Zoophobia: I Hate Animals, But Does That Make Me Cruel?

Last updated by Katie M.

How cute is this little dog / this little cat… Certainly in pictures, but much less so on my lap! I try to get away from animals more than I love them. Those who judge me to be cruel don’t think about the inconvenience of having an animal at home or the fear I might feel. I really don’t like animals, I’m even afraid of them, but where does this phobia come from? Let’s take a look.

Zoophobia: I Hate Animals, But Does That Make Me Cruel?

What is it called when you don’t like animals?

Zoophobia is a general phobia, a fear of animals, even perfectly harmless ones. This pathological fear is experienced by humans in front of all (or only some) animals. There are many sub-phobias, which are specific to different animals, but when we talk about zoophobia in general, it can refer to the fear of any animal species. General (or total) zoophobia usually defines the fear of almost any animal species. It is rare, but it still affects different people. General zoophobia and its specific sub-phobias are almost always acquired in childhood. They are common, but usually affect more women than men. It is usually acquired because of bad experiences with animals or because of fear acquired by watching different movies, TV series, and documentaries.

I don’t like animals, but I’m not a monster

Granted, they’re cute in photos, but I have no trouble resisting their little faces. In reality, their presence disturbs me, their smell is unbearable, and I wonder about their usefulness in a house. In their natural habitat, in a field or in the middle of the jungle, they’re very beautiful, but at home it’s a different story. I understand that some people (½ of American people to be exact) adopt a pet out of habit or to fill the void of a certain solitude.

Having not grown up with animals, I can’t feel the lack of something I never had. What’s more, they don’t arouse any interest in me and make me want to run away. It’s understandable for people not to like spiders or even snakes (which are officially recognized as repulsive beings), but if I can’t stand having a dog’s nose on my lap, then I have a heart of stone… What if you tried to understand my reasons instead of labelling me as such?

I’m scared of animals: from a constraint to a phobia

Tolerance should go both ways. I’m not stopping anyone from loving, cherishing and living with the balls of fur and feathers, so I should be granted the right to get away from them. The dislike of these beings can range from a refusal to clutter your home with them to a real phobia. Perhaps as an avid traveler or a woman devoted to my career, I don’t want someone waiting for me at home. Where others see a living being to be cuddled, I just see a long list of downsides. I’m allowed to not want to spend my money on vet bills or animal food. I’m allowed to want to spend my nights without the sounds of meowing, and I prefer my sofa not covered in fur.


➡ As for other people’s pets, who knows? Maybe I had a bad experience with a dog with big teeth when I was young… Some reactions are the result of my survival instinct. I don’t stay away from animals for fun, but to protect myself, or because for some obscure reason, Felix disgusts me.

>>> Discover the 10 most unusual phobias

I make some exceptions…

Especially with my loved ones that I know and have tamed over time. I know for a fact that they’re not dangerous, and seeing them celebrate me like a rock star moves me a little. They could almost make me feel guiltyif they knew what I was thinking, these animals who are always so happy in my presence. I won’t be taking them on my lap any time soon, but nevertheless, some progress is being made.

And because I love their owners, I guess you could say I appreciate them too. This is proof that a person who doesn’t like animals doesn’t have to stick to their guns forever. In reality, this feeling (or rather this absence) is largely psychological.

What does it mean if a person hates animals?

When someone doesn't like animals, it can have different meanings and reasons. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Personal preferences: Everyone has different personal preferences when it comes to pets or interacting with animals. Some people may simply not feel attracted to animals or have a particular interest in them, without this necessarily reflecting a deep-seated problem or aversion.

  • Negative experiences: Negative or traumatic experiences with animals can lead some people to develop an apprehension or fear of animals. These experiences may stem from allergies, bites, trauma, or unpleasant memories, which may explain their reluctance to love or interact with animals.

  • Cultural or educational beliefs: Attitudes towards animals can be influenced by cultural beliefs, social norms, or educational convictions. For example, some people may have been brought up in environments where pets were not considered important, or where interaction with animals was discouraged.

  • Sensitivity or allergic reactions: Some people may be allergic to animals, or have particular sensitivities to their fur, saliva, or other substances, which can make interacting with them difficult or uncomfortable.

