Jodie Foster has had a life-long fear of cats since she was almost mauled to death by a lion when she was eight years old. The actress was a child star on the set of 1972 movie Napoleon And Samantha, when a big cat co-star lashed out at her. Foster remembers, "I was walking ahead of him. He was on an invisible leash, some piano wire. He got sick of me being slow, picked my up and held me sideways and shook me like a doll. "I was in shock and thought it was an earthquake. I turned around and saw the entire crew running off in the other direction. "The trainer then said, 'Drop it' and he opened his mouth and dropped me." Foster insists she had no problem returning to the set two weeks later and firmly believes the animal spared her life - but she admits the incident 36 years ago has left her wary of all kinds of felines. The 45-year-old - who plays a phobic adventurer in new movie Nim's Castle - tells U.S. talk show host Jay Leno, "Now cats freak me out a little bit."