Friday, February 23, 2024

How To Make A Cat A Therapy Animal

Don't Miss

Service Cats: Can A Cat Be A Service Animal

Animal Assisted Therapy: How Pet Therapy Works

We often get asked, Can a cat be a Service Animal?.

The short answer:Cats CANNOT be service animals.Cats CAN be emotional support animals.

According to the American Disability Act , 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 , and there is no training and requirements for your furry companion animal.

They Hardly Need Any Care

Unlike other animals, apart from vaccines and food, cats hardly need any care. They are pretty clean animals. As soon as they learn to use the litter box, they will always use it.

They are always cleaning themselves and their young, and they dont require constant attention. You just need to give them a bath every so often, make sure theyre getting the right food to eat, and dont forget to take it for its regular check-ups at the vet. Remember that a healthy cat means a healthy human.

Whats The Difference Between A Therapy Animal And Emotional Support Animal

The main distinctions between a therapy animal and an emotional support animal are training and who the pet helps. A therapy cat is trained to visit public places to aid a variety of people an emotional support cat is likely to benefit just his owner.

A therapy animal has been trained specifically to do therapy work, including providing comfort and support, says Haylee Bergeland, CPDT-KA, RBT and Founder and Executive Director at Iowa Human-Animal Bond Society . They have passed an evaluation that specifically tests for skills suitable to work in therapy environments. This type of animal visits public places in the community such as schools, nursing homes, and hospitals to provide comfort for residents and attendees. Therapy animals do not, however, have permission to go just anywhere with you. For example, there are no laws allowing you to take your therapy animal to a restaurant, hotel, or to your workplace with you. Therapy animals dont have any special rights or permissions other than those of regular pets, so if you have a therapy-trained cat its important to schedule visits with community facilities ahead of time and get permission to bring your registered therapy animal.

And when it comes to service animals that aid a person with a disability, only dogs can do that under the Americans with Disabilities Act .

Don’t Miss: Thieves Oil And Cats

One Therapy Cat’s Journey

According to author Janiss Garza, president of FitCat Publishing, cats “are actually perfect therapy animals they’re small enough to lie on the bed with patients and cuddle. They purr, which is a very soothing, healing sort of thing. They’re soft to the touch. And they’re more affectionate than given credit for.”

Garza knows firsthand how effective therapy cats can be. She’s the pet parent of Summer, an award-winning Somali, who she’s been training since Summer was a 5-month-old kitten. In 2016, the pair began working as a team, visiting hospitals, nursing homes, schools, and offices. Garza documents Summer’s adventures from a cat’s perspective on her website, Sparkle Cat.

Get A Consultation From A Licensed Mental Health Professional


While on the Certapet site, they will match you with a licensed mental health professional from your state. Then they will contact you to set up the telehealth appointment. This is to ascertain that you need the support cat you are applying for as an ESA cat letter.

Certapet will pair you with a medical professional specifically trained to assess mental health issues and mental illnesses. Once they get to examine your mental well-being, they confirm whether or not you need a therapy cat.

You May Like: If A Cat Hisses At You What Does It Mean

Can A Cat Help With Anxiety Or Depression

The relationship between a human and an animal like a cat forms a strong bond. Cat owners, like other pet owners, are happier when they are around their feline. For most of us, we consider our pets to be part of the family. Cats bring us joy and unconditional love. A pet can help us push away a feeling of anxiety or depression. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America calls it “the pet effect.”

Our cat helps us establish a routine and feel secure in our lives. Pets give us emotional support and demonstrate that they are interested in us. Cats also reward us with positive behaviors like sitting in our laps and purring. We humans feel connected.

Tips On How To Prepare Your Cat For A Career In Helping Others

1. Meet Strangers You can desensitize your cat to meeting strangers of all ages and sizes, so no person is too unfamiliar. The more your cat is around strangers, the calmer and less stressed they will be when volunteering.

2. Positive Reinforcement Reward good behavior with your cats favorite treats to let them know when theyre doing a good job.

3. Basic Commands Teach your cat commands like stay and come so you can communicate with them as they meet new people.

Don’t Miss: How Much Food To Give A Cat

How Much Can You Make

In young industries, pricing is flexible and is often based on how you market yourself. You might be the only cat behaviorist within 50 miles, after all, so as long as you can convince people youre worth what you charge, you dont have to worry about the competition.

Here are some examples of cat behaviorist services and rates:

How To Get Started As A Cat Behaviorist

Junior the therapy cat is a purr-fect visitor for Salem Hospital patients

Despite the lack of formal training, becoming a cat behaviorist isnt easy. It helps if you already have a way with felines. But even if youre every cats favorite, you still need to know how to deal with specific emotional and behavioral problems.

There arent many schools or training courses that cover this type of information, so youll be doing a lot of self-study to learn what you need to know. Apart from reading all the articles and tutorials you can find online, here are a few more things you can do to get educated:

Another option is to get a professional to help you with any problems your cat is having. Then ask a lot of questions and take notes on their strategies.