It's important to respect individual preferences and limits when it comes to animals. Not everyone needs to love animals or want to interact with them, as long as this does not lead to acts of animal cruelty. However, if a person has extreme aversion or hostility towards animals to the point of harming them, this could indicate a deeper problem and would require further assessment by a mental health professional.

The editor's opinion – The real problem doesn’t come from them

Marjolaine Heymes, a doctor of psychology, explains that “The animal reflects the image we have of ourselves, it’s often the subconscious projection of its owner.”

➡ When someone declares that they hate animals, it may mean they are in conflict, not with the species, but with what it subconsciously represents. Two scenarios are possible: either the individual doesn’t have the temperament they attribute to the cat and secretly envy it (because they would like to be independent or not care about what others think); or they have this character trait and would like to change it (their independence makes them isolated and suffer).

🤗 Understand yourself, accept yourself, be happy... Let’s do it here and now!


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Article presented by Katie M.

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First of all, thank you Katie for sharing and standing up for the marginalized non dog/pet/ animal people. Second, I strongly disagree with the supposed expert weigh in, suggesting something is wrong with someone who doesn’t like animals. The example animal I will use to mirror your stance on pets will be dogs. I’m not a dog hater, I’m not a dog lover, and I’m not a monster. My reason for disliking dogs and or people obsessed with them, especially those who stigmatize people like me for my lack of affection towards dogs, is because I think they are a waste of time and money, in addition to affection or emotional output. People who put all of their love into an animal, and weigh their relationship with their pet over human interaction are the ones with psychological problems, not those who could care less about a cute dog or avoid touching the or letting one get close enough for a sniff. I would rather spend my money spoiling my human parter rotten traveling around the world. Time is a gift, not something we are entitled to, and is more valuable than money, and I choose it not waste it carrying for a pet. Dogs are a responsibility, and to me, are not worth the inconvenience, money, and more importantly, my time. Think about how many opportunities or experiences one misses because they chose to adopt or rescue a dog no one wants that they have to make plans around, and tailor their life to care for. What do they get in exchange? Unconditional love from a living stuffed animal, that smells, sheds hair all over the their house and clothes, needs constant attention, who they have to walk all odd hours of the day, and depending on one’s vanity level, likely present themselves to the public dressed and appearing just as disgusting and their furry emotional support animal’s disgusting feces they will be picking up? No thank you. Dogs are burdensome at best. No one’s life is without compromise owning a dog. To each their own, but if one’s dog is all they have to talk about, what kind of boring, unfulfilled life are they leading? Still, those who choose otherwise and are averted to dogs, the the responsibility that comes with being a good dog owner, like clean clothes and a clean house, and prefer human interaction and affection, are the ones who are labeled as monsters with potential psychological issues? Res flagged? We don’t like kids also? Not true. I myself love kids, and want kids, and will be happy to accept my life being comprised to bring a human life of my blood into this world. Sorry, not sorry, but when I’m done with long, stressful yet filling, day at work, why am I a terrible person if I do not want to come home to a smelly house, with hair shedding all over the floor and couch from a non speaking supposed best friend who upon my arrival barks hysterically with excitement, slobbers all over me and then sheds more hair on me before I have to walk them and pick up their shit? I get that that this is fun for some people, and not all dog owners are obsessive, but if you choose this over a human or are dating someone and sacrifice a meaningful relationship or potential life partner over an animal, there is something wrong with you. If you let your dog sleep in your bed with you, that is disgusting to me, but I’m sure you can easily find someone as disgusting that you can share your bed, as supposedly 98% of Americans population don’t have a aversion to dogs. I would bet that there is equal marginality among those not averted to dogs letting their dogs sleep in their bed as there are people who don’t like or understand the obsession with dogs. Who are the sickos out of these two groups? Important to note, I am happy with who I am, I don’t have a fear of dogs, have had a family dog, have owned a dog myself that I lost in breakup, and again, I do not hate dogs, I just do not want the unnecessary and costly responsibility of caring for something I do not see value in. I may lack empathy, but I do not have an emotional hole that needs filled with a false sense of love or adoration from an animal who’s instinct is to love their owner. I found this article searching how to cope woth dogs in a relationship of you do not like your partner’s dogs.

Dirk 2 years ago

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