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A picture of 3 kittens

Ailurophobia (from ailouros, Greek for "cat"), also known as aelurophobia, felinophobia (from feles, Latin for cat) and eilurophobia, is the fear of cats. Some people only fear greater cats, like lions and tigers, while others may only fear lesser wild cats, like ocelots and sand cats, or domestic cats.

The phobia is often triggered by the sight or sound of a cat (in real life or in media). Those with this phobia usually avoid being near any cats and rarely adopt a cat themselves. They may be a fear of house cats because they are afraid that they will break things, bite them, or scratch them.

Ailurophobia is most commonly treated using exposure therapy. The process usually involves touching different kinds of velvet, then getting accustomed to a toy kitten, then finally a live kitten.

Real-life examples of this phobia

Historical people

  • Napoleon Bonaparte
  • Benito Mussolini
  • Adolf Hitler
  • Julius Caesar
  • Alexander the Great
  • King Henry III of France

Modern celebrities

  • Sal Vulcano, comedian and co-star of Impractical Jokers

Fictional examples of this phobia

Animated shows

  • High School Fleet: Mashiro Munetani

Comics, graphic novels, and manga

  • Ranma 1/2: Ranma Saotome


  • The Mummy: Imhotep fears cats because of their roles as guardians of the underworld in Egyptian mythology.

Video games

  • Minecraft: Creepers run away from cats and ocelots, regardless of the fact that neither species can harm them.