Today Shannon Cutts finds out how auto feeders can help and hinder feeding times, and joins the hunt for the best automatic cat feeder.
When you look at your kitty, do you see a plush, purring pet or a ferocious feral prowler – or perhaps a bit of both?
Domestic pet cats are so much a part of our lives today that, much like people who live together, research shows your cat can even take on your daily habits!
This means that if you always eat at a certain time each day, your cat might also prefer to eat at that time.
And if you get stressed and stop eating, your cat may lose their appetite as well until the stress passes.
Cats’ eating habits
But how would your cat eat if you put her back into a wild setting where she has to hunt and catch her own food?
Research shows she might eat up to 20 small meals per day, whilst still maintaining a healthy weight.
This is relevant because, with the invention of the automatic cat feeder, your kitty has the chance to live a posh indoor life and also adopt a healthier “wild cat” eating schedule.
In this article, we will take a thorough look at the auto cat feeder, what it is, how it works, why it works and how it can help your cat stay healthy.
Benefits of automatic cat feeders
There is no doubt an automatic cat food feeder is convenient!
Instead of waking up or being home at a certain time each day – a near-impossible feat in today’s world – you can rely on a smart cat feeder to dispense your kitty’s food.
There are other less obvious benefits of using auto cat feeders as well.
Using an automatic cat feeder can:
- provide close control over portion sizes per meal
- keep food away from other hungry household pets (and pests)
- ensure your cat eats on a schedule even if you’re not present
- reduce feeding-time aggression in multi-cat families
- discourage “begging” behaviors
- and safeguard against you cat figuring breaking into food packaging.
Automatic cat feeder drawbacks
The auto cat food feeder definitely has its place in modern daily life.
However, there are some important potential drawbacks you should also be aware of:
- a malfunction means a cat without a meal
- some models can tip over if your cat tries to climb it or play with it
- reliance on an automatic pet feeder cat can cause you to miss subtle signs there is something wrong with your
- cat’s feeding habits or general health
- even the best auto cat feeder is not a substitute for your time and attention, and certainly isn’t a safe alternative
- to pet boarding or pet sitting when you are away.
With these benefits and drawbacks in mind, let’s take a look at some of the best auto cat feeder products!
Types of automatic cat feeder
There are several different styles of automatic cat feeders.
You can also choose between one-cat and multi cat automatic feeder options.
Here are the basic types of auto cat feeders:
This simple auto cat feeder has a dial that allows you to set the span of hours between each meal.
You can set the timer to release food at certain times throughout the day and night.
These “smart” auto feeders can be controlled remotely via a mobile app and often allow you to pre-record a greeting or even watch your cat via webcam.
You may hear these dispensers called “free feeders.”
This very simple auto cat feeder keeps the bowl full of dry food at all times.
Wet food feeders
This type of auto cat feeder feeds wet food or semi-wet food and needs daily cleaning and refilling.
Dry food feeders
This type of auto cat feeder feeds dry food only and often holds several days’ worth of dry kibble.
Wet and dry food feeders
This type of cat feeder will dispense both wet and dry food.
This special class of automatic smart cat feeder gadgets use infrared technology to dispense food by scanning your cat’s microchip (under skin or collar).
These feeders can be especially handy if you are dealing with food aggression, food theft or obesity in multi-pet families.
Programmable cat feeder
The two programmable cat feeder options highlighted in this section are sitting on the cusp of cutting-edge pet feeder technology.
Each can tell one pet apart from another by way of microchip IDs, whether implants or collar IDs.
No system works better to make sure plump cats stick to their diets while you are away!
SureFeed Microchip Pet Feeder
This hi-tech gadget uses your cat’s microchip to dispense food in perfect portion sizes.
As an automatic cat feeder for multiple cats, this system makes sure even the smartest kitty can’t outsmart it!
It is compatible with all microchips and SureFlap RFID collars (sold separately).
Wireless Whiskers AutoDiet Pet Feeder
This chip-recognition automatic cat feeder for multiple cats can tell one cat from another, and even welcomes each cat by name at feeding time!
If you have cats and dogs, this technology can also keep your pooch from snacking out of the cat dish.
Timed cat feeder
A timed system makes pre-scheduling feedings so easy.
A timed cat feeder can control how much as well as how often your cat eats.
If you have never used a timed cat feeder before, these three products are three of the best.
Cat Mate C20 2 Bowl Pet Feeder With Ice Pack
This easy to use system is good for automatic cat feeder for two cats or for a single cat.
A small ice pack sits underneath the two food compartments, meaning it works equally well for timed cat feeder wet food and dry food or a combination of both.
There are two bowls that each hold one pound of food.
The unit runs on batteries and uses a dial to set the span of hours between bowl openings.
Jempet Automatic Pet Feeder for Cats
This neat cat food timer feeder seems to have thought of it all, with two power sources (electric and battery), a standby mode to save power costs, customized feeding options.
