Can You Buy Cat Food with Food Stamps?


No, you can’t buy cat food with food stamps. Food stamps come with a detailed list of the things that you can buy using them. But, unfortunately, they also list the items you cannot use them on, among them pet food.

However, there are non-profit organizations that offer pet food stamps to low-income households. There are also food banks that include pet food, and, fortunately, some areas are also lucky to have pet food pantries.

Quite interesting, right? So, let’s look at more revolving around cat food and food stamps.

What are Food Stamps?

These are vouchers that the US government offers to its low-income citizens to curb hunger and improve health and nutrition. If you have the voucher, you can receive food items from food stores and restaurants.

You can use food stamps to buy meat, fish and poultry, fruits and vegetables, bread and cereal, dairy products, bottled water and non-alcoholic drinks, and seeds and plants.

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Cat Learns to Dance

However, you cannot use food stamps to purchase pet food, alcoholic drinks, hot food and supplements, medicine and vitamins, and cleaning products.

Basically, the food stamps are meant to maintain you when you are at your lowest with necessities.

Therefore, this tells you that food stamps are only suitable for your food as a human. Sadly, you cannot use it for your feline pet.

Can You Get Food Stamps for Pets?

Yes, you can. There are pet food stamps from non-governmental organizations. However, these food stamps are different from your typical food stamps because they are not governmental. Besides, they only cater to pet food.

In 2013, there was a cry among low-income cat keepers who had food stamps but could not use them for their cats. They would break their families; pets are considered part of the family and take the pets to overcrowded shelters just for food.

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Most would end up using the food they got using their food stamps to feed their pets. 

One Mr. Johnson even sent an online petition to USDA, requesting that the food stamps be reviewed to include pet food. He said that pets are as much part of the family as other humans, hence have to be considered in the welfare program.

There was also another lady, as Marc Okon, the founder of the Pet Food Stamps program, quoted. She said that she had lost her job and had a disabled son. Their dog was the son’s best companion, and they were considering a pet shelter because they could not afford to feed the dog.

These and other such touching stories led to the formation of Pet Food Stamps. It relies on gifts and donations from pet well-wishers to thrive.

Pet Food Program

Pet Food Program is a New York-based pet food program that quite resembles the typical Food Stamp program. However, it is only suitable for pet food. 

The program started in 2013 and continues to thrive through its passion and dedication for pets in low-income households.

Once you register for the program, the management looks into your background, majorly your earnings. Then, if you are deserving, they will allow you to get pet food supplies for six months.

There are already thousands of households benefiting from the program, an indication that it was essential. 

With the Pet Food Stamps, your cat also gets a chance at survival, and you don’t have to give it up out of short-term financial strain. Moreover, the cat will get precisely what its nutritional requirements demand, reducing your stress over the situation.

The Pet Food Stamps management also says that they will include other pet services over time. However, concentrating on pet food, for the time being, is primary. 

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After all, the government provides emergency pet services to all pets in the USA. Therefore, this is a gap that has already been filled, even though partially.

Pet Food in Food Stamps

Food stamps do not allow you to get pet food using them, so you have to source for other means to get the pet food. However, if one is already in the food stamps program, there are higher chances that they will strain to feed their pet.

Fortunately, there are already several arguments requesting the government to consider just the pet food in the food stamps program. They may still do away with alcoholic drinks, supplements, and hot food, which are necessities.

However, cats, dogs, and other pet food are just as important to pet owners and families as human food. Actually, some people have pets that they consider as their children and family. Hence, having their supplies as these pets try to survive hunger is almost impossible.

So, we hope that pet food will be in the food stamps program sooner or later. I don’t think any taxpayer would oppose this or see it as a wastage of tax money.

Alternatives to Food Stamps for Pets

Since the Food Stamps are still not suitable for cats and dogs, let’s have a look at other options you may consider for pet food;

Pet Food Stamps

As discussed, pet food stamps allow you to get pet food supplies for your cats and dogs for a whole six months. They are easy to apply, online or by mail, and the process only confirms your financial status before you start receiving the pet food aid.

Food Banks in Animal Shelters

Some shelters have food banks for pets in low-income households. Rather than give your pet to the shelter, you have the option to apply for food assistance. They will supply you with pet food supplies from their food banks.

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Charitable Organizations Targeting Pets

There are charitable organizations for pets where you can get help with pet food or subsidized pet food. You can search for one in your locality online and seek help with cat food when you are in a difficult situation.

Pet Shelters

There is also the option of a temporary pet shelter. This is obviously the final solution to any pet parent, but desperate times may call for desperate measures.

If your situation is temporal, you can take your pet to the nearest pet shelter. Here, it will get all the care and nutrition that it requires.

Then, when you are back on your feet, you can always request the pet back without risking its health.

Can You Buy Cat Food with Food Stamps?

No, you can’t. Food stamps are only good for human food, but cats are not in the voucher. Sadly, this is even written in the food stamp guidance that pet food is not included.

However, you can get a pet food stamp for your cat. It is just as saving as the food stamp, and it sorts your cat food problem.

Final Thoughts

You cannot buy cat food (how about buying with EBT) with food stamps. Food stamps are for human consumables, and even then, there are limitations. Food stamps only cater to human nutrition needs, such as bread, meat, fruits and vegetables, and bottled water.

However, your cat is not left out when it comes to welfare programs. Thanks to the Pet Food Stamps, you can get a minimum of six months worth of cat food vouchers.

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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