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How To Make Your Animal A Service Cat

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Getting Support You Need

We now know the legal requirements around emotional support animals and the process necessary to give them the legal backing. Emotional support animals can greatly improve quality of life for countless people with mental health needs.

If youre interested in having an emotional support animal for your own needs or for a loved one, read more here. As always, consider the right emotional support animal carefully. But we can assure you that a cuddly kitty is an ideal choice!

What animals can be a service animal?

With the special exception of mini horses, dogs are the only allowable service animal due to their ability to perform necessary tasks.

Can cats be service animals for anxiety?

Anxiety is considered a mental health disability. Therefore, a cat could act as an emotional support animal . However, cats are not accepted as service animals.

Can I have two emotional support cats?

Yes, there is no law stating the amount of ESA cats allowed. However, a medical professional suggestion and local laws apply.

Cover photo by Oleg Ivanov on Unsplash

How To Register An Emotional Support Animal

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An emotional support animal can be a true lifesaver for someone dealing with mental health problems. From offering companionship and the stability of a routine to serving as a trusted guide through anxiety-inducing social situations, emotional support animals offer invaluable support in addition to the non-judgmental, unconditional love that animals already provide so freely.

All that being said, emotional support animalsa term that is often shortened to just “ESAs”aren’t pets, at least by the standard definition of the term. Theyre not service animals or therapy animals, either. Instead, ESAs have unique legal allowances that are specific to their designation. In order to enjoy not just the benefits of an emotional support animal but the legal rights as well, individuals have to register their ESAs. And its a process that isnt always obvious to everyone.

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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 Need To Have A Mental Health Related Disability

Emotional Support Cats 101: What You Need To Know  US Service Animal ...

For a medical professional to write a letter on your behalf you first need to be suffering from some type of mental or emotional health challenge. This can include:

  • Anxiety
  • Loneliness
  • And a host of other potential mental and emotional challenges

Many Americans experience these kinds of challenges , so you may very well qualify even if you have not ever been formally diagnosed.

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Can Cats Be Emotional Support Animals

Yes, cats can be emotional support animals. In fact, they make great emotional support animals. Cats are very affectionate and playful. They create strong bonds with their owners, regardless of the general belief that they are pesky little creatures that hate socializing.

In addition, emotional support cats are easier to house and maintain than emotional support dogs. They are generally smaller than canines and are very agile. They will find enough space and activities for themselves most of the time. You will still need to take care of their food and water supplies and clean the litter box. Other than that, all you need to do is ensure some quality playtime.

Emotional support cats are fun to play with and fun to watch, which can help boost your mood. Purring can also have therapeutic effects on people. Theres no doubt that your cats calm personality can also calm you down. Felines are also very good at reading peoples emotions and will respond to them appropriately.

How To Get An Animal Registered For Emotional Support

The process to get a cat registered for emotional support is fairly simple. Of course, it is important to understand that an emotional support animal is only intended for people with mental health issues. Those who are in need, however, can easily register their cat by giving us a call and setting up an appointment with a mental health professional. We are here to help guide you through the entire process, giving you detailed instructions as to what is needed and answering any questions you may have along the way. After the process is over and an ESA letter is provided by the medical professional, you are then able to take your cat more places and ensure they never leave your side.

It isnt as simple as wanting to find a way around an apartments no-pets policy, so you opt for the emotional support title. There is some paperwork and validity involved.

Often times individuals really need their emotional support animal because it helps them battle depression, anxiety, loneliness, or PTSD. Most landlords require you to have a letter from a mental health provider stating that your animal is an emotional support system for you.

The term registration doesnt really apply to emotional support animals. There is no specific mandated registration process that needs to occur. As long as your doctor has prescribed you an emotional support animal, you are good to go.

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How Do I Make My Cat A Service Animal

You can’t register your cat as a service pet, according to the ADA. However, you can set it up to help you as another type of support animal. That said, not just any cat can fulfil many of the duties necessary for a support pet. There are a few crucial things that your feline must be able to handle to qualify as an ESA or therapy pet.

Knowing The Difference Between An Emotional Support Animal And A Service Animal

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An emotional support animal , or a support animal, is a pet whose presence is deemed by a professional to provide benefits for people who suffer from mental illnesses. Those who qualify have mental health conditions that can disrupt ones day-to-day life activities and include conditions like anxiety disorder, panic attacks, and clinical depression.

ESAs differ from service animals in that service animals are specifically trained to perform a variety of tasks While it is typical for a dog to be registered as an ESA, that doesnt necessarily mean that other animals cannot, as there are no rules that specify what an ESA animal should be. This means that, if you have a cat, and you are deemed qualified by a mental health professionalyou can register your feline companion as an ESA. However, there are quite a few things that you have to consider before registering your cat as an emotional service animal.

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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.

Where Can I Get More Information

The laws changed in 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2018. Many factors can determine which laws apply to your situation, including when the problem occurred, when the lease was signed or renewed, and when an eviction took place. If your lease was signed or problem started before 4/18/18 you will want to carefully review the language of the law to determine if it applies to your situation.

Green text applies to leases and events as of 3/1/14 Summary WI, Summary Dane Co.

Blue text applies to leases and events as of 11/1/15 Summary

Brown text applies to leases and events as of 4/18/18 Summary

More information on law changes is available here. Have your lease available when calling the Tenant Resource Center so we can help you know what your rights and remedies are, including whether you can request double damages, court costs and reasonable attorney fees when you sue your landlord.

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How Service Animal Is Defined

Service animals are defined as dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. Examples of such work or tasks include guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pulling a wheelchair, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, reminding a person with mental illness to take prescribed medications, calming a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder during an anxiety attack, or performing other duties. Service animals are working animals, not pets. The work or task a dog has been trained to provide must be directly related to the persons disability. Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA.

