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ESA For Cats: A Guide on Picking The Right Breed

Have you heard about Dexter the peacock? Dexter was an emotional support animal (ESA) who spurred changes about what ESAs could fly with their owners. 

Dexter was a very unique emotional support animal; however, most emotional support animals are run-of-the-mill furry friends like cats or dogs. While cats often get the reputation of being aloof, they can actually make excellent ESAs. 

Today we are going to cover some cat breeds that we love and feel would make great ESAs. Are you ready to dive in? Purrlease, let’s continue…

Table of Contents

What Qualities Should an Emotional Support Cat Possess?

Getting a cat as an ESA is an excellent choice for many people. You don’t have to worry about standing outside shivering in the cold while your pet does their business, and many cats have great personalities. 

However, if you’re on your way to pick up your new furry friend, there are some paw-some qualities you should be on the lookout for. 


When you’re picking a cat for an ESA, you want it to be friendly. However, it shouldn’t just be friendly to you. 

Because you can take your ESA into public spaces, you want them to be friendly to others as well. 

Calm and Consistent

Playful cats are great, and it’s okay if your ESA cat has playful moments; however, overall, they should have the ability to stay calm. 

They should also have the ability to be consistent so that when you take them into public spaces, you know they’ll behave. 


What kind of situations will your ESA be in? Are they able to maintain the same traits that make them a good ESA even in unusual surroundings? 

If your furry friend becomes stressed, it will be hard for them to keep you calm. 


Some cats do live up to the reputation of being aloof. They’re the kings and queens of their domain and only need you to fill their bowls and clean their royal sandboxes. 

However, if you’re getting a cat choosing a breed that is more attentive and social could be to your benefit.  

Harness Training

If you plan to take your ESA cat out into public spaces, you’ll want them to be harness and leash trained. Some cats do well with harness training; however, not all do. 

If your cat is very confident or still young, it’s easier to leash train them. 


When it comes down to our final factor, it’s more of a personal choice. While some owners might not want a cuddly cat, other owners will benefit from choosing a cat that is cuddly. 

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Due to the new Department of Transportation (DOT) policy, Emotional Support Animals are NO longer allowed to fly in airplane cabins for free. However, Psychiatric Service Dogs are eligible.

What Breeds Are Good for Emotional Support Cats?

If you’re getting a cat for your ESA, you should keep the above qualities in mind. However, every cat has its own unique personality, and even if they’re not a breed that is well known for having those traits, they might. 

Also, keep in mind that the reverse is true as well. A cat that is known for certain traits won’t necessarily have them; they’re just more likely to. 

However, if you’re looking for your “purrfect” companion, we have a few breeds you can look at to find the traits you want. 


Ragdoll Cats

Ragdoll cats are actually a newer breed of cat in comparison to other breeds. However, you wouldn’t guess that from the popularity. 

The story about the origination of ragdoll cats states that this cat breed emerged in the 1960s. It talks about a cat named Josephine who was hit by a car. 

At the time, she was pregnant, and she and her kittens were saved by the vet. After recovering, Josephine developed a temperament that was very docile, and her kittens also shared that temperament. 

A cat breeder named, Ann Baker, heard about these kittens and purchased several. She continued to breed them and paid attention to the temperaments. Thus, the ragdoll cat was born. 

Physical Traits

Ragdoll cats are a larger breed. Male cats can weigh up to 20 pounds. 

The ragdoll cat always has a white or cream-colored body, but they also will have points of color on their face, legs, and tails. these points of colors can be teal, blue, lilac, chocolate, lynx, red, tortie, or cream. 

In addition, ragdoll cats have semi-long fur and blue eyes. 

Personality Traits

Ragdoll cats have several traits that make them a good choice for emotional support animals. These cats are affectionate, obedient, intelligent, docile, and even patient with children. 

While you don’t want to allow a ragdoll cat to go outside on its own because of its trusting nature, these cats can enjoy the outdoors with you on a leash. 

ragdoll cat looking cute
American bobtail

American Bobtail

Cats with shortened tails have been around for years; however, it wasn’t until the 1960s that American bobtail cats were recognized as a breed of their own. This breed, in part, began with John and Brenda Sanders. 

While on vacation in Arizona, they found a cat with a bobtail. They took him home and let him mate with their female cat. 

The kittens that were born had sweet temperaments and shortened tails. 

Physical Traits

American bobtails are strong and muscular cats. They tend to weigh between seven and 16 pounds. 

Their coat can range from short to long, but it’s usually shaggy. The color of their coat and eyes can vary. 

Personality Traits

American bobtails are very affectionate, friendly, and intelligent. They also tend to be great with kids and other animals. 

These cats tend to be moderately to highly playful. American bobtails are known as “the golden retrievers of the feline world” because of their personalities. 

Manx Cats

Manx cats are well known because they don’t have tails.

The Manx cat has been recognized as a breed since the 1800s. This was one of the original show cats in cat shows in Great Britain. 

Their history begins on an island called, Isle of Man. There are many folklores surrounding this cat; most of them have to do with why it does not have a tail. 

There are even stories that state when Noah shut the door to the ark, the Manx cat’s tail got caught in the door and cut off. 

Physical Traits

Manx cats are medium-sized cats. They typically weigh between eight and twelve pounds. 

