With such busy lives that so many people live, it is hard to keep up with a certain schedule to ensure that your cat is well fed. Of course, you may argue that such people should simply avoid getting themselves a pet. However, times have changed and it is now possible to own a beloved feline friend despite a busy schedule. That’s because you can always get a reliable automatic cat feeder to feed your pet even in your absence.
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PetSafe 5-Meal Pet Feeder
isYoung 5.5L Automatic Pet Feeder
Qpet Automatic Cat Feeder
What is an Automatic Cat Feeder?
Just as the name implies, automatic cat feeders are machines that work on an automated system, dispensing your cat’s food automatically. For this machine to dispense the cat’s food, you can set a timer or even a sensor depending on the machine type. So, gone are the days when owners used to feed the cats homemade foods and unknowingly fed their cats an unmeasured amount of food. Also gone are the days when you are sleeping late on a nice weekend morning, and your cat suddenly wakes you up, meowing with a hungry look on its face.
How Does it Work?
If you are curious about just exactly how a cat feeder works, you simply need to read through the points listed below that explain how it functions. While every product differs in design, for the most part, they function as shown below.
- A feature around the top of the machine holds the cat food.
- This food compartment area can contain anywhere from 3 to 20 pounds of food, depending on the design.
- The food is dispensed at a set time, into the dish kept at the bottom of the machine.
There are other interesting systems that work as shown below:
- There is a feature at the top that holds the cat food
- This food compartment area contains anywhere between 2 to 6 bowls of cat food
- At a given time, a voice or sound comes from the machine indicating feeding time
- The lid opens for one of the bowls and allows the cat to access the food
Our Top 10 Recommended Cat Feeders
It never hurts to try out automating your responsibilities with an automatic cat feeder. That’s because the only thing you may lose out on this experiment is money. However, these days there are plenty of options that are not too expensive and are worth considering, especially if it means that it would save some of your time and make things easier for you. Therefore, taking a look at some of the below-mentioned options may help you figure out a useful automatic cat feeder.
Pros and Cons of Using an Automatic Cat Feeder
An automatic cat feeder sounds great to any cat or pet owner, but it is important to take a peep into the pros and cons that might come with it. Not everything is made to be perfect, and so to be completely unbiassed, we must take a look at some of the common advantages and disadvantages of using an automatic cat feeder.
- The sense of comfort for the owner – The biggest pro that an automatic cat feeder provides is freeing the cat owner from the worry and responsibility of feeding the cat on time. Not only does it relieve the stress of having to feed their pet, but also provides a sense of comfort. The comfort that comes with knowing that your pet will have food in its bowl at the right time.
- Intake control – Whether you are going out somewhere and leave a pile of food or are simply unaware of exactly how much to give your pet, having an automatic pet feeder will help solve these issues. It can provide the right amount of food depending on your cat’s age, size, and breed type.
- Weight management – This relates to the point above because through intake control, you be able to manage your pet’s weight. Also, the cat will itself learn to eat the exact same amount provided at a given time. This way, it will get used to a certain eating routine, and in turn, learn to eat as much as its given.
- Less stress and hunger for your cat – Whether you are sleeping, sick, or simply arriving late, your cat is faced with so many unpredictable moments of hunger. They are used to getting food at a certain time, but if you are not there, then they are left hungry, stressed, and lonely. Therefore, using an automatic cat feeder completely solves this issue since they will be fed regardless of whether you are there or not.
- Greater freedom – Through the convenience of the pet feeder giving out the food at a specified time, not only does the owner feel free, but also lesser burdened. Also, the cat is not completely dependent on its owner to be fed. Therefore, both parties win and gain more freedom.
- Control over cat’s eating schedule – When you are busy or lazy, it is impossible to find the perfect time to feed your cat. This will end up confusing the cat’s natural cycle and in turn, be fed at irregular times. Through an automatic cat feeder, this issue is dealt with because the machine will put out the food at exactly the same time. Therefore, it helps to control the cat’s eating schedule which will only improve your cat’s health.
- Manage many eaters – For homes that have multiple pets or cats, it may be hard to make sure that one animal isn’t stealing the food of the other. We give the food, and then we walk away without realizing that one of our beloved feline friends did not get to eat as much as we served it. This is especially the case in households with dogs and cats, where the dog ends up stealing the smaller cat’s food. However, with automated schedules and portions being delivered, we can help manage a multitude of eaters.
- Lack of bugs – Since the food is preserved within a specific compartment inside the machine rather than being left outside, there are fewer chances for pesky bugs infesting the food or even crawling in. This is also useful to protect your cat’s food against ants.
- Less dried out food – Sometimes our cat may not go to the food immediately or the climate could simply be drier than usual. With that being the case, any food that is left outside will dry up quickly, and that may not be that great for our pet. This is why such a feeder would be useful to keep the food delicious and moist.
- Noisy – One of the biggest issues of getting something automated, whether it’s a best automatic cat litter box or an automatic cat feeder is the noise that they make. This is particularly bad for cats since they are quite sensitive to such sounds. Therefore, if they are used to eating in complete silence, and are suddenly welcomed by the sounds of the gears turning, they may run away in fear.
