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A woman afraid of cats, and other reasons I love phobia shows

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It began years ago, when I was sitting at home in the early afternoon with the flu. I had to devour something other than Jell-O, and I had already checked in with the residents of Salem on Days of Our Lives. As someone without cable at the time, I had very few options: Infomercials, Matlock, or Maury. Despite my age, Matlock, strangely, typically won, but one day — after realizing I had already seen that particular episode of the Andy Griffith series — I switched to Maury. The subject of the episode? Irrational fears.

Now, I’m afraid of plenty of things, some rational (failure) and some not (the Ebola virus). So let me preface this by saying I do actually take pity on many people who suffer from an aversion to things both practical and unpractical. Still, there is nothing funnier than a man wearing a full body suit made of cotton balls chasing a woman afraid of cotton balls.

I became obsessed. Not just with Maury, but with the topic: There were episodes that featured people afraid of aluminum foil, peaches, and pickles. What began as a freak show evolved into a fascinating look into the human mind. Why are some people petrified of spiders, while others so drawn to them, they’ll even swallow them whole? Why do I have a strict, inexplicable aversion to cold cuts, while other members of my family will happily eat several slices of slimy room temperature bologna? It’s no wonder that cable networks have delved into the topic, with the likes of shows like My Extreme Animal Phobia, which airs on Animal Planet.

And that’s where I found a video that’s become my obsession for the day: A woman who fears cats. Seemingly harmless, adorable kittens. It seems bananas to someone like myself, who spent the night spooning my own cat (feel free to start judging now), but also understandable when you look at the feline in question above. That’s either an adorable kitteh, begging for your love and affection, or an animal staring into your soul while thinking of nothing but murder all day. It’s just like that old woman-young girl Illusion! Also: As my colleague Laura Hertzfeld pointed out to me, this woman must also fear the Internet, which is more overrun with cats than a hoarders’ bedroom closet. Discuss life without Lolcats below. Click here to see the My Extreme Animal Phobia clip — the episode airs Dec. 2.

PopWatchers, are you as into phobia shows as I am? Is this cat’s eyes shifting? Have I revealed too much about myself? And what is your irrational phobia? This post?

Follow Kate on Twitter @KateWardEW

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