: a cat fancier : a lover of cats
Ailurophiles, young and old, are sureto love the art museum‘s new exhibitfeaturing paintings and photographsof felines, ranging from tabbies to man-eaters.
“Yes, it’s book one of a series…. And yes, the primary villain is a cat, whereas I’m an unashamedailurophile. … But none of thatmattered when I closed the backcover—I just wanted more, more, more.” — Katie Ward Beim-Esche, Christian Science Monitor, December30, 2014
Did you know?
Although the word ailurophile has only been documented in Englishsince the early 1900s, ailurophileshave been around for thousands of years. The ancient Egyptians wereperhaps history‘s greatest cat lovers, pampering and adorning felines, honoring them in art, even treatingthem as gods. But the English wordailurophile does not descend fromEgyptian; rather, it comes from a combination of the Greek wordailouros, which means “cat,” and the suffix -phile, meaning “lover.” If Egyptian cat-loving sentiments leaveyou cold and you’re moresympathetic to medieval Europeanswho regarded cats as wicked agentsof evil, you might prefer the wordailurophobe (from ailouros plus -phobe, meaning “fearing or averseto”). That‘s a fancy name for someone who hates or fears cats.