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Emotional Support Dog vs. Emotional Support Cat

Emotional Support Dog vs. Emotional Support Cat

When you’re looking for an emotional support animal, you might be wondering whether you should get an emotional support dog or an emotional support cat. There are benefits to both, and if you don’t already have your support animal you might find that one suits you better!


Make the right decision.

There is no “one size fits all” when deciding whether you need an emotional support dog vs. an emotional support cat. If you tend to be more of a dog person or a cat person, it might seem like an easy decision to make, but keep in mind the emotional support animal might be different from your pet preferences.

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Even so, it’s always a good idea to start with what you know when you’re looking for the perfect emotional support animal. If you know you like dogs, you might be better off with an emotional support dog. If you know you like cats, the choice might be clear to get an emotional support cat!


What do you already have?

Many people who have ESAs actually have the animal before they register it as an emotional support animal! If you already have a cat or a dog and it provides you with companionship, that animal just might work out as your emotional support cat or emotional support dog.

This isn’t to say that all pets should become emotional support animals! There might be some things that limit your pet or maybe the pet just isn’t a great fit for your emotional needs, but it can be simple to already have a pet that you use as a registered emotional support animal.


Remember, talk to the medical professional who is writing your emotional support letter and let them know you already have an emotional support dog or cat in mind!

Consider the benefits of the animal.

Just as if you were looking for a pet, emotional support animals come with benefits. These benefits could be the deciding factor of whether you get an emotional support dog or an emotional support cat. Keep in mind that both animals can be similar in that they provide you with a companion. They will likely be very loyal as long as you treat them right and they can give you a sense of calm.

Emotional Support Dog Benefits

  • An emotional support dog might be easier to train than its feline counterpart.
  • Dogs might also be more loyal to their owners.
  • As discriminatory as it might seem, dogs might be more widely accepted as “support” animals.
  • You can choose a dog in a variety of sizes, colors and breeds.

Emotional Support Cat Benefits

  • Cats tend to be easier to take care of as they do not require walks or other intense forms of exercise.
  • Your cat might not need a lot of attention and may prefer to wander the house.
  • Cats can simply use a litter box. This is great point for people with disabilities that make it hard to venture to the doors or outside.
  • A cat is generally not as loud as a dog and might be easier to manage in situations where you want to stay quiet.

Consider the downfalls.

The negative sides to your emotional support cat or emotional support dog might be completely objective. Something that people find to be a negative aspect might not be for others. Here are some things that you should consider when you’re thinking about your ESA and what kind you will get.

Emotional Support Dog Drawbacks

  • Dogs require a lot of attention and might be difficult to take care of, especially on days when you don’t feel good.
  • A dog might be more likely to be unfriendly with strangers.
  • Unless you’ve trained your dog not to, they might bark at people passing by or when you’re out and about.

Emotional Support Cat Drawbacks


  • Cats can be difficult to train.
  • Some cats are antisocial and might not want to be around when you’re looking for emotional support.
  • A cat generally uses a litter box which might be hard to clean up and take care of.

Make your choice before officially registering your emotional support dog or emotional support cat.

No matter which animal you decide on, you will need to make your decision before you register your animal. In fact, you can’t even get an emotional support animal letter until you have an animal with a name and you know what it’s going to do to help make your life easier!

Deciding on an emotional support dog or an emotional support cat is all about what you think will serve you best! Choose any animal that works for you, and make sure you take the advantages and drawbacks of each type of animal into consideration.

Use this to find more help!


Andrea Harris

Monday 25th of February 2019

A great article. I got myself a terrier as an emotional support dog. It is totally on the basis of your needs and likings. But the thing is you can have any of the two and your life would be amazing. Believe me they are the best thing. I got my letter a couple of months back online from this website called myesadoctor and everything has been uphill from there. Anyways. Great work.

Riley Thomson

Monday 25th of February 2019

Andrea, Thanks so much for your kind words. I'm glad you got an ESA. -Riley

Donna Bohn

Wednesday 12th of December 2018

I have a 13 yo pure bred rat terrier,who has gone through thick and thin with me,and I would like to register her as my support dog,I live alone and she knows when I don't feel good,but I'm retired,slightly disabled and can't even afford to take her to the vet for her basic shots,I have no transportation, can I register her as a support dog

Riley Thomson

Thursday 13th of December 2018

Donna, We have some information about low cost veterinary care. Also, you can check out this article for more information about Emotional Support Animals. I hope this helps. -Riley