Challenge Poverty Week: Pet Poverty

This week was Poverty Alliance’s annual Challenge Poverty Week. Since its launch in 2013, Challenge Poverty Week has aimed to ‘highlight the injustice of poverty in Scotland, and to show that collective action based on justice and compassion can create solutions’.  

Across the week, the Poverty Alliance have been driving awareness of the ways in which poverty can impact our lives from housing to transport, adequate incomes and food. And it’s not just people whose lives are affected by poverty but the pets we love and care for too.

In line with Challenge Poverty Week’s theme for Friday – food – we wanted to share what we’ve learned about supporting people experiencing pet poverty since we opened our first pet foodbank, and how you can access help or support our work.  

Eilidh loading foodbank van

What is pet poverty?

Although there is no universally accepted definition of poverty, it’s often defined in terms of disposable household income. For example, relative low income refers to ‘people living in households with income below 60% of the median in that year’. 

There is also no clear definition of pet poverty but with 53% of UK adults owning a pet and around one in six people were living in relative low-income households in 2021/2022, it’s clearly a widespread issue.  

Anyone, at anytime in their life, can experience pet poverty. Anyone facing financial difficulties can find it difficult to pay for pet necessities such as food, equipment and vet bills.  

The current cost of living crisis has made it even more difficult for people to support themselves and their pets. Pet poverty often means that people are faced with the impossible decision of having to surrender beloved pets as they can no longer financially meet their pet’s needs. 

How Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home pet foodbanks support people experiencing pet poverty

In 2019, we launched a series of foodbanks in and around Edinburgh to help and support pet-owners who are going through a tough time. We now support over 80 foodbanks with pet food and supplies, helping hundreds of animals each week.  

One service user told us: I was so worried about how I was going to feed my cat as I was so short of money. My cat is my only companion, I’m so grateful for this help’. 

Our pet food banks are completely free to access and are there to support individuals with the necessities their pet needs, such as food, jackets, leads, collars and beds, until they find themselves in a better financial situation.  

We don’t judge anyone who accesses our food banks and a referral isn’t needed. We understand that people in many different situations can find themselves facing financial difficulties. Our aim is to support loved pets to stay in loving homes.

How you can access support from the pet foodbanks 

Anyone in need can access our pet food banks. You can view a full list of our food banks here to find one local to you. 

Additionally, you can access our food bank service directly at the Home by contacting our reception team on 0131 669 5331 and requesting a Claws (cats) or Paws (dog) pack and collecting this from us. 

How you can help in the fight against pet poverty 

The best way that you can support people dealing with pet poverty is to donate to pet foodbanks in your area and volunteer with community-based poverty-relief organisations.  

At the Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home, our pet foodbanks are always in urgent need of donations such as dry and wet cat and dog food. As well as other pet-related resources like blankets, food-bowls and toys.  

You can drop donations off directly at the Home or we have donation stations in many locations and supermarkets around Edinburgh. Additionally, you can order via our Amazon Wishlist and these are delivered directly to us.  

As well as donations, we rely on the support of an amazing volunteer team. We really couldn’t do what we do without them. Their hard work and dedication mean that pets and people in need receive much needed support.  

If you’re interested in volunteering with us, you can find information on volunteering roles here or by emailing Jodie at 

Find A Pet Foodbank

Pet Foodbank Locations