With an automatic feeder for the cat, you can provide your pet with the daily food portions it needs fully automatically – even when you’re not there. This makes the product the ideal choice for working people and people who travel over the weekend. In our new guide, you’ll find out everything you need to know before you buy one.
What Is An Automatic Feeder For Cats?
An automatic feeder for cats is extremely practical if you are away from home for a longer period of time, but you still want to keep your cat fed. The basic principle is simple: the device automatically fills the cat bowl with food with the help of a timer. There are many different designs, ranging from simple to complex, covering almost every desire for functions.
A simple principle is an automated food dispenser for the cat with a timer. It consists of a bowl and a larger food container. You fill the container with dry food before you leave the house. The cat can not get to the food, because it is safely enclosed. Depending on the setting, a flap opens at your desired time. The food then falls from the container into the bowl, so that the cat can eat.
You can also get a food dispenser for the cat without a timer. Then there is no closed flap between the container and the bowl. The food always slides when your cat eats from the bowl. In principle, the bowl is always full. But because the container protects most of the food, it stays fresh.
For cats that don’t tend to gobble, a food dispenser without a timer is the best choice. With an automated version, you always have the size of the food portions under control in your absence.
Is An Automatic Feeder Only Suitable For Dry Food?
A simple food dispenser for the cat is often only suitable for dry food. However, there are special models for wet food. In this case, the food does not flow from a container into the feeding bowl for the cat, but these models use hinged lids that open automatically for practical reasons. Since wet food spoils easily, many automatic feeders have a cooling function or offer space for cold packs.
Special Designs Of Automatic Feeders
The manufacturers of bowls constantly come up with new ideas to simplify everyday life with the cat. A special automatic feeder can help the cat by means of RFID chip that only it may eat the food lying in it. Worn on a collar, a flap opens over the bowl when the cat stands directly in front of it. If there are several cats or a dog living in the household, a model like this helps prevent food theft. Each animal gets only the food intended for it. For regular medication or special food, this is enormously practical.
Other models also work with a food bowl that is covered by a flap. However, the flap does not always have to open by a chip. In some models, it opens by means of a timer. The cat’s food bowl is then no longer filled automatically, but through double or multiple bowls, each with its own lid, you can still guarantee two or more meals.
Features That Can Be Worthwhile With The Automatic Feeder
Sometimes it makes sense to invest a little more money and buy an automatic feeder not only with a timer, but also with other additional features. From simple helpers to luxury high-tech models, everything is available on the market. The following extras are particularly interesting from our point of view:
- Dishwasher-safe quality: allows machine cleaning.
- Removable food bowl for the cat: for easier cleaning.
- BPA-free: protects your cat from harmful plasticizers.
- Pet-safe lid, timer and switch: even smart cats can’t crack them.
- Safe stand: machine cannot be knocked over by a hungry cat.
- Anti-slip bottom: ensures that the cat cannot push the feeder around.
- Battery already included: if it is not a battery or mains model.
- Battery indicator: shows the current battery charge level.
- App control and internet connection: convenient online programming via cell phone.
- Integrated camera: for photos, videos and/or live streams.
- Microphone and speaker: allows communication with your cat via internet.
- Voice recorder: for playing pre-recorded voice messages during feeding.
- Sealed seal: keeps food fresh longer and doesn’t drive your cat wild with odors.
- Integrated cold packs: keep perishable food fresh longer.
- Split bowls with separation: in case your cat gets two different types of food.
- Transparent containers in food dispensers: allows visual control of the filling level.
Of course, not all models offer all these practical advantages. But since the extras are reflected in the price (especially the high-tech features), it makes sense anyway to buy the automatic feeder for the cat adapted to its needs.
Automatic Feeder For The Cat: Tips For The Purchase
The feeding bowl for the cat must be sufficiently large so that you can accommodate the entire portion in it. Make sure that, if possible, there is still air, so that it does not overflow when eating.
Depending on the model, there is a possibility that you may only fill food with a certain diameter. This is especially the case with feed dispensers for dry food, because it should fall through a thin neck. Feed pieces that are too large will cause clogging.
With food dispensers, it has proven useful if you can adjust the size of the dry food portion individually. Sometimes it makes sense to offer the cat more or less food than usual. Then it is practical if you can adjust the desired volume as needed.
It is also advisable if you can program a large number of meals in the feeder for the cat. Cats are usually fed only two or three times a day. In many cases, however, a larger number of meals with smaller portions each time is helpful. For example, many mini-portions help prevent gorging.
