I am surrounded by animals. They make my life so enjoyable that I cannot imagine living without them. There are people, though, who live their life as far away as they can from certain animals. For some reason, animal phobias tend to be more common in females than in males.
Those suffering from cynophobia have an irrational fear of dogs. This is not a phobia that normally comes from something fearful during childhood occurring with a dog, such as being chased, attacked, or bitten. To the person who has this phobia, it isn’t irrational. This person may avoid visiting friends and family members who have dogs, may barricade herself in yards, or cross the street to avoid coming in contact with a dog.
Writing Prompt: Say your character has cynophobia as a result of being attacked by a dog when she was just a little girl. She has done everything possible to avoid contact with them ever since. Then she comes home from work to find a puppy in a basket on her porch. Someone has left it there. And everyone she is friends with knows just how scared of dogs she is. Who would have done this? How does she react? Does she keep the puppy or call to have it taken away? If she keeps the puppy, does it help her to overcome her fear of dogs?
Ailurophobia is an irrational fear of cats. Why would someone fear a cat? Most of them are cute and cuddly. The person could fear cats in general or fear being scratched or bitten by a feline. Black cats (my favorite color of cats) have a reputation causing bad luck and of being evil. They are also associated with witches, so their horrible reputation could be the reason they are feared.
There are many Halloween stories written where black cats get a bad rap. Edgar Allen Poe wrote “The Black Cat.” Stories like this could might be the root of ailurophobia for some.
Writing Prompt: Write a story about a lady with ailurophobia. This phobia developed during her childhood because she read so many stories about how wicked and evil cats are, especially black ones. It is Halloween, and she is taking the trash out when she sees a black cat running down her road as fast as it can go. The cat is being chased by a gang of kids. She can tell that their intentions for this cat are not good. Though she is deathly afraid of this cat, she has a good heart and cannot bear the thought of these kids harming the animal. What does she do?
Someone who has murophobia, a fear of mice and rats, would probably want to have some cats around to keep their residence free from the rodents they fear. This person also has something in common with elephants. Did you know that elephants have murophobia? How could something so big be afraid of something so small? It isn’t actually the mouse they fear, it is the noise the mouse makes before he can be seen. You see, elephants have a natural fear of nearby noises when they cannot tell what is making them. This phobia in people may stem from the fact that mice and rats carry disease.
Writing Prompt: Write a story about a cat, a very unusual cat, that has murophobia. How is he treated by the other cats? What caused him to have this irrational fear? Allow the cat to be cured of this phobia. How is he cured? Do the other cats somehow talk him into catching and eating mice? Or is he befriended by a mouse?
If you suffer from ornithophobia, a fear of birds, you might not want to watch The Birds, an Alfred Hitchcock movie. People with this phobia may just fear birds of prey, or it could be so severe that they fear even parakeets. This phobia usually stems from an unpleasant encounter with a bird or group of birds. Maybe one stole some food from your hands, or maybe it gained entrance to your house through an open window and tore up everything as it flew frantically around looking for a way of escape.
Writing Prompt: Cats love to catch mice; they are also known for catching birds. Write another story with a cat. This time, when the story opens the cat is not afraid of birds. In fact, he catches more birds than any other cats in his neighborhood. Then one day something happens to cause him to be afraid of what he once hunted and caught so easily. What happened?