It even has the option of recording a voice message to remind your pets to come eat!
The device comes in black or white and has five trays for dry kibble or semi-wet food.
Arf Pets Automatic Pet Feeder Food Dispenser for Cats
This white programmable cat feeder comes complete with alarms, customized voice recording, two power options (batteries or electricity) and a magnetic lid to keep between feeding “break ins” from happening.
Wifi cat feeder
The newest generation of time release cat feeder products includes a mind-boggling array of bells and whistles.
Even better, if you have ever wished you could observe your feline while you are away from home, now you can.
The integrated iOS and Android apps also allow you to schedule portion control cat feeder feedings remotely.
Feed and Go Smart Pet Feeder 2018 Model
This super fancy and highly rated white auto cat feeder for wet food and dry food has six separate compartments to allow you to dispense dry food, wet food and medication!
Free iOS and Android apps let you observe your cat and interact remotely via the built-in webcam.
You can also use the apps to adjust feedings remotely.
PetSafe Smart Feed Automatic Cat Feeder
Even at first glance, this black highly rated cat food feeder seems to have everything you could ever think of, from customizable options to flexible portion sizes to optional battery backup just in case the power goes out.
It holds up to 12 cups of dry kibble and even has a “slow feed” option to prevent the dangers of bloat or vomiting.
Owners say it works well for one or two cats (with a splitter sold separately).
SmartFeeder, WOpet Automatic Pet Feeder for Cat
This very highly rated white Wifi cat feeder integrates with free iOS or Android apps to help you control portion sizes, feeding times and more.
The HD camera lets you observe your pet through the built-in webcam.
For best results, the manufacturer suggests using kibble sized 0.59-inches or smaller.
Automatic cat feeder wet food
Not all auto cat feeders are designed to dispense wet food as well as dry food.
But the best automatic wet food cat feeder products can also dispense dry kibble too.
This means that even if you have to be away from home unexpectedly, your cat won’t have to survive on dry kibble alone until you return!
WOpet Automatic Pet Feeder Cat Feeder Bowl with Ice Pack
This easy-to-use automatic cat feeder for wet food and refrigerated products comes with an ice pack to keep wet food fresh for up to 48 hours.
The timer schedules the number of hours between feedings, so no programming skills are required to ensure your cat gets fed on time, every time.
PetSafe Six Meal Automatic Pet Feeder
This popular and highly rated dark blue dry kibble and wet food cat feeder has a built-in digital clock to help you set up meal times in advance.
It operates on batteries so there are no power cords to “cat proof.”
There are six separate food compartments with a “drop and turn” design – each has a one-cup capacity.
HoneyGuaridan A26 Automatic Pet Feeder
This highly rated white electronic cat feeder comes with the option for battery or electric power and a one-year warranty.
The device holds 12 cups of kibble.
You can also record a voice message to play at mealtimes.
Gravity cat feeder
The evolution of the automatic cat feeder can trace its ancestry all the way back to the original gravity cat feeder.
As the name suggests, these feeders use simple gravity to ensure a steady supply of dry kibble for free feeding.
The gravity cat feeder also tends to make the best choice for an outdoor automatic cat feeder, since these simple feeders don’t have any circuitry or batteries that may be disrupted by overly wet, cold or hot weather.
PetSafe Healthy Pet Gravity Dog and Cat Food Station
This gravity-based dry food cat feeder is a good choice for a simple, sturdy and reliable free-feeder (sizes: small, medium).
If your cat already has healthy eating habits and you just want a safe and hygienic way to serve dry food, this is a highly rated and popular choice.
Petmate Pet Cafe Feeder
This simple and sturdy gravity-based cat food feeder comes highly recommended from cat owners.
It holds 6 pounds of dry kibble.
The container is made of environmentally safe plastic and is easy to clean.
Choose from tan, blue or white bowls.
Bergan Gourmet Food and Water Combo
This neat matching set of gravity cat food and water dispensers makes short work of ensuring your kitty always has refreshment when he needs it.
You can also choose just a single feeder if you already have a waterer.
The container is made from BPA-free USA plastic.
The feeder holds 6 pounds of dry kibble and the waterer holds 1.5 gallons.
Best automatic cat feeder
Like just about any choice you can make for your cat, automatic cat feeders have their champions and their detractors.
They can help us mimic a cat’s natural eating schedule despite being out of the house for most of the day.
These days, you can choose an automatic cat food feeder which is as simple or as sophisticated as you like.
The best automatic cat feeder for your kitty is one which supports a healthy diet, and which helps you out, but doesn’t replace you altogether.
I hope this article has helped you choose the perfect smart cat feeder for you!
Do you use an automatic cat food feeder?
Let us know which model you selected in the comments section below.
Which features are surplus to requirement, and wouldn’t you be without?
And most importantly, what does your cat think of it?!