This definition does not affect or limit the broader definition of assistance animal under the Fair Housing Act or the broader definition of service animal under the Air Carrier Access Act.

Some State and local laws also define service animal more broadly than the ADA does. Information about such laws can be obtained from the relevant State attorney generals office.

Guidelines For Asking For Donation Of Products:

How To Make Your Cat Into A Service Animal
  • When you call a store, ask to speak to the person in charge of donating products.
  • Explain what your organization does for animals. Be brief and friendly.
  • Follow up your call with a letter to the person in charge, on letterhead stationery, stating your request to be considered for their donations. If you have your nonprofit 501 status, include that in your letter so the company knows it can write their donation off against their taxes.
  • With the letter, send samples of your literature or brochures.
  • If they agree to donate, follow up with a personal letter of thanks to the person in charge.
  • Whatever you are offered, accept it. Be prompt in your pickup of the items. If it is not something you can use, share it with other needy groups or individuals. The company will require you to sign a paper stating that you will not sell the product, but there is nothing to stop you from sharing it, as long as they abide by the same requirement.
  • At the end of the year, remember those who have given to you by sending them a plaque or some small gift. You can also mention their generosity in your newsletter, which will encourage your members to support those businesses.
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    What Is A Psychiatric Service Dog Trained To Do

    A psychiatric service dog can be trained in a host of different tasks including:

    • Reducing anxiety by sitting on your lap or putting pressure on your chest
    • Nudging you when you’re caught up in rumination
    • Reminding you to take medications
    • Pushing you to remove yourself from stressful situations

    The tasks they are trained to perform are aimed at helping you deal with a symptom of your mental health disability and can qualify them to be service animals. Can cats be service animals? Yes, cats can be trained as psychiatric service dogs and do a great job of providing that support.

    Can You Take Care Of An Animal

    Before getting any kind of pet or service animal, it is important to seriously consider the responsibilities that come along with it. Think about whether you can care for it physically, mentally, and financially. Service animals in particular are a big commitment. ESAs are a little easier since they dont need special training, but any pet is still a commitment. If you cant handle a dog, consider a lower-maintenance pet like a cat or a fish. If even that is too much, try starting with a plant or a stuffed animal, or another form of treatment.

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    Service Animals Must Be Under Control

    A service animal must be under the control of its handler. Under the ADA, service animals must be harnessed, leashed, or tethered, unless the individuals disability prevents using these devices or these devices interfere with the service animal’s safe, effective performance of tasks. In that case, the individual must maintain control of the animal through voice, signal, or other effective controls.

    How Many Emotional Support Cats Can I Have

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    Under the Fair Housing Amendments Act people with diagnosed mental or emotional disabilities are allowed to have an ESA. Landlords and/or building managers must make allowances for ESAs in no pets policies buildings, but this could be nullified if there were too many animals to keep the residence safe for both tenants and animals. Since the FHA does not specify how many ESA a person can have, as long as the number is reasonable to your therapist, you can have more than one.

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    Can Landlords Charge Pet Owners More For Rent

    Yes, landlords may charge a monthly pet fee of whatever amount they choose. It is always worth trying to negotiate if you feel the extra amount is unreasonable. However, you should plan some extra time for this, and get everything in writing. See the section above on convincing landlords to rent to you and your pet for specific things you can mention to negotiate with your landlord.

    What If I Have A Disability And Depend On A Service Animal Or Emotional Support Animal

    This is a special situation where the landlord’s pet policy does not apply. A service animal or emotional support animal should not be considered a “pet.” They should be treated, from the landlord’s perspective, like a piece of medical equipment.

    Federal Laws

    Because federal fair housing laws require landlords to allow reasonable accommodations for tenants with disabilities, the following apply:

    • Landlords may not prohibit a service animal or emotional support animal from living in the unit.
    • Landlords may not charge the tenant extra “pet” rent or “pet” security deposit for a service or emotional support animal.
    • Landlords may not apply other “pet policy” rules like breed or weight restrictions to service or emotional support animals. For more information from HUD on this, .

    There are two exceptions, when a landlord can deny a service or companion animal:

    • If the landlord lives in the unit, and they or a member of their immediate family have an allergy to the animal.
    • If that specific animal has aggressively threatened someone.

    New State Laws

    On the state level, Wisconsin law now defines an “Emotional Support Animal” as one who gives emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship to a person with a disability. Unlike a service animal, an emotional support animal does not need to be certified or trained to perform tasks to benefit that individual. Wis. Stat. 106.50, 2017 Wis. Act 317, Sec. 28, Eff. 4/18/18.

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    Emotional Support Dog Vs Service Dogs

    ESAs provide support through companionship and can help ease anxiety, depression, and certain phobias. However, they are not service dogs, and ESA users do not receive the same accommodations as service dog users.

    A service dog, such as a guide dog or psychiatric service dog, is generally allowed anywhere the public is allowed ESAs are not. For example, ESAs generally cannot accompany their owners into restaurants or shopping malls.

    The Americans With Disabilities Act defines service animals as dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. The act clearly states that animals that simply provide emotional comfort do not qualify as service animals. Some state and local laws have a broader definition, so be sure to check with local government agencies to learn if ESAs qualify for public access in your area.

    The key difference between a service dog and an emotional support dog is whether the animal has been trained to perform a specific task or job directly related to the persons disability. For example, service dogs are trained to alert a hearing-impaired person to an alarm or guide a visually impaired person around an obstacle or provide pressure on someone with PTSD who is suffering from a panic attack.

    Behaviors such as cuddling on cue, although comforting, do not qualify. The tasks need to be specifically trained to mitigate a particular disability, not something instinctive the dog would do anyway.

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