Humans with poor mental health conditions may frequently think about getting an emotional support animal. These creatures are sensational buddies that make life much easier for their holders.

The presence of an animal at home provides a comfortable emotional atmosphere and reduces the general stress level. Moreover, ESAs are four-legged psychologists who help people recover faster from mental disorders and illnesses.

Even though most often, dogs are chosen as companions, there are no restrictions on ESA breeds. So, if you prefer felines, you can have an emotional support cat.

How can an animal be registered for emotional support?

Emotional support animals are a fairly customary method of remedy in psychotherapy. So, first of all, you should be aware that emotional support animals should only work on a person undergoing mental issues or experiencing non-physical ailments.

These creatures aim to supply their owners with the demanded moral strengthening, safekeeping, and devotion. So, suppose a licensed mental health professional decides that an ESA can help you cope with the dysfunction more quickly or at least mitigate your symptoms. In that case, you may be able to become a holder of an emotional support animal.

Can cats be service animals?

If we talk about service animals, their central mission is to ensure that people with inabilities have the opportunity to live a full life and not feel limited by their defacement. This often involves performing varied tasks, for which the animal must have considerable physical strength.

In addition, service animals must undergo exceptional tuition, learn to follow commands, and meet the exigencies of their keeper. This requires a high level of learnability of the animal. Although some breeds of cats are very intelligent, today, basically, there are no proven techniques for teaching cats to be helper animals.

Even though emotional support animals are not limited by breed, most people choose dogs for this role. Dogs are believed to be more joyful and affectionate. Nonetheless, if you are a cat person, you can still have an emotional support cat.

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Support cats

Some dogs are great service or emotional support animals, but not everyone likes them. Often people don’t feel comfortable with a puppy due to fear or childhood trauma. A cat can be helpful and nurturing if you don’t like dogs.

Despite the common misconception that cats are not very companionable and do not like to spend time with humans, we assure you that this is not the case. In fact, cats are a great choice for those who are not ready to devote all their time to their animal. Although a feline will always be there when you need it, it will also feel great alone.

Besides, getting a Registered Emotional Support Cat will benefit your mental health and bring other bonuses. If the animal has official ESA status, it has housing privileges and can live with its owner. Additionally, each state has local laws regarding emotional support animals, so ESAs may have additional rights and freedoms.

The advantages of having an ESA cat

Pet owners have probably noticed how animals improve the atmosphere in the house. Petting an animal relieves tension and helps to relax. Moreover, ESAs help their keepers to distract from intrusive thoughts and worries and also help to get rid of fears and flashbacks. For lots of humans, animals become not just friends but real family members.

Many cat keepers claim that purring has a meditative effect on them. In addition, cats have a strong intuition, which helps them better commiserate with the disposition and behavior of their holder. Consequently, a cat as an emotional support animal has many merits that may not seem obvious at first glance.

They offer moral support

First and foremost, animals dispense vital moral and psychical endorsement to people who feel melancholy, unloved, abandoned, and have troubles with self-esteem and a sense of self-worth. Everyone wants to be emboldened and cared for, but men with non-physical impairments need it much more. This helps them better cope with their mental health issues and changes their worldview and attitude towards others.

Avoid pet deposit fees

Being the holder of a validated ESA cat has certain privileges. One of these bonuses is the opportunity to reside with your animal without more fees or deposits. As stated in the Fair Housing Act, householders must not prevent an emotional support animal from dwelling with its handler, even if pets are not permitted in the building. This helps to avoid discrimination so that you could be happy to stay home without worries and any charges.

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Cute grey kitten

Breeds of cats that qualify for ESA status

The most predominant thing to remember about emotional support animals is that they do not service ones. While service animals can mostly be dogs, there are no such restrictions for ESAs, so you are free to choose the animal you like best and feel most comfy with.

The same rule applies to the cat breeds you choose for yourself as a companion. It all depends only on your preferences and tastes. Therefore, if you prefer fluffy cats, you can select American Bobtails, Persians, Ragdolls, or Maine Coons, and if you prefer smooth-haired kittens, then the American Shorthair or the Manx will suit you. And even if you have allergies but still want an emotional support cat, you also have options to go for such hypoallergenic breeds as Sphinxes, Bengals, or Abbysinians.

How do I qualify for emotional support cats?

To legitimately become the holder of an emotional support animal, you must have a paper called an emotional support animal letter that assures your right to own an ESA. The existence of this charter is especially significant for those who want to dwell with their animals, as well as for the correct presentation of the animal in society.

So, to obtain this deed, you must get in touch with a medical professional who can assess your psychological state correctly and provide recommendations for its improvement. ESAs are only used for people with cognitive dysfunctions or mental disabilities; in all other cases, regular pets will suffice.

Do I have to meet with a therapist to receive an ESA letter?

There are two ways to come by an ESA letter. You can either meet with a licensed mental health professional or another qualified mental health provider in person or apply for an ESA letter online. Obtaining a document online is relevant for those who do not want to talk about their problems with a psychologist in person and those who cannot leave their homes due to disability.

You can use the proven online services if you do not feel like talking about your mental health complications. To do this, you need to complete a detailed questionnaire about your psychic state and provide all the information that may be useful for making a decision. After that, within 10 days, you will receive a response to the application in your e-mail. ESA letters received online have the same legal effect if they are drawn up in accordance with the requirements of the law.

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Where can I get an emotional support animal?

Since you get an ESA letter, you can take the desired animal from the shelter or buy it from a distributor. In contradistinction to a service animal, an emotional support one doesn’t require to be explicitly taught to accomplish any assignments, therefore, you do not need to visit training centers or hire a professional to give lessons to the animal.

Still, the animal must know primary commands and the basics of social interaction so that it is obedient and does not jeopardize others. You can train your ESA yourself. Additional time with the animal, learning commands, and performing exercises, will positively affect your psycho-emotional condition.

How can I make my cat an emotional support animal?

Basically, if you already have a cat and want to register it as an emotional support animal, you should contact your therapist or psychiatrist. It is crucial that the professional is aware of the medical records related to your affliction and has sufficient knowledge of using ESAs for therapeutic benefit.

An extra emotional support cat registration isn’t usually necessary. Yet, many emotional support cat keepers order supplemental warrants for their animals, for instance, a pet tag. This helps distinguish ESAs in public and assists in avoiding possible misunderstandings and controversy.

Flying with Your Cat

Unfortunately, in line with the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA), neither an emotional support dog nor a cat currently has permission to be with their owners during air travel. However, some airlines allow small-sized ESAs to be carried in hand baggage. This usually applies to most cat breeds.

Detailed information about the conditions for transporting animals in the cabin is available on the official websites of the airlines. You must notify the air carrier in advance if you are transporting a pet, as the number of places for animals on a flight is limited. It is also mandatory to fill out and submit the forms on the Department of Transportation website.

All animals during the flight must be in carriers that fit the cat in size. The carrier is placed under the seat in front of you. The animal must not leave the carrier, walk down the aisle or eat from the table during the air journey. Also, take care of food and water for the animal in advance, as well as the opportunity to relieve itself.

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Hi! I'm Anna and I´m a certified cynologist (KAU, ACW). Expert, blue cross volunteer, owner of Chinese crested kennel "Salvador Dali" and breedless friend called Fenya. "I can't imagine my life without dogs and I totally support the idea #AdoptDontShop".