For example, if you live near Nashville, Tennessee you could contact Cat Behavior Associates and arrange for an in-home consultation with Pam Johnson-Bennett. Shes the star of a television program called Psycho Kitty, and will charge you $350 for 90 minutes .

You May Like: Cat Foot Swollen

Can Your Cat Be An Emotional Support Animal

Emotional support cat registration is attainable, and anyone who wants to have an emotional support cat can do so. Emotional support cats are allowed in workplaces, schools, and even campuses if the owner produces the ESA cat certification.

You may be thinking that your cat cannot possibly act as an emotional support animal. You might think a cat cant provide the same level of relief and support as dogs do because they are not known for their social skills. However, this isnt true at all.

Cats are perfect for this job as many have attested that they bring love and comfort into their lives since the beginning of civilization.

Cats can offer many benefits to those who need them to help with their mental health or disabilities. There are even some countries where cats play the role of service animals.

Do Cats Make Good Therapy Animals

Therapy dogs are a common sight in nursing homes, hospitals, and special needs schools. Therapy cats are less common but often requested by an activities director”Do you have a cat you could bring? James loves cats and he’s been so down in the dumps lately, it would really cheer him up.” Therapy cats know who needs a purring cat nearby even when hands are not as gentle or steady as they used to be.

Dogs are obedience trained and then therapy trained. Most organizations require a dog to be at least one year old before starting to visit. The rules for cats vary. Cats should become used to traveling in a crate, being in unfamiliar places, handled by strangers and be comfortable around dogs starting at a very early age.

Cats are less likely to startle over a wheelchair or IV pole than dogs so concentrate on your cat’s people skills. One way to begin is to visit a facility and study the layout. Listen for odd noises like the PA system squeaking, being too loud or the lunch trays bouncing as the cart rolls over tiled floors. There may be balloons from a party or children visiting Grandma. Your cat should be comfortable in all situations.

Read Also: How Much Food To Feed Cat

A Brief History Of Cats

For hundreds of years cats were treated as evil creatures. It was believed they were the faithful companions of witches, carriers of bad luck and envoys of the devil. Their indomitable and unpredictable nature frightened both villagers and those in power.

On the other hand, in some civilizations they were sacred. In Egypt they were venerated for being the protectors of their most important god: Ra. Legend says he was born and died with every rising and falling of the sun.

As a result, at night he became easy prey for his enemies. The eyes of the felines, associated with the lions, reflected the suns rays to protect him in that period.

Legends aside, it was quite remarkable that cats started to be accepted as pets. Unlike dogs, used as guardians of sheep and hunters, cats initially remained wild.

According to recent studies, it is believed they themselves decided to approach humans in the hope of getting food. Their gentle nature got them fed by ranchers and farmers, who finally accepted them because of how good they were at hunting rodents.

It wouldnt be until several centuries later that cats would be accepted as company for humans. Until the nineteenth century it was considered unusual and unseemly to own a pet. People in those times considered it to be a waste of money to take care of them.

There Isnt An Official Registration For An Emotional Support Cat

Feline Therapy: Its the Cats Meow!

The only kind of registration that you will need is your ESA letter from a therapist. There is no official register that you are legally required to sign your cat up for. Additionally, an emotional support cat doesnt have to wear a special vest or tag of any sort, declaring your companions status as a support animal.

Read Also: Blue Buffalo Cat Food Serving Size

How To Qualify For An Emotional Support Cat

There is a very simple requirement to qualify for an emotional support cat. If you feel debilitated by a mental health issue, you may benefit from your pet serving you as an ESA. If you find that things like anxiety, depression, PTSD, or other mental health struggles affect your daily life, you may qualify for an emotional support cat. First, you will need to discuss your concerns with a medical professional to determine whether your cat can serve you as an emotional support animal. Because the requirements to qualify for an ESA are emotional challenges, you will need to discuss your concerns with a licensed mental health professional.

Once you discuss your needs with a medical professional, you will need to complete the necessary steps to get an official ESA letter. When you have documentation from a medical professional stating that you need an ESA, you then qualify for your cat to be an emotional support cat. The process to qualify for an emotional support cat is a simple one, and there are countless benefits for your cat to be an emotional support animal.

What Kind Of Cat Makes A Good Therapy Cat

Obviously, not all cats make good therapy cats. According to Pet Partners, animals who are calm, confident, friendly, and OK with unpredictable or new situations do well as therapy animals.

You can probably make the call about your own cats future as a therapy kitty. My Romeo would not make a good therapy cat. Hes loving and sweet but only on his own terms. Pugsley, on the other hand, would be awesome. Hes a love bug. He doesnt mind being picked up by anyone and everyone, and new situations, people, or even other animals dont even phase him. Pugsley once walked right up to two dogs who came into his house, sniffed them both, yawned, and stretched out on the floor for a snooze. My guess is that snuggling with little kids or senior citizens would be right up Pugsleys alley.

