Medicine: Belling the Cat

Many people are afraid of cats or dislike them, but Mrs. A. was an extreme case. At 37 she was sent to suburban London's Bethlem Royal Hospital because her cat phobia was running and ruining her life. She told the hospital psychiatrists that her father had drowned a kitten before her eyes when she was four. After that, as a child, the fear that the family cat might brush against her was enough to make her sit stiff at table with legs stretched straight out in the air. She screamed if she saw a cat on the doorstep.

As a World War...

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