An emotional support animal plays a vital part in a person’s life. The ESA is certified by a mental health practitioner to be part of the treatment regimen for a person dealing with mental or psychological disabilities. Any animal if domesticated can be registered as an ESA. You will need a signed, dated letter from the mental health practitioner with details of the disability and a request for the person to be allowed to have a pet as an emotional support animal. This letter gives the person permission to travel with the animal by flight or any other mode of transport and to also live with the animal.
Many studies have shown the calming effect an animal has on people. Children and adults alike stand to benefit from being around animals. Hyperactive children are known to be more manageable, and people see a drop in their blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Animals make people more sociable and less worried. An ESA does not require special training, unlike a service dog. The ESA helps by its presence. It needs to be manageable at home and outside- this is a requirement. Unlike a service dog, it does not require being clad in a vest with lettering, but if you’d like to be careful in public, an orange vest will be helpful.
You can choose any animal as an ESA- dogs are a popular choice, as are rats and rabbits. Sometimes people consider snakes too as their emotional support animals. But if you are thinking, can a cat be a service animal then you should read the following reasons:
- Cats have been known to help in a wide variety of mental disabilities, including bipolar disorder, depression, fears including social anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, seasonal affective disorder and postpartum depression. This cannot be stressed enough- a cat has the effect to remove negative feelings from the person suffering from these disorders. Having a positive frame of mind is essential in the road to recovery.
- Despite the canards, cats are sociable creatures who love to play. They are not boisterous like dogs, are gentle to be around even for children and can amuse themselves with the simplest of things- a length of rope, some catnip on a string, an empty carton- everything can bring a sense of adventure to your day to day life, with a cat.
- Cats are low maintenance because they are so clean and can be easily trained to use a litter-box. They eat sparingly, and are fastidious about their grooming. You don’t have to bathe them too often or walk them. When you’re going through a difficult time emotionally, having an animal that doesn’t make too many demands on you can be a blessing.
- Cats love their own time. They aren’t needy or demanding of affection all the time. They greet you, sit with you, allow you to pet them and then go their way for a while. They might sleep for a while, groom themselves, chase insects and so on- all of which are good things to observe. You could just sit in the same room, or brush them- it won’t matter. They are happy in their own company too.
- They show affection in the noises they make. The cat purr is instantly recognizable. It’s a low rumble and seems to appear from its very core. The purr is symbolic of many things, including displeasure. But when it’s a happy cat that’s purring, it’s a happy time for everyone. A cat will trill too, a sort of chirrup to symbolise a greeting. Your cat’s saying hi to you!
Some of the most popular cat breeds are the Maine Coon, the Persian, the British Shorthair and its counterpart, the American Shorthair, the Sphynx and the Siamese.