Can You Buy Cat Food with EBT?


No, you can’t buy cat food with EBT. EBT, Electronic Benefits Transfer, only allows you to use the voucher on human food. So pet food is excluded, and using the EBT card on pet food may see you suspended on the benefits altogether.

Sadly, your feline pet will not get food even if you have the EBT benefits. However, you have the option to apply for Pet Food Stamps, which are like the pet EBT. with the Pet Food Stamps, you will manage to feed your cat quality cat food until you can manage it on your own.

Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT)

Basically, an EBT card is an electronic device that you use to get the SNAP or food supplement benefits. It is more discreet because it resembles a typical credit card; hence, you will not shy away if you are using it with many people.

SNAP stands for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance program. The government issues it to low-income households to ensure that they get meals and the basic cash necessities.

You can use the card to purchase the following;

  • Bread and cereal
  • Fish, chicken, and meat
  • Dairy products
  • Bottled water
  • Seeds and plants that bear food products
  • Fruits and vegetables
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Cat Learns to Dance

Fortunately, you can also use the card on ice, candy, and soft drinks. Any baby food is also considered in the card.

However, the EBT card is limited, even with human consumption. Therefore, you cannot use the card on the following;

  • Alcoholic drinks
  • Vitamins, supplements, and medicine
  • Cleaning products
  • Pet food

It is possible to withdraw cash or get cash back from some stores using your EBT card. However, the cash on the card is limited. Usually, it differs from one household to the other, depending on the family members, dependents, and bills the family takes care of.

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Can You Buy Pet Food with EBT?

No, unfortunately, you cannot buy pet food using the EBT card. Most people receiving EBT will use the food they purchase for themselves with their pets. 

Since it allows you to buy meat, chicken, and fish, you can get the products for your cat. However, this will minimize what you get for yourself since the amount on the card is limited. However, pet lovers would rather suffer this than see their pets in hunger, right?

There is a general feeling that EBT cards should cater to pet food, but the federal government has not considered it yet. Remember that for pet food to be included in the benefits, this clause must be in the law. Maybe this is the reason it may take some time to change the current conditions.

Alternatives to Using EBT for Pet Food

Though you cannot use your SNAP benefits in the EBT card to sort your cat or dog food, there are still alternatives. These alternatives ensure that you have a consistent supply of pet food, at least for when you are at your lowest.

  1. Pet Food Stamps

Pet food Stamp is a program that was started around March 2013. It was a reaction to an outcry from food stamp beneficiaries, who could not use the food stamp for their pets and couldn’t afford pet food.

Pet food Stamp is a nongovernmental organization, and, unlike EBT, their assistance comes from donations and grants from well-wishers. It takes care of pet food needs, for the time being, hoping to ext5end the services to vet care someday.

If you feel that your cat is in dire need of pet food stamps, you only need to apply on the pet food stamps website. Also include documents that indicate that you receive other governmental or nongovernmental support. For instance, you are likely to qualify faster if you already have the EBT card.

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The management will look into your income, the number of pets in your household, and location. Your location is necessary because the pet food stamps program is only in the US.

Once the management approves your application, you will start receiving pet food assistance. Pet food stamps assistance will assist you for six months, after which there is a possibility that you will have managed financial status.

PetFoodDirect.com is the website where you order your pet food under pet food stamps. Amazingly, you can get any type and brand of pet food that you choose for your pet. 

Hence, you won’t have to change your pet’s typical favorite food because you are under assistance. And, when your cat or dog has a sensitivity or allergy, you can always get the most suitable option for them.

The pet food website features numerous brands and cat food types, so it is most likely to get your type, or at least one close to it.

  1. Pet Food Pantry

If you live in an area where StARRelief and Pet Assistance has an office, you have an alternative for temporary pet food assistance. There is one in Stamford, Connecticut, that you can visit.

As with pet food stamps, your application for pet food pantries goes through if you are needy. Better still, if you are receiving any aid from the government.

Pet food pantries provide pet food for your pet and consider other services such as neutering and spaying pets. However, unlike pet food stamps, pet pantries only offer the food that they have.

Therefore, your typical pet food brand and your pet’s favorite food may not be available. Unfortunately, this also means that the food offered could upset your pet’s stomach, especially cats.

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Nevertheless, the pantries try their best to match the food they have to your cat or dog. If it is a kitten, it will get a kitten’s feed. If it has sensitivities, they will offer the exceptional food required if they have it.

  1. Free Pet Food Programs

There are states, organizations, and shelters that offer free pet food programs. One such program is ACC, a short form for  Animal Care Centers of NYC. It is located in the Bronx and is committed to helping pet parents struggling to feed their pets.

The organization only requires that you sign an enrollment agreement. As long as you have challenges feeding your cat or dog, the organization will help you with the necessary pet food supplies.

  1. Food Banks

Whenever a pet parent finds it difficult to feed their pet, the next likely option is to surrender it to a local shelter. At least here, they get optimal care and food.

However, before you surrender your pet, please ask if the shelter has a pet food bank. If they do, they could allow you to keep your pet while providing for its food supplies. Then, you will not have the painful experience of parting with your pet due to lack of food.

Bottom Line

Unfortunately, you cannot use an EBT card to buy cat food (is it possible with food stamps). This is because the EBT card only caters to the human nutritional needs stated in the SNAP benefits.

The good news is that you have other options that ensure that your cat does not go hungry. For example, several charitable organizations take care of pets and pet food programs, as discussed above.

Dinu Sri Madusanka

Dinu Sri Madusanka is a science graduate (B.Sc.) who is currently pursuing his Ph.D. He is a well-experienced writer with more than 7 years of experience. He interests in writing mostly animal welfare and advance technologies. Even though he is busy with research works, in his free time, he gives his contribution to several blogs by writing, reviewing, and analyzing information to provide more accurate and useful information for the reader. WalkwithCat is one of his major contributing places which is dedicated to improving the knowledge of cat parents.

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