What do you call someone who hates cats?

There is no single word in the English language to describe someone who hates cats. However, you probably know that there is a word for someone who is excessively frightened of cats: ailurophobe. It comes from the Greek words αἴλουρος (ailouros), ‘cat’ and φόβος (phóbos), ‘fear’, which create the word ailurophobia, meaning a fear of cats. That’s about it! I have many pages on ailurophobia on the website so I won’t go over it in any detail here. It is an irrational fear of cats although the fear may be grounded in rationality in that it may have begun when a young person suffered a bad experience with a domestic cat.

No English language word for cat hater
No English language word for cat hater. Picture: PoC based on Pixabay image.
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Of course, there is a connection between an irrational fear of cat and a hatred of cats. The former can precede the latter. But not everybody who fears cats hates them. They may have a neutral stance about cats but they are just terrified of them. Often people can get over their fear of cats by very gradually interacting with them and understanding that there is nothing to be fearful about. They may learn to love them as a consequence. So if they did hate them because of their fear, that would be one less cat hating individual on the planet.

And cat lovers don’t like people who hate cats because a hatred of an animal can lead to the harm and abuse and that animal. We don’t like to hear about that. Many years ago I wrote a page about people who hate cats. I went through every reason why people hate cats and none of them stood up to a critical assessment. What I mean is that all the reasons given by cat haters weren’t good reasons or rational reasons. There were often reasons that were misplaced and misguided. I guess it’s about education.

If you educate people about the domestic cat it is almost impossible to hate this species of animal. The popularity of the cat, particularly in North America, tells us that the majority of people have a high regard for the domestic cat. How else would this companion animal do so well, be so popular and thrive in many millions of homes in North America? The success of the domestic cat confirms that a hatred of the animal is likely to be irrational. Is that fair or am I going too far?

I think that it is fair to say that some ornithologists dislike domestic and feral cats. Some of them hate cats but I would hope that the majority of them are educated enough to understand that it would be irrational to hate cats just because they prey upon birds. For the cat it is a natural behaviour. You can’t hate an animal for behaving naturally as nature intended. But you can dislike it if your favourite animal is harmed.

At the other end of the spectrum there is the cat lover. The person who loves cats is called an ailurophile in the English language. That’s a combination of two Greek words as well: cat+lover. If you dislike or hate animals generally you’d be described as zoophobic and you would be suffering from zoophobia!

How do alilurophobes get over their fear? As mentioned: exposure therapy. With the help of a therapist you gradually expose yourself to what you’re frightened of and you gradually desensitise yourself to this fear. The technique can be applied to any fear including ailurophobia – the excessive fear of cats.

Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

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