My cats have always been outdoor cats who came and went as they pleased. To feed them, we made sure that their bowls were always full of crunchies. It was pretty simple! But then I moved to the city and discovered indoor cats that overeat, don’t run around so much and get fat. This was a strange concept for me, but eventually I have come around to the benefits of an automatic cat feeder, which dispenses food on its own, usually on a timer. Mostly, it regulates how much your cat eats and helps to maintain a healthy weight, but it’s also very handy for feeding your cat if you’re going to be away through the day, for example at work, or if you’re taking a short overnight / weekend trip. Or if you just want to sleep in, but your kitty knows that 6:00am is breakfast time!
As with everything, there are several varieties of cat food dispenser. It can be overwhelming trying to work out how they’re different from each other and which one you should get. Therefore, I’ve put together a guide to choosing the right automatic feeder for your feline and reviews of the best automatic cat feeders for you to look through. Check them out below.
Choosing The Right Kind Of Cat Feeder
When you’re deciding on which automatic pet feeder to purchase, there are a few things to think about. Firstly, we all know that cats can be fickle eaters. They like their food to arrive fresh, so you want to find a food dispenser that’ll store the dry food in a way that keeps it crunchy and doesn’t let it go stale. For this, take into account the amount of food that gets stored by the pet feeder and consider looking for a smaller one if your cat will take a while to get through it. Of course, you could also just fill it half way.
How Much Does Your Cat Eat In A Day?
If you’re going to be out for long stretches at a time, you may want to look into a timed cat feeder that keeps your cat on a regular eating schedule. Ginkgo knows exactly when her next meal is due and she’s ready and waiting for it when it arrives! This is also great for cats that are on a diet as they can get to eat several small meals throughout the day. The feeders also regulate the volume of food as well as the time, so there’s no chance of your kitty overeating. This is something worth noting actually. Most auto cat feeders let through a volume of food, not a certain weight of food so you need to figure that out when you set it up. You will also need to check if the amount of food dispensed is adjustable as some only come with fix volumes. There’s no point getting one that only lets out a whole cup of crunchies if your cat eats half of that.
What Type Of Food Are You Feeding Your Cat?
The type of food you’re feeding your cat will also affect which cat feeding station you get. The size of the kibbles affects how well they’ll be dispensed. It’s better to find an automatic cat food dispenser that fits your cat food than trying to change the food to suit the cat feeder. As we know, cats are picky and you might end up with both new food and an auto pet feeder that your cat won’t go near.
If you don’t feed your cat dry food, then you’ll need a different automatic cat feeder for wet food. Most of them are designed for dry crunchies, so make sure you get one that’ll cope with dispensing wet food.
Does Your Cat Play With Their Food?
Some automatic pet feeders have an interactive element to them than encourages your cat to “hunt” for their food. This keeps a cat entertained while they eat. As well as stimulating some of their hunting nature, this will also delay cats that tend to eat really quickly. It’s also possible to add this later by adding a food maze to a timed cat feeder or having the food come out into a container that the cat has to explore rather than just into the bowl.
The Best Automatic Cat Feeder - Top 10
With all this to take into account, it can seem easier just to stick to a bowl on the floor. Don’t be daunted! I’ve put together the top 10 choices of cat food dispenser for you to look through instead of hundreds of user reviews. An automatic feeder will improve your cat feeding experience and this article will make it super simple to make your choice.
CanineStar Automatic Pet Feeder (4.8/5)
Now don’t be fooled by the name of this pet feeder, it can also be used for cats! It is probably, therefore, not designed for big dogs who eat a lot in one go.
