USA: Prohibited From Keeping A Cat? Check Out The Fair Housing Act and the Disabilities Act 1990

For cat lovers living in the USA, the Fair Housing Act and the Disabilities Act 1990 may help if you have been prohibited from owning a cat or dog.

USA: Prohibited From Keeping A Cat? Check Out The Fair Housing Act and the Disabilities Act 1990

Photo in public domain. Words added.


Say you are living in rented accommodation. Your landlord forbids the keeping of pets. You have to give up your beloved cat and it hurts.

You might want to check out the Fair Housing Act and the Disabilities Act 1990 as they may allow to keep your cat. It is just a question of playing it right.

The Fair Housing Act and the Disabilities Act 1990

Both these Acts prevent discrimination against people with disabilities. In the former Act, there is a clause which specifically states that it is illegal to refuse reasonable accommodations for service animals. Emotional support animals are included in the definition of service animals.

A definition of ’emotional support animal’ is any creature providing “therapeutic benefits to their owner through affection and companionship”.

This is a very unspecific and generalized definition which is great if you want to get your way.

Under the Disabilities Act it is illegal to discriminate against people with disabilities.

I don’t want to encourage bad behavior but all you have to do is see you doctor and say you are feeling stressed and a bit depressed (that applies to a lot of people because life is like that nowadays). You tell him you think an emotional support animal would help a lot. Then ask him for a letter in which he agrees that you would benefit from an emotional support animal i.e. a cat.

You present the letter to the landlord who has barred you from keeping a cat in your apartment. Quote the two laws above and bingo, you keep your cat.

That’s the perfect scenario. I am not saying it will necessarily work. However, Yale University has seen a 1,400 percent increase in emotional support animals on campus this year compared to 2017. So it obviously works for those in the know. They can’t all be disabled 😉

Tell me if you give it a try.

My thanks to Study International for the heads up.

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About Michael Broad

Michael is retired! He retired at age 57 and at Aug 2018 is approaching 70. He worked in many jobs. The last job he did was as a solicitor practicing general law. He loves animals and is passionate about animal welfare. He also loves photography and nature. He hates animal abuse. He has owned and managed this site since 2007. There are around 13k pages so please use the custom search facility!


USA: Prohibited From Keeping A Cat? Check Out The Fair Housing Act and the Disabilities Act 1990 — 5 Comments

  1. I still have that photo of her. The lightning bolt across the bed. It’s planted in my mind, and I return to it whenever I need comforting… Please set aside a place for all of us that need it. Love, Cal

  2. Michael? I will call Katharine. Are you there? My cat Shrimptaro is still with me… I rescued one Kitten last week. You rescue so, so many, Michael J. Broad. Please let me know that you are still there?

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