Historical figures that were afraid of cats, a condition known as ailurophobia, include many dominant leaders or dictators. Adolf Hitler, Napoleon, Julius Caesar, Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan and Benito Mussolini were all reported to have not simply disliked cats, but actually feared them. The theory behind why these historical figures were thought to be afraid of cats is the idea that sensitive, introspective types tend to be drawn to cats, and brutish personalities are repelled by cats. It is not known what causes a phobia of cats, however. Psychiatrists typically believe that phobias are caused by bad experiences.
More about animal phobias:
- Cats don’t like to be stared at, so people who have ailurophobia are more likely to attract cats, because the animal feels more at ease.
- Fears of specific types of animals are thought to develop between the ages of 5 and 9 years old, in most cases.
- Ophidiophobia, the fear of snakes, is believed by some scientists to have developed out of an evolutionary survival tactic, because many snakes are poisonous or deadly.