Some people might scoff at the idea of a cat being a good therapy pet, but I say theyre perfect for the job. What about you? Do you think cats are good therapy pets? Let us know what you think about therapy cats in the comments!

You May Like: Is Blue Buffalo Tastefuls Good For Cats

Tip# 5 Spay Or Neuter

Unaltered cats will most likely not make a good ESA. Males left intact have a tendency to urine mark and can be more aggressive in nature. Females left unaltered will constantly be coming into heat and will try their best to escape outdoors to be bred. Having these extra worries is not good if you are already suffering from emotional issues.

Cats are awesome. They can provide comfort and support to those that need it most.

Meet Draven The Therapy Cat

How your pet could become a therapy animal

You may have met a therapy dog in your travels, but have you ever heard of a therapy cat? Just like dogs, cats can be trained as therapy pets. Cat therapy can assist mentally, physically, or emotionally challenged humans who may do well with animal interaction. Therapy cats may spend time with children or adults in the hospital, or they may visit schools or nursing homes. Therapy cats are small, soft and snuggly.

Don’t Miss: Blue Buffalo Rabbit Cat Food

How To Find A Therapy Cat

If you know of a person or group of people who would benefit from interacting with a therapy cat , you can contact a reputable therapy animal organization and request a visit. According to Bergeland, organizations like IHABS help a person, organization, or facility create therapy animal programs suitable for their clients or patients. Then, the organization tailors visitsand selects human-animal teamsspecific for the needs of the therapy location.

Therapy cats are not something a person can just purchase, Bergeland says. Owners of cats that have great dispositions for therapy work train their cat to be able to work out in the community. If your cat has what it takes to be trained as a therapy cat, there are specific training programs available that can help your cat start down that path.

What Does A Therapy Cat Do

Van Every says people are often surprised when they first see a therapy cat, and then delighted! Therapy cats are still fairly rare, and the opportunity to interact with one is a special experience. People love the novelty and to have the cat sit on their lap or bed.

Petting a cat is therapeutic for both the cat and the people he helps. It reminds Kitty of what his mom used to doand he welcomes it, especially on his cheeks, chin, and head. Petting him, even for a few minutes, prompts a release of a humans feel good chemicals, and lowers cortisol, the stress hormone.

Its soothing to listen to a cats purr, too. There are many reasons why he purrs, but humans frequently associate it with a cats contentment, and that adds to our happiness.

Recommended Reading: How Many Calories Should A Cat Have A Day

Cats As Emotional Support Animals

Scientific research has been telling us for years that pet parenting an animal is good for our mental health. This includes lowering stress levels, reducing loneliness, and helping us sleep better.

It is true that cats tend to be more aloof than their canine counterparts, but that doesnt mean the feline species wont work as an ESA, you may just need to take some time when searching out the perfect candidate. Here are five tips on finding a great emotional support feline.

Cats make excellent emotional support animals.

Qualify For An Esa Letter From A Licensed Mental Health Professional

Sometimes a Therapy Cat Does Real Therapy

In order to qualify for the ESA letter, you must demonstrate your need for an emotional support animal in your life. If you suffer from a mental disability and it limits your daily life, you may qualify for an ESA letter. The ESA letter must be written on the official letterhead of a licensed health professional and include the license number, the date it was issued, and the expiration date.

Recommended Reading: Cat Heart Rate 240

They Offer Emotional Support

Just as the name states, an emotional support animal supports you emotionally, whether you struggle with PTSD, anxiety, depression, emotional disabilities, or other mental health struggles. ESAs are companions for their owners through difficult times that otherwise have the potential to derail an entire day. With an ESA, youre given emotional comfort in difficult times.

What Is A Therapy Cat

To put it simply, a therapy cat is a trained and certified feline who helps youngsters, adults and elders through human-animal interaction.

Similarly to therapy horses and other animals, therapy cats offer comfort to those in need of some help while battling either physical or emotional health complications.

Therapy cats are becoming more popular, as they are proving to work wonders.

Its been proven that the human-animal interaction with therapy pets is beneficial for coping with:

  • Physical illnesses in elderly and disabled people
  • Behavioral problems in teenagers and youngsters
  • Emotional distress in hospital patients of all ages

Cat therapy is a common practice in care homes, drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers, juvenile detention centers and other facilities.

Therapy pets can significantly ease the pains of patients suffering from a variety of health disorders from heart strokes to autism and even to suicidal depression.

Despite the fact that cats in general are often depicted as whimsical and sometimes even potentially dangerous, therapy cats are professionally certified, fully trained, experienced and utterly reliable animals.

Read Also: Are Arrowhead Plants Poisonous To Cats

More articles

Popular Articles

Brands Of Wet Cat Food

40 Lb Bag Of Cat Food