Do Cats Help With Anxiety: Is It True? | ESA Pet

Do Cats Help With Anxiety: Is It True?

Updated on May 17, 2024
Written by Brenda Mejia

fact checked by Stephane Bandeira

Cats have always been a beloved pet to many. Besides being playful and their comforting, purring sound, there are more noted therapeutic potentials they have. These are commonly for mental health.

Therapy cats have proven to be vital for many. Those who suffer from anxiety and other mental health conditions find them invaluable.

But do cats truly help with anxiety?

This article serves to answer this question. We’ll explore the world of therapy cats that provide comfort, support, and a furry shoulder to lean on in times of need.

Do Cats Help With Anxiety?

Absolutely! Cats, like other support animals, are amazing when it comes to anxiety. Their quiet purrs and soft fur help calm you down. That’s especially useful when you’re feeling all over the place.

Cats are also incredibly intelligent about people’s feelings. They study our faces and listen to our voices. They notice how we work, so they can say when we’re stressed or worried. If they sense you’re upset, they will play with you. They will also lay and nap next to you. It can make you feel so much better.

Petting a cat generates chemicals that relax you. It reduces your blood pressure and pulse energy. That tends to make your nervous thoughts slow down.

Other than that, being a cat parent can give you daily chores. Cleaning the litter box is an example of other responsibilities you would have to take on. It adds a pleasant routine to your anxious life. It strengthens the bond between the cat and its owner.

Have You Heard of a Therapy Cat?

Unlike service animals for specific duties, therapy cats offer comfort and emotional support. They excel in giving love and companionship without conditions. These cats have a keen sense for when their humans are down, providing cuddles or a soft nuzzle to lift spirits.

Therapy cats are not just for personal support at home. They bring relief in hospitals, schools, nursing homes and airports and other settings. Their training ensures they’re ready for various situations, helping many people.

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a service animal is commonly a dog. Sometimes a miniature horse also qualifies, aiding those with disabilities. 

Therapy animals, like cats, are free from such specific legal definitions. This allows them to support a broader group of individuals in many public spaces.

Mental Health Benefits of Having a Cat

Owning cats brings many mental health benefits, such as lowering stress levels and depression. Cat owners often notice a positive impact on their mental well-being. Here are some key benefits:

  • Companionship and Relief from Solitude: Cats provide a consistent source of companionship and solace. They help in relieving solitude or loneliness.
  • Emotional Support: Cats make very good emotional support animals. They provide pure love and understanding. This helps in reducing stress and living a happy life. Most of the time, they act as therapy animals in our day-to-day life.
  • Strengthening Social Connections and Lowering Stress: Cats help build human relationships and emotional support. Such bond and support may reduce stress. Sometimes, they help build community ties that help in activities that further reduce stress.
  • Reducing Depression and Anxiety: A cat in the household can help reduce depression and anxiety. They offer further comfort and work like a distraction from the stressors of everyday life.

Engaging with a cat, spending time with them, or simply having them in your home can make a world of difference. Animal shelters are a great place to find this feline friend who might just turn out to be your perfect therapy animal.

After their ability to improve mental health, their role in improving physical health comes next. Scientific research has shown that the risk factors for heart disease in cat owners may be at a lower level. For example, high blood pressure and heart rate may be at a lower level due to the soothing presence of their pets.

ESAs Owners Have Legal Rights and Benefits.

Emotional Support Animals and Therapy Animals bring you joy, company and emotional care. However, they are more than just pets. They help you cope with several mental health conditions while giving you many benefits and rights.

Learn more ESAs Benefits

Signs Your Cat is Trying to Comfort You

Cats have different ways of showing that they love us. If at all, they might do them more when we are stressed or feeling down. Knowing their secret code is going to get you and your furry friends closer, and make you feel better too!

  • Cuddling: Your cat may want to cuddle with you or may even sit in your lap to comfort you.
  • Purring: It is an elementary human quality through which the tendency of the humans to purr is quite similar to a cat.
  • Kneading: Cats might knead their paws, somewhat similar to nursing, in a loving and soothing source of gesture.
  • Head Bunting: A cat may gently bump its head against you as a sign of affection and assurance.

Cat as an Emotional Support Animal

Cats are one of the most common Emotional Support Animals (ESAs) used by many people with different types of mental health issues. This is because of their calming nature. Many times, cats usually give that sense of comfort and company by just lying around.

ESA cats don’t have to be aware of any specific skills that service animals do. Their job is to offer emotional support through their presence. While ESAs don’t have any special rights beyond regular pets, they can be invaluable companions. 

A letter from a licensed mental health professional (LMHP) can designate pet ownership of a cat as an ESA, confirming its mental health benefits to the owner, such as reducing anxiety or depression.

This documentation allows ESAs, including cats, to be accommodated under laws like the Fair Housing Act. This means they can live in no-pet housing and potentially be brought to certain public places, providing owners with comfort wherever they go.

Get an ESA Letter for Your Cat

If you are considering getting an ESA letter for your cat, ESA Pet Solution can help you sail through the process.

Just get in touch with our team, and they will walk you through getting an ESA letter for your favorite furry little friend.

With an ESA letter in hand, you are entitled to all the comfort and companionship offered by your cat, knowing fully that it is an officially recognized emotional support animal.

Get your Official ESA Letter Consultation from a licensed therapist.

Get ESA Letter Now

FAQs About Cats Assisting With Anxiety

Does Petting a Cat Reduce Anxiety?

Yes, petting a cat can be very reassuring, and relieve anxieties. It also releases feel-good hormones such as oxytocin.

Can Cats Sense Anxiety?

As intuitive creatures, cats most often know when their human friends are tense and anxious.

What Do Cats Do When They Sense a Bad Person?

A cat’s behavior, including defensive actions like hissing or hiding, often emerges when they sense a potential threat or feel uneasy around someone.

Do Cats Pick Up on Human Stress?

Yes, cats can be sensitive to environmental changes. This includes human emotions. They may respond to stress signals by comforting or seeking reassurance from them.


The special bond that tends to exist between human beings and cats has a benefit that is not only human. Whether it’s through stress reduction, providing companionship, or simply being a furry friend to share life with, cats have a profound ability to improve our lives.

Such understanding of the value cats have in promoting mental health benefits and reducing anxiety would definitely encourage bringing them into our homes and hearts, helping us to navigate the challenges of life with that little bit more ease and support.

Cats are more than a pet. It is actually a wonderful companion and sometimes much closer to an emotional support animal, probably even the therapy animal that will serve us really well. So, whenever life may seem too busy, just know the cat beside you is bringing true peace and friendship to your world.

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