How It Works
There are 5 compartments in this device that you can fill with food. One will always be open though, so really you’re only scheduling 4 meals. Once you’ve set the timer, the bowl will rotate so that the opening exposes one meal at a time based on the schedule you’ve programmed. This auto pet feeder needs to be plugged into a power source to work, but it does also have the capacity to run on batteries, so if there is a power outage, your cat will still be fed on time. For those cats who may not be quite clued up as to what this thing is doing, you can record a voice message to call to your cat when it’s time to eat. (As a side note: “eat the FOOD!” is not an appropriate message to set for 6am…)
It has the ability to schedule meals at multiple times throughout the day or across several days.
You can even store and dispense both dry food and wet food. If the pet feeder loses power for any reason there is a battery backup option and it remembers the feeding schedule so you only have to reset the current time.
So far, there are no reports of cats being able to open this automatic feeder. Although one smart poodle has managed to get into it. It’s not a tower so takes up less space and can’t be knocked over by curious kitties. Several people have said that it’s really easy to clean, which is always a bonus. It’s even made from environmentally friendly ABS plastic.
Most Common Complaints
- There are only 4 meal spaces so you have to refill it quite often.
- Quite a few people have reported that their timed cat feeder has resorted to using military time and they’re not able to change this.
How It Works
Firstly, you have to install the HoneyGuaridan app on your smartphone. Then, connect the cat food dispenser to the WiFi and pair it with your phone. From three, you can set the amount of food and the feeding schedule through the app. You also set the portion sizes to be dispensed by this auto cat feeder from your phone. It’s easy to set up and has an intuitive user interface. You’ll get a notification after each feed to let you know if it was successful or not. There’s also the option to do a “manual” feed to add spontaneous snacks throughout the day if you want to.
The HoneyGuaridan S25 has an 8L capacity for storing dry food, so you don’t have to constantly be refilling it. The design is sturdy and modern looking to fit into any home without looking ugly. So far, this automatic cat food dispenser seems to be cat proof and hasn’t yielded to any feline investigations. It’s even made from BPA free material.
Most Common Complaints
- The instructions are in rather poor English and are not always clear in what it is they are trying to say.
- This timed cat feeder comes with a USB charging cable, but no plug.
- It only connects to 2.4ghz WiFi, not 5ghz.
- There is no battery backup system.
- If you don’t clean the bowl often, it gets sticky so the food doesn’t slide out properly. But really, you should be cleaning the food bowl regularly anyway. No-one wants to eat from a dirty plate!
How It Works
Like all of the best automatic cat feeders, the WOpet Feeder is very simple to set up and use. You can set up to 4 meals of your chosen amount of food to be dispensed throughout the day and leave the timed cat feeder to do its thing. The way you set the food amount is by portions, so one portion is 6g and then you can decide how many portions to deliver at each feeding interval. For example, if you wanted your cat to have 24g of food, 3 times a day, then you would set 3 feeding times to give 4 portions each. You can even vary the portion sizes to that you can give a larger breakfast and then a smaller snack later on.
Like many of the others, this auto pet feeder runs on mains power or battery, so has a backup in case of power outages. It also has the option to record a voice message to call your pet when it’s feeding time. To open the top and refill the dispenser, you have to press a button to release the lid, so there’s no way of your cat breaking into it by force.
Most Common Complaints
- The instructions are not always clear, for example on how to change the augur to get different food volumes, and they are full of typos.
- Knocking the feeder can cause food to fall out and some clever cats have figures this out.
- The feeder bowl is pretty slippy and some cats and dogs have trouble catching their food in it.
How It Works
The portion sizes for this auto cat feeder range from ⅛ of a cup to 4 cups, so there are plenty of options to make sure your cat gets the right amount of food at each meal. The hopper holds around 24 cups of dry food, but you can also use this cat feeding station to dispense “semi-moist” food. When it gives out larger portions, this particular automatic cat food dispenser can portion out the meal over a 15 minute interval to make sure that your cat can’t gulp it down. It therefore won’t stops your cat vomiting from eating too quickly.
