17 October, 2016

How to Register Your Cat as an Emotional Support Animal

Young lady with cat registered as emotional support animal

Can Cats be Emotional Support Animals?

Absolutely! Cats can provide the same love, compassion and support as any other Emotional Support Animal. Some people 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.

Can a Cat be a Service Cat?

We often get asked “Can a cat be a service animal?”. Kinda, but not exactly. From an ADA handout, “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 of recommendation from a Licensed Mental Health Professional). If you’d like us to put you in contact with a Licensed Mental Health Professional in your state to see if you may qualify, scroll down and click the red button below or go to the top and click “Start Here”.

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.

How to Register Your Cat as an Emotional Support Animal

The only requirement to have your cat certified as an Emotional Support Cat is to have a written letter from a licensed mental health professional. 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.

how to register your cat as an emotional support animal

What Disabilities Qualify for an Emotional Support Cat?

  • Social Anxiety Disorder
  • Postpartum Depression
  • Depression
  • Phobias and Fears
  • General Anxiety Disorder
  • Panic Disorder
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • 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. Any cat can be a therapy cat for people who qualify for an Emotional Support Animal Letter from CertaPet.

Best Cat Breeds for ESA Letters

Is there a best cat breed to be an ESA? No, it just depends on which cat “provides therapeutic benefit to an individual with a mental or psychiatric 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.

  1. 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 be informed in advance and that a recent (less than one year old) medical letter is provided as well.
  2. Living With Your Cat – The Fair Housing Act ensures that an individual requiring an Emotional Support Cat will be allowed to live with their animal. Furthermore, it prevents landlords and rental companies from being able to charge pet fees or deposits.

See If You Qualify for an Emotional Support Animal