Ailurophilia: love for cats

The ailurophilia or love for cats defines a feeling present in millions of people. Cats have been admired and even revered for thousands of years. Now, this attraction to felines also has that less healthy side that leads to pathological behaviors.

We have all heard, for example, of that person who accumulates a large number of animals in their houses in poor condition. Noe syndrome, in this case, is associated with ailurophilia. They are men and women who begin by collecting the odd stray cat, to later welcome all those who are found without proceeding with sterilization or proper care of them.

Likewise, this love for cats can also manifest itself obsessively, so that the person cannot focus their attention or their life on anything other than the animal itself. They are extreme situations, it is true, but filias have that more negative pole that we do not always know.

Ailurophilia: problematic types and dimensions

Human beings are, on average, fascinated by cats. In 2004 a grave was discovered in Cyprus in which the remains of a person lay next to those of a feline. Those bones were 7000 years old. In Egypt they were worshiped, to the point that the consecration of their figure came with the appearance of the goddess Bastet.

That love for cats was also present in India and today in Japan. Thus, since its domestication, it has rarely gone unnoticed, either because of the admiration of its personality and figure or because of the legends and stories associated with them. In the Middle Ages they were feared for seeing devilish beings in felines, faithful companions of witches and demons.

Now, beyond its history and fascination in us, ailurophilia may have a less positive and healthy variant. This admiration falls within a spectrum that goes from enriching coexistence to other more problematic situations behind a psychological disorder.

Although ailurophilia often presents itself in its most positive form, there are people who can display obsessive behaviors with cats.

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When love for cats is cathartic and healing

The ailurophilia or love for cats can act as a healing dimension for the human being. Animals always have that affective and emotional component capable of conferring us multiple psychological benefits:

  • Beyond the idea that felines are cold, detached and independent, they can give us their loyalty and daily company.
  • They occupy spaces with their figure and original personality; they are the tenants of the sofa, the desks and the beds. They alleviate loneliness and inspire us with their behavior.
  • Cats can transmit very simple values ​​to us about how to enjoy life. Sleep, play, act smart, and choose well who to love.

Ailurophilia and behaviors associated with paraphilias

Ailurophilia can manifest itself in a pathological and even obsessive aspect. We are talking about paraphilias, a behavior associated with a sexual interest was common or acceptable. It is important to note that human beings can manifest more than 500 types of paraphilias and zoophilia is one of them.

On the other hand, we can find dynamics linked to obsessive-compulsive disorders. In this case, the symptoms associated with obsessive ailurophilia would be the following:

  • Impossibility of thinking about anything other than cats: in your care, in your food, in your care.
  • The person feels discomfort and elevated concern when leaving home and leaving your animal alone.
  • That obsessive worry can cause you to cut down or avoid socializing, hanging out with friends or family. Also, the biggest problem can be in the workplace. Spending 8 or more hours doing your job outside the home involves great suffering.
  • The person may manifest compulsive behaviors to alleviate that burden of anxiety: washing many times, obsession with order.

Keep reading: What to do if I have a cat allergy?

What is the treatment for these psychological conditions?

The therapeutic approach for paraphilias is cognitive-behavioral therapy. With it, we can identify thought distortions and sexual obsessions to deactivate them, reason them, manage the anxious component and favor more adjusted behaviors. In some cases, pharmacological treatments can be used.

On the other hand, with regard to ailurophilia in its obsessive manifestation, the exposure technique with response prevention (EPR) is very effective. It consists of managing the thoughts and compulsions with the obsessive stimulus in front (in this case, the cats).

Ailurophilia is usually behind Noah's syndrome and those people who accumulate a large number of cats in their homes.

Noah's syndrome and love for cats

Most of us have heard or know of someone who had dozens of cats in their home. These are unhealthy situations, both for the person themselves and for the animals, since they end up suffering from malnutrition, infectious diseases and uncontrolled reproduction of offspring.

Ailurophilia is related to Noah syndrome, a variant of Diogenes syndrome. Studies, such as the one carried out at the Universidad del Valle in Colombia, show us that the triggers are always psychosocial stress, loneliness and certain mental illnesses such as schizophrenia. Accumulation supplements the feeling of helplessness and suffering, generally in older people.

What is the treatment for this psychological condition?

The psychological approach to the person with Noah syndrome is complex. We are facing a psychiatric pathology associated with psychotic depression, delusions and, sometimes, with schizophrenia. They are patients who do not usually allow themselves to be helped and, therefore, resort to hospitalization or admission to a social health center.

The many forms of ailurophilia

To conclude, as we see, the love for cats can manifest itself in multiple ways. However, the most common is that which is inclusive and healthy; the one that allows us make felines good allies for psychological well-being.

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