Can Cats Be Service Animals
As mentioned above, a service animal is trained to complete a specific task, such as notifying a person before or during a seizure or serving as a walking guide dog. In other words, a service animal is required to do tasks that cats are not known for easily being able to learn.
Unfortunately, cats cannot be recognized as service animals. As of today, dogs are the only animals allowed to be considered service animals. Cats can however still be beneficial companions, and they can be registered as emotional support animals.
While a service animal may carry a few more benefits than an ESA, an emotional support cat is not allowed to be denied housing. While those with physical disabilities may be better suited with a service animal, anyone who is looking for a support animal for emotional relief can benefit from an emotional support cat.
Registering Your Cat As An Emotional Support Animal
You do not need to register or certify your cat as an emotional support animal. If you are asking your landlord for a reasonable accommodation for your emotional cat to be allowed to live with you in a residence that does not permit pets, all you need is a written statement from a licensed doctor, psychiatrist, social worker, or other mental health professional.
You are not required to disclose the nature of your disability. The note need only state that you have a disability and that you have a disability-related need for the assistance animal.
Therapy cats brighten the days of people hospital patients and lonely nursing home residents.
Signs Of Emotional Trauma In Cats And Dogs
Like humans, traumatized cats and dogs can develop fear and anxiety disorders, says Dr. Kelly Ballantyne, a board-certified veterinary behaviorist at the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Illinois, Chicago. Dogs and cats may attempt to escape or flee situations where frightened, they may become aggressive when interacted with or if forced out of a hiding spot, may freeze or show;avoidance behaviors such as hiding or becoming still,;and fidget by pacing, jumping up, or repeatedly pawing at their owners.
Trauma can also manifest as shaking, hiding, urination and/or defecation when the trigger attempts to interact, howling, pacing, excessive vocalization, and panting, says Pia Silvani, director of behavioral rehabilitation at the ASPCAs Behavioral Rehabilitation Center.
If you are wondering if your pet need to go to counseling to explore past issues, the answer is no. Dr. Sarah Wooten, a veterinarian based in Colorado, says the type of trauma experienced isnt as critical as what the pet learns from the experience.
These behaviors dont always result from emotional trauma, however, says Dr. Liz Stelow, chief of service of Clinical Animal Behavior Service at the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital at University of California, Davis.
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What Is Ptsd Pet Therapy
Studies show that one way to alleviate the symptoms of PTSD is frequent interaction with animals. Pet therapy is a guided interaction between a person and a trained animal, with additional support provided by the animalâs handler. The purpose of pet therapy is to help someone recover from or cope with mental anguish.
The most common animals used for therapy are dogs and cats, although fish, guinea pigs, and horses may also be utilized, depending on the circumstance. The type of animal chosen usually depends on the treatment plan set in place between the patient and their therapist, as well as personal comfort levels and preferences. Another name for pet therapy is Animal-Assisted Therapy , which specifically refers to a formal, structured set of sessions that help people reach specific goals throughout their treatment process.
Cats Won’t Take Your Bullshit
Cats demand respect and are notorious for acting aloof and unimpressed. While cats can be affectionate and playful, they will also make it abundantly clear when they want a certain human behavior to stop, and when they want alone time.
The therapeutic value: your relationship with your feline friend will be built upon a foundation of respect and consideration.
By owning a therapy cat, there will be plenty of opportunities to learn about boundaries. In psychotherapy, boundaries are one of the most important concepts therapists teach clients.
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Characteristics Of Aai For Trauma
Despite inconsistent terminology, all studies were consistent in that they each presented an animal for individuals who had experienced trauma. The most common animal species were dogs and horses, with a small subset of studies also including a range of farm animals. The settings with dogs were more variable than those with horses or farm animals, which were limited to outdoor farms and riding centers. Interventionists included personnel with a range of backgrounds in both human-focused and animal-focused domains. Limited information regarding specific AAI training for interventionists was provided. We recommend that future studies provide specific details about both animal and interventionist background, training, and experience with AAI.
‘every Adoption Saves Two Lives’
Vietnam-era veterans have a higher incidence of post-traumatic stress than other modern wartime veteran populations, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
The;National Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Study, conducted in the mid-1980s, estimated that about 30% of Vietnam-era veterans will have PTSD. That’s about three times the incidence in Gulf War veterans ;and more than twice that of the Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran population .
Since 2010, Pets for Patriots has connected;service members from WWII to those presently serving with at-risk shelter pets that can provide companionship during difficult times, said Beth Zimmerman, the organization’s founder and executive director.
” give them a renewed sense of;purpose,” she said. “They give them something else to focus on besides what they may be experiencing in their own emotional world.”
Since its inception, the organization has facilitated 2,339 adoptions with partner agencies in more than 40 states. Veterans who meet eligibility requirements are often able to adopt their companion dog or cat at a discounted rate determined by the shelter and will receive a $150 gift card to buy food and other pet essentials after the adoption is confirmed.