- Potential to be jammed or broken – Much like any other machine or technological innovation, there is always a chance for it to break down when least expected. Moreover, with something like an automatic pet feeder, it can become quite problematic if the machine gets jammed while the cat owner has left the cat unmonitored for some time.
- Can be tipped over – Some of the automatic cat feeders are quite large and tall. That’s because they need to contain pounds of food to dispense. For those curious cats that want more, they may push the machine over, and with their weight, this would be a disaster. That’s not just a cleaning-up disaster, but also one because your pet would overeat and that is bad for its health.
Ways to Feed Your Cat
It is always best to feed your cat on a certain schedule, that ensures that the cat isn’t eating irregularly. Yet, there are some people out there with the notion that cats, unlike dogs, are much more free-spirited and desire the same with their routine. The truth, however, is that cats are moody, so the option to feed them freely without a schedule is there. Then again, there is the confusion about what to feed your cat, whether dry or wet cat food. Whichever way it is, we’ve examined some of the different ways of feeding your cat as shown below.
This is when you rotate the types of food that you feed your cat. For instance, you feed wet food on certain days and then dry foods on other days. This method offers a variety for your pet and helps to ‘mix things up.’
One benefit of this is that it helps your cat get a wide range of food. They aren’t stuck with one type throughout their life and can also adapt accordingly. This also helps in case your pet is sick, and you have no choice but to feed your pet with canned food. However, there are pets that have become accustomed to one type for too long. Such pets may completely refuse the other types of food.
The bad side to this, however, is that it can lead to obesity since there are just too many different components entering the cat’s body. Without really being conscious of the ingredients or portion sizes and feeding them freely may result in greater weight issues at a later stage. Also, it is possible that your cat may not adjust to the constant change.
As the idea implies, this is where you are periodically feeding your cat at regular intervals. Whether it is canned food or dried food, you must make sure that your cat adapts to the specific intervals on which you feed it.
One of the advantages of meal feeding is that you can closely monitor how much the cat is eating. So, if there is a change in the eating behavior of your cat, you can tell the difference immediately. For example, if it becomes sick and does not want to eat when it normally should, you would be able to identify that something is wrong.
On the other hand, cats that digest their food quickly or get hungry more often will constantly keep meowing and yowling for you to feed it, even if it’s not time. Cats are not like humans and can’t be simply told to be patient. They may continue to bother you until the end of the day. Furthermore, just as any cat owner that feeds their pet on a schedule knows, this makes you completely constrained to this particular time. That means less freedom and added pressure.
However, there are someowners that don’t restrict themselves to a schedule. On the contrary, they would rather feed their cat on a free schedule, meaning at any time. So, the owner just leaves out food regardless of whether their pet is hungry or not and expects them to eat accordingly.
The good thing about free feeding is that the owner is not constrained to a specific schedule. Instead, the owner fills up the cat’s bowl and simply leaves the choice of eating for their pet. They technically give the ‘freedom’ to the cat to decide. Also, rather than giving large amounts periodically, they will provide multiple small meals throughout the day.
The disadvantage, however, is that often there is no real structure as to how the food is given. The owner provides according to the need of the hour, and therefore even though the quantity isn’t that large, it can lead to obesity or overeating. Additionally, as shown above, with free feeding you cannot really know whether or not your feline friend’s appetite has changed as they eat at random hours.
Introducing a New Feeder to Your Cat
Cats are not only curious creatures, but they are also highly fearful of anything that is unfamiliar or new. When it comes to things that make abrupt noises, they are even more likely to run away in fear, hiding under the bed.
When the time comes to introduce a new product to your cat such as the automated cat feeder, you really can’t expect your feline friend to immediately jump in joy and excitement. It will definitely back away, approaching it with caution.
- Remove all expectations – The very first thing you need to do while introducing this automatic cat litter box to your feline friend is to remove all expectations. What this means is that you should not expect your cat to adjust quickly, or even warm up to the idea. Remember that they do not know what this is, nor do they even recognize that it is for their own good.
- Place the feeder in the same location as the previous bowl – Your cat needs to associate this freaky machine as harmless and see it as the same food bowl it used to once eat out of. For that reason, make sure to place it in the exact same area as you kept the food bowl in.
- Do not remove the old bowl – Often cat owners remove the old bowl immediately and this is in fact, the first mistake that they make. That’s because it confuses the cat, so you need to implement the change gradually.
- Take away only when ready – If your cat starts eating from the pet feeder and you remove its old bowl and as soon as you do that, it suddenly stops eating from the pet feeder, then this is an indication that it is not ready to give up the familiar old bowl. If this happens, it only means that the cat is not completely comfortable with the new feeder.
Regardless of how convenient and awesome getting an automated machine to feed the pets sounds, more than anything, we need to make sure that our cats are comfortable with the new feeder. That’s because if they fear this new and noisy machine, buying it would be pointless. In your pursuit to make sure that there aren’t any future problems that persist, you may consider any of the above-stated options.