Not every automatic feeder for the cat is suitable for dry, semi-moist and wet food at the same time. When choosing products, pay attention to the manufacturer’s specifications so that you are not disappointed. You should also use water dispensers or fountains only for their intended purpose.
Since a food dispenser for the cat is an electrically operated device, you should make sure that it has a GS mark. This guarantees you tested safety. In addition, the warranty is more important for e-devices than for a simple feeding bowl for the cat, because they carry a higher risk of defects. The more warranty time, the better. Note that by law you already have a two-year warranty claim.
The automatic feeder for the cat is available not only for food, but also for water. However, the models do not offer a timer or opening flaps. The water is located in a large collection tank, as in the case of a food dispenser for the cat, and provides fresh water to a connected bowl.
Attention: A Defective Automatic Feeder May Leave Your Cat Hanging
If you pay attention to good quality when buying an automatic feeder, you hardly have to worry about your cat starving to death because of a defect. Nevertheless, even high-quality technology can fail once. The timer could break or some component could get stuck. With battery-operated devices it is also possible that the battery discharges. With bad luck your kitty will be without food for a long time. However, some mains-powered devices are protected against a power failure by additional batteries.
The risk of a defect is next to the loneliness probably the most important reason why you should never leave your cat alone for more than 24 to 48 hours at a time. Although many cats are able to survive in starvation situations for an extraordinarily long time, the first damage to certain organs is possible after only a short time without food. Lack of water will lead to a life-threatening condition even faster.
Frequently Asked Questions About The Automatic Feeder For The Cat
An automatic feeder for the cat is practical, but also special. Therefore, it is not surprising that many cat owners still have questions. We provide the answers.
How Many Meals Fit In The Feeder For The Cat?
The available volume is different for all models. Of course, the size also depends on the design. As a rule, a food dispenser for the cat offers enough space for several meals of dry food. Containers with bowls, which are individually closed with a flap and accommodate mainly wet food, instead allow only individual portions.
Where Does The Automatic Feeder For The Cat Get The Energy From?
There are automatic feeders with every conceivable option for supplying energy. The easiest way is via gravity for simple feeders. However, most models require one or more batteries. In addition, battery-powered devices and those with mains operation are available for purchase. There are also individual variants that allow the connection of a power bank.
By the way, some models consume significantly more energy than others. As a rule, an automatic feeder for the cat with mains operation is the largest energy consumer and one with battery is the smallest.
Does An Automatic Feeder Or Food Dispenser Help Against Begging?
For some cats, an automatic feeder can stop the begging. The animal always receives the food automatically. If you pay attention and she is not so smart, she will not notice your intervention in her food. Your cat will not necessarily see you as her personal can opener if you use the automatic feeder all the time. So you may soon be able to go back to the kitchen without her meowing loudly after you.
However, it’s not that simple, because cats naturally get plenty of treats from their humans. To keep them busy and to strengthen the cat-human relationship, they need that too. So it takes more than just an automatic feeder to break the begging cat of this annoying behavior.
What Does An Automatic Feeder For Cats Cost?
Quality, function and extras determine the price of the automatic feeder for the cat. Sometimes the brand also plays a role. Simple models without electrical functions are already available from five euros. With timer, the prices start at about 20 euros. Luxury versions with high-tech functions start from 60 euros. Very high-quality variants with camera and app control can also cost 150 euros.
How Often Do I Need To Feed My Cat?
Most cats are fed two to three times a day and feel extremely comfortable with this. You can increase the number, however, if you reduce the portion sizes. In the wild, cats eat up to 15 times a day. So many meals are usually not necessary. But with many small amounts of food, especially gorging with subsequent vomiting can be prevented.
How Long Can I Leave My Cat Alone?
It depends on your cat. If it is affectionate, it will feel bad without you after a short time. More independent cats can be left alone for a whole day. Cats are pack animals and therefore need the company of at least one other cat. With two or more cats you can leave them alone for a longer period of time. However, cats should never be isolated for more than 48 hours at a time.
Fill The Cat’s Food Bowl: At What Time To Feed The Cat?
The time of day is less important when it comes to the cat’s food bowl. Rather, make sure that between all meals approximately the same time intervals pass. This way you support a good digestion.
How Much Cat Food Does The Cat Need Per Day?
Most cats get by on 300 to 400 grams of wet food a day, which is about two cans. The actual amount depends greatly on size, weight, age and activity level.
Dry food is much lighter because of the low moisture content. A cat weighing three kilograms gets about 60 grams.
By the way, more important than the weight is the nutritional content. It is best to buy a complete food to fill the cat’s feeder.