Discounts at partner veterinary care facilities across the country help keep caring for the pet more affordable, decreasing the animal’s chances of being surrendered or euthanized for financial reasons.
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Emotional Support Animals Can Help Us Heal And Recover From Trauma
Pets can offer an unmatched level of support to trauma survivors attempting to cope with the emotional aftermath of a traumatic event. A beloved and trusted pet can act as a lifeline when the person they live with experiences posttraumatic stress or is otherwise emotionally distressed. In short, a pets very presence can often work a particular kind of healing magic.
Pets known to offer support through the roller-coaster journey to heal from emotional trauma may be referred to as emotional support animals.;Emotional support animals differ from working service animals in that the latter are trained rigorously for the purpose of helping people with particular, individualized needs. Our pets, on the other hand, do not need to be trained to provide natural healing. By simply playing with or cuddling our pets, we can benefit from the calming, soothing effect of their company. Even without training, our pets can help us cope with symptoms of anxiety and depression, fear, and the handful of other tough emotions likely to follow a traumatic experience.
Cats Show Owners A Particularly Unique Side
Cats, more so than dogs, will be more wary of strangers and new scents, because they are both prey and predator in the wild. This means you’ll form a unique bond with your cat, and they’ll make you feel special during one on one time. It’s kind of like individual therapya statement I make in jest.
Alone time with your cat is absolutely no substitute for psychotherapy with a trained professional. But in the grand scheme of things, weekly time spent in the presence of a therapist is nominal. So for all those times you find yourself dealing with psychological hardship, while not sitting safely on your therapist’s couch, your cat can be there for you and provide the emotional solace you need.
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Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Ptsd
Post-traumatic stress disorder, also known as PTSD, is something most people have heard of at least once. However, this does not mean that this is a well understood medical situation. But on the contrary, this is quite a badly misunderstood disorder. The majority of people connect the PTSD to war veterans or first aiders. In reality, however, so many more people around the world are affected.
Post-traumatic stress disorder is a very common illness. Around 1.45 billion people are affected worldwide. Diagnosis has become a hot topic, especially because of its well-known and increasingly controversial treatment with opioids. The problem, however, is that many of these medicines have a long list of side effects.
Fortunately, the cannabinoid CBD is establishing itself as a promising alternative for medical professionals around the world. Research done so far shows that CBD can reduce anxiety, prevent the buildup of fear memories, and improve sleep. Lets take a closer look at how CBD can help with PTSD, what PTSD is and what medical research says.
How Pets Can Help Combat Ptsd
Transitioning back to civilian life can be a complicated process for a veteran. He or she is, of course, happy to return home and no longer be in active danger, but many find it difficult to talk to friends and family about the things they have seen or done. Some may find that the life they knew seems to have moved on without them, leaving them lonely and wondering about their next step. Others find it hard to release the hyper-awareness they were required to develop during combat for survival.
Whatever the reason, many veterans struggle with deep depression, anxiety, and PTSD, leading to the tragic statistic that a veteran commits suicide every 65 minutes. Thankfully, researchers are beginning to find good statistic support for the idea that a pet can help veterans struggling with PTSD. Along with increased serotonin levels in veterans after interacting with service pets, pets offer many helpful benefits to their veteran owners.
Having a pet for a veteran is truly be more than just a luxury; it might be a lifeline to help him or her transition back into civilian life and combat the hidden but dangerous emotional struggles so many experience. With love and affection, a pet can offer a veteran almost as much care as it receives.
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What Makes A Good Assistance Dog
People suffering from PTSD require a calm companion who doesnt behave unpredictably. Service dogs begin training at a young age, often as early as eight weeks, and are carefully screened by trainers to ensure that they possess the right temperament. Beyond this, fully trained dogs are assessed in terms of compatibility before being placed with a patient.
Vital qualities in an assistance dog include high levels of friendliness, patience, confidence and a gentle nature. They must also be at ease in all kinds of situations. The dogs need to be comfortable with extensive human contact that may see them handled and petted somewhat clumsily by unfamiliar people.
Needs vary from person to person, but assistance dogs can be trained to carry out a range of useful actions specific to improving the quality of life for someone afflicted by post traumatic stress disorder. Disability-mitigating tasks such as these include:
- Fetching medication
Is There Such A Thing As A Service Cat
The U.S. Department of Justice doesn’t currently recognize cats as service animals. However, some people refer to cats trained to perform assistive tasks as “service cats” they just don’t have the same privileges as animals legally recognized as service animals, such as accompanying their pet parent into a store.
While cats aren’t technically service animals, emotional support cats and therapy cats provide an important service to their pet parents and others.
