What you should know about automatic cat feeders

Regulating the amount of food your cat eats is a good way to help your cat maintain a healthy and balanced diet. Cat owners often have the problem of feeding them the right amount of food at the right time. And we all know that cats can be very picky about their food.

This is where it corresponds to talk about the need for the different automatic feeders for cats. These food dispensers address two common problems: the right amount of food for your cat, and how often you should feed it.

In this article, I will tell you the characteristics and types of cat feeders. In the end, I hope you get to know these dispensers better and can make a proper decision on which one is the most suitable for you.

Article content

  • What is an automatic cat feeder?
  • Factors to Consider When Buying an Automatic Cat Feeder
    • Capacity
    • Cleaning and maintenance
    • Ease of use
    • Size and weight
    • Schedule timer
    • Batteries or plug
    • Mobile and camera connection
    • Type of food
    • Possibility of allowing access only to one or more of the cats
  • Three main types of automatic cat feeder
    • Gravity feeders
    • Feeders with digital timers
    • Automatic feeders with WiFi and mobile phone connection
  • How to get your cat used to using an automatic feeder

What is an automatic cat feeder?

In general, it is an automatic food dispenser that regulates and provides food to your cat automatically. Some automatic feeders have timers so you can program the timing and amount of food for your cat.

Automatic cat feeders are especially useful if you are away from home for long hours as they allow you to regulate the amount of food your cat eats. Ultimately, they can also help you prevent  feline obesity .

Cats always want fresh food and an automatic feeder will refill the container when it is empty and dispense food at a preset time. This is especially helpful if your cat is on a diet as prescribed by the vet.


Factors to Consider When Buying an Automatic Cat Feeder

The automatic feeders for cats vary depending on the range of features they offer, understand what are these features and if your cat will benefit them or not, will serve to make an informed buying decision.

Here is a quick guide to the different features to consider when buying a cat feeder :

1. Capacity

The capacity is a feature you should keep in mind acquiring an automatic cat feeder. First, calculate how much your cat eats per day and then measure how many meals that feeder can hold.

If you have more than one cat to feed, you will need to purchase a large capacity dispenser.

If you are going to use the dispenser to feed your cat while you are away for several days, the capacity will be different than if you plan to use the feeder as a permanent feeding solution that only needs to be recharged once in a while.

2. Cleaning and maintenance

It is important to prioritize a unit that is easy to disassemble and clean . Most high-end feeders come with removable bowls made of steel, making them more hygienic.

When thinking about cleaning, the material used matters, a dishwasher safe plastic is an advisable option.

3. Ease of use

A good feeder is one that can be easily programmed by the user . An easy-to-read and easy-to-use LCD dispenser makes programming easy.

Most pet owners prefer a product with a simple and highly intuitive interface. The most current automatic feeders can be controlled remotely and include a mobile app for ease of use.

4. Size and weight

It is also important to consider the strength and size of the cat . For example, some large and “intelligent” cats can dump the contents of the feeder, in this case you should opt for a strong and totally metallic unit that can withstand the constant abuse of the cat, to avoid the unpleasant surprise of finding you all on the floor .

5. Schedule timer

One of the basic features of any electronic cat feeder is the timer , but the difference is in the timer setting.

For example, if you have a cat that eats 3 times a day, you must set the timer 3 times, which means that you must buy a model that offers you at least 3 different times to disperse the food.

Programming options will vary depending on make and model. Newer dispensers can dispense up to 12 meals a day, of varying sizes, over a period of 48 hours or more.

If your cat is on a special diet that requires small but frequent amounts, try to buy a feeder that has the ability to schedule regular small meals several times a day.

6. Batteries or plug

Another important point to consider is the power supply for the automatic feeder .

If you need a power cord, make sure it is close to the outlet and be careful not to trip over the cord.

The battery-operated cat food dispenser can be useful because you can place it where it suits you. It is important to have spare batteries available to keep the unit running at all times, otherwise your  cat will have nothing to eat.

The most current feeders are designed in an energy efficient way, which means that you can expect the batteries to last between 6 and 12 months.

A good automatic cat feeder can use both power sources, electrical power and batteries, simultaneously.

7. Mobile and camera connection

There are food devices on the market that can be connected via Wi-Fi with your phone . These feeders help you monitor your cat to know when and how much he is eating, which is great, especially if you travel and cannot get home.

Some model thanks to its camera you will be able to see your cat at all times. You can also listen, talk to him, record your voice and take pictures.

The connection way is simple, you need to download the application on your phone and use it to connect it with the feeder. You can then use the app to control the amount of food, the timer, and other things that will depend on the model and the app.

8. Type of food

In addition to the type of dispenser, you should also consider the type of food that you provide your cat. Most of them are designed to dispense dry food , although other models also allow the provision of  wet food.

Before buying you must determine if your cat is eating dry or wet food.

9. Possibility of  allowing access only to one or more of the cats

There are smart feeders , which in households with several cats, allow you to determine limitations to the access of food to certain felines. For their operation they use a collar that they bring, or in the reading of the microchip that the cat wears.

They are useful in homes in which some of the cats follow a special or differentiated diet from the rest of the pets.

Three main types of automatic cat feeder

You can establish, in a very basic way, three types of automatic feeders according to their level of automation:

  • Gravity feeders.
  • Feeders with digital timers.
  • Dispensers with connection to the mobile phone.

1. Gravity feeders

These are generally appliances with a large hopper at the top that contain a sufficient supply of feed and a feeding container at the bottom.

When your cat eats a certain amount of food in his bowl, the cleared space will allow more of the feed to fall from the top container using gravity.

They don’t need batteries and are usually the cheapest options on the market.

2. Feeders with digital timers

These devices generally contain a simple digital timer that controls specific feeding times. Although some may include additional features such as microchip recognition and ice pack insertion.

Some have separate food compartments to allow portion control and for felines who like to switch between wet and dry food.

3. Automatic feeders with WiFi and mobile phone connection

With this type of intelligent automatic feeder we will feed our feline from anywhere and thanks to its mobile application compatible with iOS and Android we can control its meals.

You can photograph, videotape, even talk to your pet while feeding him.


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How to get your cat used to using an automatic feeder

Buying your first automatic cat feeder can be exciting, especially if you have a cat that is constantly asking for food.

Fortunately, training your cat to get used to using the feeder is quite simple, most cats will “get it” quickly, especially with how motivating food is for them.

Steps to follow:

  1. Place it next to your cat’s regular food bowl.
  2. Put some of his food in the open tray of the cat feeder, this will motivate him to eat in it. Once he’s eating normally, remove his old plate.
  3. Now turn on the feeder and set the timer, the mechanism will make some noise that may scare your catif it is around, however, it will soon love that noise by associating it with food.



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