Emotional Support Cats 101: What You Need To Know
It is no secret that cats are popular pets. They can be playful, loving and hilarious. All these characteristics also make them great emotional support animals. If you are thinking about getting an emotional support animal, you may consider getting a cat. The following information will help you understand more about what it means to have an emotional support cat.
What Is an Emotional Support Animal?
An emotional support animal is one that provides comfort to help its owner with the symptoms of a disability or emotional impairment. The therapeutic benefit of an ESA typically comes from the animal’s companionship, unconditional love and affection.
Emotional support animals are a legally recognized type of animal with special privileges in certain circumstances such as housing and flying. However, an ESA is not a service animal. Therefore, it does not receive all the same protections as a service animal, which is a specially trained animal capable of performing specific tasks.
Legally, an ESA must be used as part of a treatment for a condition. In many cases, they need to be registered to enjoy their full legal status.
Can a Cat Be an Emotional Support Animal?
If you are wondering if you can register a cat as an emotional support animal, the answer is yes! Cats make excellent emotional support animals. The key characteristics of an effective ESA are the following:
- Provides companionship
- Offers support and affection
- Benefits the owner’s well-being
- Capable of unconditional positive regard
In other words, cats are an animal that will love you and provide comfort so they can be an emotional support animal. Cats are an especially popular choice as for emotional support because they form strong relationships with humans but are lower maintenance than dogs. People who have chronic pain or mobility issues may particularly appreciate a cat’s ability to take care of him or herself more independently and don’t necessarily require exercising or walks multiple times per day.
Some breeds of cats are especially well-suited to providing emotional support. For example, Persian, Ragdoll, Abyssinian, Maine Coon and Exotic Shorthair cats are well-known for being loving. Of course, all cats are capable of forming deep bonds with humans given the right personality and circumstances.
What Are the Benefits of Having an Emotional Support Cat?
Emotional support cats can provide substantial benefits for people who struggle with anxiety, depression, feelings of loneliness and similar difficulties. They are constant companions who will offer care to their owners.
Naturally, the benefits of an emotional support animal depend on your unique needs. However, they can be a well of comfort that, during low moments, can help to halt and reverse struggles.
The best emotional support animal for you is the one that you bond with and derive the most comfort from. So, it may or may not be a cat. However, a lot of people find that cats make very good ESAs. They are loving like other popular pets. Additionally, their playful and often amusing nature can be very comforting in a time of need.
Registering your cat as an emotional support animal will confer some benefits and special privileges that wouldn’t be available for a pet or therapy cat. Most notably, you are entitled to circumvent some pet-ownership rules when renting if you have an ESA. Additionally, many airlines will allow owners to travel with their cats in a carry-on carrier if he or she is registered. Keep in mind that the rules vary by jurisdiction and airline, so make sure to check in advance.
What Costs Are Associated With an Emotional Support Cat?
For the most part, the costs associated with having a cat as an emotional support animal are the typical costs of cat ownership. You will need to provide food, veterinary care, litter and other similar supplies. You will also need some accessories such as a carrier and toys.
Additionally, you will need to get your cat registered as an emotional support animal. There is more information about this below, but there is a nominal fee associated with this.
What Is Involved in Registering an Emotional Support Cat?
Registering an emotional support cat is straight forward. This includes providing some basic details about yourself and your cat. You will also need to provide the appropriate documentation.
After that, there is just a nominal fee for the registration. You will receive a registration card for your animal to indicate that it is an emotional support animal. Your cat does not need any special training to be an ESA. Once you have registered your cat, the follow-up process for emotional support cat certification and verification is easy as well if needed is as easy as directing the part to the database search.
What Accessories Do You Need for an ESA?
If you plan to bring your cat with you to any new homes or while flying, you will need appropriate accessories for transporting him or her. You should have either a carrier or harness system when driving in a vehicle. When flying, you will need a carrier that can fit underneath the seat in front of you. Some airlines allow other methods of securing your cat, make sure to check with the airline in advance.
You may also consider a harness and leash for your cat if you ever want to take him or her in public with you. However, keep in mind that you may not be allowed inside buildings like this. Emotional support animals do not have the same rights of entry as service animals. With these accessories and a registration card, you have everything you need for your cat ESA.