Medical Definition of Ailurophobia

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Ailurophobia: An abnormal and persistent fear of cats which produces an undue anxiety reaction even though sufferers realize their fear is irrational. Sufferers of ailurophobia may fear not only the scratch or bite of a cat, but also the "evil mystique" of cats as depicted in Halloween folklore and such literary works as Edgar Allen Poe's "The Black Cat."

From the Greek "ailouros" (cat) and "phobos" (fear). Alternate spellings: "Aelurophobia," "elurophobia." The Greek word "ailourous" has also given us the English word "Ailuroidea," a zoological term for a group of carnivorous animals including cats, hyenas and civets.

An alternate name for fear of cats: "Galeophobia."

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Reviewed on 12/11/2018

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