There is a digital clock on this cat food dispenser that you can set up to 12 feeding times on. It comes with a stainless steel bowl, which is more hygienic and easier to clean than a plastic one. This pet feeder can run on mains power or batteries so has a backup system for power failures and also doesn’t need to be placed near a power socket. Some parts of this automatic cat feeder are even dishwasher safe! (“Dishwasher safe” is one of my favourite phrases).
Most Common Complaints
- The batteries are not included, but the power cable is also optional and sold separately, so it comes without power.
- The buttons and programming seem to be quite confusing.
- The amount of food that the automatic cat feeder dispenses varies and is not always accurate to the programmed amount. Usually it gives out more. However, a few other reviews have pointed out that you need to set it to either cat or dog and then programme the right amount, or else it does have a default setting. These people report accurate food dispensations.
- A few reviews claim that this cat feeder only lasted between 3-6 months before breaking down.
- Several cats and dogs have managed to knock over the pet feeder, resulting in it breaking.
- Some smart cats have also figured out that they can get extra kibbles by shaking the unit.
How It Works
This timed cat feeder can dispense a wide range of portion sizes of food for your cat. It claims it can give out as little as 1/32 of a cup, which is significantly less than the ⅛ of a cup minimum that almost all the others provide. This gives you much more control over the amount of food your cat gets at each meal. It has a twist-lock lid to make sure that even the smartest of cats can’t get into the airtight food compartment, which has a transparent lid so that you can see when it needs to be refilled. The food hopper can hold 12 cups of food, so you only need to refill it around once a week.
A unique feature of this cat food dispenser is that it contains an infrared sensor to measure the amount of food in the bowl. This ensures that it does not over-dispense food above what the bowl can hold comfortably. It works on battery power so can be stored anywhere you like and has a curvy, modern design. You can even record a 12 second voice call to let your cat know that it’s feeding time when you’re not around.
Most Common Complaints
- The bowl is integrated into the automatic feeder so it can’t be removed and cleaned easily.
- The battery connection is not very good. Sometimes new batteries don’t work immediately and it can take a couple of tries to get it to come on.
- Setting up the auto cat feeder can be a bit challenging, especially with the poorly translated instructions.
- Some smart cats have figured out how to get their paws inside the shoot and pull individual kibbles out.
- The amount of food dispensed by this automatic cat food dispenser is not always accurate or consistent.
- This cat feeder seems to be pretty easy to set up.
- There is a battery backup in case of a power outage.
- If the cat feeding station jams, it will send a notification to your phone to let you know a meal has been missed.
- Everything except the conveyor can be put in the dishwasher.
- The lid has latches to hold it down to make sure cats can’t get into it.
- The instant feed has a lock option so that it can’t be pressed by accident or by a clever cat who figured out that this button gives out food.
- There are splitter adapters available to feed two cats from one cat food dispenser.
- You can pause the timed cat feeder and feed manually while you’re home then resume it later and it remembers the previous feeding schedule.
- The amount of food dispense seems to be pretty accurate and stay so over time.
- Because it’s synced to your phone, the automatic cat feeder doesn’t lose time over time, so will always dispense food at accurate intervals.
- This auto pet feeder won’t dispense less than ⅛ of a cup.
- The food bowl is steel, so as it’s easier to clean, but the food falling into it makes a lot of noise. The motor is also quite loud.
- Food is not dispensed if the pet feeder loses WiFi connection.
- There is no warning about the level of food running low and since the hopper is dark blue, it can be hard to see into it to tell.
- Some people have reported that the lid on their auto cat feeder is not airtight and lets out the smell of the pet food.
- The automatic feeder is easy to put together and easy to take apart for cleaning.
- The hopper is transparent so you can see how much food is left and when it needs to be topped up.
- You can set this automatic cat food dispenser to provide up to 3 meals a day.
- There’s an option to record a voice message calling your cat to eat with it’s feeding time.
- This auto pet feeder only comes with batteries and no option to plug in to a power source.
