Cat videos go viral for a reason: Furry felines are silly, majestic, and adorable all at the same time. If watching cat videos can lift your spirits and brighten your day, imagine what a real cat can do! Independent and stubborn, cats are notoriously fickle about choosing their humans. Once you’ve earned a cat’s trust and affection, you’ve got a friend for life. Cats require less attention and maintenance than dogs do, but they provide the same warmth and joy and therefore make great emotional support animals.

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The Best Emotional Support Cats

For people who struggle with their emotional health, cats are an excellent option for an emotional support animal. Less attention-seeking than dogs—but much more quirky—cats can add an element of absurdity and fun to each day. If you’re thinking of getting a cat companion for emotional support, the following are six popular breeds known for their ability to lift anyone’s mood. 

1. Ragdoll 

Ragdoll cats feel just like ragdolls, hence the name. They’re very passive and will enjoy being carried and petted for long periods. They become so relaxed in their owners’ arms that they go limp. Gentle and mild-mannered, Ragdolls sometimes operate more like a canine than a cat. They seek out human contact and are extremely affectionate. Because of their gentle nature, they’re an excellent choice to have as an emotional support animal. 

ESA Cat Ragdoll

2. American Bobtail

Announced as an official breed in 2002, the American Bobtail has quickly become one of the most popular cat breeds in the US. They’re active, playful, and cuddly, making the breed a perfect choice for owners who need their spirits lifted. The American Bobtail has a soft voice and isn’t very vocal, but they’re very demonstrative with their owners. As an emotional support animal, American Bobtails are great options. They’re eager to show their affection and are outstanding with children. Fun fact: American Bobtails have tails half the length of other cats. 

ESA Cat American Bobtail

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3. Manx

Manx cats don’t have a tail. What they lack in tails they make up for in personality. Gentle and playful, Manx cats like to interact with their owners. Intelligent and eager to please, they can even be taught to play catch!  Endearing and loyal, Manx cats often choose a human in the family to shower with their full attention. 

ESA Cat Manx

4. Persian

Persians are easy to spot. Regal, beautiful, and quiet, Persians have class. Their adorable faces are expressive, and they’re very gentle felines. They enjoy sitting on laps and being petted. They do, however, need regular grooming because of their long silky hair. If you’re willing to care for their lush coat, Persian’s make excellent emotional support animals. 

ESA Cat Persian
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5. Russian Blue

Legend has it that the Russian Blue was once regarded as the cat of choice for Russian czars. It’s not hard to imagine, because the Russian Blue has an amazingly soft and shimmery gray-blue coat and gem-like green eyes. They’re a mix of cuteness and elegance. The Russian Blue is also well-mannered and attentive with their owners. Although they’re playful, they tend to shy away from visitors. 

ESA Cat Russian Blue

6. Maine Coon

Be forewarned, Maine Coon cats are one of the largest breeds of felines. They can grow to the weight of a medium-sized dog, though much of that weight is due to their fluffy fur. These cats are beautiful and intelligent, making them one of the most famous cat breeds in North America. Maine Coons are easy to train and are well-behaved. They make excellent family pets because they’re tolerant of small children and enjoy the attention. One consideration is their fur, which requires frequent brushing and can fall on furniture and bedding. However, because of the abundance of this soft fur, Maine Coon’s are a comfort to hold and keep close, making them ideal as emotional support. 

ESA Cat Maine Coon

Feline Friendship 

According to the Human-Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI), 85% of pet owners say their pet helps reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation. Cats are a great option as an emotional support animal for owners who are unable to take dogs for walks or engage in strenuous exercise, as cats require less activity and engagement than dogs. 

They say that dogs are a man’s best friend, but cats are just as warm and affectionate. Cats are a bit more selective about who they want as humans, so the love of a feline feels well-earned. Cats form the same in-depth bonds with their owners as dogs and children do. This bond can help humans manage rough emotional struggles. 

If you are interested in learning more about emotional support cats, you can find helpful articles below!

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Best emotional support cat breeds infographic.