Categories: Ailurophobia

The difference between ‘ailurophobe’ and ‘cat hater’

There is an important difference between the meaning of the word ‘ailurophobe’ and the phrase ‘cat hater’. Some people believe that they are interchangeable. Strictly speaking this is incorrect.

Napoleon was an ailurophobe

True ailurophobes (such a Napoleon) have a cat phobia – a deep seated fear of cats (ailurophobia). They may learn to hate cats as a consequence but this is secondary. The ailurophobe might panic in the presence of a cat or cats.

Many people hate cats but don’t fear them irrationally. They are inclined to hurt outdoor cats for the pleasure of it.

Pope Gregory IX an ailurophobe par excellence

In history there have been some notorious cat haters such as Pope Gregory IX (1147-1241) who started the ‘feline holocaust’ of the Middle Ages and beyond. In 1233 he denounced black cats as diabolical leading to widespread cat persecution.

It appears that William Shakespeare (1564-1616) hated cats. Most of his references to cats are vilifications.

“I could endure anything but a cat.” – All’s Well that Ends Well.

“Creatures vile as cats.” – Cymbeline

P.S. An ailurophile is a cat lover. The word encourages is to use ailurophobe as its opposite.

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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