I personally think every cat lover should have an automatic feeder.
They are handy for various reasons…
- If you are late home – If your cat needs to be fed on specific time and you know you are going to be late home that day, automatic feeder can save you the trouble to run home
- After work event – Same as above if you have commitments after work
- Saturday lay in – You can set up the feeder for Saturday morning so you don’t have to wake up early for their breakfast!
- Pace feeding – If your cat is one of those who will eat so quick and so much all in one go and then get sick. Having a feeder is a good way to slow them down. You can set it to open a couple of times a day so the cat can’t eat too much in one go.
- Natural disaster – Even if you have a pet sitter, it’s still handy to have a feeder. What if there is a natural disaster that prevent the sitter to get to your place? Remember the Big Freeze?
Some of my clients’ houses were snowed in! In case you don’t remember how serious it was, watch these two videos that I took at the time.(Apologies for the quality. It was pre-smart-phone era! I took these with a Nokia phone, remember those?)
I hear you said…
OK! I will get one then, but which one?
I am going to list out all the feeders I have experience with (except the last one, I have yet done a job where someone use this feeder) The list sort of goes with my favourite to my least favourite. It’s not a detailed review but it’s a good comparison between all the major feeder styles in the market.
When it comes to automatic feeder, my experience tells me the simpler the better! With too many buttons and setting, it either breaks too easily or too complicated to set up and you will make mistake. When accident like that happen, your cat has no food! It’s not something I want to mess around with! I have good experience with this PetMate one and this Trixie one and they are very reasonable priced at under 20 Euro and under 30 Euro (exact price depending where you get them of course…)
I have a few customers who use this one, it’s ok as well, I just prefer the dial ones above but this one is simple enough as well if you prefer to schedule up to 4 feeds.
I find this one quite fiddly. Every time when you fill the feeder, you need to deal with 3 moving parts. It’s a bit crazy. But some might like the fact that this one can record your own voice so you can call your cat to come to eat even when you are not there! A customer of mine use this to call the cats to the kitchen at 6am so they leave her alone! hahaha! So smart!!
I find this one quite fiddly as well with the few buttons quite confusing. I guess if you use it at home and you already set it up to use permanently that’s ok. But if you want to change the time, it takes pressing quite a few buttons. It is also quite confusing for pet sitter. I recommend you to leave clear instruction for your pet sitter if you use this one.
I have experience with this one as well. Once you set it up, the food just drop down at set time. I am not sure how I feel about this one because the dry food can be in the jar for many many days. Food might not be very fresh after a while…
I have customers who use these. They call themselves an automatic feeder, but I call it ‘an open bag of food’! Some cats can get smart and start eating non stop and there is no way to stop them! Unless you have a cat who is not greedy (one of my own cats is not!), you need to know you have no control whatsoever.
Same problem except this is a bit worse because the food keeps going over to the water side! Also, most cats don’t like to drink where they eat, so I am not sure the person who design this know much about cat behaviour!
Finally, the state of the art newest automatic feeder in the market! Feeder that will only open to the cat registered with their microchip! I have no experience with this one yet. If you do, please leave a comment below! I am very curious to know how this plays out!