- Programming the timed cat feeder is straightforward, but tedious. You can’t adjust just one setting once it’s set up, you have to reprogramme the whole thing.
- Serving sizes come in ¼ cup increments, which some people find to be too much of a difference for their cat.
- Some cats can get their paws into the dispenser and fish out kibbles.
- This is Amazon’s Choice for the best automatic cat feeder.
- You can programme up to 4 meals to be dispensed each day.
- This cat feeding station runs on both wall power supply and battery power.
- It’s easy to set up and programme your feeding schedule into.
- This seems to quite a robust pet feeder, with reports of it being knocked off a table several times and not only still working, but not letting out any food!
- The tray is removable for easy cleaning.
- The lid is airtight and secured with a hidden tab to keep inquisitive kitties out and smells in.
- When the food supply is empty, the automatic cat feeder beeps to let you know.
- There’s a brush guard to stop stray kibbles getting out and to stop curious cats getting their paws in.
- Several people have reported that their kibbles, of various sizes and shapes, get jammed in the cat feeder.
- Many of these cat food dispensers display the error message EEEEE and stop dispensing food, but there doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with them.
- The set button is not always responsive and sometimes has to be pressed several times to get it to work.
- The clock starts running behind so the timing of the auto cat feeder isn’t always accurate.
- Multiple people have reported receiving a second hand unit with traces of pet food and/or previous voice recordings on it.
- You can set this automatic feeder up to dispense 6 meals a day.
- Each portion is pre-filled to a level of your choice (up to 1 cup) and then the carousel delivers it at the preset time. There is no shoot for your cat to stick its paw into and pull out kibbles.
- This auto pet feeder can dispense dry and semi-moist food.
- The bowl and carousel are easy to remove and are dishwasher safe.
- There’s a sleep button on this automatic cat food dispenser so that you can pause the feeds without losing the programmes.
- The lid is transparent so you can see when it needs to be topped up and screws on to make an airtight seal that cats can’t pry open.
- Setting up this automatic cat feeder is incredibly simple and many people have done it without even using the instructions.
- This cat feeding station only runs on batteries, which are not included in the purchase.
- You can’t change the batteries while there is still food in the dispenser or else it makes a mess.
- It doesn’t include the option to plug it in, so only runs on batteries.
- This automatic pet feeder can give portions as small as 2 teaspoons worth of food. This is about 10g at a time. Ideal for tiny cats on portion control.
- The bowl and all the food parts are detachable and dishwasher safe.
- It’s battery operated so you can put it anywhere and it can be transported when you go on holiday and leave your cat with a friend without having to be reprogrammed.
- You can set up to 3 meal times a day.
- The food dispenser has an open and close mechanism. This keeps the food in and the cat out. However, if you tamper with this and leave it in the open position, even not so smart Ginkgos can get their paws in and pull kibbles out. Usually, this is not an issue, but it’s happened on occasion when Ginkgo goes to her vacation home. Maybe the dispenser covering got adjusted in transit when it got bumped about.
- It’s easy to programme and set up.
- I’ve never experienced it getting jammed or missing a feed in over 3 years.
- If the feeding tube is left open, cats can get their paws in and reach the food to pull it out.
- The motor is a bit noisy when it goes of, but it only lasts a few seconds.
- The clock drifts a bit so the feeding times shift slightly over a few months.
- Although the dispenser says it can do 10g increments, it’s actually measured by volume, so if you have bigger kibbles then there will be a smaller amount of them that comes out. You may have to test and weigh the portions to make sure that it’s correct.
- A few people have wanted to give their cats more than 3 meals a day, but don’t have the option with this cat feeder.
So there you have it, how to choose the best automatic cat feeder for your cat. As well as a summary of the top 10 to choose from. A lot of them share features and it can be a bit overwhelming when you read up on what they all do, how many people love them and, of course, all the 1 star reviews that every single one has. I hope that this summary helps you pick a cat food dispenser that best fits your needs and your cat’s requirements.