Can Cats Be An Emotional Support Animal? How To Register in 2021?

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Cats Be An Emotional Support Animal

Cat ownership can be a wonderful addition to any person’s life, with or without mental health issues to deal with. Most cat owners can relate to the feeling of wanting their cat by their side in every area of life. Few realize that this is perfectly legal, just the same as the service animals that we recognize as completely necessary for those with accessibility issues such as blindness or deafness.

While emotional support dogs are generally recognized as the norm, other domesticated species can be considered support animals, too. Some may wonder if they can register their cat as an emotional support animal. The short answer? Absolutely.

Many mental health professionals recognize the value that supports animals have to offer those who struggle with emotional or mental disability—dog, hamster, lizard, or even cat. Certified emotional support animals, or ESAs, for short, come in all shapes and sizes, and they’re all able to provide an ESA owner with the same benefits. 

Our best bit of legal advice? Acquire the proper documentation for your ESA cat from a licensed mental health professional—an ESA cat letter will have you covered under any and all possible circumstances. Certapet’s emotional support cat registration will have you both on your way in no time at all. 

Can a Cat Be an Emotional Support Animal?

Are dogs the only animals capable of calming a panic attack? One may wonder if a cat’s love is sufficient for sensitive individuals in need of the positive effects of animal-assisted therapy. 

The good news is that your feline companion can certainly qualify legally as an ESA. In fact, any animal species can be an emotional support animal—some people even choose miniature horses.

HUD actually categorizes all service animals into one of two categories—common household pets and “unique” animals[1]. Service cats and service dogs, obviously, are considered common household pets. All other emotional support animal types are considered to be “unique”; these include monkeys, dolphins, and any other exotic friends. All of the above can be considered service animals, although some of these choices are probably just a bit outside of your own personal comfort zone.

Emotional support cats, thankfully, are included in the former category as household pets. There will be no need for you to prove that you require a cat specifically with extenuating evidence or medical advice from your doctor; an ordinary ESA letter will be more than sufficient legally.

The personalities of individual cats tend to make them more or less suitable as therapy cats. Some cats don’t really like to leave the home; it has less to do with the cat breed and more to do with who the cat is personally. If your cat is something of a homebody, ESA dog ownership may be the way to go. 

Emotional Support Animals vs. Service Animals

Emotional support animals[2] are not considered to be service animals like guide dogs are. 

Service animals are defined by their role as an accessibility aid. They must be specifically trained to perform tasks that their owners are unable to perform safely or comfortably on their own. An example would be a service animal who reminds his or her owner to take their medication daily or a service animal who prevents a blind person from walking into a busy intersection.

Emotional support animals do not perform tasks as service animals do; instead, the service that they provide ESA owners is their soothing presence, plain and simple. Many argue that this service qualifies as being just as essential as traditional accessibility considerations; some argue that ESA pets should, in fact, be considered service animals under the eyes of the law[3].

The Benefits of Having an Emotional Support Cat

It goes without saying that cats are able to give the same love that a dog can. Support cats may offer some advantages over dogs that may appeal to you personally. A few of them:

  • Cats are quiet and usually won’t be as loud or gregarious as an emotional support dog 
  • An emotional support cat can be specifically trained to use a litter box, precluding the need for a daily walk
  • Some housing providers will not charge any additional pet fees for cats; this will rarely be the case for dog ownership, even those who own smaller breeds

Other emotional support animal benefits[4] in a general sense include:

  • An overall improvement in the state of the patient’s mental health
  • A reduction in feelings of depression, anxiety, hopelessness, and thoughts of suicide
  • A life-saving calming effect, vital for those who struggle with intrusive panic attacks or post-traumatic stress disorder
  • The ability to interrupt and to prevent negative, destructive, or disordered behavior

Anybody who’s ever had a cat that they love can probably attest to many of these positive benefits. For those with emotional or mental health concerns, the lifeline of an emotional support cat can be vital on a day-to-day basis.

Accommodation Access for Emotional Support Cats

Many ESA pet owners carry one primary concern with them as they go about their lives: reasonable accommodations for their therapy cat, at work, at home, and out in public. Not all people are cat people, but if your disabilities qualify, your right to an emotional support cat should never be denied. 

Housing is usually a top concern for many people with mental illnesses, whether they live with a service animal or not. Two very important points to remember when locking in housing while living with emotional support animals:

  1. The Fair Housing Act (FHA) protects you from being put out onto the street[5]; this is doubly true for support animal owners who have already secured their ESA letter. If your landlord is threatening to evict you unfairly, you can file a complaint[6] with Housing and Urban Development (HUD). A support cat should be treated just like a real service cat or any other service animal.
  2. HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO) and the Fair Housing Act require landlords to provide reasonable accommodation[7] for their emotional support animal. ESA-wary landlords may charge pet fees monthly, but these additional fees should not put you under any undue financial hardship.

