17 October, 2016

How to Register Your Cat as an Emotional Support Animal

emotional support cat and owner in sun

Cats can provide the same love, compassion, and support as any other emotional support animal. Those 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.

Learn more about emotional support cats and their infinite wisdom below!

Service Cats: Can a Cat be a Service Animal?

We often get asked, “Can a cat be a Service Animal?”.

The short answer:
Cats CAN NOT be service animals.
Cats CAN be emotional support animals.

According to the American Disability Act (ADA), “Service Animals are defined as dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities.” There is a special provision written in for miniature horses, but nothing that mentions specifically service cats.

However, as mentioned above, cats can certainly qualify as an emotional support animal (with a letter prescribed from a licensed mental health professional), and there is no training and requirements for your furry companion animal.

How to Get an Emotional Support Cat with CertaPet’s 5-minute Process

If you don’t have a regular doctor or have time to travel far to get to a nearest mental health professional, these obstacles might stand in the way of getting an emotional support animal. There’s also no shame if you suffer from social anxiety and can’t go outside the house or from depression and can’t get out of bed. You want to actively improve your well-being and that means something. You shouldn’t be stopped if you can’t make the trip to your LMHP.

That’s why, we at CertaPet, a tele-mental health support service for those in need of emotional support animals, want to help you get connected to a licensed mental health professional in your state today.

Take the pre-screening to see if you qualify, and if so, you’ll be sent to one of our highly qualified therapist/LMHP.

There you’ll get to talk to them about why you think you would benefit from an emotional support cat and explain the struggles you face in your daily life.

You’re not alone. And sometimes getting started is only one click away.

Emotional Support Cat Registration…Not Real!

Actually, you don’t “register” your cat anywhere!

If you see a site promoting a “service cat registry” or similar idea–run away as fast as possible.

Not only is service cat registration bogus, but the sites are spreading misinformation.

The only requirement to have your cat attributed as an emotional support animal is to have a written letter from a licensed mental health professional, often called an “emotional support animal letter”.

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. 

Online ‘registers’ offering registration services (often bundled with fancy certificates/ID tags, etc) are simply trying to make some money off of people’s lack of knowledge about ESAs. The ESA letter written by an LMHP is everything you need. In fact, as awareness about emotional support animals increases, airlines staffs, and real estate renters are increasingly becoming likely to deny any document produced by these so-called ‘registries’ and ‘certification’ services offering Emotional Support Cat certification or registration.

And when you get a fake ESA letter, you reap the consequences. DO NOT BE FOOLED!

See If You Qualify for an Emotional Support Cat

emotional support cat with her human

What Disabilities Qualify for an ESA Cat?

  • Social Anxiety Disorder
  • Postpartum Depression
  • Depression
  • Phobias and Fears
  • General Anxiety Disorder
  • Panic Disorder
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Seasonal Affective Disorder

Breeds of Cats That Qualify for ESA Status

There are no breed restrictions for cats that can be qualified as an ESA. However, we do want to bring notice to therapy cats, therapy cat registration, and therapy cat certification.

Like service animals and emotional support animals, therapy cat registries are not a real thing.

Also! Therapy animals are different from SAs and ESAs as they are:

  • While classified as animal-assisted therapy, they are not owned by individual owners so technically not considered as an assistance animal; and therefore, their owners are not eligible to receive the reasonable accommodations commonly extended to service dog or emotional support dogs and cats owners.

Best Cat Breeds for ESA Letters

Is there a best cat breed to be an ESA?

Nope! It just depends on which cat can give support and a sense of ease to an individual who suffers from a mental/emotional disability.

Legal Protections for Emotional Support Cats

Two United States Federal Laws primarily protect the rights of people with support animals. Although the rights are not as expansive as those granted to Service Animals, there are still two very important points to be aware of.

Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA)

Traveling With Your CatThe Air Carrier Access Act ensures that people are able to fly with their emotional support cat without having to pay additional fees. The airlines do require that they are informed in advance and that a recent (less than one-year-old) ESA letter of the emotional support cat is provided as well. Some airlines, such as Delta and United Airlines, now request additional forms so make sure you read our Airline ESA and Pet policy pages to stay updated with the requirements!

Fair Housing Act (FHA)

Living With Your Cat – The Fair Housing Act ensures that an individual requiring an emotional support cat will received reasonable accommodation and will be allowed to live with their animal. Furthermore, it prevents landlords and rental companies from being able to charge pet fees or deposits.

On-Campus Housing

Because the Fair Housing Act applies to colleges, emotional support animals, including, cats are allowed on campus. Do note: the university will ask to see your ESA letter and like airlines and landlords, they have the right to banned/charge you if you cat shows any signs of aggression and causes harm to the properties or others around.

a non service cat but esa cat with owner

Get Your ESA Cat Letter Today

There’s no need to wait when it comes to emotional and mental well-being. We all have to begin somewhere.

Take our pre-screening today and see if an emotional support cat is right for you. If so, we’ll connect you with a licensed mental health professional in your state today.

See If You Qualify for an Emotional Support Cat