Originally Posted by Zane's Pal
How old is the boy?
I don't understand being afraid of cats; not liking them, yes, but afraid? A cat is so much smaller than you are and is not poisonous--what is there to be afraid of? I can understand fear of dogs, especially large ones, but cats are harmless. Oh, they can bite and scratch, but they simply aren't big enough or strong enough to do serious injury to a human.
It must be like being afraid of spiders--even small, non-poisonous ones that can't possibly hurt you. In our area there are only two types of poisonous spiders, and they are both quite distinctive-looking so when people scream and run at the sight of a small, obviously harmless spider (or even a non-spider thing like a daddy longlegs), it's quite confusing.
Anyway, phobias in general aren't all that reasonable, and childhood phobias are really common. As a kid I used to be quite scared of dead bodies, when obviously it's the living bodies that are more likely to hurt me.
A lot of phobias come from things that we're kind of "programmed" to stay away from--in my case, it's the "programming" against disease and the possibility that whatever killed the dead guy might kill me, too. With spiders, there are the poisonous ones that you should stay away from. And I guess with cats, they used to be wild creatures--the small wildcats--who really would hurt you if you tried to pick them up and pet them. Naturally we'd be hardwired to stay away from animals we couldn't eat, and that could hurt us. Instinct, gone slightly wrong...