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.
Why Can’t I Call a Therapy or Companion Animal a Service Animal?
Well here we awe wiff pawrt 2 of meez series ‘bout “Working Animals”. We told you da definition of a Service Animal yesfurday, and ifin yous missed it you can click here to read it. So today me wants to tell you ‘bout Therapy and Companion Animals. We did weceive a comment yesfurday dat maybe we shuld have addwessed in our posty but sincce we planned on writin’ more ‘bout Service cats we didn’t cover everyfin’. We just gave a bwoad overview. But me wuld like to add dat Certification and/or Licensing IS NOT required fur Service Animals. There awe weputable agencies dat do certify them. This is sumfin’ dat be completely voluntary on da pawrt of da handler. Da benefit to certificatiion is dat you have an agency behind you dat offen has lawyers dat will help you fur furee ifin yous have difficulties wiff accessibility or such. wiff yous Service animal. So dat bein sed let’s move on today.
Weez been weferred to as Therapy cats and even Companion animals fwum time to time, and altho’ weez not get angwy we do correct peeps. But what zactly is a Therapy animal mommy? Will yous tell everypawdy what da definition and qualifications awe?
I sure will Dezi. A Therapy animal is different from a Service animal in the duties they perform and should not be confused with or called a Service animal. A Therapy animal is one that is TRAINED to provide comfort and affection to people in long term care, hospitals, retirement homes, schools, mental health institutions and other stressful situations to include disaster areas. They provide people with comforting animal contact whether they have a disability or not. The person who brings the animal to these places is called a handler and is most often the owner of the animal. Therapy animals and their handlers DO NOT have the same rights as a Service animal and it’s handler. It is important to remember that it’s the person with disabilities that have rights under the rules of the ADA and not the Service animal itself. Since the Therapy animal is most often owned by a non disabled person, the Therapy animal is not allowed to accompany their handler into places that don’t allow pets/animals such as restaurants, grocery stores, etc..
Dat’s a big diffewence isn’t it mommy?
Yes it is Dezi. And that’s why we correct people when they call you and Lexi Therapy cats. You and Lexi perform trained duties related to my disability. Whereas a Therapy animal has no such training. They are wonderful animals and are chosen for training because of their gentle and outgoing disposition and ability to remain calm around people with all kinds of illnesses like your friend Sophie from Kitty Cat Chronicles pictured above.
We do luv Sophie and all hers furmily. Can you tell everypawdy what a Companion Animal is mommy? Cuz me knows they awe weally diffewent than Service animals and Therapy animals.
Yes they are Dezi, and I would be happy to explain the differences. A companion animal is any PET that provides health benefits to a person. They may help to relieve stress. But their main “job” is to provide company, amusement and psychological help just to name a few. NO specific TRAINING is required. In my opinion ALL pets can be considered Companion Animals. After all most people get a pet because they want the love and affection an animal can give. Your friend Buddy in the photo below is a perfect example of a Companion Animal. His daddy is alone and needed the company. And Buddy provides him with hours of entertainment and lots of love. He kind of gives mr. W a purpose.
Me agwees mommy. And we have a few furiends dat be Companion animals fur sure. We even have sum furiends who awe trained Therapy animals. And me finks they do a gweat job and a good fing to help ease udders stwess and fears. And we have a few furiends dat be Trained Service animals too.
Y’all sure do Dezi. And they are all wonderful. And even tho’ you and Lexi have been trained to work and I think y’all are very special, that doesn’t mean that y’all are any better than any of your friends. You are all special in your own way.
Me agwees again mommy. All our furiends awe special and beluvved by their hoomans and us. Me weally purreciates you helpin’ me define da diffewent types of “working animals” fur our furiends. We do hope you all have learned a bit fwum these definitions. And me hopes you all have enjoyed learnin’ ‘bout da diffewences in “working animals”. We will be tellin’ sum twainin’ stowries fur you all to read, enjoy and maybe even laff at. And one of our dear furiends, da Kitties Blue asked ifin we had fawt ‘bout makin’ these definitions available all da time usin’ da menu, so weez gunna be addin’ this to our menu options soon. (furst mommy has to member how to add it-mol) And we wanted to give you a little update on sis Lexi. She be feelin’ much better now dat she be gettin’ antibiotics. We still have a big fank you to send out but mommy fell asleep at da puter again yesfurday. She sez she weally needs to get sum sleep, but we do fank all of you dat helped make gettin’ sissy medicine pawssible. One she gets well, weez’ll only have da CKD to manage.
And this be da last day to enter to win dat pawsum Pagoda Fountain fwum PetSafe. So ifin yous not entered yet, click here to do so.
