Everyone knows about Emotional Support Animals — pets prescribed by a therapist for a human suffering some sort of mental or emotional disability. Really, all that therapist’s letter does is get your small cat or dog on a plane without paying the pet fee, or help you get into housing that does not normally allow pets. Other than this, Emotional Support Animals are pets like any other, and they can’t go anywhere other pets aren’t allowed. Nevertheless, they are an important part of their humans’ lives.
That’s all well and good, but what about Emotional Support Humans? Don’t lie to me, I know some of you kitties rely on your humans for emotional support. Yes, you over there, hiding under the bed. Especially you. Many cats are in need of this type of emotional support, and you should not be embarrassed by it. Why, even I need an Emotional Support Human when I travel! I don’t think I could leave town without one. Fortunately, my human serves in this capacity quite well. She monitors me all the time to make sure I’m not stressed out by the goings on in strange places. I could not do Therapy Cat work without her.
So do you have an Emotional Support Human? Or do you think you need one? Here are five fast facts to help you learn more about them.
- Unlike with Emotional Support Animals, you do not need a letter from a therapist to have an Emotional Support Human! Which is a good thing, since most cats don’t have therapists. In fact, I don’t know of any cats that are in therapy with a psychologist. Cat behavior experts don’t count as cat therapists — they are there to train the humans.
- The majority of Emotional Support Humans don’t have any formal training. They are just nice people who are especially in tune with cats’ behavior and needs. Some of them do learn more in depth when it comes to cat behavior, but it only enhances their abilities as Emotional Support Humans. It doesn’t replace the inner knowledge already there.
- Emotional Support Humans often can be found volunteering at cat rescues and animal shelters. Sure, they learn more about cats by spending time at these places, but it’s the initial desire to do this sort of work that indicates they have that inner sense that makes for a good Emotional Support Human.
- It is easy to tell an Emotional Support Human from one who doesn’t have this ability. Hey, you’re a cat. You sense these things. Enough said.
- If you are an Emotional Support Cat, chances are your human is not an Emotional Support Human. Yes, these humans are way more in tune with you than other humans might be, but the relationship is different. These humans need you, not the other way around. You are the strong one in the team. You’re their rock, their emotional safe place. Even though they care for your daily needs and make sure you are healthy and happy, it’s you who helps them through the dark times. Maybe someday down the line, when you are older and not as lively as you are now, your Emotional Support Human will become the strong one. It’s all part of growing as a living being.
Hey you under the bed — do you still doubt your human is an Emotional Support Human? Didn’t she let you stay down there, with some food, a litter box and toys in the room, and just leave you alone? What about the fact that she didn’t force herself on you? Didn’t that make you feel safe? And isn’t it good to know that if you ever feel the need, she will be there for you… but only when you are ready? An Emotional Support Human knows a cat’s ways and needs, and fulfills them above their own. And if you have a human like that — whether you’re scared and need space, or you’re desperate for attention and interaction — consider yourself very fortunate.
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