Facing my fears: Ailurophobia

In lieu of recent traumatic events, (that happened today) here’s a post on my fear of cats aka Ailurophobia.

I crossed the zebra crossing and as always, had my eye on the bench where this orange-white, diva cat perpetually spreads itself across and noticed that today it was for some odd reason, standing up. For a second, I thought that I should take the long way around to my lift lobby to avoid it but then I decided to be courageous and told myself I could walk bravely past it. I felt that it was following me but told myself I was being paranoid and the cat then started meowing at me.

I can’t remember if my heart stopped beating or if it was racing but I jumped and squealed and scared the cat away. I stood at the lobby for a few minutes to recover from that panic attack.

So yes, cats scare the shit out of me. This is probably foreign to most people I know because they are all cat lovers and/or have cats at home. Given this fear, I am always on red alert for cats and divert my direction even if the cat’s 500m away. I have such a good cat radar that my cat lover friends think I’m naturally a cat person and just need to be conditioned for my fears. Apart from being crippled by fear, I get terrible cat nightmares which I recall so vividly the day after.

I can’t recall how or why I developed this phobia but according to my mom it started when I was in kindergarten. My uncle was in town and so he fetched me from the school bus and carried me home. This stray cat jumped high enough to scratch me lightly and my uncle is 1.8m tall.

Seeing pictures used to scare the shit out of me but I’ve grown past that because I simply cannot avoid the gazillion cat photos, videos (even that annoying Nyan animation is a cat) my friends post on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter and I’ve become accustomed to it. I wouldn’t stare and go awww about it but I’ll scroll past it without having a mini heart attack.

The closest I’ve ever been to a cat was when we had to do a short film and my friend’s cat had to star in it. My friend’s cat is a white, fluffy, fat cat who is pretty much tame (according to her) but somehow in my presence it decided to be all wild, like she knew I was scared of her and wanted to torment me even more. The first few takes were terrible because my face just had cat and fear written all over it and when I finally somehow got over that pain and was on a roll for a good take, her cat decided to stand up from her lap and meow. Within a split second I was out of the house, the fastest I had ever run in my life. And of course, my friend panned the camera to capture this moment. And nope, not sharing that here.

I can almost hear my cat friends laughing and trying to pat my back as of now. The funny thing is, nothing else really scares me this much, not even the very bleak future. Okay, maybe dogs. Heights, insects and whatever not that people are commonly scared of, I’m cool with that.

This is probably a bad blog idea because you never know who’s gonna pull a cat prank on me but I trust that my readers are sane enough to understand that I might collapse and die from this panic attack.

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