Can Cats be Emotional Support Animals?
Definitely! An Emotional Support Cat can provide the same love, compassion and support as any other Emotional Support Animal (ESA) or emotional support dogs. Some people who aren’t “cat people” may not understand, but a cat’s love can be just as unconditional as a dog’s. More than that, many mental health professionals recognize and report that the positive effects of cat ownership are just as considerable as dog ownership.
How to Register Your Cat as an Emotional Support Animal
The only requirement to have your cat certified as an Emotional Support Cat is to have a written letter (ESA prescription letter) from a licensed mental health professional such as a psychologist. This is contrary to what you might read on websites that ask you to pay to register your cat as an emotional support animal, but it is true. As we’ve covered many times, there is no legal requirement for emotional support animals to be registered.
What Disabilities Qualify me for an Emotional Support Cat?
- Social Anxiety Disorder
- Postpartum Depression
- Phobias and Fears
- General Anxiety Disorder
- Panic Disorder
- Bipolar Disorder
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Seasonal Affective Disorder
Laws to Protect Your Rights to Emotional Support Cats
There are two United States Federal Laws which primarily protect the rights of people with Emotional Support Animals. Although the rights are not as expansive as those granted to Service Animals or Service Dogs, there are still two very important points to acknowledge:
- Living With Your Cat – The Fair Housing Act ensures that an individual requiring an Emotional Support Cat will be allowed to live with their animal. Furthermore, it prevents landlords and property managers from being able to charge pet fees or pet deposits. Also some landlords and property managers may request that you fill out their additional accommodation forms, in addition to the letter.
- Traveling With Your Cat – The Air Carrier Access Act asserts that people are able to fly with their Emotional Support Cat without having to pay additional fees. The airlines do require that they be informed in advance and that a recent (less than one year old) medical letter is provided as well. Also some airlines such as American Airlines or United Airlines may request that you provide additional reasonable accommodation forms, in addition to the letter.
If you would like to see which cat breed might be right for you to have as your future emotional support cat, you might want to read our blog about our recommended top 10 cat breeds. Also, if you want to know if your cat loves you, we wrote a great blog for that too!