Meow and welcome to another installment of Service Cat Monday on Friday. We’re actually going to be changin’ the name to avoid any confusion. We also want to remind you that you can ketch up on any posts you may have missed by clicking on the Training Tips and Everything Feline link in our menu. Please send us your questions and topic suggestions in the comments below or via our contact form on our contact us page.
The followin’ post will be written in human English fur reader and translator ease. Our Service Cat posts aren’t intended to be an all inclusive Trainin’ Manual but rather Tips, Tricks and Techniques used/developed by mommy A thru her many years of animal trainin’, cats in purrticular. And to offur insight into your questions about Everything Feline. Always remember, Training is all ‘bout Repetition and Rewards.
We got a great suggestion on our last post, asking us to feature other Service Cats and their duties. We so wish we could do that, but, there aren’t many actual Service Cats out there. We only know of one other, and his person/handler doesn’t like to discuss her disability or what her kitty does for her. We have to respect her right to privacy. Mommy said she agreed to be open and honest about everything when we started our crusade to bring awareness to Service Animals other than dogs, but not everyone else did. That being said, if you know of or have a Service Cat of your own, please contact us so we can share your story. You can use the contact form on our contact page or the Training Tips page. You can also send us an email directly to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s a new year and we’ve gained some new followers, so we’d like to take today to remind everybody just what a Service Cat is. According to the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act), a Service Animal is a dog that is individually Trained to do work or perform tasks for a person with a disability. There are no certifications or licensing’s required, nor is there any one place or government body overseeing the Training of such animals. Dogs and in some unique cases miniature horses are the only animals recognized as Service Animals that are afforded protections and rights under the law. The ADA definition doesn’t affect or limit the broader definition of Assistance Animal under the Fair Housing Act or the Air Carrier Access Act. That would be where our protections come into play.
A Service Animal, regardless of species is well behaved, comfortable in just about every situation and IS NOT a pet. There used to be an old saying, “Children should be seen and not heard” when in public and especially around a lot of adults. The same is true of Service Animals/Cats. A Service Animal isn’t bouncing off the walls, or barking/meowing, being a nuisance, playing or drawing attention to themselves or their handler. The exception would be if the Service Animal’s task is to alert others to it’s handlers’ situation (ie: handler is having a seizure and requires human assistance, etc.). A Service Animal stays beside their handler at all times and doesn’t pull at their leash or try to interact with other animals or humans while in public. They are not easily distracted. That’s why it’s so important to ask the Animal’s handler before interacting with/petting the animal. The Service Animal is “on duty” and is not a pet. Altho’ we think the “ask before petting” should be a rule about every animal one might encounter other than their own. Just because an animal looks cute, doesn’t give you the right to approach him/her without getting permission from the owner first.
There seems to be a lot of confusion about Service Animals, Therapy Animals and Emotional Support/Companion Animals. These three titles describe three completely different classes of animal and should not be confused with one another. We’ve given you the definition of a Service Animal and now we’ll define the Therapy animal and ESA (Emotional Support/Companion Animal.
This is probably the most recognized of the classifications and often gets confused with the Service Animal. A Therapy Animal is an animal (any species) that has been Trained to provide comfort and affection to people (other than their own humans) in hospitals, retirement facilities, schools and other such places. You might be asking what kind of Training is required to make an animal “provide comfort”. Truth is, this Training is more for the human handler than the animal. An animal chosen to be a Therapy Animal is one that is outgoing, comfortable with people and in a variety of situations, calm, and generally well behaved. Training teaches the handler how to prepare the animal (grooming, bathing, etc.) to go into these places and who/how to contact to set up visits in these places. Certification is required for Therapy Animals. If you think you have an animal that would make a good Therapy Animal, check with your shelter or the ASPCA about classes. But, a Therapy Animal Is NOT a Service Animal.
Emotional Support/Companion Animal:
The Emotional Support animal is any PET that provides health benefits to a person. That’s pretty much all animals. There’s no Training required nor any certifications. This group is growing as more and more people move into homes/apartments requiring rental assistance. Usually pet deposits./fees are waived for those who can get their doctor to write a letter stating they require their animal for emotional support. These animals ARE Pets and NOT Service Animals. This classification comes with no rights, protections or privileges under the law other than that of personal property.
The bottom line here is that all animals are special and give health benefits to their owners. But, not all animals can be called Service Animals. Mommy says we’re the most special kitty girls on the planet, but not any more special than the kitty or doggy that lives with you and gives you joy, comfort and love. We just help mommy in a different way. We still provide her with joy, comfort and lots of love, but we’ve been individually and specifically Trained to perform certain tasks that help her to live independently. We’ll be talking more about those things soon. We’ve been asked some questions that we thought we had already answered, but again, we’ve had quite a few new followers. Mommy says it never hurts to tell something again just in case it was missed the furst time. So join us here each Friday for a look into our lives as Service Cats and answers to your questions about everything Feline. Purrlease leave your questions in the comments or send us a message via email on our Contact us page. And don’t furget, you can check out all the posts in this series by visiting our Training Tips page. And let us know ifin you know a Service Cat. We’d luv to meet them and share their story with everypawdy.
Till the next time………………………………………….Be Blest!!!
Luv and Hugs and Kitty Kisses