Cats are ideal candidates for those who need an animal for emotional support. They are calm, intelligent and affectionate animals that can provide their owners with a calming, comforting presence.
People who suffer from anxiety, depression and other illnesses that greatly affect mood and mental well-being can find it difficult to even get out of bed on some days. The world is busy and noisy and full of pressure; sometimes it seems impossible to lift your head, open your eyes and face the day, especially if you have to face it alone.
But imagine hearing a gentle, soothing purr under your ear. Imagine feeling a warm, fluffy body pressed against you. As the looming thoughts of the day surround you, imagine running your fingers over the velvet fur. Suddenly you won’t feel so alone.
Amid all the noise and turmoil of the world, you know there is someone who needs you, someone who relies on you; and when you feel those little paws gently touching your cheek, maybe even the slight tickle of a whisker or a wet little nose, followed by a meow that says, “Time to get up. I’m hungry.” Now getting up doesn’t seem so impossible.
This is just one scenario in which cats can provide important emotional support to their caregivers, showing how vital a cat can be to human well-being. Studies have shown that petting a cat can trigger a hormonal relaxation response in humans, which helps reduce stress and cortisol levels, as well as lower heart rate and blood pressure.
Cats have a naturally docile personality and can be ideal pets for people who need an animal for emotional support, as they radiate an aura of complete and utter calm, while at the same time having bright, unique personalities that can provide hours of entertainment and laughter.
What differentiates ESAs from the average domestic cat are the rights bestowed upon emotional support animals. Although ESA registration is voluntary, not mandatory, ESAs with proper documentation are the only animals that will be granted these rights.
If you are thinking about approving your cat as an ESA, please do so only if you have talked to a mental health professional and he or she has recommended an ESA.
Get connected with a licensed healthcare professional to obtain an ESA letter