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Can You Buy Cat Food With Food Stamps? Important Care Facts

Written by: Rachael Gerkensmeyer

Last Updated on April 12, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

man feeding his hungry cat at home

Can You Buy Cat Food With Food Stamps? Important Care Facts

Felines are carnivorous animals. As pets, they cannot rely on themselves to gather all the food they need to stay happy and healthy. Therefore, it’s our responsibility as cat parents to ensure they get the nutrition they need for strong minds and bodies. Luckily, there are plenty of commercial foods available on the market that provide all the nutrients cats require, but it can be challenging to make sure that you always have a supply of kitty food on hand when you’re on a tight budget.

If you utilize food stamps, or SNAP, to help your family make ends meet throughout the month, you may wonder if you can buy cat food with your benefits. Unfortunately, no state in the U.S. allows residents to buy pet food with food stamps. However, you may be able to tap into additional financial support or learn how to make homemade meals to feed your cat on a tight budget. Here’s what you should know:

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Financial Assistance for Cat Food

If you are having trouble budgeting for cat food at any time during the month, you may be able to get financial assistance to help ease the burden and ensure that your furry family member doesn’t go hungry even for a day.

The Humane Society of the United States provides resources for services such as pet food pantries and veterinarian care. Love Your Pet Expo offers a list of national and regional pet food assistance programs to consider. Here are some other places that you might be able to find help:

  • Your local food bank may provide pet food assistance.
  • Some veterinarians in your area might provide free food, and it never hurts to call around and ask!
  • Some churches maintain pet food supplement programs.
  • Your homeowner’s association may manage a pet supply support program.
  • Community bulletin boards are places to find support groups and bartering programs to tap into.
Image Credit: IMG-Stock-Studio, Shutterstock

There Might Be a Cat Food Funding Option for Some Food Stamp Recipients

While nobody can purchase commercial cat food with the food stamps (or SNAP card), you can fund your cat’s food if you receive TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) benefits in addition to your food stamp benefits. The TANF program provides families in need with monthly cash benefits to help them make ends meet. To qualify, you must:

  • Be a legal U.S. citizen or legal/qualified alien.
  • Reside full-time in the state where you apply for assistance.
  • Be unemployed or underemployed.
  • Have at least one child at home under the age of 18 or be pregnant.

If you are awarded TANF benefits, the cash assistance will be added to your EBT card. Then, you can utilize the cash benefits like you would on a regular debit card, which means you can withdraw cash at an ATM and use it to purchase cat food and other necessities.

Homemade Cat Food Options That Can Be Funded with Food Stamps

If you cannot find the support you need to keep your cat fed with commercial food, you might consider making them meals from scratch with the help of your food stamps. The idea is to buy human-grade food with SNAP benefits and turn it into healthy food your cat can enjoy at home.

There are several vet-approved homemade cat food recipes, but be prepared to spend more time in the kitchen than you’re used to because it takes time and effort to feed a cat from scratch. Here are some of our favorite options:

Chicken and Veggies:
  • Baked or broiled chicken
  • Steamed broccoli
  • Steamed carrots
  • Chicken broth

You’ll simply put everything (once cooked) into a food processor and turn it into a pâté. Here’s the complete recipe.

Salmon and Eggs:
  • Cooked boneless salmon
  • Steamed broccoli
  • Fish oil
  • Boiled eggs

This easy yet nutritious recipe will surely delight your kitty’s taste buds. You can make and freeze multiple batches for easy meal prep throughout the month. Find the full recipe and directions here.

Turkey Delight:
  • Brown rice
  • Raw turkey giblets
  • Carrots
  • Spinach
  • Corn oil

It doesn’t have to be Thanksgiving to serve this hardy meal to your kitty. You should be able to find the ingredients year-round. Here are the recipe and preparation guidelines.

It is important to note that your cat likely needs to take vitamin and mineral supplements when eating a strictly homemade diet to ensure that all their nutritional needs are met as time goes on. You should always consult with your veterinarian or a vet nutritionist before switching to a homemade diet plan so you can create a healthy plan together.

woman and cat in the kitchen
Image Credit: Beloborod, Shutterstock

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Final Thoughts

It’s never fun to worry about feeding your cat due to budgetary restrictions, and, unfortunately, food stamps cannot be used to help ease the burden. Luckily, there are support groups that can help and options for making homemade food purchased with food stamps. You can also find the cash assistance you need for cat food through the TANF program.

Featured Image Credit: Jaromir Chalabala, Shutterstock

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