When it comes to the best automatic cat feeder, you know we’ve done all the research to help you find the right one to suit your needs. In our opinion, the purr-fect product is the WOpet 7L Automatic Pet Feeder. Stick around, and we’ll tell you why.
Chances were when you were younger, you asked your folks for a new brother or sister, a puppy, or a kitten. While a new sibling was usually entirely out of the question, a pet was a consideration. But before they said yes, we’re pretty sure they waxed lyrical about responsibility.
This included remembering to feed it and pick up the poop. Of course, you argued that with a cat you wouldn’t have to worry about the latter, thanks to large litter boxes and cats’ impeccable toilet habits. But even feeding your pet is made easier nowadays, thanks to automatic cat feeders.
Your pet’s mealtime is taken care of with these nifty little inventions, which means one less thing for you to worry about. And more time for cuddling and catnapping with your favorite feline.
Is an Automatic Cat Food Dispenser for You?
Are you on the fence about whether or not you should get an automatic cat feeder? Are you not sure whether it will be more of a hindrance than a help? The best way to find out is to ask yourself if:
Another excellent reason to invest in a programmable cat feeder is if your pet is on a prescription diet or following a weight loss plan. A cat feeder with a timer allows you to schedule mealtimes with smaller portions of food at regular intervals throughout the day.
The Best Auto Cat Feeder Essential Buying Guide
Buying the best cat food dispenser can be somewhat daunting. There is a lot to choose from, and they come in all shapes and sizes. Some are pretty straight forward, while others have wifi connectivity, cooling systems, and even a function that allows you to record a voice message.
To make sure you’re getting the very best cat automatic feeder for your needs, you should consider the following:
Type of Feeder
You can choose between a gravity feeder and an electronic feeder. The gravity feeder, as the name suggests, works with gravity, while an electronic one uses the latest technology to schedule meal times as well as regulated portions. The one you choose will depend on your cat’s eating habits.
Also Check Out! Best High Protein Cat Food
One of the primary considerations should be the size of the tank of the cat feeder. How much it holds will determine how long it’ll dispense food before you have to refill it. Ideally, for your convenience and to keep your cat happy, you should only have to replenish it once a day.
Something else to factor in is how the cat auto feeder is powered. There are battery operated models available, as well as others that work with a power cord. Going with a battery-operated feeder means you don’t have to worry about where you place it and whether there’s a power source close by. Opting for one that runs on batteries however means replacing them, and making sure you always have a few spare on hand.
There are also feeders available that work using your cat’s specific ID data. These selective feeders solve a common multicat home issue, namely one cat eating all of the food and leaving nothing for the others. This type is also handy if your cats are on different diets.
A timed cat food dispenser allows you to schedule meal times, and they are especially popular. After all, it’s the reason most of us get them. Once again, depending on how you plan to use it, some can be set for as many as 12 meals a day, which is especially useful if your cat has specific dietary needs.
The jury’s out as to whether or not an automatic cat feeder can be used for wet food. Obviously, dry food doesn’t go off, and it’s a lot less messy, but if your feline only eats wet food, then you should consider getting one with a cooling system. This will keep the food fresher for longer. However, it’s important to remember the cooling system doesn’t actually refrigerate the wet food, so it shouldn’t be left to sit for more than a day or two.
A voice recorder lets you record a message for your cat, so even when you’re not home, you can still call him for dinner. Although this feature isn’t a must-have, it’s definitely a nice-to-have.
Yup, you can get a smart cat auto feeder too. These work with wifi connectivity and an app on your smartphone. These are growing in popularity, especially for those people who travel a lot. You can chat to your cat, dispense a few treats and keep an eye on them via the video.
Ease of use
How easy an automatic feeder is to set up and use makes a huge difference in terms of convenience. Whether it’s a simple plug-in and go automatic feeder or one that works with an app on your phone, you should be able to set it up with the least amount of fuss and frustration. You also want one that’s easy to fill up and clean.
The Best Automatic Cat Feeder Choices: Our Top 5
AmazonBasics Self-Dispensing Gravity Pet Feeder
Best Auto Cat Feeder with a Water Dispenser
If you’re looking for an auto cat feeder that also dispenses water, then the AmazonBasics Self-Dispensing Gravity Pet Feeder and Waterer should be top of your list. The food unit and waterer are approximately 12 inches high and 7 inches wide, making it one of the smaller feeders available on the market. The handles on the base of the unit make carrying it easy, and it’s the perfect size for traveling.
Testing it out, we liked that the feeder and waterer hold enough food and water to keep our boys happy and healthy for a few days, but it’s not too big that the food gets old and stale. Also, the low tech device is made from materials that are safe for both your pet and the environment, but because it is a gravity feeder, it won’t work with wet food. It’s also not the best choice for a cat that needs to be fed exact portions at specific times throughout the day.
As far as functionality goes, this is possibly one of the easiest units to fill, and the non-skid rubber base means it can’t be moved easily by an over-eager kitty. It’s also easy to clean because of the wider opening. The AmazonBasics feeder requires minimal assembly, which as far as we’re concerned, is always a bonus.
