Emotional Support Cat: Registering Your Cat as an Emotional Support Animal

By: Kathryn Anderson Updated: April 21, 2023

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!

Do you Qualify for an Emotional Support Cat Letter?

Take our free screening test and find out in as little as 5 minutes.

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

among others.

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 Cat – The 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 receive 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 your cat shows any signs of aggression and causes harm to the properties or others around.

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 telemental 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, airline staff, 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!

Service Cats: Can a Cat be a Service Animal?

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

The short answer:Cats CANNOT 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.

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.

If they are a therapy cat, you can certify them through an organization. But only them!

Also! Therapy animals are quite different from Service Animals and ESAs. 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.

Here’s a quick rundown on what Emotional Support Cats Can and Cannot Do:

Public Places

Unlike service animals, Emotional Support Animals are not permitted to access public spaces like restaurants, departmental stores, etc.


Emotional support animals are not required to receive any sort of training. However, it is in your best interest to confirm your ESA is trained on basic pet etiquette and in no way pose a harm to people surrounding you (especially on flights).

Flying and Living

Service animals AND ESAs have the same rights as both can fly or live with their owner free of charge.

Note: Service dog vests and emotional support dog vests are not required but encouraged when traveling or in public places.

emotional support cat

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.

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.

How to Get an ESA Cat Letter through CertaPet?

CertaPet is the world’s no. 1 emotional support animal service and the only online service offering a 100% legal and compliant process.Start by taking our free online 5-minute pre-screening process to see if you are a good candidate for an ESA, and if you are, we’ll connect you with a licensed mental health professional quickly and easily. You can access your letter online immediately after its issued. You can also choose to receive a physical copy of the letter send to your mailing address.

certapet registration process

An ESA Letter from CertaPet provides:

  • Recognition that you are a patient on a case-by-case basis under a licensed mental health professional’s care for mental or emotional disabilities.
  • Verification that you are significantly limited by an individual disability, such as depression or a similar condition, affecting your mental well-being.
  • Prescription for an emotional support dog (also known as a companion dog), or other support animal, as a necessary reinforcement for your mental health within 48 business hour

Once you receive the letter, you are free to use it whenever you travel or live with your animal.

That’s it.

certapet client reviews

What Clients Say About CertaPet

“I got my dog as a Valentine’s Day gift from my abusive ex. When she was a puppy, I protected her from him, and she would lick away my tears when I cried. When I finally left him, I left with nothing: no clothes, no home, and more importantly no her. He refused to let me have her and the cops, despite text messages of him threatening her safety,  wouldn’t let me take her. I fell apart. During that time I suffered from depression, PTSD and anxiety. I was scared of my own shadow. Months went by and finally after a long battle, I got her back! She put me back together piece by piece. My ESA is special because she literally saved me.”

– Kailee Biesenbach

“I love my cat -“Hope”. She was named before I got her and she is my Hope!  The previous owner said “She may not come to you at first”. She had been trained by her previous owners needs and she had only been with her. I went into the room when I first met her. She came right up to me purring like crazy. It was love at first sight! She is the best PSTD animal ever!!! She calms me right down every time I get near her. She even knows when I need her and she will come to me when I am upset or facing a panic attack. It is an amazing connection!! We clicked right away.  It almost feels like she is human and yes she is my best friend. God always knows what we need!! Thank You for letting me share!”

– Tracy Huntington

“After high school, I felt like there was nothing left for me. I felt I was living everyday – day by day. I also moved to a new city so had no friends or family to go too. I felt so lost and depressed. Then I got my ESA dog Chip, and my whole life flipped. I had a reason to be happy, a reason to enjoy life and go out again! Certapet helped make this all happen and thank you guys so much for that!!”

– Lyssa Helton

Frequently Asked Questions about Emotional Support Animals


What is an Emotional Support Animal ‘Certification’? Do I need to get my ESA ‘certified’?

No, you do not need to get your Emotional Support Animal certified. Frankly, it’s not possible.

Like the misconception of registering your ESA into some database online, Emotional Support Animal certification is just a piece of paper with no real use.

To be a real Emotional Support Animal owner, you must have an ESA letter awarded by a therapist after you have taken an assessment of your qualification to own one.

Many sites, as well as people, claim they sell official Emotional Support Dog certification or offer legitimate Emotional Support Animal registration, but remember all you need is an ESA letter from a LMHP.


Are Emotional Support Animal Registration Sites Legitimate?

We’re often asked if ESA registration sites are real.

The answer is NO.

If you see a site claiming to be a “national service animal registry,” “emotional support dog registration,” “official service dog registry,” “US emotional support dog registry,” or a “US service dog registry” they’re handing out false information and only wanting you to pay for a “fake” document.


Do emotional support animals require training?

Unlike service animals, HUD does not require any special training for ESAs. However, we strongly encourage you make sure your pet understands basic commands, behaves well in public setting and is trained for travelling if you chose take it on a flight.


Does my dog need an emotional support animal vest to travel or live with me?

There is no law stating your ESA must wear a vest. Many ESA owners chose to still go with a vest to make their ESA easily identifiable.


Is the ESA letter all I need to become an emotional support animal owner?



What happens when the airlines staff or landlord ask to see my proof that I’m an ESA owner? Are they just asking for my ESA letter?

Yes! Just that!


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.

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