how to get an emotional support cat

For a person to legally have an emotional support animal (ESA), the owner must be considered to have a qualifying mental health or psychiatric disability by a licensed mental health professional (e.g., therapist, psychologist, psychiatrist, etc.), which is documented by a properly formatted prescription letter.

How do I get one?

To be eligible for an ESA’s benefits, you must have a mental health professional’s “prescription.” Essentially, this is just a signed letter acknowledging that you have a mental health issue and that your pet aids in your management of it. A letter from a physician may be accepted by certain landlords and airlines, but more often than not, a therapist or psychiatrist is required.

Of course, you also need to have a pet. Again, there’s no special training required. Any house pet can be an ESA—cats, dogs, ferrets, lizards, and more. That means that if you already have a pet, you can probably get it certified as an ESA. Otherwise, getting an ESA is pretty much the same as getting any other pet! You’ll need to decide what kind of pet is best for you and look up local places to adopt. Just be sure to speak with a mental health professional and your landlord about it before you go through with the adoption.

Would you like to live with your ESA without paying extra fees?

An assistance animal that helps lessen the signs of mental or emotional impairments like depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder is known as an emotional support animal. Usually, a certified mental health professional will recommend these assistance animals as part of a patient’s treatment regimen. The recommendation is provided in the form of an official document known as an emotional support animal letter, or ESA Letter. This document certifies that a person is entitled to certain rights under federal law and that they have a legitimate need for the support that their companion animal provides.

What is an ESA Letter For?

An official letter signed by a licensed mental health professional is called an ESA letter. Other medical professionals, such as a general practitioner or psychiatrist, who are familiar with a patient’s medical condition or disability, may also prescribe an ESA letter.

Essentially, an ESA letter takes the form of a prescription. In order to manage a person’s mental health, it suggests including the use of an emotional support animal in the treatment plan. This indicates that the mental health provider thinks their patient will gain from the therapeutic alliance and consolation that emotional support animals offer.

Those who suffer from mental illnesses or emotional disorders like anxiety, depression, PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), and other mental disorders listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual—a handbook published by the American Psychiatric Association that mental health professionals use worldwide to establish accurate diagnoses—are frequently prescribed ESAs.

An ESA letter is given to a person by a mental health professional once they have concluded that the person would benefit from having a support animal as a companion. A valid ESA letter will be printed on the licensed professional’s letterhead, signed and dated by the prescribing professional, and contain the licensed professional’s licensing information. The ESA letter will unequivocally state that the patient in question has a verified disability and that the support they receive from an emotional support animal is essential.

Scams involving phony ESA letters and fraudulent ESA websites are common on the internet these days. Thus, in order to prevent being duped by services that don’t adhere to federal and state laws, it is imperative that people who actually need an emotional support animal know what a valid ESA letter contains. According to federal law, an individual can only travel with their animal on airlines that are ESA-friendly and be entitled to certain rights regarding reasonable accommodations from housing providers if they have a valid ESA letter.

It’s crucial to understand that a companion animal cannot be designated as a service animal by an ESA letter. Although service animals and emotional support animals help their owners in different ways, they are classified differently by federal law and have different rights.


How do I make my cat an emotional support animal?

In most cases, all you need to qualify for an emotional support cat is a letter from a mental health professional indicating that the animal would be beneficial for your mental health. While there are some exceptions, most landlords will accept this letter as proof that your cat is an ESA.

How do I classify my cat as an emotional support animal?

All that is needed to make your cat a legitimate emotional support animal is a letter from a therapist or mental health professional. In order for an ESA letter to be accepted by “no pets” housing, the letter must be written and signed by a licensed healthcare professional.

Is there such a thing as an emotional support cat?

Emotional support cats, or ESA cats, can help people with a range of stress-related conditions like PTSD, depression and anxiety. Every cat owner understands how a fuzzy feline companion can add extra joy and contentment to life. But did you know that cats also make ideal emotional support animals?

How to get an emotional support animal letter for free?

There is only one instance in which an ESA letter will be free: if you already see a licensed mental health professional (LMHP). A therapist you are seeing can issue your ESA letter at no added charge. If you find a free emotional support animal letter online, know that it is not legally binding.