Cats are notoriously picky with their food and it takes enough effort to get them to eat when I’m in the house. I swear, it took forever to get them to start eating packaged cat food instead of cooked meat.
However, there are still times when I know I’m going to be out for a long weekend, and I put two or three days worth of cat food out on its plate. There is no way to know if my cat is going to eat the whole thing in one day and then not get anything to eat for the next two days.
At this point, it starts rummaging through my kitchen pantry and it might end up eating the wrong food which makes it sick.
Hence, automatic cat feeders ensure they deliver a specified amount of food at a specified time every day, which really makes your cats even more low-maintenance than they already are.
Best Cat Feeder 2019
Some cat feeders are about more than just pushing out a tray full of cat food at a certain point of the day. Petnet SmartFeeder is backed up by tons of research, which will give you the exact amount of calories your cat needs every day depending on its age, weight, breed, level of activity and etc.
Petnet has put in a copious amount of research into finding out the right portions and the optimal ratios of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats in every one of your cat’s meals.
You can manage all of it through their app on your smartphone, allowing you to have control over the device from anywhere in the world.
My experience with the product
It took me a fair amount of experimentation to figure out the right blend of ingredients which my cats find tasty enough and also provides the basic nutritional needs for my cats. It wasn’t an easy task. The biggest problem was that I was irregular in my own work-life schedule, and hence my cat got used to having its meals at different times every day.
Some days, I would even forget if I had fed them, and then I would try to make up for it and definitely end up over-feeding them. However, once you start using the app for this product, you’ll get to see the exact schedule of when your cat was last fed, how many calories that meal consisted of, and when is the next meal coming up.
There have also been times where I was going to feed them and then I saw that I was out of cat food. On those days, they basically ate what I had for lunch and dinner. Fortunately, whenever you’re running out of cat food, this machine sends you a notification, and you can even use the app to get more cat food delivered to your doorstep.
The Petnet Smart Feeder is also equipped with a camera up top. So if you’re not at home and you want to look at your furry friends getting fed every day, you can simply go into the app and start the camera up to see what they are getting up to.
- Automatic calorie estimation system
- Wireless control over feeding schedules, portions and meal recipes
- Closed-circuit cameras let you watch your cats remotely
- Notifications when food or battery is running low
- Non-round pieces of cat food sometimes get stuck in the dispenser
PortionProRx Automatic Pet Feeder
This one is specifically designed if you have multiple pets in the house with different diets and different portions. So if you’ve got a larger cat and a smaller cat which require different amounts of food, PortionProRX is a great choice for you.
It has a patented system that will recognize the microchip in your pet when it is feeding time and the cat is walking nearby. The food bowl will open only when the cat with the specified microchip is present, and the food bowl will get shut if there is another cat trying to grant access to the food bowl or steal your kitty’s food.
My experience with the product
I can’t begin to tell you how many times my cat overate and started vomiting on the floor. I was completely confused by this because I was feeding them the same amount of food every day – not more, not less.
I later figured out that it was because one of my cats was stealing food from the other. After that, I decided to have separate feeding spaces for my cats and I would feed them separately at different times to ensure they don’t eat each other’s food.
This product features a revolutionary patented tag recognition system which makes sure the food you put out gets eaten by the cat you put it out for. You start by scheduling feeding times for your cats, and the amount of kibbles that meal will have.
When it’s feeding time and your intended cat is within two feet of the machine, it will recognize and bring out a feeding bowl for your cat. It will open the feeding bowl only if the intended cat is there. If my other cat tries to barge in, the feeding bowl will close by itself. Thus, only the right cat will be granted access while the other one would be denied whenever it is feeding time.
You can schedule the machine to provide meals for your cat up to 6 times a day. Plenty of owners believe it’s better for cats to have multiple small meals divided through the day. If your cat tries to eat more food or stick a paw up the machine, the bowl will again close on its own. The machine cannot be tampered with and it is completely theft-proof.
There is a digital screen on the machine which lets you set and review feeding schedules for all your pets and make necessary adjustments depending on your cat’s health.
- Pet identification technology
- Sturdy construction which means it can’t be knocked over
- Foodbowl is easy to clean
- All machine parts are pet safe and won’t injure your cats
- Can be configured with up to 6 meals every day with the desired calorie count
- Technology isn’t foolproof as the lid takes about 10 seconds to close once the wrong pet is identified
- No app or wireless technology
PetSafe Smart Feed Automatic Cat Feeder
This product is another wirelessly controlled automatic cat feeder machine which works through an app on your phone. PetSafe can hold up to 24 cups of dry or semi-moist cat food kibbles which should be enough to last a week if you’ve got only one cat.
If you’ve got more cats, it can be configured to dispense up to 12 bowls of food with feeding sizes of ⅛ cups to 4 cups of food at a time. There is even a Feed Now option if you want to give your pets a snack or an extra serving.
My experience with the product
I’ve become a big fan of these automated app-controlled feeding machines. Not only do they let me feed my cats remotely, but they also monitor all their calorie consumption over the last few days and weeks. Add that to the benefit of not having to count out kibbles myself while feeding them; just let the machine do all the work.
However, the best bit is, I never have to wake up to a hungry cat pawing my face begging for a midnight snack. I can just schedule a small midnight snack for my cat, and if I do wake up, I just go into my phone and click the Feed Now option. I can finally sleep in late on weekends!
