An emotional support animal (ESA) can offer those who suffer with mental health issues comfort and decrease feelings of loneliness.
They do this through the means of companionship to create a focus for the person, and to give each other affection and positivity for life.
Whilst the most common forms of an emotional support animal is a dog or cat, they can also be rabbits, guinea pigs, a rat, birds, and any other form of domesticated pet.
The point of the animal is to ensure that it poses no threat to anyone, and is fully domesticated.
Also, whilst you might want to come and say that you have an emotional support animal, you actually do need to qualify for one by either a therapist or a health professional.
If you are one of the many who needs one, the animal also needs to prove it can alleviate your symptoms, such as depression.
So, if you are looking to register your cat as an emotional support animal, this article should give you all the answers that you need.
So, let’s get to it!
Do You Need To Register Your Cat To Be An Emotional Support Animal?
According to the U.S. Service Animals, you don’t actually need to register your cat (or any pet) to be considered an emotional support animal.
However, having some form of proof of needing an ESA can be an important factor for certain legal rights.
If you live in housing that doesn’t allow pets, then a certificate or some form of legal document stating that your cat is an ESA animal gives it the legal right to live with you.
The landlord will need this official letter or certificate, otherwise they may object to you living there.
Whilst you can register your animal using some online form, just having the knowledge from a health care professional that you are in need of an emotional support animal can be enough recognition that your cat is the ESA. In fact, this is the recommended way.
That’s because if you register your cat as an emotional support animal, under law it still isn’t an ESA. To legally make your cat an emotional support animal, you need an official ESA letter.
So, let’s take a look at how to make sure your pet cat can be legally known as an emotional support animal – it is easier than you think!
How Do You Register A Cat As An Emotional Support Animal?
When you want to have your cat as your emotional support animal, especially because they are already doing a good job at it, you might find that you would like to make it official.
When this happens, there are a few steps you need to take. These are:
Talk To A Mental Health Professional
To even consider an emotional support animal, you need to be suffering from a mental health disability.
The reason being, ESA are intended for those who are suffering with their mental health, whether it is depression, PTSD, or anxiety – just to name a few.
The first step should be connecting with a mental health professional, or speaking to your therapist. Either of these can refer you to using an ESA if they think it will benefit you.
Get An ESA Letter
Once you have connected with either your therapist or mental health professional, you will then need to qualify to obtain an ESA letter.
They will observe to see if an ESA will benefit your mental health, and if they find that you are limiting the way you live, there is a good chance you will get an ESA letter.
It has to include an official medical letterhead alongside a license number. It also needs the date issued, and an expiry date, along with a signature.
And Then What?
Once you have the letter, you need to tell your landlord if applicable. You can do this via email if need be. Once that has been done, they have the official document on record.
Also, you should be able to use this official letter for other areas too, such as if you would like to fly with your cat.
However, rules do keep changing, despite an animal being an ESA. So always check the regulations before you fly, otherwise you might be disappointed.
Requirements Of Your Cat Being An Emotional Support Cat
Any old cat cannot be considered to be an emotional support animal. If she or he spends half the day outside, and the rest snuggling up in its bed, then it is hardly suitable as an animal who gives you comfort.
The same with a cat who spends most of its time hissing at you and others, and scraping its claws at as much skin as possible.
For a cat to be eligible as an ESA, it needs to be able to support you through your mental health struggle. This can be by companionship, as well as providing you with a focus and affection.
Basically, it needs to be very well-behaved. What it doesn’t need to do is provide care or perform any tricks – the former is a service animal.
When you do talk to a professional about having your cat be an ESA, they will ask about its behavior, along with other questions too.
An emotional support cat can provide so many benefits for those who are struggling with their mental health. It is no surprise then, that you might be considering registering yours to help with your day-to-day life.
Whilst there are many online forms available to register your cat, to truly make your beloved pet an emotional support animal, you need an official ESA letter from either a therapist or health professional.
Do keep in mind that there are requirements to a cat becoming an ESA, and a person benefiting from having an emotional support animal.
However, having a loving pet around the house can do wonders to bring positivity and motivation to those who need it.