Do you want to pick the right automatic feeder for your cat?
If you want to automatically feed your cat, but don’t know how to choose a good pet food dispenser, the following are good tips to help you get a suitable feeder for your cat. A lot of frustration and waste of money can be avoided by properly researching before purchasing a product.
I drew up this list after reading many customer reviews and based in my own experience so you don’t have to do all that research – I already did it for you. By following these 8 tips you can be sure you’re getting a good solution for you and your pet:
Tip 1: Check If The Pet Feeder Has A Good Digital Timer Or Get a Wi-Fi Auto Feeder
Digital timers allows you to customize your cat feeding schedule, according to your cat needs. Some auto feeders without digital timer don’t offer this option. They only can be programmed with default mealtimes that you can’t change. If you really want to choose what time you want your kitty to eat, check a feeder with a proper digital timer that will allow you to program customized mealtimes.
If you don’t want to deal with timers, you can get a Wi-Fi auto feeder that allows you to program the unit through the App. Programming a feeder through an App is so much easier. You can program from wherever you are with your phone, Tablet, IPod or even the laptop in some cases and you can choose portions and mealtimes, easily. If the internet goes down, these Wi-Fi feeder still keep dispensing.
With a good digital timer or with a Wi-Fi feeder App, you will be able to:
- Program a customized feeding schedule for your cat, whatever time you choose for each meal.
- Set minimum intervals of minutes between each meal if you want. This is especially important if you have a cat with diabetes or a cat that eats too fast and you need to spread out the meal in several smaller portions. For example some brands allow you to set from 3 to 10 minutes between each meal if you want and Wi-Fi auto feeders allow you to feed your cat with a minute of difference.
- Set different intervals for each meal. This means that you are able to program the meals with different number of hours or minutes between each. For example, set the first meal at 7 am, then the second one at 11 am, then the last one at 6 pm (1st interval of 4 hours, second interval of 7 hours).
- Having accuracy in the dispensing programmed times. Usually feeders with digital timers that allow fully customizable meal times and portions are more accurate in dispensing that feeders with another type of timer.
Tip 2: Check If The Feeder Allows You To Feed Your Cat Small Portions
For example, If you want your cat to eat half cup of food by day and no more, check if the feeder allows you to distribute this amount of food during the day in smalls meals at a time with accuracy.
Currently, there are many options in automatic feeders that allow you to dispense very small amounts of food at a time, the CSF-3 Super Feeder, the HoneyGuaridan S25, the PortionPRO RX, and the Pet Feedster to name some. And there is a very unique option of a feeder that shuts down the dispensing when your cat has reached its daily intake, that feeder is the Wireless Whiskers, perfect for a cat on a diet.
You need to consider how many grams is the smallest portion. The minimum amount of food that some Wi-Fi feeders dispense is 5g and you can program this portion as many times as you want within 24 hours. Check my Honey Guaridan S25 review where you will see how this Wi-Fi automatic feeder works really well for my cat and it offers this feature.
Tip 3: Check If The Feeder Is Guaranteed to Work With The Pellet Your Cat Eats
Some automatic feeders don’t guarantee the accuracy of portions when using a different kibble size than what they recommend. It is recommended to choose a feeder that can handle a wide range of kibble sizes. Usually, the kibbles that cause the automatic feeder to jam are the ones with odd shapes, such as stars, flowers, fish, triangles, etc. Also, the kibble that is too small and too flat is also a problem for most feeders to handle.
How Do The Auto Feeders Handle Odd Shaped Kibble?
Some automatic feeders have the option of adjusting the internal main piece that plays a role in the rotating system. This way the feeder doesn’t jam and ensures a continuous operation handling different types of kibble.
The more sophisticated the feeder, the more sizes and shapes of kibbles can handle. There are various brands that have adjustable internal parts for a reliable operation.
In my article How to Assemble And Program The Pet Feedster I show a video how to setup the unit and I demonstrate how to adjust the internal piece of the feeder to make it work with the kibble size my cat eats.
Tip 4: Check Whether The Feeder Retains The Settings If You Switch It Off Or Change Batteries
This is especially important if you don’t like to be programming devices every time from scratch. If a feeder doesn’t have digital internal memory and it only uses AC adapter, plus it has a very tricky way to program it, forget about it.
The best tip to buy an automatic feeder is to ensure it won’t lose the programming when changing batteries or if unplugged. Always ask this question to the seller. I mention this point in all my pet food dispensers reviews so you know what has this feature.
Tip 5: Check Whether The Feeder Design Can Be Violated By Your Cat
Especially check whether the chute or lid is protected. Make sure to check this point if you have one of those “locksmith” type cats! Cat proof automatic feeders are not easy to find, but there are some good devices. For example, the CSF-3XL Super Feeder has a hopper and accessories to mount the feeder on the wall where it will be impossible for a cat to get access to the food.
Tip 6: Check If the Automatic Feeder Works With AC Adapter and Batteries In Conjunction
This is a very important tip to buy an automatic feeder, specially if you plan to leave your cat for several days because if the power goes out, an automatic feeder with battery backup will keep dispensing and your cat won’t starve.
Be careful because some automatic feeders can be plugged in and also have battery compartment, but both power sources don’t work in conjunction. Example of automatic feeders that work with batteries and AC adapter in conjunction are the Pet Feedster and the PetSafe Simply Feed.
Tip 7: Quality Of Materials
It is worth to consider this point when you are searching for a good automatic feeder. This is important if you want to get a good product that lasts for a long time. Usually the good, sturdy and high quality automatic feeders have a higher price than low priced units (not always though, in my reviews I make sure to mention this, if needed).
Tip 8: Check The Warranty
Check always the guarantee or warranty to make sure you will be able to ask for refund, replacement or repair of your unit. Usually the length of period that the guarantee or warranty lasts, it’s a good indicator about the quality of the feeder. The longer the guarantee, the longer the unit most likely lasts.
With these 8 tips you should be able to choose the right automatic feeder for your cat. Your pet will be very grateful and you will save yourself a big headache!