There are short and long-haired varieties of Manx. Their coat and eye color can vary. 

Personality Traits

Manx are very intelligent, friendly, playful, and affectionate. These cats are also good with kids and other pets. 

If you’re looking for a cat with a higher energy level, the Manx is an excellent choice. A Manx cat will be very devoted to your family. 

minx cat
persian cat1

Persian Cats

Persian cats are one of the oldest cat breeds. These gorgeous cats can get traced back to the 1600s. 

There are not many answers about where these cats came from; however, many believe they originated in Mesopotamia. 

Mesopotamia was later called Persia, which inspired the name of these felines. Today we know Persia as Iran. Many believe that European explorers smuggled these cats out of Persia in the 17th century. 

Physical Traits

Persians are another medium cat, but they’re very sturdy. They typically weigh between seven and twelve pounds. 

Persians are long-haired cats. Their coats and eyes can come in a variety of colors. 

Personality Traits

Persian cats are affectionate and enjoy getting attention. While they do like attention, they don’t need constant attention. 

These cats are known to be quiet and sweet. However, they are at times more reserved around newer people until they get to know them. 

If you’re looking for a cat, who is content getting held in your lap and cuddled, Persian cats should be your choice. 

Russian Blue Cats

Russian Blue cats are a rare breed. Their history is largely unknown.

However, it’s believed they originated in Northern Russia on the Archangel Isles. The first public appearance of this cat was in 1875 at the London Crystal Palace; at the time, it was called the Archangel Cat. 

Rumors state that Russian blues are the descendants of the cats that were owned by Russian Czars. It’s believed these cats made their way to northern Europe in the mid-1860s on a ship. 

However, the first mention of the Russian blue cat isn’t until the 19th century. 

Physical Traits

The weight of this cat can vary based on gender. While males tend to be between ten and twelve pounds, females range from seven to ten pounds. 

Russian blue cats have short coats that are dark gray and tipped with silver. They do not have a pattern, but kittens can have stripes that disappear in adulthood. 

As kittens, Russian blues have yellow eyes with green rims. In adulthood, their eyes turn bright green. 

Personality Traits

Russian blue cats are loyal and have sweet temperaments. These cats will follow you everywhere, and they might even greet you at the front door. 

These cats are very affectionate and social, but they enjoy alone time as well. One thing to watch is that when visitors come over or large gatherings occur, a Russian blue might hide. 

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maine coon cat 2021 08 26 17 36 02 utc 1 1

Maine Coon Cats

There is a popular folklore story that Maine coons are the result of a raccoon breeding with a cat. However, these stories are not true.  

This cat resembles Norwegian forest cats. Because of this, it’s believed Maine coons are the result of American domestic cats and long-haired cats brought over from Europe breeding.

Maine coons were declared the official cat of Maine in 1895. 

Physical Traits

Maine coons are one of the largest breeds of domestic cats. However, what makes these cats seem even bigger are their long, double coat. 

Their coat can come in a variety of 75 different colors. Their eyes are green, gold, green-cold, or copper.

Personality Traits

Maine Coons are not as affectionate and friendly as some of the other breeds discussed above; however, they’re still known as gentle giants.

These cats do tend to have high energy levels, and they are also very playful and intelligent. 

If you’re looking for a cat that’s affectionate, but won’t feel the constant need to be all over you, a Maine coon could be the right choice for your ESA


The Siamese cat has a history that’s long. This cat originated in Thailand, which was known as Siam in the past. 

These cats were first described and depicted in a collection of ancient manuscripts. These were called “Tamra Maew,” which translated to “The Cat-Book Poems.” 

It is believed that these writings came from the Ayutthaya Kingdom and were written between the 14th and 18th centuries. This speaks to the long history of Siamese cats. 

One of the big perks of Siamese cats is that they are hypoallergenic. 

Physical Traits

Siamese cats are slim, but they have muscular bodies. Their weight normally ranges from six to 14 pounds. 

Their coats are short and can be a variety of colors that include: 

  • chocolate / brown / sable
  • cinnamon
  • lavender/silver
  • fawn
  • blue / gray
  • black / ebony
  • cream / beige / tan
  • lilac
  • white

 Siamese cats have blue eyes. 

Personality Traits

Siamese cats are very loyal and have great temperaments. Their temperament tends to make them social, affectionate, neurotic, and bold. These cats are highly intelligent and playful. 

While Siamese cats are friendly towards humans they’re also very territorial. Another reason these cats make excellent emotional support animals is that they are easy to train. 


siamese cat 2022 02 12 17 48 28 utc 1 1

Find Certification for ESA for Cats

Cats can be excellent emotional support animals. However, there are some traits you should look for if you’re choosing a cat for your ESA. 

These traits will help your cat be the “purrfect” companion for you. Are you looking for certification for ESA for cats? 

We’re here to help you. Contact American Service Pets today to discuss your emotional support animal certification needs. 


ESA or PSA Certification?

The benefits of an Emotional Support Animal certification and a Psychiatric Service Dog certification are drastically different. Fortunately for you, American Service Pets’ network of active board certified doctors can help you find the right path to certification. To find out whether you need an ESA or PSD letter, take our easy, three-step Pet Owner Survey!


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