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Emotional Support Animals

Are Cats Good Emotional Support Animals?

Emotional support animals provide solace and the comfort of companionship to their owners. They are not the same as service animals, trained to do specific activities for persons with limitations. Dogs are the most prevalent choice for emotional support animals. However, cats can be counted as ESA and make wonderful emotional support animals.

Emotional support cats can be a great source of emotional support for their owners, despite their reputation for being distant and independent. Cats are well renowned for being relaxing and for lowering tension and anxiety. Petting a cat can lower blood pressure and release endorphins, which make you feel happier and more at ease. 

Cats are known for listening well, and their purring can be incredibly calming. While emotional support cats might not be as talkative or social as dogs, they can still support their owners in reducing anxiety and depression.

Cats as emotional support animals

Emotional support cats can provide several benefits. They have several advantages, one of which is that they are relaxing. Watching or petting a cat can help lessen anxiety and worry, making ESA cats a great companion for anyone with depression. Furthermore, cats have a reputation for helping their owners’ emotions to be controlled. For instance, a cat may wrap up on its owner’s lap and purr if the owner feels sad, offering a calming and consoling presence.

Emotional support cats can also help people with some health issues. Studies have demonstrated, for instance, that engaging with cats can lower blood pressure and heart disease risk. In addition, emotional support cats can be excellent companions for those alone or lonely, especially for older persons who might not engage in as much social engagement.

Although dogs are frequently preferred as emotional support animals, cats can sometimes provide unique advantages that dogs might not. For instance, cats require less maintenance on average than dogs, making them an excellent choice for folks not having enough time or energy to care for a more high-maintenance pet. Additionally, ESA cats are more independent than ESA dogs, which might benefit folks who require privacy or alone time.

Types of emotional support cats

Cats come in wide varieties and can make effective emotional support animals. An emotional support cat should have calm and loving behavior. Social, laid-back cats who like to be handled or petted are frequently suitable candidates for emotional support animals.

The Siamese, Persian, and Ragdoll are some of the most widely kept ESA cats. Siamese cats are known for their affectionate and loyal attitudes, but Persian cats are noted for their calm and gentle demeanor. Because of its reputation for being gregarious and friendly, Ragdoll cats are an excellent option for anyone looking for a cat that will be very sensitive to their feelings.

It’s necessary to acknowledge that any cat can be an emotional support animal, no matter what breed. The most crucial step is finding a cat with the appropriate personality attributes to offer the emotional support its owner needs.

How to train your ESA cat

Raising a cat comprises training them to heal and befriend their masters, in particular during times of mental anguish. When preparing your cat to be an ESA, take into account the following steps:

  • ESA cat is secured under the Fair Housing Act (FHA). Be aware of these rules to make sure that your cat is recognized as an ESA and that you have legal identification.
  • Pick the proper cat. Not all cats are fit to be emotional support cats. Select a cat that enjoys interacting with people, is amiable, and enjoys your company.
  • Socialize your ESA cat by exposing it to numerous people, sounds, and places so that it will feel at ease in a variety of settings. As a result, they will be more flexible and less apprehensive in unfamiliar environments.
  • Teach your Emotional support cat the fundamental instructions, such as “come” and “stay.” Such commands can aid you in controlling the actions of your cat in an open area.
  • Reward your ESA cat for good behavior by giving it goodies or praise. This will motivate them to continue acting that way and strengthen your relationship.

Legal support for ESA cats

In the US, rules are in place to protect emotional support animals, especially cats. These regulations acknowledge the crucial function of ESAs in bringing solace, companionship, and assistance to people with impairments, particularly those with mental health issues. The Fair Housing Act is a critical piece of legislation safeguarding emotional support cats. These rules offer protection from the law for people with emotional support animals, including cats, in housing and travel circumstances.

The FHA allows people with ESAs to keep their animals in their homes even if the landlord has a “no pets” policy. Landlords and housing providers are expected to make reasonable adjustments for individuals with emotional support animals. As a result, people with ESAs cannot be subjected to additional costs or deposits for owning animals, nor can they be denied accommodation because of it.

The laws governing emotional support animals are continually changing, and some states and municipalities can have extra legislation or rules that apply to emotional support animals. Furthermore, not every animal, even cats, may be allowed as an emotional support animal. Individuals with ESAs must have a handicap that significantly limits one or more major life activities. 

To avail the legal protection, a document from a healthcare practitioner or mental health professional certifying that the emotional support animal is essential for the individual is necessary. This document is called an ESA letter.


Cats may make wonderful emotional support animals and offer a variety of advantages to persons with mental health issues. People feeling alone or tense can benefit from their calming presence, ability to control emotions and camaraderie. Even though dogs are frequently the more well-liked alternative for emotional support animals, cats can sometimes provide unique advantages that make them a fantastic choice for many people. 

When selecting cat as an ESA, look for one with a calm and affectionate personality. Training a cat to act as an ESA may take time and effort, but it may be gratifying for both the cat and the owner. Last but not least, it’s critical to remember that those who own emotional support animals are entitled to specific rights in public spaces and housing.

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