And don’t furget to enter fur yous chance to win a case of da pawsum Weruva noms by clickin’ here.
Why Can’t I call a Therapy Animal or Companion Animal a Service Animal?
Three words, three diffewent meanings. And yet so many peeps still use these terms interchangeably. But they’re not. Interchangeable me means. They mean 3 diffewent things and descwibe 3 diffewent types of animals wiff diffewent twainin’ levels and skills. It sumtimes hurts our feelings to be called therapy or companion kitties but we know peeps awe usually sayin’ it cuz they don’t know da diffewence. Mommy on da udder hand gets weally uptight ‘bout it. She sez there’s a big diffewence and it shows diswespect to those who have worked so hawd to twain to be Service animals. And dat peeps takin’ advantage of da old ADA rule by passin’ off therapy and companion animals and even pets as Service animals is what caused da ADA to change da definitions and exclude sum species, like us kitties. Altho’ we do still enjoy sum benefits, weez not as purrtected unnew da law as we once was. Isn’t dat wight mommmy?
Yes dear that’s right.
Mommy wuld you give everypawdy da definitions of a Service, Therapy and Companion Animal?
I would be happy to Dezi. Why don’t we start with Service Animals. According to the ADA website, on March 15, 2011 ONLY dogs are recognized as Service Animals under titles 2 and 3 of the ADA (Americans with Disablity Act). The rules used to read: A Service Animal is an animal(dog)that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for a person with disabilities. After 2011 it replaces the word animal with dog. The ADA recognizes that Service animals are not PETS, but working animals. However they now only recognize dogs as such animals. The work the animal (dog) is trained to perform must be directly related to the persons disability. Animals (dogs) whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support DO NOT qualify as Service Animals under the ADA. It goes further to say: This definition does NOT affect or limit the broader definition of “Assistance Animal” under the Fair Housing Act or the broader definition of “Service Animal” under the Air Carrier Access Act. Some State and local laws have broader definitions regarding Service Animals. You should check with your local government and ordinances if you have questions with regards to accessibility or other protections and rights afforded you under the laws of your state.
Dat’s why we be called Service Animals isn’t it mommy? Cuz weez been TRAINED to purrfurm duties diwectly welated to yous disability?
Yes it is sweety. And before 2011 Lexi and those who came before her were certified. You were tested, certified and recognized as a highly trained Service Animal as well, but the ADA dusn’t recognize you as one. We are still protected under the law and benefit from certain rules and regulations, but there are some benefits we can no longer receive. You and sis Lexi can no longer apply to be sponsored as Service animals. There are companies that sponsor Service animals for one thing. And a Sponsorship means they provide the animal with food, supplies, toys and pay all medical expenses for them. Since people with disabilities are usually on a fixed income, sponsorship is a great benefit and help.
It’s gweat to be a Service animal mommy. Meez purroud me can help you even ifin da ADA dusn’t wecognize me.
I know baby and I really do appreciate you and your sister. Y’all are a great help to me. And I love you both very much.
Oh mommy we luv you too. Me finks we might shuld cover da udder workin’ animals in anudder posty mommy? Me finks this might be a lot to digest and me dusn’t want anypawdy to be confused ‘bout da diffewences. What do yous fink mommy?
I think you’re absolutely right Dezi. I think we shuld let everypawdy absorb this. It is a lot of information but we do hope to clear things up for people by the end of this series. Why don’t you list a few of the “jobs” you and Lexi perform for me so that our friends will know what kinds of things are considered “trained behaviors that qualify y’all as Service Animals”.
Oh me wuld luv to mommy. Lexi and me have been trained to drive mommys wheelchair, dial 911 fur help, give her massages, and our biggy is dat we alert mommy afur she passes out so she can get sumwhere safe and not dwop all da way to da floor and get hurt. We do hope dat yous all enjoy our series on Working animals and will keep coming back to read da whole series. Weez will cover Therapy and Companion Animals and tell sum trainin’ stowries of our own as pawrt of this series.
And ifin yous haven’t alweady entered, we have 2 pawsum give aways goin’ on wight now.
You can enter to win yous choice of PetSafe’s Pagoda fountain here.
And you can enter to win yous choice of a case of Weruva TruLuxe canned food here.
These pawsum give aways awe pawrt of our series on hydwation and weez very gwateful to da sponsors fur allowin’ us to offer you all a chance to twy their purroducts fur yous selff. And stay tuned, we have more pawsum give aways comin’ up this mumff. And just to clear up one thing, ifin yous alweady follow meez bloggy by email, then yous not have to do it again.