baby esa cat sitting outdoors

Stress is on the rise in the US, with two out of three adults suffering from stress in 2020. In fact, according to the American Psychological Association: “We are facing a national mental health crisis that could yield serious health and social consequences for years to come”. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has been a huge cause of stress for many Americans. Considering this information, it is clear that it’s more important now than ever to take proper care of our mental health.

So, why do cats help with stress? Emotional support animals (ESAs) can be hugely helpful in allowing Americans to cope with rising stress levels. Research supports that ESAs can help reduce feelings of loneliness, lower levels of anxiety and depression, help with PTSD, and even ease chronic pain. ESAs can provide company and support for those who are going through a difficult time.

There are many different kinds of ESAs available: small domesticated animals such as birds, fish, dogs, even pot-bellied pigs, are viable options. ESA cats in particular are a great choice, as they are relatively low-maintenance. There are many suitable breeds of ESA cats that all have different traits, including Ragdoll, Persian and Manx (find out all you need to know about the characteristics of the different breeds here).

Read on to find out more about ESA cats and their benefits for mental health.

close up picture of cat with blue eyes
Image by cocoparisienne on Pixabay: Does petting a cat relieve stress?

Cats do not require large amounts of exercise

ESA cats are usually happy to stay indoors for most of the day. This makes them perfect companions for those who do not like to leave the house often, such as individuals suffering from high levels of social anxiety or agoraphobia. An ESA cat can make the home a more peaceful and less lonely place, especially for those who may be stuck at home during the pandemic.

Cats are relatively independent

ESA cats can be affectionate and cuddly, but they do not need 24/7 company. They are a great option for those who, due to mental illness, may not feel capable of constantly looking after an animal. Cats offer a calm and soothing presence, and are small and easy to look after. They are usually inexpensive to feed, and as they are a common pet in general, it is usually easy to find the necessary supplies for cat ownership in your local pet store.

Do cats help with mental health? The answer for many people is a resounding “Yes!”.

The most important trait of your ESA should be that its individual personality matches your own personality well. Your cat should make you feel comfortable and provide you with the sense of connection that’s so important for preventing feelings of isolation. If you already have a cat that you feel helps to support you emotionally, you may decide that it is a perfect ESA candidate, or you may find a new cat which suits you well.

emotional support cat for stress
Image by Pexels on Pixabay: Do cats reduce stress in humans?

Can my ESA cat live with me?

ESA cats are protected under the Fair Housing Act, which means that you are entitled to live with your ESA cat in your rented house or apartment. This rule applies even if the owner of the property usually has a “No Pets Allowed” policy.

It is advisable that you tell your landlord about your ESA; however, they cannot refuse your ESA provided you have the qualifying documentation. You do not need to tell your landlord the details of why you have an ESA, or your medical history; you merely need to show proof that you have been prescribed an ESA (with your ESA letter). Many landlords will not mind an ESA cat; as we have seen, they are usually hassle-free and easily trained animals. However, it is important to keep your landlord informed, in case they need to make any extra accommodations for your ESA.

So, whether you already own a cat that you would like to register as an ESA, or whether you’re in the market for a cat as a future ESA, Moosh can help you with the application process. Simply click here to arrange an appointment with a registered health professional through the online portal. Provided that you fulfill the requirements during your consultation, you will be sent your ESA letter quickly, and will be well on your way to accessing all the benefits that your feline friend has to offer.

Featured image by susannp4 on Pixabay