Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Los Angeles, CA
I don't understand extreme fear of cats
I know some people have actual medical reasons for phobias, but really, I just don't understand what's so absolutely horrifying about a domestic house cat.
One of my tutoring students is absolutely petrified of Sebastian. In February when we started working together, we'd work at my apartment, but it was too distracting because she'd freak out whenever Sebastian got near her and I'd end up having to put him in another room, which would result in him howling to get out.
After a few times of this, she began inviting me to her apartment for the lesson and I didn't complain because it meant I got to eat dinner with her family, and her mom is an excellent cook. Well this week I've been extremely busy and just didn't have he 4 hours to dedicate to dinner and a lesson so I asked her to come over for a quick hour and a half lesson tonight.
When I opened the door she said, "how about your cat?" and I said, "Oh, he's good, I think he'll behave himself". She cautiously stepped inside, but then stopped when she saw him and said, "OMG he's so BIG!". I laughed and said, "yes, he's grown quite a bit" and motioned for her to sit down, but when I turned around, she was cowering in a corner near the door and refused to step foot out of the entry way. I said, "He won't hurt you, it's OK, I promise. If he gets too close I'll take him away". Sebastian walked over in her direction to investigate and sniff around and she yelped, so I had to lock him in my bedroom just to get the lesson started. Poor guy was meowing for the first 30 minutes...he didn't know what he did wrong to deserve this "time out".
I'd understand it if he bit her or hissed at her or even jumped on her, but he didn't even get within a few feet of her. Lions are scary, wild Panthers, sure, but a house cat who spends the majority of his day sitting in my lap purring? I dunno... I kinda think it might be cultural as opposed to psychological because cats aren't traditionally a Chinese indoor pet. Aside from the more rural people who keep cats for pest control, a lot of people here are afraid of cats. Visitors to my home will reach out to pet Sebastian and then jerk their hand back and screech when he playfully bats at them (with trimmed claws)...like he's a snake or something! One of my friends jumps up and walks to the other side of the room whenever Sebastian tries to sit in his lap. Crazy...