That cats can be finicky or elusive is no secret to anyone, which is why a lot of people have trouble believing that cats can make good emotional support animals. Emotional support animals (ESAs) are perfect for the job and are often recommended by professional therapists to residents of various housing facilities where people need that type of support. In fact, if you know someone who needs one of these animals, it’s best to find a therapist to recommend an animal that has been officially registered as an ESA, because not just any animal can qualify.
The laws regarding ESAs are not that complicated, but there are a few things you should know if you have one of these animals or you’re planning to get one. Before we get to ESAs and housing laws, however, let’s answer an important question: are cats really good emotional support animals? If so, why?
Although cats can be extremely independent, that doesn’t mean that they don’t make great emotional support animals, because they do! Cats are playful and affectionate, and they tend to bond very well with their owners, which makes them the perfect emotional support animal. In fact, even the act of purring can result in both the cat and the owner becoming more relaxed. Let’s face it, few things are more enjoyable or more relaxing than having a kitten or cat in your lap and cuddling up to it for comfort.
In fact, in many ways cats are better ESAs than dogs or other animals. They are easier to maintain and require only food, water, and cleaning of the litter box. It is easy to find enough space for them even if you’re renting, and they don’t require nearly as much play time as dogs do. They are even fun to watch from afar because even doing this can lower your blood pressure and help elevate your mood. For these and many other reasons, cats make the perfect emotional support animal.
What Are Emotional Support Animals?
Emotional support animals, or ESAs, can be cats, dogs, or even other types of animals such as guinea pigs or birds, but to use your own animal or adopt an animal for this purpose, you often have to have a documented mental disability, especially if you live in some type of housing facility. This means you need to see either a real-life or online therapist who will testify that you have this disability. The therapist can write an official ESA letter, which must include the license number, its date of issue, and the date it expires. The letter must also be written on the therapist’s official letterhead to count as an ESA letter.
What types of disabilities qualify? Just about everything, from depression to PTSD and even disabilities such as anxiety and others. As long as your therapist feels that you could benefit from getting an emotional support animal, you can go ahead and get one. Or, you can use your own cat as an ESA. There are no special requirements for the cat to qualify, except that it has to be safe for you and everyone around you, and of course, it must be tamed and domesticated.
Why Is This Important?
So, if your own cat is an ESA and you live at home, why does all this matter? In reality, it doesn’t. The ESA letter from a mental health professional is only necessary if you have a cat or dog and you live in an apartment building or other type of housing facility and you believe you might have problems with your landlord. According to federal law, an ESA has to be allowed in the facility when you have that official ESA letter, even if you are renting in a facility that normally doesn’t allow pets.
Airports must also allow them on your flight and in fact, they are familiar with ESA letters and should accommodate you without any fuss or ado. You should, however, register with the airline and let them know about the animal at least 48 hours before your flight, although most airlines aren’t that strict with this regulation. Letting the airline know about an ESA situation ahead of time is just common courtesy, which is why it is recommended.
If you’d like to officially register your animal so that there is no question about its purpose, it is beyond easy to do so. An official emotional support cat registration can be executed online and you can take the paperwork with you wherever you go. Of course, in most instances the ESA letter from a qualified mental health professional is all you need if you’re getting ready to move to a no-pets-allowed housing facility or you’re about to get on a plane to fly somewhere. Indeed, the letter is the most important thing you can have when you’re planning to have an emotional support animal by your side from then on. The registration is convenient, but the ESA letter is what makes it all official.
Some Final Thoughts
Emotional support animals are an important part of many people’s lives, and anyone can have one. The problems begin when you’re living in a facility that doesn’t allow pets or traveling on an airplane and you wish to take the animal with you. In these cases, you need an ESA letter from a professional mental health therapist, who will issue the letter that makes everything official. If you believe you’re going to run into any problems at some point, this letter can be a life-saver.
Since cats are more loving and playful than many people think, they will indeed make a great ESA for you. They offer a lot of advantages that other animals don’t have, including dogs, so whether your emotional support animal is a cat, dog, miniature pig, hedgehog, or even a horse, as long as you have that ESA letter in hand you can bring it nearly everywhere you go and not get into trouble with anyone or run into problems.