prescribe a huge dose of sedative and a muffling panic attack. But this method is not an option, the body gets used to the drugs, you need to either increase the dose or change to another and so on ad infinitum.
A competent specialist will prescribe a comprehensive minimum dose of sedatives, plus sports, work, gymnastics, yoga can help. And most importantly, do not close with your problem, psychologically tune in to the result.
Imagine there are people who have a phobia of fear of the sun, air, water, food, how do they live with such phobias? So the fear of cats is nothing, you can live. So you can overcome the depressive mood about your phobia.
Try to treat this problem with humor, laugh at your fear, of course, not at the time of panic fear, then there is no laughing matter.
Imagine that aylurophobia is not your problem, but someone else's. It's ridiculous to be afraid of a small fluffy lump that purrs and rubs in the hope of getting something tasty. And someone is afraid of snow - here he has fun in the winter. Someone is afraid of bare knees, summer fun. Fear of pleasure, no matter what, such comrades do what. But doraphobes - these are generally unique, they are afraid of all animals in general, they believe that if you contact someone, they will become overgrown with hair, that's how hard it is for them.
We must understand that a person who is afraid of something is not flawed, not crazy or disabled. And there is nothing special here. For example, Peter the first suffered from the fear of a large hall and a high ceiling - spaophobia. Hitchcock was afraid of everything that had an oval shape - ovophobia. Vrubel could not show pretty women, a panic began with attacks of suffocation - caliginephobia. But despite all these phobias of these characters in the story, they are still remembered and admired. So there is nothing to sit at home and shake at the thought that somewhere on a walk you will meet a terrible animal - a cat.
Try to find out more about the cat, to thoroughly study the animal - its physiology, anatomy, psychology, their sores. The more you know about him, the less cause for fear. Knowledge is power.
Symptoms of the disease
Due to the fact that people suffering from aylurophobia seek help extremely rarely and already in advanced forms, you can protect yourself from such an unpleasant situation. Most often, a person suffering from this phobia has seen dramatic changes in his behavior.
- Deterioration of general well-being. Ailurophobia is a fear that causes an increase or decrease in blood pressure, as a result of which the skin on the face of the suffering person turns red or turns pale. At the same time, with a change in the color of the skin, an increased heartbeat begins, breathing quickens and sweating increases.
- Fear of going out. Persons suffering from this disorder are panicky scared to go out. This is due to the fact that in the open space there are thousands of stray cats, ready at any moment to approach a person. Psychologists have observed that cats tend to approach the one who is most afraid of this.
- Fear of visiting certain places. Aylurofobes avoid a place where the risk of colliding with a cat is maximized. For example, they do not go to the market, and they buy food exclusively in supermarkets.
- Reluctance to visit certain friends. Ailurophobia is a fear that can even destroy friendship. A phobic cat will never cross the threshold of her best friend’s home if there is even a small kitten.
- Toys A true aylurofob is even afraid of toy cats. One type of such product can provoke a panic attack and a feeling of rejection.
In addition to the above symptoms, a person suffering from ailorophobia may also experience:
- Severe headache
- Trembling limbs
- Sharp chest pain,
- Darkening in the eyes
- Loss of balance
- Increased urge to urinate
- Hot flashes or severe chills.
How ailurophobia proceeds
Fear of cats or what is called galeophobia develops not only in childhood, but also in adulthood. Even if a person loves cats since childhood, this does not mean that in his later life he will not manifest such an unpleasant phobia, especially if a psychological trauma has been inflicted earlier.
Ailurophobia most often occurs in three forms:
- When an animal approaches, a person experiences unpleasant sensations, as a result of which there is a strong fear.
- The resulting attacks of severe uncontrolled panic, even if the animal is simply in sight of the sufferer.
- Constant and obsessive thoughts that everywhere there is an animal that is preparing to attack the sufferer. The patient constantly looks around, is nervous with a hysterical state.
Any such irritant associated with the presence of cats can provoke such reactions. Most often, aylurofob scares:
- Direct physical contact with the animal,
- The cat's direct gaze
- The movement of the belly directed at the person
- Touching the body or looking like cat hair,
- Live or recorded on an audio recording meowing and purring an animal,
- An opportunity to meet a cat in the dark.
In addition, if you directly ask the patient the reason why he is so afraid of cats, in response you can hear:
- The ability of an animal to scratch or bite, thereby causing irreparable injuries to it,
- Infect with worms or other infections,
- Inappropriate fear. A person does not know why he is afraid, but he is unable to control a phobia.
How to get rid of aylurophobia
Despite the apparent simplicity of this ailment, aylurophobia can cause significant harm to a person not only in relationships with people close to him, but also bring to nervous exhaustion. Therefore, recognizing the existence of a problem, in order to avoid negative consequences, it is urgent to begin to deal with it independently or with the help of a specialist.
The way out of this situation can be found by following such an action plan:
- Awareness of the problem itself. Only by accepting the fact of the presence of the disease, you can begin to search for ways to cure it. Do not hide from everyone and remain completely alone. This will not lead to anything good, but will only worsen the mental state.
- The return of reality. With every panic attack, you need to remember that cats are small predators and they are absolutely neutral to humans. Their interest is exclusively in housing, and not its owner.
- Get a kitten. Psychologists call this method “wedge-wedge-wedge” and in some cases it is effective. If you are allergic, you can purchase or take a pet from the street. In addition, it has already been repeatedly proved that cats are able to calm and bring positive emotions to their owners.
- See only the good points. Cats at a subconscious level feel the painful spots of their master, so very often they like to attach to them. In addition, cats are excellent nannies and are able to lull a child and even an adult with a purr.
- Watch exclusively positive videos. It is better to avoid watching movies and stories that show how feral animals attack a person.Today you can find a lot of works showing cats completely on the other hand, unfamiliar to aylurofob.
- Get pictures of cats. People with true phobia are even afraid of a cat’s photograph. Therefore, ideally, various posters with the image of such a harmless animal will help to overcome fear.
If you are unable to overcome aylurophobia on your own, you must definitely seek the help of an experienced psychologist.
Some interesting facts about aylurophobia
History has shown that aylurophobia is a fear that has appeared a long time ago. From her suffered such famous personalities as:
- Napoleon Bonaparte,
- Adolf Gitler,
- Genghis Khan
- Julius Caesar,
- Alexander the Great.
Despite their fame, these people did not hide their fear of such a cute animal. Therefore, do not be shy about your phobias. They need to be recognized and, if necessary, seek the help of specialists. After all, this is the first step towards healing.