Iseebiz Automatic Cat Feeder 3L Pet Food Dispenser Feeder
The Best Timed Cat Feeder
The Iseebiz Automatic Cat Feeder 3L Pet Food Dispenser Feeder is possibly the best programmable cat feeder you can get your hands on. Even though it comes with a wide range of programmable functions, the easy to use interface and clearly labeled buttons means it can be operated by those of us that are a little more technically challenged than others.
You can set the Iseebiz to serve up as little as one teaspoon of food at a time, all the way up to 39 teaspoons, and you can schedule as many as four meals a day. It’s perfect for kittens with smaller appetites, overweight or underweight cats that need to eat at more regular intervals and of course for cats with diabetes that need to stick to a strict schedule because of insulin injections.
We love that the Iseebiz has a voice recording function, so you can call your kitty for food even when you’re not there and a three-step process to get the lid open means it’s 100% cat-proof. The dispenser can hold up to three pounds of food, and an infrared sensor ensures just the right amount of food is served.
It has a dual power system, meaning it can run on batteries as well as electricity, so you don’t have to stress about whether or not your cat’s being fed while you’re away. The Iseebiz is definitely worth considering.
WOpet 7L Automatic Pet Feeder Food Dispenser
Best Automatic Cat Feeder
While it’s not the most technologically advanced, it’s easy to see why the WOpet 7L Automatic Pet Feeder Food Dispenser is the cat’s meow.
Rated by us as the best cat automatic feeder, the WOpet cat feeder could, and should be called the WOWpet cat feeder. Not only is it affordable, but it can also hold up to 20 cups of food, and you can schedule up to four portioned meals a day.
The unit runs on electricity but has a battery backup system, so your cats are fed even if there is a power failure and it’s easy to use. You can measure meals as small as two teaspoons up to the four and a half cups at a time, and the voice recorder lets you record a message so that you can chat to your cat while he’s eating.
The WOpet cat feeder with timer has an infrared sensor which stops over-feeding, and we especially like that the feeding tray is easy to remove and it’s dishwasher safe.
SureFlap SureFeed Microchip Automatic Pet Feeder
Best Cat Feeder with a Microchip Sensor
The SureFlap SureFeed Microchip Automatic Pet Feeder is the perfect feeding solution in a multicat or multipet home. The SureFeed pet feeder only lets pets wearing a recognized implanted microchip or an RFID (radio-frequency identification) collar tag eat from the unit, which means no more takeouts for the family hound, a curious toddler or the neighbor’s cat.
You can program as many as 32 microchip identifications into the machine, which is especially useful if one or two of your cats are on different diets, are only allowed limited portions or need to eat more (or less) often than the rest. It also helps in instances where one cat is stealing everyone else’s food.
Unlike the other automatic cat feeders reviewed here, this particular one can hold wet or dry food. Or if you prefer, you can use the split bowl, which lets you feed both. A nifty little feature is the manual setting that allows you to adjust how quickly or slowly you want the lid to close after your cat’s finished eating.
To be fair, it is one of the more expensive feeders on our list, but we think it’s money well spent.
WESTLINK 6L Automatic Pet Feeder Food Dispenser
The Best Cat Food Dispenser on a Budget
It’s hard to beat the WESTLINK 6L Automatic Pet Feeder Food Dispenser in terms of value for money. It comes with all the bells and whistles with a large enough capacity to keep your king of the concrete jungle happy.
You can program this cat auto feeder to dispense up to four meals a day and ration the portions accordingly. And the infrared sensor stops food getting blocked and also prevents over-feeding.
We especially like that it can be powered with batteries or a USB, and you can record a 10-second message to call your cat when his food’s about to be served.
The Advantages of Using an Automatic Cat Feeder
When a friend found out we were researching the best cat automatic feeder options, she told us they were for lazy pet owners, which gave us some food for thought. But after reviewing them, we realized they have a whole lot of benefits, for us as well as our boys, Oscar and Joey.
Let’s take a look at just a few of them.
They are an excellent way to manage your cat’s weight
Overweight cats aren’t only more prone to some serious health problems, even their life expectancy is affected. Feline obesity is on the rise, and this is in part due to owners letting their cats free-feed throughout the day. While this might be more convenient for you, it’s not doing your pet any favors, which is why it’s worth considering an automatic feeder.
Not only can you monitor how much food your cat’s eating in a day, but you can also program it to dispense food at certain times.
There’s no more stressing when you’re not home
Whether you travel a lot for work, get home late, or have irregular work hours, a cat feeder with timer will take care of mealtimes when you can’t. A lot of the models have dual power functionality, which means they have a backup power source, and you can schedule up to four meals a day.
There are even units that have a water dispenser, so if you’re away on holiday, you know your cat will be absolutely fine.
There’s no more stress for your cat
Cats, like humans, have internal clocks, which means they often know it’s mealtime long before you do. They’re also naturally anxious, and knowing that you’re not home to feed them, or are still in bed, leaves them feeling stressed out.