Where else does your ESA letter protect you and your emotional support cat? The Air Carrier Access Act ensures that your right to an emotional support cat is enforced even when you travel. The Air Carrier Access Act lays out many rules for what a code-compliant service animal entails, but all of them are relatively easy to follow. With an ESA letter, both of you will be safe to fly anywhere.

How to Make My Cat An ESA in 3 Steps?

Interested in how to register a cat as an emotional support animal? An emotional support animal letter is little more than the recommendation of a licensed mental health professional. 

You’re free to reach out to your local healthcare professional for a traditional medical clinic appointment. The process requires an evaluation, but if you already work closely with a mental health expert, it will likely not take long to secure an ESA letter. If you’re suffering genuinely, you have nothing to prove or to hide. A support animal might just be exactly what you need.

If you’re short on time and would like to proceed quickly, we invite you to make use of our online ESA letter registration service. Certapet welcomes any and all animal lovers to learn more about the possibility of an ESA in support of their emotional well-being.

Take Our Free Online Screening

To get started, you’ll need to take our online mental well-being screening—you won’t ever have to leave your home to receive your written letter. You will not need to pay additional fees for this screening; we use it to identify the emotional disabilities that you’re hoping to mitigate. 

Connect with One of Our Licensed Mental Health Professionals

Our team of independent mental health professionals specializes in doling out psychological advice remotely, through online video consults. This licensed mental health professional will evaluate your condition and offer you medical or psychological advice. Their prescriptive plan may involve the inclusion of a support animal in your life.

Receive Your Emotional Support Cat Letter

All that you need to do is finalize the transaction; after paying, you can either print out your ESA letter at home or receive it through the mail.

After being approved, you’ll be free to go anywhere with your emotional support animal; ESA law is now on your side, whether flying, shopping in a store, or even in the office.

See Certapet Coupons

Click Here To Get ESA Letter

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Final Thoughts

Emotional support animals can be one of the brightest sources of joy in a person’s life. If you’ve got a feline companion that you’ve bonded with already, registering him or her as an emotional support cat ensures that you’ll never be far apart from one another. 

Many will seek a consultation with their physician or counselor, but if your housing arrangement or some other legal feud is leaving your safety hanging in the balance, asking a medical professional to provide legal advice is a waste of your time. Instead, you can book an appointment with Certapet to acquire your emotional support animal letter ASAP, with zero hassle. 

Our team specializes in emotional support animals of all varieties, your emotional support cat is most certainly included. To learn more, please feel free to explore our site for more information.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Can I Make My Cat an ESA?

To make your cat an emotional support cat, a licensed healthcare professional will need to evaluate your mental health in order to determine whether or not you qualify.

Do Emotional Support Cats Need to Be Trained?

Support animals do not need any special training before being registered as emotional support animals officially.

Do Cats Make Good Emotional Support Animals?

Absolutely. Most emotional support cat owners can attest to this fact first-hand. Cats are cute, clean, well-behaved, and will generally be welcomed warmly into most public spaces without too much of a problem.

How Do ESA Cats Support Mental Well-Being?

While, unlike a true service cat, ESA cats won’t generally be able to perform a specific task for you, they are able to serve as a constant source of companionship. Consider an emotional therapy cat to be something like a mini best friend, or even a tiny therapist that tags along with you everywhere, just in case you need them.


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  1. FHEO,(2020) U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT. [online] Available at: https://www.hud.gov/sites/dfiles/PA/documents/HUDAsstAnimalNC1-28-2020.pdf
  2. Ada.gov. (2015). Frequently Asked Questions about Service Animals and the ADA. [online] Available at: https://www.ada.gov/regs2010/service_animal_qa.html [Accessed 6 Oct. 2021].
  3. ‌HeinOnline. (2021). About | HeinOnline. [online] Available at: https://heinonline.org/HOL/LandingPage?handle=hein.journals/branlaj48&div=9&id=&page= [Accessed 6 Oct. 2021].
  4. Animallaw.info. (2021). FAQs on Emotional Support Animals | Animal Legal & Historical Center. [online] Available at: https://www.animallaw.info/article/faqs-emotional-support-animals#aa2 [Accessed 6 Oct. 2021].
  5. ‌The Humane Society of the United States. (2021). The Fair Housing Act and Assistance Animals. [online] Available at: https://www.humanesociety.org/resources/fair-housing-act-and-assistance-animals [Accessed 6 Oct. 2021].
  6. ‌Hud.gov. (2021). File a Complaint – Main Page | HUD.gov / U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). [online] Available at: https://www.hud.gov/program_offices/fair_housing_equal_opp/online-complaint [Accessed 6 Oct. 2021].
  7. ‌The Humane Society of the United States. (2021). The Fair Housing Act and Assistance Animals. [online] Available at: https://www.humanesociety.org/resources/fair-housing-act-and-assistance-animals [Accessed 6 Oct. 2021].

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Emma Garofalo is a writer based in Pittsburgh, PA. A lover of science, art, and all things culinary, few things excite her more than the opportunity to learn about something new." It is now in the sheet in the onboarding paperwork, apologies!!

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