It may be a “dog’s world” when it comes to service work for those people with specific needs; however, that doesn’t mean cats can’t play a different role for people suffering from mental or emotional issues.
Cats (or any other type of animal) can indeed be considered an Emotional Support Animal (ESA). Cats can provide love and emotional support to their owners in the same way dogs can. Let’s explore this topic further.
If you are ready to make your cat an emotional support animal, start the questionnaire below.
What is an Emotional Support Animal?
If you’re not familiar with the term ‘Emotional Support Animal’ it simply defines any animal species that brings comfort to an individual. The emotional support cat is more than just a pet, but rather an animal that helps the person suffering from an emotional or mental disability cope/live a normal life.
ESA’s are not considered service animals as they have no specific training for executing specific tasks like fetching medication or helping the blind to cross a busy intersection. However, emotional support animals are recognized by the Fair Housing Act and the Air Carrier Access Act for those with the proper documentation stating their need for the ESA.
What is the Fair Housing Act and Air Carrier Access Act for Cats?
The FHA or Fair Housing Act allows you to live with your emotional support cat, even in “no-pets” apartments and condos. The FHA protects ESA owners from unlawful discriminatory acts by landlords and homeowner associations (HOA). If you find yourself being turned away for owning an ESA cat, you can contact the HUD and file a complaint.
The ACAA or Air Carrier Access Act allows you to travel with your emotional support cat. You do not have to pay any additional fees or purchase an additional ticket when flying with your emotional support cat. Remember to contact your airline and have all required documents ready before arriving at the airport. We suggest contacting your airline at least 48 hours in advance.
Do You Qualify for an Emotional Support Animal?
To officially qualify for an emotional support cat, you must get an ESA letter from a licensed mental health professional stating your need for an ESA.
If you suffer from anxiety, depression, panic attacks, PTSD, or any number of mental illnesses you may already qualify for an emotional support animal. To officially qualify for an emotional support cat, you must have an ESA letter from a licensed mental health professional stating your need for an ESA. We recommend talking to your own therapist, but if you do not have one or do not have access to one, you may connect with a therapist in our network by clicking the link below and filling out the questionnaire.
Emotional Support Cat Requirements
Making your cat an emotional support animal is not difficult or complicated. It is actually quite easy to qualify your cat as an ESA if you suffer from depression, anxiety, panic attacks, or any other mental illnesses.
- Have a cat or get a cat. If you don’t have a cat, we suggest contacting your local ASPCA or Humane Society.
- Make sure your cat gives you emotional support.
- Get an ESA letter from a licensed therapist.
- Contact your landlord and/or airline and provide your ESA letter.
Cats As Emotional Support Animals
Scientific research has been telling us for years that pet parenting an animal is good for our mental health. This includes lowering stress levels, reducing loneliness and helping us sleep better.
It is true that cats tend to be more aloof than their canine counterparts, but that doesn’t mean the feline species won’t work as an ESA, you may just need to take some time when searching out the perfect candidate. Here are five tips on finding a great emotional support feline.
Tips For Your Future Emotional Support Cat
Tip #1 – Breed Specifics
If your mental health professional has prescribed an emotional support animal for you, there are specific breeds of cats that are more people-orientated by nature. These include the Scottish Fold, Tonkinese, and Ragdoll to name a few.
Tip #2 – No Feral Cats
It is always wonderful to rescue street cats, but when it comes to having a cat as an ESA, that feral fellow may not work. Feral cats tend to be wild, nervous and afraid of humans. These cats can be “tamed” but it takes time, patience and the right person to do so. When searching for an emotional support feline, leave the feral strays to the experts.
Tip #3 – Bonding
Allowing a cat to develop a close bond with a human is easier when the feline is young. Kittens are less likely to have “hangups” about humans and if bought from a reputable breeder, the kitten should already be well socialized. This doesn’t mean you can’t find an older cat that is just as loving, but again, do some looking around before you expect just any cat to become your ESA.
Tip #4 – Indoors Only
Indoor only felines tend to be more people-orientated as they are not always experiencing “the call of the wild.” Keeping your cat indoors is also healthier for your feline as he/she is less likely to be injured, to pick up internal and external parasites or go missing.
Tip# 5 – Spay or Neuter
Unaltered cats will most likely not make a good ESA. Males left intact have a tendency to urine mark and can be more aggressive in nature. Females left unaltered will constantly be coming into heat and will try their best to escape outdoors to be bred. Having these extra worries is not good if you are already suffering from emotional issues.
Cats Are Awesome!
If you have been diagnosed with an emotional or mental disability and have been prescribed an ESA, then getting a feline is not out-of-the-question. Follow these tips and do some searching for the best cat to meet your needs.
If you haven’t been prescribed an emotional support animal, follow the link below to get started on your path to making your cat an official ESA. You will be happy you did and so will your new furry pal.
Qualify for your ESA Cat letter today
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