Have you ever wondered whether your cat could be a service animal or emotional support animal? While technically cats can’t be certified as Service Animals, they can be certified as an emotional support animal (ESA) and can offer their owners major benefits. As of 2011, a service animal is defined as “any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability.”
Cats as Emotional Support Animals
True or False? Miniature Horses can be considered to be service animals.
True! The ADA states that “a public entity or private business must allow a person with a disability to bring a miniature horse on the premises as long as it has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of the individual with a disability.”
While it’s a bummer for cat owners and cat lovers that would prefer a feline friend, cats still make great ESAs. ESAs provide companionship, can relieve depression, and can help with anxiety and phobias. Emotional support animals, like most small cats and dogs, can fly in the cabin of an aircraft (make sure you check with your airline before traveling and read our awesome tips for travelling with cats blog). Interestingly enough, airlines aren’t actually required to allow animals other than service animals on the aircraft. It is up to the individual airline and the policy they have adopted - always check before you travel.
ESAs may also live in apartments that don’t allow pets (check first just to make sure). The downside is of course that cats or ESAs aren't given access and treated like service animals, and they can’t be allowed everywhere service dogs are.
ESAs do not have a certification, nor is one required. If there’s a need for a formal document, an ESA pet owner can ask their mental health professional for a letter. For more information about service animals and emotional support animals, check out this booklet from the ADA.
Unfortunately our Kitty Kasas won’t be allowed on the plane with your pet, but we can certainly ship one to you! Contact us today to ask about our new designs and colors.