Gatophobia (A complete guide)

This article will brief about Gatophobia. Then it will focus on the causes and symptoms of Gatophobia.

Then how it is diagnosed, will be informed. Finally, it highlights the treatment methods of Gatophobia. 


Gatophobia refers to the extreme fear of cats and is also known as Ailurophobia. It is derived from Spanish “Gato” which means Cats.

In the United States alone, nearly 22.2% of individuals are known to fear the animal of different kinds.

The fear of cats is strong enough to cause a panic attack or anxiety.

Having a phobia is beyond just having fear or dislike, this may start from the bitting or scratching by a cat.

It can have tremendous effects on people’s lives as they make it impossible to visit cat-loving friends or force them to limit their daily activities.


The exact cause of Gatophobia is unclear, though genetic and environmental factor plays a role in it.

If an individual has a history of anxiety disorders or phobia in the family he is more likely to develop a phobia himself.

Environmental factors and childhood events also play an important role in it, for example, an individual was bitten or scratched by a cat when he was a kid, this memory can lead to fear of cats and ultimately developing a phobia later in life.

Some people associate cats with evil and therefore try to avoid their interaction with cats and any sort of sight or interaction with the cat, they take it as bad luck.

Killing or harming cats is a punishable act in many cultures like Egyptians.

Such religious sentiments can also result in fear of cats especially to people who are overly anxious.


Panic attacks are a more common symptom in Gatophobia when there is any kind of contact with one.

Even cartoons or photos of cats can trigger symptoms like anxiety and panic attacks.

Some physical symptoms are:

  • Sweating, trembling
  • Breathlessness, dizziness
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Pain or constriction in the chest

Psychological Symptoms are:

  • Panic attacks and anxiety when thinking of cats 
  • Fear of areas where there is a possibility of encountering cats
  • Overthinking about possible ways of avoiding contact with cats


A mental health professional can help a person who ha fear of cats, as this can be just fear or can be Gatophobia.

If the mere sight or thought of cats causes symptoms of anxiety, going out of the way to avoid cats, worrying about a possible encounter with cats and these symptoms have been there for more than 6 months, then it is more likely to be Gatophobia.


A psychotherapist and psychiatrist together can help a person suffering from Gatophobia.

A psychotherapist may help in figuring out the root cause of the problem and the psychiatrist can help in reducing the symptoms with medications.


  • Exposure Therapy:

It is one of the most effective therapy with phobias and anxieties. In this, the therapist slowly exposes the thing which the individual fears.

In this case, it is cats, starting with showing pictures of cats, then videos of cats, then holding a stuffed or toy cat and eventually showing a real cat followed by sitting next to a cat and then finally holding a cat.

This way the therapist desensitizes the fear of cats.

Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), the individual learns how to identify the thought patterns that cause distress and reframes it. 


Medications help in reducing the symptoms of phobia in order to help psychotherapies work.

  • Beta-Blockers:

Beta-blockers help to reduce physical symptoms of anxiety, such as increased heart rate and dizziness.

These are generally taken before going to a triggering situation.

  • Benzodiazepines:

These are sedatives which help in decreasing anxiety symptoms. They can be helpful but their rate of addiction is also high.

These might be prescribed for occasional or short-term use only.

  • D-cycloserine (DCS):

Thi drug help in enhancing the benefit of exposure therapy. A study shows that exposure therapy can be more effective when supplemented with DCS.


This blog informed about Gatophobia. Then it focused on the causes and symptoms of Gatophobia.

Then how it is diagnosed, have been informed. Finally, it highlighted the treatment methods of Gatophobia. 

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How do you get rid of cat phobia?

To get rid of cat phobia, one must go for psychiatric treatment which includes both psychological and medical treatment.

What are the top 10 phobias?

Aerophobia, Acrophobia, Agoraphobia, Claustrophobia, Thanatophobia, Noophobia, Phobophobia, Zoophobia, Scholionophobia and Gatophobia.

How common is the fear of cats?

The fear of cats is not very common and not as common as fear of dogs.

What is Zoophobia?

Zoophobia is fear of animals

What is Macrophobia?

Macrophobia is fear of long waits which results in frustration.