Get the ADA to certify cats as Service Animals

Get the ADA to certify cats as Service Animals

March 1, 2020
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Signatures: 580Next Goal: 1,000
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Why this petition matters

Started by Stephanie Viveros

There is extensive evidence that supports a cat’s ability to be trained and perform tasks for those with a disability. About 3 years ago, my boyfriend and I were living with his grandfather to care for him in Corning, CA. This was not a short stay and I finally had an opportunity getting a pet of my own in hopes of easing my anxiety and providing companionship. It was a great opportunity to care for an animal and I needed to feel like I was doing something positive.

I suffer from OCD, and, at the time, there were certain obsessions and compulsions I had that interfered with my daily routine. One of my triggers was walking. I would constantly backtrack about every step I took, which caused much distress and hindered me from wanting to go out, thus, assuring me a kitten would be a better choice. Given dogs require more care and work, a kitten would give me more time to focus on bettering myself mentally.

Upon adopting my kitten, Dexter, I was able to do many things I was unable to in the past. I was put in a position where I had to push myself in doing tasks for dexter, like feeding him, playing with him and taking him to the vet etc. These were all things I would never even do for myself because my OCD kept me from even wanting to get up and shower, brush my teeth, or even eat. I would avoid all of these things for so long. I was jailed in my own mind. I was in agony 24/7 and I needed a positive change. The experience of caring for such a tiny animal gave me such joy and it caused me to come out of the dark, gloomy, endless tunnel I was in. My anxiety had gone down. I was content and I was able to muster up the ability to take better care of myself. Cooking, watching TV, health, and social interactions all once caused obsessions and compulsions. Now, not so much.

Dexter has opened a door for me where I was able to start taking little steps into strengthening my mental health and it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. So much so that I knew one day I would have many more animals and provide them with great homes and an abundance of love.

Years later I got 2 more kittens, Lucy and Winston. I knew Dexter would need a playmate and I wanted him to have company if I was gone, so I adopted Lucy. They are inseparable! I later found Winston near my home during the week of thanksgiving on a cold, rainy night. It was heart warming to know I saved him and knew I would give him a great home. They provide me with joy and comfort so I don’t feel so alone, even though I am most of the days. There is great importance in having an animal. An animal does not have to be for a physical disability, it can also be for hidden disabilities like OCD, PTSD, Depression, and Anxiety. A cat can be trained to alert the on set of seizures, detect and prevent anxiety attacks, and lower stress levels. Therefore, I am advocating for my cats Dexter, Lucy, and Winston, and all other cats that make a difference in a person’s life to be considered a “service animal” under the ADA. With this revision, cats will be able to accompany their owners to more places. All which are only provided for dogs and miniature horses at this time. Help me make a difference so that more cat owners can have the same opportunity as service dog owners and be able to live a happier and more comfortable life.

Reasons why we should get the ADA to recognize cats as service animals:

  • Cats can recognize signs of a seizure
  • They relieve anxiety
  • Help with PTSD
  • People may prefer a smaller animal to bring around
  • They are capable of doing many tasks like, dialing 911 and closing doors
  • Easier to care for
  • Therapeutic

Top 2 proven benefits & studies of service cats:

  1. "Petting a cat has been shown to lower heart rate as well as systolic and diastolic blood pressure, says Dr. Johnson-Walker". [1]
  2. In one study, researchers followed 4,435 people for 13 years. People who had owned cats in the past were less likely to die from a heart attack during that time than people who had never owned cats—even when accounting for other risk factors like blood pressure, cholesterol, smoking, and body mass index. [2]




If you are like me, and your disability limits you to fully meeting a dog's needs, cats are a great alternative in providing the same amount of love and support. By getting the ADA to revise the rules and regulations on service animals we could have more opportunists in life, potentially allowing us to work again with the assistance of our cats, and run errands and going back to school. These are all very important reasons of why we should get cats to be recognized as service animals under the ADA.

Sign and share this petition to get the ADA amended so cats can be recognized as service animals and can have the same rights as dogs and miniature horses.


  1. [1] Newman, Kira M. “The Science-Backed Benefits of Being a Cat Lover.” Greater Good, Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkely, 8 Aug. 2018,
  2. [2] Harper, Hannah. “Happy, Healthy Humans.” Health, vol. 34, no. 2, Mar. 2020, p. 76. EBSCOhost,
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