Buying Guide for Automatic Cat Feeders
Before you choose any automatic cat feeder, there are some important features you should definitely consider which will help you make the right choice for your cat. We’ve put together a guide for you, so you know what to look for.
Food Storage Capacity
One of the advantages of having an automatic cat feeder is to take the hassle out of having to feed your pets every day. You don’t want to be constantly worried about your cat’s food. It’d be pointless if you still had to fill up the food bowl daily. If you did, what would be the point of the automatic feeder?
Think about how many meals you want your feeder to hold at once. It’s always important to check how much food a dispenser can hold at once. Choose an automatic feeder with a large storage capacity that can hold up to 2-3 days worth of cat food.
To work out the exact capacity you will need, weigh a normal meal for your cat on kitchen scales, multiply this weight by the number of meals your cat has each day. You will have the total weight of food required for a single day, so you can then multiply this number by the number of days you are expecting to ever be away to reach the maximum capacity you will require.
Does your cat eat wet food?
Most automatic feeders are designed to accommodate dry food only. We have used wet food in an automatic feeder before, and it quickly gets very messy, and the freshness fades pretty quickly.
If your cat will only eat wet food, make sure to check that your feeder is able to cope with it, and look for feeders that come with a cooling or ice pack system that will keep the food as fresh as possible whilst you are away. In most cases, you will need to freeze a provided ice pack that you place under the cat bowl that keeps the food cool.
Portion Control Settings
The amount of food your cat needs at a time will change as they age. You’ll want to invest in a feeder that can accommodate that change.
Think about your cat’s dietary needs to determine how much food they should have in one sitting. Especially if your cat is on a weight loss diet, an accurate portion is important for their health. If you’re not sure, talk with your vet about what they’d recommend.
You might even want to use specific eating habits as part of your cat’s training. If this is the case, make sure the automatic feeder you pick has the right features. For instance, finding a feeder with a voice recording option could help continue to train your cat to respond to your voice, even while you’re away at work.
Food Size Options
All cat foods are not made the same size. And most pet owners tend to change their cat’s food as it grows. A kitten will need smaller bites than a fully-grown cat.
You might want to choose an automatic cat feeder that works for both small and large food sizes. Keeping this in mind, you’ll be able to use the feeder for a long time.
It’s also important to measure the average size of the food your cat prefers. You’ll want to make sure the machine can release food pieces that size, so it won’t get jammed up – especially when you’re out of the house for the day.
You need to consider how pet-safe an automatic cat feeder is when making your purchase. You wouldn’t want to see your precious Fluffy breaking in and devouring all the food at once.
You also wouldn’t want to see your cat mess up the house during their feeding by spilling their food all over the kitchen floor. A pet-proof automatic feeder prevents this from happening. Think about the size of the bowl and how heavy or secure the feeder is, so it can’t be knocked over.
Scheduling meal times
All automatic cat feeders will allow you to schedule meal times using a timer. You should consider how long you will likely leave your cat for, and whether you may need to change your cats eating schedule whilst you are away. When the weather is warm, your cat will typically eat less, so you may need to increase or decrease meal sizes whilst you are away. Generally, the only feeders that will allow you to do this are those that are connected to a mobile app, that will allow you to edit your cats eating schedule completely remotely.
Mains powered vs battery powered
Most advanced cat food dispensers are now powered using mains plugs, with backup power provided by batteries should you experience a power cut. If you plan to be out of the house for long periods of time, we would recommend finding a feeder that includes a battery backup power source to ensure your cat will always be fed whether your house is in darkness or not.
The Ease of Cleaning
You need to consider how easy it is to clean the feeder part before you choose any automatic cat feeder. The cat feeding bowl can be a breeding place for bacteria, and it demands that you wash it regularly. You need to look for an automatic cat feeder that has dishwasher-safe parts for easy cleaning.
What to Look For in an Automated Cat Feeder
You should first understand that most cat feeders are designed for single cat households or homes with no dogs. If this is your set-up, then you don’t have to worry!
But if you have multiple cats and other animals at home that have access to the feeder too, it can be problematic. For people with multiple cats who want them to feed properly, look for a feeder with RFID chips that will only open for a cat with the right matching tag on its collar.
Remember that most automatic feeders are only suitable for dry foods unless they’re a plate style feeder. So if your kitty prefers wet foods, think about that too. Does your pet have a particular amount of food it eats at a time? You need to choose an automatic cat feeder that will satisfy your cat’s dietary and serving requirements.
Lastly, some cats need a specific size or bowl height in order to eat easily. Measure the dimensions of the container or food compartment to be sure your cat can feed easily from it before you finalise your purchase.