Emotional support animals can vary in species. Dogs, cats, and even rabbits can become certified emotional support animals. The species chosen depends on the owner's needs and which animals make them feel the most comfortable and supported. According to research, for those considering getting an emotional support cat, here is a list of the best emotional support cat breeds.
What Are Emotional Support Animals?
Any animal can qualify to be an emotional support animal, even a cat. Unlike service animals that only allow dogs to be certified, emotional support animals can be from any species, as long as they support the owner who is suffering from a mental illness or mental or emotional disability. They allow the owner to feel calm and peaceful during anxiety or panic attacks.
If an emotional support animal is a dog, the service dog can provide deep pressure therapy during an anxiety attack, or the dog's presence may offer help. While there is a variety of dog breeds out there to be emotional support animals, there are also many cat breeds.
After meeting with a licensed mental health professional or medical professional and obtaining a certified ESA letter, your cat is officially an emotional support animal.
Best Cat Breeds to be Emotional Support Animals
Before you settle on an emotional support cat, think of which cat breed you'd love by your side, as some cat species make magnificent emotional support animals compared to others. Finding a cat breed that matches your personality will help you get the most out of your pet. Below are the best cat breeds for emotional support.
These are not all the available cat breeds that make excellent emotional support animals. If Sphynx cats or an exotic shorthair cat are your favorite cat breeds, they can work too. Other cat breeds can offer emotional support to those who need it. No one best cat makes the best emotional support cat, so your options are wide open!
1. Persian Cats
Persian cats are all about sharing love and affection with anyone that needs it, making them a great emotional support cat.
First off, Persian cats never get over-excited but prefer a calm life in small spaces. This quality makes them your best bet if you live in a small apartment. Persians do not crave strenuous activities or too much physical activity and would instead want you to pamper them.
Although they appear shy at first glance, Persian cats can drop their shyness and reserved nature as soon as they get to know you. You can get all the affection and love you need from this cat breed, especially since it is highly affectionate.
A typical Persian cat with fluffy, white fur and bright blue eyes requires a bit of fur maintenance to avoid mats and tangles. Most owners are apt to admit that care makes human companionship worth it.
2. American Shorthair Cats
Even though these American Shorthair cats are not clingy, they have no problem cuddling and listening to your concerns. The American Shorthair is a versatile breed, ready and willing to live anywhere. Plus, these felines are gentle, making them good with kids and suitable for families with other pets or family members in the house.
An American Shorthair cat as an emotional support cat is a plus because it doesn't require much grooming, thanks to its short, dense, suede-like coat. They have a playful disposition and express emotions reasonably well.
3. Bengal Cats
Bengal cats are one of the most athletic, intelligent, independent, and active cat breeds. They have a playful disposition. They possess a somewhat wild appearance and will always coax you into playing fetch with them.
Despite being a large cat breed, a Bengal cat is not as cuddly as other emotional support cats on this list and may not want physical contact. But this doesn't mean these cats don't demand attention. They are naturally curious and puffy explorers who'll love going out for walks with you.
4. Siamese Cats
Siamese cats are full of personality. Most people refer to these felines as the dogs of the cat world because of their dog-like characters. While they possess all the qualities that make cats great, they tend to be extremely loyal and loving.
Siamese cats are perfect for being emotional support cats. A Siamese cat offers support and comfort. Siamese cats do not mind playing fetch games or going out for walks on a leash. They enjoy playing and offering physical support. These cats provide mental health support and emotional support through all the physical contact you are willing to give.
5. American Bobtail Cats
The American Bobtail is most notable for doing everything on its terms. It can drown you with love and provide you with a warm and soft shoulder to cry on when in distress, only if it also wants affection. But once it has had enough, that's it, and it doesn't matter if you want a little more.
However, these breeds love games like fetch or hide and seek and often initiate them with their owners. And when they are not hunting and stalking their toys, they are a quiet breed and would love to go out for a walk with you.
6. Ragdoll Cats
If you are emotionally disabled and require a large cat breed, similar to dogs that can be snuggly cats, find a Ragdoll cat.