This machine has all the features you would expect in an automatic feeding machine, including sensors to detect when food supply is running low and automatic reordering of cat food when food supply gets diminished.
It is even Alexa enabled, which means if your hands are busy or you don’t want to get out of the bed, you can just tell Alexa to start the machine up.
Another thing I notice is that whenever my cats are hungry, they will chomp through all the food in a flash and then turn out and stare at me, begging for more food. This machine has a slow dispense system for all overeager cats. The specified food gets dispensed slowly over the course of 15 minutes instead of all at once.
It comes equipped with a removable stainless steel bowl, thus you can just take the bowl out and clean it instead of having to maneuver through the machine every time you need to clean. The stainless steel bowl also ensures your cats can’t chew or scratch it.
- Wireless smartphone control
- Dispenses controlled portions up to 12 times a day
- Automatic reordering when sensors detect low food
- Alexa enabled
- Slow food dispense system
- There are Wifi connectivity issues sometimes
DOGNESS Automatic WiFi Dog/Cat Smart Camera Feeder
Although the manufacturing company’s name is Dogness, it works just as well for cats. This one looks super smooth and streamlined with very human design. It is not expensive, simple to set up and operate, and has great durability.
It can hold up to 6.5 pounds of cat food which should be more than enough to last a long time. The best feature of this product is that a camera, speaker and mic are built into its design, so that even if you’re not at home, you can look at your cat and speak to it through the speaker.
My experience with the product
The first thing I noticed about this product was that there was almost no setup involved. I simply opened up the Dogness app on my phone and scanned the QR code, and the device got unlocked. That was it.
The 6.5-pound capacity meant I could load the whole bag of cat food right into it, and I didn’t have to worry about storing the rest somewhere else.
The product operates only through 2.4 GHz Wifi, however. Fortunately, the Wifi in my house has both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz spectrums, so this might be a problem later on when everything moves to 5G in a few years.
The device is built in such a way that your cats can’t break into the food supply. In fact, they will be downright confused by the machine for the first few days.
However, it wouldn’t be too confusing as you can talk to your cat remotely through the speaker whenever it is feeding time. It’s like Facetiming with your cat. This feature really gives this machine an added degree of humanity, which makes it easier for your cats to get adjusted to it.
My cats got so used to it within a few days, that they started sleeping next to it, so they could eat first thing in the morning when they wake up. I know cats are nocturnal, and even though my cats pretty much sleep all the time, I’ve scheduled them a midnight snack nonetheless. It’s so much fun to see my cat wake up, stretch around and then stare eagerly at the machine waiting for its food.
- Large food holding capacity
- Very human design
- Food supply cannot be broken into
- Wireless smartphone control
- Built-in speaker, mic, and camera
- Does not work through the 5 GHz spectrum
- No automatic reordering
Guide To Buying The Best Auto Cat Feeder
If you’re still confused about which product to buy, the following points should hopefully clear it up.
This is the most important feature in a cat feeder. Depending on your cat’s breed it will eat 2 to 6 meals per day. You should get a cat feeder which has at least the capacity to store enough food for your cat for 3 days. So in case you’re not home for a weekend, you can be sure it gets fed.
It’s an added benefit if your cat feeder informs you whenever the food supply is running low so you can refill it. Some cat feeders automatically put in an order online when the food supply is running low.
Make sure that the cat feeder holds about 20 cups of dry or semi-moist kitty kibbles.
How many times have you fed your cat excess food only to see it vomit all of that up? Portion control is super important to keep your cats healthy and active.
The best cat feeders usually have a number of different options for controlling the number of meals scheduled in a day and the amount of cat food dispensed in every one of those meals. The cat feeder should have options for dispensing ¼ cup to 3 or 4 cups of cat food every meal, depending on the number of cats you have.
It’s even better if your cat feeder lets you schedule meals of different proportions in different meals during the day. It’s also very helpful to have a recorded history of your cats’ feeding schedule and the amount of food it was fed every day.
Most high-tech cat feeders have Wi-fi or network connectivity which let you operate the cat feeder through an app on your phone, regardless of where in the world you are. If the cat feeder is smartphone operated, you can schedule it to receive a notification every time your cat is fed or whenever food supply is low.
Having remote control over your cat feeder also lets you give your cats a treat or snack when you want to, while you’re in the office or at a friend’s. But best of all, an automatic feeding schedule lets you give your cats a midnight snack or breakfast without ever having to get out of the bed.
Some of these cat feeders don’t use any batteries and require a constant supply of power. Thus, if there is ever a power cut or the wire gets tripped over and disconnected, these cat feeders will shut down and not provide any food. So make sure they at least have enough power to last a day.
There is nothing your cat will like more than breaking into the food supply and getting access to all of that at once. It’s not unusual at all to see your cat sticking its paw into the feeder and trying to steal more food.
Hence, make sure you get a cat feeder which can’t be broken into and is hard enough that it can’t be turned over by your cat. You’ll also be spending a lot of money on these automatic cat feeders, so it will be good if they are durable enough to last a few years.
Having an automatic feeder doesn’t just ensure that your cats get fed when you’re away. It also makes your life so much easier when you’re at home with them. You won’t have to get up from whatever you’re doing to feed your cat every 4 hours or so. But the best thing about getting one of them is that your cat will stop hounding you for food while you’re asleep.
All the cat feeders reviewed above are pretty impressive in their own right and they should all be good choices. Just go through the features once to see what’s right for you and your cuddly companions.