Investing in a programmable cat feeder will eliminate this stressor for your cat, and stop you feeling guilty. And if you know your furry feline hates eating alone, you can get one of the models with a voice recorder so you can call for him to come to eat, even when you’re not there.
An automatic feeder helps set up, and keep a regular feeding schedule
Does your cat like his breakfast around 5 o’clock in the morning? Or maybe he’s on a prescription diet and needs to be fed four small meals throughout the day. Impossible? Not with an automatic cat feeder.
Simply program the times and the specific portions your cat needs, and the cat feeder does the rest. It really is as easy and convenient as that.
Perfect for multicat households
It’s not uncommon in multicat, or mulipet, households for one cat to go hungry because someone else is eating all his food. There are selective automatic cat feeders available, which are ideal for situations like this.
The feeder works by recognizing a specific cat’s microchip or ID collar, so you don’t have to stand guard during mealtime to make sure everyone’s eating.
No more bugs
A common problem for a lot of people when they leave food out for a couple of days, or even a few hours, is an infestation of bugs. Using an automatic feeder will put an end to this, quickly and easily.
The Disadvantages of Using an Automatic Cat Food Dispenser
Of course, where there are advantages, there will also be a few disadvantages. We’ve listed the most notable. They are as follows:
Food can get jammed in the feeder
There’s always the chance that food can get stuck in the dispenser, especially if it’s the wrong size or shape. When you’re buying an automatic cat feeder, check to see if it’s suitable for wet or dry food, and take a look at what size kibble is recommended.
It can be too noisy for your cat
If your cat is particularly sensitive to loud noises, some automatic feeders might be too loud. Do your research to find one that runs quietly.
The system can be by-passed
Cats can be very smart, and there’s a good chance that he’ll find a way to by-pass the system and get to the food regardless of your best-laid plans. A lot of the units have two or three-step processes to open the lid to prevent a cat-burglar, so make sure you get one of these.
There is the chance of a power failure
Whether it works on batteries or with electricity, there’s a chance it could stop working when you’re not there. If this is a concern, look for one that has dual-power with a backup power system.
As you can see, there are a few downsides to using an automatic feeder, but most of these issues have already been thought out and resolved. We think that when you weigh up the pros against the cons, having one of these nifty devices is a no-brainer.
Teaching Your Cat to Use an Automatic Feeder
Introducing anything new to your cat is going to take some time, and it’s no different with an automatic feeder. But with food as the motivator, your cat will learn how to use his pretty quickly.
Here are a few easy steps to make the transition easier:
Frequently Asked Questions about Using an Automatic Cat Food Dispenser
Is an automatic cat feeder really necessary?
No, it’s not necessary, but an automatic cat feeder is definitely useful if:
Will it work with wet food?
Some models can only be used with dry food. However, there are units available that work with wet food. There are also feeders that allow both types of food. Make sure the one you buy meets your needs.
What happens if one cat is on a special diet or needs more or less food than the others?
There are some fantastic automatic cat feeders available that work with an implanted microchip or RFID collar. These can be programmed to feed up to 32 cats, all with different dietary needs. They also prevent children and other family pets getting to the food.
Will it still work if there is a power failure?
You can choose feeders that work on batteries or with electricity, but a lot of models have a dual-power source, which keeps the unit operating in the event of batteries running out or a power failure.
Can I travel with it?
Absolutely! There are some great portable models available that are compact to travel with and easy to carry around. They also run on batteries, so you don’t have to worry about a power source.
My cat needs to have three to four small meals a day. Can I still use an auto cat feeder?
Most definitely. In fact, it’s one of the main reasons cat owners invest in an automatic food dispenser. Most feeders can be programmed to dispense up to four meals a day, and you can even preset the exact portions.
How simple are automatic cat feeders to operate?
All automatic cat feeders come with a set of instructions, especially if they have a lot of features. If technology isn’t your thing, then you could consider a gravity feeder that doesn’t need to be programmed.
Are automatic food dispensers easy to clean?
Most are very easy to clean, and there are even some that are dishwasher safe. If you’re thinking about getting one, take a look at our review to see which are the easiest models to clean.
What about water? Do I need a separate water bowl?
Depending on the food dispenser you buy, you might need to have a separate bowl of water for your cat. Certain models have a food dispenser as well as a waterer.
My cat likes to be called when food is ready. How do I do this with an automatic feeder?
Manufacturers have pretty much thought of everything when it comes to auto feeders. There are some models available with a voice recording option. This lets you record a message so no matter where you are, you can still call your kitty for dinner. You could also look at smart feeders that work via an app on your smartphone.
As you can see, there is a wide range of automatic cat feeders available on the market to suit every budget as well as any specific needs your cat might have. They’re convenient, easy to use, and will make your life so much easier. Of course, having one doesn’t mean you can become an irresponsible pet owner, it just means less stress for you and your cat when you can’t be there for mealtime.
Have you already got an automatic cat food dispenser? We want to hear about your experiences in the comments below.