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How to Register a Cat as Emotional Support Animal

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How to Register Your Cat as an Emotional Support Animal

Mental health disorders that substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities affect approximately 1 in 25 adults in the US in a given year. These individuals are more likely to have chronic medical conditions causing them to die an average 25 years earlier than others primarily due to treatable medical conditions. In addition to natural causes, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US and the 2nd among people aged 10-34. These staggering numbers are enough to cause most individuals to question what can be done to help this group of people. While many might rightly say that an increase in public awareness and early intervention methods are the key to treatment, others may argue that medication and therapy are not magic cures either. While the debate rages on, another alternative treatment has shown a lot of promise as well.

What is an Emotional Support Animal (ESA)?

Individuals who have debilitating mental health or emotional disorders can benefit from the assistance of a companion. Emotional Support Animals (ESAs) can be used to help alleviate the symptoms of these disorders by providing comfort, security, companionship, and love without passing any judgment on the individual. Typically, emotional support animals are dogs, but it is not uncommon to see cats and even other animals that offer the same benefits. To legally qualify as an ESA, the individual must have a prescription from a licensed mental health professional stating that the animal is needed for the health of the patient. 

Most people are familiar with service animals for individuals who have physical or psychiatric disabilities. Service animals can only be dogs and sometimes horses, but ESAs can be any animal. Unfortunately, emotional support animals are not covered under the American’s with Disabilities Act (ADA) like service animals. ESAs are not legally allowed to be public places such as restaurants, or shopping malls and restrictions are placed on traveling with these animals.

Can my cat qualify for ESA
What cats can qualify as emotional support cat?

 

Can a cat qualify to become an emotional support animal?

Emotional support animals can be any commonly domesticated animal including dogs, cats, or even ferrets. To qualify as an ESA the animal must be reasonably well behaved, and toilet trained. Animals that are a nuisance or a danger to others do not meet the requirements. Under these guidelines, cats can be used as an emotional support animal. 

How to travel with your ESA cat?ESA Airlines policy

Traveling with an emotional support animal can be relatively easy if you are providing transportation yourself. However, individuals are required to treat the ESA as if they are pets and only book hotel rooms with those that are pet-friendly and admittance to public places are not guaranteed. Traveling by bus or train can be slightly trickier but not impossible. Individual requests that include the qualifications for travel should be made to each carrier before purchasing a ticket.

Air travel is more restrictive and advanced notice is required at least 48 hours prior to your trip. The Air Carriers Access Act does allow service animals as well as ESAs to accompany the handler in the cabin, but there are strict conditions. Documentation is required stating that the person has a disability and the reason the animal must travel with them. Also, enhanced rules regarding emotional support animals were created and became effective on April 1, 2019. 

Under the new guidelines, individuals traveling with ESAs must only have one animal per person and those other than cats or dogs are prohibited from flying in the cabin. The support animal must be able to fit at the traveler’s feet, under the seat or in their lap. Animals that have a kennel must fit under the seat in front of the passenger with the animal inside. Support animals cannot be seated in an exit row or occupy a seat. If animals do not meet the enhanced guidelines, passengers may be asked to transport the animal as a checked pet, require an additional ticket or the passenger and ESA may be asked to rebook the flight with more open seats. 

Emotional support animals are also required to adhere to certain behavior standards. Any form of disruptive behavior that can’t be successfully corrected or controlled such as growling, biting or attempting to bite, and jumping or lunging at people are strictly forbidden. Unruly behavior that is observed at any point during the journey that violates this rule will result in the animal being considered a pet, and all charges as such will be applied. 

How much does a cat cost?

Although cats are often less expensive than dogs, there are costs to consider. Food, litter, toys/treats, pet health insurance, and medical treatment can impact the bottom line of ownership. The following is an estimate of costs each year for owning a cat.

  • Food – $145
  • Litter – $200
  • Pet Health Insurance – $175
  • Annual medical exams – $130
  • Miscellaneous expenses -$30
  • One-time expenses (litter box, carrying crate, spay/neuter etc.) – $365

According to most estimates, the total first-year costs of cat ownership can exceed $1000.00 and every year after that is estimated to cost between $600 and $700, but this number can increase if there are unexpected illnesses or injuries. 

ESA letter for my cat from EzCare Clinic

Emotional support animals are an effective way to help individuals who have mental disabilities such as anxiety or depression. They offer therapeutic help, yet they require no specialized training like service animals might. Although some people do not understand the value of these animals, individuals who rely on them for comfort and love will attest to their benefits. 