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How To Find The Perfect Pet
If youve decided that owning a pet is right for you, congratulations: youre about to open your life to a unique and rewarding relationship. While people who have pets tend to be happier, more independent, and feel more secure than those without pets, its important to select the type of pet that best suits your needs and lifestyle.
Talk to other members of your household and agree on the qualities you want in a pet and those that youd prefer to avoid. In the case of dogs, mans best friend comes in countless breeds or mix of breeds, each offering a different blend of personality traits.
If youre looking for something smaller or with less energy, then maybe a cat or a rabbit would be right for you and your family. Here are some things to ask yourself when looking for the perfect pet:
Ultimately, when choosing a pet, be honest with yourself about the lifestyle you enjoy and the kind of pet youd like to care for. If youre in doubt about caring for a larger animal, start small, get a fish or a smaller, caged animal. See how it fits and go from there.
Shelter and rescue animals
Certifying Your Cat As A Therapy Animal
If you would like to volunteer your time and share your cat with people in need, you might enjoy pet therapy. Therapy animals require training and/or evaluation to ensure they are calm and accepting many different types of environments and people.
Therapy cats should not be upset by wheelchairs, people using walkers, the loud clanging of dropped instruments, energetic children, or people who move or speak differently. Not every cat is well-suited for therapy work.
A good candidate is a cat that is naturally friendly toward people and other animals, curious, calm and well-behaved. A therapy cat should also be comfortable traveling in a carrier and used to wearing a collar and harness and walking on a leash.
Most places that facilitate therapeutic visitation and animal-assisted therapy require therapy animals to be certified and registered before they can volunteer. Becoming certified allows you to attend therapy visits at places with programs in place, and also ensures you and your cat are insured should an issue arise during a therapy visit.
There are several large organizations that certify cat and owner therapy teams, including Pet Partners and Love on a Leash. Smaller, regional programs are sometimes available as well. Ask your veterinarian or local animal shelter if for a referral to a pet therapy organization that accepts cats.
Emotional support cats do not need to be certified or registered.
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Needy Cat The Best Medicine For Decorated Soldier Coping With Ptsd And Depression
A decorated Army veteran found peace with the help of an attention-seeking, needy cat after her service in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Katrina enlisted in the Army in February 2005 and was stationed at Fort Hood, Texas. Several months later she was deployed to Iraq for a year and subsequently to Afghanistan for 15 months.
During her deployments Katrina worked as a motor transport operator, attached to an engineering unit that was responsible for fixing roads.
I have many experiences that stick out and are part of my reoccurring day/nightmares, Katrina says of her time in service.
One memory came during her second deployment, in Qalat, Afghanistan.
I had landed at FOB Wolverine and within an hour, we had incoming. One had landed not 20 meters from where I was standing and I did not have any armor on. Definitely stood out in my mind, she recalls.
The CAB provides special recognition to soldiers who engage with the enemy in a combat zone. And the Purple Heart is awarded to service members who are wounded or killed during enemy action.
After her tour of duty, Katrina transferred to the Army Reserves. She participates in monthly drills and will continue to serve until her separation in December 2021.
A feline friend
The Army veterans ex ultimately returned Fatty to her, but at the time she wanted an animal for her own mental health.
What Happens When A Cat Is Traumatized
Signs of Emotional Trauma in Cats and Dogs Trauma can also manifest as shaking, hiding, urination and/or defecation when the trigger attempts to interact, howling, pacing, excessive vocalization, and panting, says Pia Silvani, director of behavioral rehabilitation at the ASPCAs Behavioral Rehabilitation Center.
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Emotional Support Cats Vs Therapy Cats Vs Service Animals
There are several different types of support animals. Understanding the difference can help you determine which will best serve your needs. Different support animals have different protections as well, which youll need to know if you plan to take your emotional support cat with you when traveling or under other circumstances.;
A Whole Host Of Different Animal Therapies
Theres a whole host of different Animal Therapies from specifically trained psychiatric dog to service animals, therapy pets, and companion animals, all of which can play into helping those with PTSD symptoms.
We also talked with Animal trainer, Clarissa Black who founded Pets for Vets in California some seven years ago after making therapy visits with her dog to a VA Hospital. She started the program after seeing how the veterans faces lit up when she brought the dog in for a visit. Pets for Vets, is in over 19 states and the District of Columbia. It is all about matching the veteran with the right pet, whether it be a cat, dog, bird, or something more exotic.
Someone might think they want a certain breed because they are cute or cuddly, only to find, they dont fit their lifestyle at all. Trained volunteers profile whats best pet personality for the vet, and then work with shelters to find the right fit. Its matchmaking at its best.
Do you think cats, or other pets, can help people with PTSD? Do you know anyone with PTSD that has benefits from a pet? Do you know anyone that might benefit from owning a pet, even if its not a cat? Please weigh in on this thought-provoking discussion and share your thoughts.
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