You could write a book in response to the question “why do I hate cats?” It is a very complicated and large subject. In this article all I can do is provide an overview. But people do consult with Dr Google to try and understand why they hate cats. What they mean is that they hate domestic cats. A person who hates cats has no real regard for the wild cat species. It is about cats around us and near us which cause the problem for these people which brings to mind one of the main reasons why you might hate cats: fear.

I am drawn to the logical conclusion that if you fear something you are likely to hate it. It is said that if you fear something it is because you don’t understand it. And if you don’t understand and fear something you want to hurt it and destroy it. This can lead to some of the objectionable videos that you see on the internet when young people abuse street cats. I would argue that this often originates in a fear of cats.

So, one reason why you might hate cat is because of your frightened of them. I will discuss this further below. Another reason is because you inherited an antipathy towards animals in general. It’s part of your character. This basis of a hatred for cats might have been built upon and enhanced through your upbringing. Your parents might hate cats. They may have passed on their distaste for the domestic cat to you.

I would have thought that the two major reasons why you hate cats is because of (1) fear of cats and (2) an inherited dislike of cats combined with an upbringing which reinforces it.

Another reason why you might dislike or hate cats is because you are very houseproud. You might strongly dislike cat hairs flying around the room and being deposited upon bedclothes and armchairs et cetera. You might dislike cats bringing in mud through the cat flap. Extremely houseproud people are liable to dislike or hate cats more than other sorts of people.

Another good reason why you hate cats is because you are allergic to them. About 10% of the population is allergic to domestic cats. That said, there are many cat lovers who are also allergic to cats. Being allergic to cats might be one element in a range of reasons why you hate cats.

On the internet cat haters refer to cats sneering at them and being sinister. Cat haters view cats as unpleasant, dangerous and sinister animals which are best to be avoided. This is also embedded in fear in my view. And once again a root cause of this fear is a misunderstanding or a lack of understanding of the behavior and appearance of domestic cats.

Fear of Cats

As it is a major reason why you hate cats I would like to expand on it a little bit. It is called ailurophobia. People who suffer from this phobic response cannot bear to be in the same room as a cat. In some countries the fear might originate in the so-called mystical powers of cats and their close relationship with witchcraft and the devil. It is surprising but the legacy of the persecution of the cat in the Middle Ages is still with us in certain countries.

Certain well-known people suffered from an acute phobia of cats including Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Henry III and Napoleon Bonaparte. A fear of cats might start with a childhood trauma such as a sudden unpleasant experience with a cat or kitten. The child might play with a kitten and mishandle her. The cat responds and scratches the child. The experience might lead to both a physical and mental scar which is hard to shift throughout adult life.

There is an old wives tale that cats suck the breath out of baby or can kill a baby and some parents still believe this. This irrational parental fear that the family cat might kill their child while he sleeps in his crib may lead to the child experiencing his mother rushing into the nursery yelling at the cat to leave the room. This may leave the child with an immovable memory which constantly resurfaces later in life during adulthood.

Studies tell us that phobic reactions to cats are more likely to occur in women than in men. This is ironic as women are more likely to like cats than men. It is suggested that as the cat is often seen as a symbol of sexuality it is possible that in some instances an intense fear by women of cats may reflect a suppressed sexuality.

Education

I’m convinced that in a lot of cases a hatred of cats can be removed from a person’s psyche through education. An education in understanding the domestic cat, becoming slowly familiar with the cat will remove the fear and in some cases lead to the opposite sentiment: love and admiration.

Feral cats

There are a lot of people in America who hate feral cats because they hate non-native species and they hate non-native species because they damage the American environment and in the case of feral cats they prey upon native species of wildlife. Arguably this is a rational, understandable hatred in many respects. However it is taken to extremes and results in the shooting of feral cats which is against the law almost universally across all states in the USA. In short it leads to cruelty and abuse of cats. It is a hatred which is biased because it shuts out the logical argument that humans created feral cats through irresponsible domestic cat ownership and therefore there is an onus upon humans to minimize the creation of feral cats and to treat them humanely. There is also the argument that non-native species should be treated equally to native species. It is a pseudo-scientific misconception to detest non-native species.

Reasons why you hate cats

For the record I love cats but if you hate cats I would suggest that in order of importance and impact these are the reasons: (1) an inherited and trained-in hatred of cats (2) a fear of cats, which overlaps with the first reason (3) you misunderstand the appearance and behavior of domestic cats (4) you are allergic to cats (5) you are excessively houseproud (6) you like animals but prefer dogs because they are more needy and you dislike the independence of cats (you are more needy yourself).

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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.

View Comments

  • I have never had a 25 plus year war with a cat owner. I have had in my life numerous confrontations some longstanding with dog owners. From barking that went on for 3 days solid while they were out of town to one of the dogs trying to maul a cat though my , thankfully, reinforced window screens. While a few stray cats may have gotten some younger chicks dogs have shredded mauled maimed whole flocks including rabbits to my 16 year old goose and my pot belly pig.
    I cannot enjoy a meal out without at least one mess of a dog in a fake service vest that is barking, growling and obviously trained to do nothing let alone sit quietly under the table while the owner eats. I don't carry a golf club out to the trash bin because of rouge feral cats.
    My cats are well trained, in the house and in general give me a feeling of peace and contentment which makes me all the more concerned about making their lives full and enriched. I do not inflict them on everyone in public and no one has banged on my door at 2AM begging me to shut my cats up nor have the police been summoned to do the same. Dogs are chaotic and needy.
    I honestly don't understand why anyone would would prefer a dog to a cat. To me it's insanity. Cat hate baffles me until I look at dog lovers and see their need to have something needy in their lives.

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