Individuals who believe that an emotional support animal could help them should speak with a mental health professional before obtaining any animal. While ownership is beneficial, there are numerous things to consider.  Your practitioner can help you determine if an emotional support animal is right for you.  Visit EzCare Clinic locations in-person or speak with a licensed doctor via telehealth today. For your convenience our doctors are seeing patients 7 days a week from 11 am to 7pm. You can get your emotional support cat letter today by filling out this very simple health questionnaire – ESA letter application.

 

ESA certification button
Click to apply

 


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Emotional support animals follow their owners to areas that are off-limits to other pets. This is because they’re recommended as a treatment for mental afflictions like anxiety, depression, even PTSD. Not to be mistaken for service animals. The main distinction is its functions. Apply for ESA Letter Today! BOOK AN APPOINTMENT While ESAs are companions, service animals help their disabled handlers with duties such as answering the door, carrying medicine, and guiding their movement. ESAs don’t need extra conditioning like their service counterparts whose training ranges from heeling, proofing, and performing specific tasks. Another difference is their certification. Your disability should match the ADA description for your service animal to be recognized. Conversely, an ESA letter is provided by your therapist. How ESAs Improve Your Travel Experience By lifting your mood, support animals eliminate the need for anxiety medication on your journey. Pills may be effective, but you’ll still have side effects like fatigue and nausea. Furthermore, they act as distractions during long trips. Instead of worrying, your mind is occupied by the animal. The fact that you have another creature to care for besides yourself gives you purpose. They thought of bonding with your pet may make an otherwise reserved person crave for adventure. ESAs also spark conversations between strangers. This is especially true for moments packed with tension like turbulence. Travel Necessities for Your ESA Traveling with their handlers gives ESAs an edge over ordinary pets. If you think moving with an animal is stressful, try it with a mental condition. Here are some trip essentials regardless of your mode of transport. Things to pack while travelling 5 Things to Pack While Travelling 1. ESA Letter An ESA letter is mandatory for any support animal in a plane cabin. For the document to be valid, however, it must fulfill the following specifications. The letter is on your issuing therapist’s letterhead. You’re currently under a licensed professional’s care. The letter contains the license date, type, and issuing state. Your illness is found in the DSM. You need the ESA for the trip or destination. The document requires an annual update. Ensure you alert the airline beforehand. Initially, you could show up with your pet without an announcement. The rules have since changed with most carriers requiring a 48-hour notice. Again, check your destination’s guidelines regarding support animals. Not all countries allow ESAs from foreign lands. 2. Travel Crate Apart from transportation, a travel crate protects your furry companion from harsh conditions like snow and rain. You’ll have to train your ESA if they’ve never experienced a carrier. In the initial stages, don’t lock the crate with the animal inside. The idea is viewing it as a safe space instead of a punishment. Likewise, put the case in the room your pet spends most of their time. Putting treats in the cage or feeding them next to it will keep your ESA interested. You can add blankets and toys to give the container a homely feel when on the move. Similarly, secure the cage to the seat or hold it to prevent the ESA from shifting. While at it, ensure your support creature gets sufficient air to prevent suffocation. You can do this by ditching the layovers during summer and getting a container with better ventilation. Although they come in different sizes, some animals are too big for a carrier. That’s where leashes come in. Apply for ESA Letter Today! BOOK AN APPOINTMENT 3. Leash The crowds in airports and train stations are bound to stress your ESA. That’s why you need a leash to guide their movement and protect other travelers together with their belongings and animals from attack. But your pet isn’t the only cause of danger. For starters, your unrestrained dog might get run over if it wanders away in a bus station. It could also contract diseases after sniffing another animal’s droppings. Chains also make it easier to locate you in case your ESA gets lost. Most leashes include a tag for writing your identification details. Moreover, the restraint also makes your pet harder to steal. From resale and breeding to ransoms and fighting rings, animal theft is motivated by several reasons. Most importantly, the law demands you leash your animal. Games to play with dog How to Keep Your Dog Entertained on a Road Trip? 4. Bedding Repay your animal’s emotional support by keeping them comfortable. Though the airline can organize a special seat on request, your pup will be more settled in familiar bedding. If your pet doesn’t have a bed already, prioritize the quality of materials when shopping. Substandard fabrics are not only uncomfortable but also less durable. The size is also crucial. While a small bed will tire your ESA, a larger one is difficult to move. Even so, some models have straps and clips for portability. Surfaces that absorb moisture will develop an odor from the animal’s urine. This calls for a mild water-repelling spray. Apply for ESA Letter Today! BOOK AN APPOINTMENT At EZCare Clinic, we recognize the role of ESAs in your psychological wellbeing. We specialize in numerous areas, for example, addiction treatment, nutrition, cosmetic services, pain management, mental, and sexual health. You deserve to live free, reach us for an appointment today.