Home » How To Train A Cat To Become An Emotional Support Animal?

How To Train A Cat To Become An Emotional Support Animal?

Posted on April 25, 2023 by Lisa Tevis
No doubt cats can be great emotional support animals, but a little more training can make them excellent. However, cats require less upkeep than dogs and are simple to train to do simple chores or tricks.

While cats may not be traditionally trained in the same way as dogs. They can still provide comfort and support to you with emotional or psychological disabilities such as loneliness, depression, and anxiety.

Read our complete guide to know; how you can train your cat to become an emotional support cat and related training things.

How To Train A Cat To Become An Emotional Support Animal?

Cat Training: Basic Skills To Teach Your Emotional Support Cat

Emotional support animals are not required to be trained to assist their owners daily. However, you can provide your cat with some basic training so they can follow your instructions easily and behave appropriately in public places.

There is a common misconception among pet parents that cat training is similar to dog training. But sadly, that’s not true. Both of them are different creatures with unique personalities and lifestyles. As a result, training a cat is entirely a unique experience than training a dog. Consider the following points while training your cat.

Recall Training

Any cat needs to learn to come when called, but an ESA cat needs excellent recall skills. Like housetraining, recall training also requires time to come into action. But if you give your cat rewards or treats each time she responds to her name, she’ll soon begin to think that being around you is the best place in the world as she identifies her recall cue with good things over time.

Get Your Cat Train To Use Litter Box

Training your cat to use a litter box is crucial in teaching them how to urinate properly. Firstly find a precise location to place it and then begin instructing your cat to do the same. The best trick to teach your cat how to use a litter box is to get the cat into it after eating and gently clean the sand off its paws until it urinates. Repeat the same process several times until your cat understands the need for the litter box and begins using it independently.

Train Your Cat To Walk With Leash

When going for a walk, it’s important that your emotional support cat can walk comfortably with a leash without chewing or dragging it. To achieve this, train your cat to walk with a loose leash. To start loose leash training, take your cat to a park or a quiet neighborhood street if you don’t have your backyard. Also, make sure to provide high-quality treats when training your cat. If you want your cat to walk in a certain way, be sure that you choose the best strategy that will work best for you and your emotional support cat.

Train Your Cat To Come When Called

Another essential behavior to train your cat with is to respond when called. Chosen a few gestures or words, like come, sit, nuh, etc., to communicate with your cat. Try practicing them after your cat finishes the meal you provide them. Follow this routine for some days, and then you’ll see your cat respond quickly and positively when called. You might also use some appealing cat snacks to attract your cat’s attention. Your voice and the positive reinforcement will soon become familiar to your emotional support cat.

Shorter Training Sessions

Try to keep the training session duration short as possible because cats have short attention spans. The timing of the training sessions should be determined by your cat’s temperament and level of interest. The more frequent and natural the training sessions are, the more engaged your cat will be.

Focusing On One Thing At A Time

A cat can learn a few things simultaneously, but teaching them one thing at a time is a good idea. To be utmost successful, allow your cat to master one objective before moving on to a new one.

Starting Early

If you bring home a kitten for emotional support, teach them certain behaviors early on. Kittens are generally more receptive to learning and can adapt to new experiences with proper guidance.

Things Not To Do When Training a Cat to Become an ESA.

Do not punish your cat.

First, let me clarify that no one likes punishments, even cats. They perceive them as a threat and may harm you, so never punish your cat. Therefore, using positive reinforcement and rewards to train your cat to develop good habits is crucial. If your cat scratches the furniture or tries to destroy it, don’t panic and make them do it on less-valuable items like old curtains, furniture, cushion covers or fixtures, etc.

Make easy training sessions.

Training sessions should not be traumatic. Always create a positive, stress-free environment to foster strong bonds and successful training. A hard training session makes your cat uncomfortable, and you may not achieve your training goals.

Don’t force your cat to do unwanted things.

Avoid learning your cat something that your cat doesn’t want to do
unless it’s necessary for the cat’s health and well-being or the safety of other members of the household. Cats have their preferences and boundaries, and forcing them to comply with something they don’t want can cause strain on your relationship with them.

Don’t overdo it.

Call it a day if your cat is getting bored and tired from your training efforts. It’s a good idea to let him have his space. You can resume your training later by modifying your training style or sessions. Ideally, all training sessions should end with your kitty being rewarded for his accomplishments.

Common Cat Training Methods

There are 3 common training sessions, i.e., clicker, hand signals, and voice cues. You can also use a combination of all three.

Clicker training

In clicker training, you only need a tool that makes a gentle clicking sound, such as a training clicker or your tongue. The goal is first to associate the clicking sound with a reward, then further associate a new skill with the click, so your cat knows they’ll be rewarded.

Hand signals

With hand signals, you can command your cat with hand gestures. For example, clapping when you want your cat to sit or making an open hand when you want them to give you a cuddle can b an effective training method.

Voice cues

Like hand signals, the key in voice cues is associating a word with behavior and rewarding your cat when it’s done. Voice cues are saying words to administer certain commands. For example, saying “sit” to get them to sit.


Training your cat is not compulsory for making them an emotional support animal, but you should provide your pet with basic obedience training as a pet parent.

Posted in: Blog

About the Author

Lisa Tevis
Lisa Tevis
Lisa is a talented professional writer at Fast ESA Letter, fueled by a deep passion for animals. With a natural affinity for their well-being, Lisa combines her writing skills with her love for animals to create engaging and informative content. As a proud pet parent, Lisa shares her life with two beloved dogs, who have enriched her understanding of the human-animal bond. Through her work, Lisa aims to raise awareness about emotional support animals (ESAs) and their positive impact on mental health.


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