Cats of this breed are not just some of the largest kitties to ever exist but also loving, mild-mannered, and friendliest. A Ragdoll cat's fur resembles a stuffed animal, making them ideal for cuddling.
Easy-going and loving, Ragdoll cats are a great choice if you need emotional support. They love snuggling, being held, cuddling, and always maintain good behaviors around kids and guests. They are great for households with other pets or family members.
7. Maine Coon Cats
Maine Coon cats are of the giant domestic cat breeds. They are big, fluffy, and often comparable to medium-sized dogs.
Maine Coons are just about the best stress-relievers known to man, mainly because they enjoy socializing, are trainable, and quickly bond with strangers and children. They are an excellent choice for a service animal or support animal.
Most impressively, though, Maine Coon cats are furry and intelligent enough to sense their owner's moods. This intelligence makes them the best to hold and keep close, enabling them to cure just about any mental problem.
8. Manx Cats
Manx cats are affectionate cats eager to please, loyal, and have a playful nature.
While they are eager to please, the Manx cat breed loves to play favorites. They often choose a single family member to shower with their full attention, leaving others feeling left out. Just ensure you are the one it lavishes all its attention on, and you'll have all the most affectionate therapy cat you need.
9. Russian Blue Cats
Cat ownership of a Russian Blue cat means you will have a companion and support animal that can sense and empathize with you when you need emotional support. A Russian Blue cat is less demanding than other breeds for a support animal, making them great for introverts.
Although they prefer to keep to themselves most of the time, you can count on them whenever you need them. These cats are delightfully affectionate, great athletes with remarkable climbing skills, and are an excellent choice for a support animal for individuals with emotional disabilities.
10. Abyssinian Cats
Abyssinian cat breeds are sociable cats just like American Shorthairs and are among the oldest breeds. These cats are the best companions you can get because they are so dependent on love and affection that you may find yourself offering care and concern instead.
Abyssinian cats make a great support animal due to their ability to provide support for a mental health struggle or the way they require attention from their owner.
FAQs About Emotional Support Cats
While owning an emotional support cat can be a huge responsibility, there are still some common questions that ESA cat owners have that aren’t always answered, or they don’t know where to go for an answer. That’s why we’re here to help! Below are a few frequently asked questions about obtaining, owning, and caring for emotional support cats and specific cat breeds.
Can I Have Multiple Cats as ESAs?
Yes, it is possible to have multiple, 2 or more, emotional support animals, including cats. As long as the animals do not violate any state or local laws and your therapist agrees your emotional support animals are there for your well-being, you can have more than one emotional support animal. The number of emotional support animals you have must also make sense. For example, having one or more horses in an apartment in the city may not be feasible.
Which Cat Breeds Are Best to Have If I’m Allergic to Cat Hair?
If you are allergic to only cat hair specifically, it can still be possible for you to obtain an emotional support cat. One of the best options would be a Sphynx since they are notoriously known for being hairless cats. However, if you still want a cute and cuddly friend by your side, then short-haired breeds are still great options, such as an Oriental Shorthair, Devon Rex, or Javanese. It’s important to note what exactly makes you allergic around cats in order to find the best breed for you.
Can I Train My Cat to be an Emotional Support Animal?
While an emotional support animal does not require any training like a service animal, you can still train your ESA cat on basic manners in order to behave in public. However, in order for your cat to be a certified emotional support animal, only a licensed mental health professional can provide the proper assessment and documentation to certify your cat as an emotional support animal. So in short, you can train your cat, but not to specifically be a certified ESA.
Can I Change My ESA If I Don’t Get Along with My Cat?
An ESA letter is only good for one year and will expire if not renewed on a yearly basis. Getting an emotional support animal is a big life-altering decision, which is why it’s so important to think about all of the pros and cons and get to know your pet before getting them certified. Once an animal is a certified emotional support animal, they have that title for the next year, until the ESA letter expires. If you no longer want or need an ESA, then you don’t have to renew the letter. However, you are entitled to your ESA for at least a year in the meantime.