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I found my perfect service cat! But can I keep it though?

I had found a stray cat not too far away from my apartments and its been months since I a service animal the last time. I have a doctor's note saying that I can have a service dog or cat due to my mental illness. But the apartment management is saying I'm not allowed to have any more pets. Here is the exact wording on their pet policies:

The resident agrees not to have pets or animals of any kind in the unit without prior written permission of management, but management will allow the Tenant to keep an animal needed as a reasonable accommodation to the tenant's disability, and will allow animals to accompany visitors with disabilities who need such animals as an accommodation to their disabilities.


I never had a service dog before and my last service cat I had to get rid of because my sister and I both had a cat at the same time. Sadly though, her cat died the same day I gave up my cat so now I'm looking for a new one

3 Answers

  • ?
    Lv 5
    9 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    There is no such thing as a service cat. The American With Disabilities Act very specifically says that the only recognized service animals are dogs and miniature horses. Also, the animal must be specifically trained to do a task that a legitimately disabled person can not perform for themself. You can not task train a cat to mitigate a disability, and comforting you/making you happy/making you feel better is not a disability task.

    You may have this confused with what is known as an Emotional Support Animal, which is not a service animal and does not have the same rights and legal coverage as a service animal in regards to public access under the ADA.

    There is FHA coverage for emotional support animals, and they can not be denied from no-pets housing:

    "[FN6] If a landlord enforces a no pets rule against a mentally disabled person who meets the requirements of the statutes, the housing authority deprives the handicap person of the benefit of the housing program, and is in violation of federal laws."

    To establish a prima facie case of housing discrimination under the FHAA, the tenant must establish four elements: (1) tenant suffers from a handicap; (2) landlord knew of the handicap or should reasonably be expected to know of it; (3) accommodation of the handicap may be necessary to afford the tenant an equal opportunity to use and enjoy the dwelling; and (4) landlord refused to make such accommodation. [FN20]

    The second element, that the landlord knew of the handicap or should have known of it, places an affirmative burden on the tenant to request the reasonable accommodation, namely, a waiver of a no pets policy. A tenant can meet this burden by providing a letter from his or her physician or mental health professional stating: (1) the tenant has a mental disability; (2) explaining how the animal is needed to lessen the effects of the disability; and (3) requesting that the animal be allowed in the rental unit as a reasonable accommodate for the mental disability. [FN21]

    Read this link, and read it THOROUGHLY:

    @Elaine- An actual service animal is NOT a pet, it is viewed as medical equipment and is therefore not subject to pet limitation requirements. If an apartment has a one pet policy, you are allowed a service animal AND a pet.

    Source(s): Service dog owner
  • 9 years ago

    The law changed on March 15, 2011. ONLY service dogs are defined as service animals, and there is a provision for allowing miniature horses, but no other species.:

    "The rule defines "service animal" as a dog that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability. The rule states that other animals, whether wild or domestic, do not qualify as service animals. Dogs that are not trained to perform tasks that mitigate the effects of a disability, including dogs that are used purely for emotional support, are not service animals. The final rule also clarifies that individuals with mental disabilities who use service animals that are trained to perform a specific task are protected by the ADA. The rule permits the use of trained miniature horses as alternatives to dogs, subject to certain limitations. To allow flexibility in situations where using a horse would not be appropriate, the final rule does not include miniature horses in the definition of "service animal." "

    However, the FHA does allow for Emotional Support Animals, and does not specify the species. So, with the proper documentation, you could have a cat as an ESA. However, ESAs are not allowed in non pet friendly public places. They are only allowed in non pet friendly housing and on planes. Here is some info on ESAs:

    Source(s): I am also disabled and have a service dog.
  • 9 years ago

    The key word here is 'an animal' meaning one.If you have a dog already registered as your service animal, that's the one you're allowed.

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