Why didn’t I get a cat-proof automatic feeder? So many cat owners ask themselves this question when they end up with a broken feeder due to their “locksmith” type cat. This usually happens when a cat owner buys an automatic feeder without checking if the unit is “paws-proof”. It’s easy to underestimate the cat’s ability to manipulate objects with its paws. It’s not uncommon to see cats that have been secretly helping themselves extra meals due to a bad designed automatic feeder or worse, they destroy the feeder or learn how to open it and eat the whole content in it.
HOW TO RECOGNIZE A “LOCKSMITH” TYPE CAT
First, I want to point out what is a “locksmith” type cat. It’s a cat that manages to open things and has the ability to manipulate objects, even opening doors.
Here there are some questions to determine whether your cat might adopt a passive or very active behavior when being alone with an automatic feeder:
- Is your cat obssesed with food?
- Does your cat push the bowls when eating?
- Does your pet sneek around the kitchen?
- Can your pet manipulate things easily?
- Does your pet belong to these breeds; Syamese, Tonkinese, Burmese, Siberian, Sphynx, Turkish Van, Abyssinians, Bengal, Savannah, Ocycat?
If your answer is “yes” to any of these questions, most likely your cat will try to defeat the feeder, specially if he/she is obsessed with food.
THE MOST COMMON WAYS CATS BREAK INTO AUTOMATIC FEEDERS
All automatic pet feeders have pros and cons but there are typical flaws that show up when a very food-obssesed cat encounters an automatic feeder.
— With dry food feeders with hopper:
- By opening the lid. They use the claws or paws to lift the lid and have a food fest.
- By sticking the paw inside the chute. This is the most common technique and cats can eat few kibbles at a time but enough to finish a whole extra meal by the end of the day.
- By shaking the feeder to make some pellet to fall. This is more extreme, but some cats hit the feeder to make them release food.
WATCH A CAT DEFEATING THE DRY FOOD AUTOMATIC FEEDER
—With wet food feeders:
- By rotating the tray with their claws and eat the next meal. This requires a refined technique and these are the pure “locksmith” type cats. They insert their claws in the tiny gap between the exposed slot and the top lid and get to rotate the food tray and have access to the next meal.
- By manipulating the spring mechanism to open the lid or by inserting the claws between the lid and the food tray. Some very smart cats can manipulate the spring mechanism by pawing at it or simply biting it. This happens with the flip-lid type feeder.
- By flipping the whole thing over. This would be the worst scenario if your cat starts batting the unit around or/and flipping it over and finally get access to the food.
WATCH A CAT DEFEATING THE AUTOMATIC WET FOOD FEEDER
WANT A CAT PROOF AUTOMATIC FEEDER? WHAT TO PAY ATTENTION TO:
- These are some basic characteristics you need to check if you want a pet proof feeder:
- Sturdy construction, with though high-impact resistant materials
- Secure lid system
- A chute cover, so if the next meal sits close to the chute the cat’s paw can’t reach the food.
- With a design and size that can’t be tipped over or moved around by a cat.
- Hopefully with a hopper that is not transparent and if it is, with a secure system for the cat not to reach the food.
DO ALL CATS TEND TO BREAK INTO AUTOMATIC PET FEEDERS?
No, they don’t. Just as people, there are glutton cats and cats that are finicky eaters, whom eat the dispensed meal and feel satisfied. For these cats any good reliable automatic feeder works just fine.
WHICH ARE THE CAT-PROOF AUTOMATIC FEEDERS?
I made a selection of these devices that have a special design thinking about frisky cats:
This automatic feeder is designed in a way that the cat can’t open the lid because it has a special tab lock system on the lid.
You need to put the tabs in the gaps and twist the lid and turn it and it gets locked this way. Nobody without human hands can do this.
Also, the unit is big and sturdy making it almost impossible for a cat to tip it over.
The dispensing system also makes it very hard for a cat to push/hit the unit trying to shake it and get pellets to fall down the tray because the hopper is designed in a way that leaves a very small opening where the Flax Feeder (the internal spinning piece) allows kibble by kibble to fall into the tray.
This design also prevents the feeder from getting jammed.
The chute is protected by a cover that screws onto the unit. This keeps the cat’s paws away from the chute.
The hopper of the Pet Feedster is not transparent and it features a little vertical window where you can check the food level.
Check a full review of this automatic feeder and cat’s suitability here.
The Super Feeder features a locking system on the lid secured by screws which makes it impossible for a cat to open.
Also, the hopper even though is transparent, is secured by screws and the chute is narrow and protected by a very tough polycarbonate chute cover.
The feeder also comes with mounting brackets specially to mount the feeder on a wall or anywhere away from a very obsessed cat. When mounting the feeder on a wall or tall furniture, you only leave the tray on the floor for your cat to eat with some adapting and extra materials.
If your cat is big and rough, the unit’s base comes with a special handle that you can use to secure the unit in several ways, whether to a big piece of furniture or a wall.
This unit can be adapted in various ways to make it work for your glutton cat.
I would say that the Super Feeder is the most adaptable automatic cat feeder on the market since it’s fully assemblable so you can adapt this great feeder in multiple ways, according to your needs.
This automatic feeder is excellent for people that are handy with tools and ingenuity to adapt this unit in a way that it’ll impossible for a cat to reach the hopper.
Check a full review of this automatic feeder here.
FEED & GO: This unit is suitable to feed dry and wet food. The feeder is study and with a flat design with no high edges that makes is impossible for a cat to tip it over or bat it around, especially considering the weight of this feeder of 6.5 lbs.
This wet/dry food feeder can only be opened by pushing two flat type buttons (one on each side ) at the same time which releases the lid locking system and then you open the lid.
Additionally, with its airtight design cats can’t move and rotate the tray using their claws like other feeders, because the exposed slot’s rims get covered by the top lid so there is not gap for a cat to insert its claws.
Check the Feed and Go review to see the various features and how good it works.
PETSAFE SIMPLY FEED: This automatic feeder is sturdy and with a design that the food does not sit next to the chute because its sits on the base and gets up by a food escalator that moves the food to the chute to fall onto the tray.
The chute of this unit is completely protected by a big front piece which is part of the feeder. This special design makes the chute completely unreachable by a cat. A cat would need to put the entire arm in there and even if it manages to do it, it could only get one or two kibble at the most no more.
The half of the hopper is semi transparent but dark so the food can’t really be seen that well by a cat.
The unit weighs 6.5 lbs so it takes a very big and strong cat to tip this unit over, it would be almost impossible, unless you have an hybrid type cat.
See more information of this unit in this full review.
If you have a cat that manages to break into your current automatic pet feeder, consider these cat proof feeders when getting the next one.