As a modern-day pet parent, it is normal to search for the best automatic cat feeders in the market. The goal is not to unburden ourselves from our obligations, but to find an effective way to monitor our pet’s daily caloric and nutritional intake.
Our schedule will not always be in perfect sync with our beloved pets. Hence, programming your cat’s regular feeding schedule will ensure your whiskered friend at home is not starving or overeating during your absence.
However, there are too many brands of automatic cat feeders. How can you be sure which is the right choice for your feline companion? We have compiled a list of the five best automatic cat feeders so that you can get your money’s worth.
PetSafe Healthy Pet Simply Feed – Editor’s Pick
The PetSafe Healthy Pet Simply Feed is a fully programmable pet food dispenser, which is rated as the best automatic cat feeder according to customer reviews online. While some consumers might find the price way over their budget, it offers multiple programming options to meet every cat owner.
While we don’t find this unit aesthetically pleasing, we like that it only has a 19” x 19” footprint. That being said, you can place the feeder on a countertop or underneath a table since it doesn’t take up as much space. Since the hopper is translucent, you can quickly determine the amount of remaining food without having to open the feeder.
As with most automatic pet feeders, this unit uses four D-cell batteries to operate. You can find a battery indicator on the LCD should you wish to check how much juice the batteries have left. But if you prefer to plug the machine in, you can purchase an AC adapter for just a few bucks.
After setting the time, users can choose between two preset meal options. You can also create your customized portions and schedules to feed your cat according to its needs. Therefore, you can put your feline companion through a strict diet if need be.
Do you want to know the best part? The PetSafe Healthy Simply Feed features a unique dispensing system, which uses a conveyor belt with divisions made of sturdy plastic. Each meal sits inside the compartments. The conveyor will move the food up and release it into the bowl according to the timetable.
Wait, it gets better! You can program the machine to provide up to 12 meals each day, making it a fantastic choice for those who have a bunch of cats to feed. The hopper has a 4-kilogram capacity, which is equivalent to 24 cups of dry kibble. Don’t worry about the freshness because the lid is airtight.
You might be wondering: why is the PetSafe Healthy Pet Simply Feed expensive when it lacks fancy features? Despite the lack of a built-in camera or app support, this unit stands out from the competition because of three features unique to this model: the Slow Feed, Immediate Feed, and Pause Feed Modes.
The Slow Feed Mode dispenses meals in 1/8 cup portions every 15 minutes, preventing greedy kitties from eating too quickly. The Immediate Feed mode, on the other hand, allows you to release the next meal right away. The Pause Feed is also another useful option, particularly if you are planning to be out of town with your pet.
Lastly, this machine is a breeze to assemble and disassemble for cleaning. You can wash all the removable components using the dishwasher, while you can clean the conveyor belt using an ordinary toothbrush. The included bowl is stainless steel, which is a thoughtful consideration given that plastic bowls can sometimes cause allergy in pets.
The Bottom Line
The PetSafe Healthy Pet Simply Feed Automatic Feeder is an expensive option, but it has everything you need as long as you are willing to pay for it. Built to last, it features a sturdy and BPA-free plastic construction. What’s more, this unit comes with a stainless steel bowl to help keep allergies at bay.
We highly recommend this unit for owners who need to be extra careful about the meal portions and feeding schedules of their feline companions. The Slow Feed mode, in particular, is beneficial for greedy, ravenous cats.
This feeder also boasts of a large capacity. A single fill can last your pets a couple of days. Furthermore, the hopper is airtight to keep the food fresh. Since the entire unit is pet-proof, even the most determined of cats won’t be able to steal a snack!
|Can dispense up to 12 meals per day||Expensive|
|The hopper can hold up to 4 kg of kibble||No app support|
|Features Slow, Immediate, and Pause Feed Modes|
|Durable BPA-free plastic construction with a small footprint (plus one stainless steel bowl)|
PetSafe 5-Meal Pet Feeder – Best Automatic Cat Feeder for Wet Food
The Eatwell 5-Meal Dog and Cat Feeder is another electronic product from PetSafe. Technically, this feeder is marketed to serve dry food. But with a few adjustments, it can handle semi-moist food exceptionally well.
The first thing to note is the product dimensions. Measuring 12.3″ x 3.4″ x 15,” it appears rather large, but only because it holds a five-slot circular tray inside. Regardless, the unit remains low to the ground and inconspicuous. We like that each triangle-shaped compartment is wide enough to accommodate the chunky faces of large feline breeds.
The control panel is a breeze to use, but when in doubt, you can always re-read the instruction label behind the lid. Once programmed, the digital timer will rotate like a merry-go-round to give your kitty a cup of food at various intervals. One meal will be exposed while the rest are hidden underneath the sealed lid.
Since this model is cordless, you will need to install four D-cell batteries to run the timer. The merit is that you can place the feeder anywhere you like. On the downside, you need to remove the batteries to halt its operation.
The worst part is that the unit loses all the stored data after you remove the batteries. Consequently, you have to set up new schedules after snapping the batteries back in.
Nevertheless, cat owners will be ecstatic as they are able to fill the tray with different noshes. You can fill one section with Tomcat’s favorite biscuits and add wet food alongside your pet’s usual kibble. However, you will have to use one or two slots to hold the ice and keep the dish fresh for about five to twelve hours, depending on the room temperature.
When the food gets messy inside, you can easily remove the tray insert for convenient cleaning. This compact feeding system also has a good grip on the bottom. Since it has a sturdy low-profile, your naughty kitty can’t topple the unit or wreck it open.
The Bottom Line
The design and operation of the PetSafe Eatwell 5-Meal Dog and Cat Feeder may be simple, but it delivers to its promises. This wonderful invention will give you peace of mind, knowing that your beloved pet is getting food on time, even if you won’t be arriving home early.
Most of all, we recommend this product if your pet prefers to eat wet food or an assortment of foods. Your picky eater will surely enjoy eating different meals.
Although you have to add food to each compartment manually, you can at least be sure that your feline companion will be eating the right amount. Besides, you don’t need to restart the programming every day, unless you need to remove the batteries or change the time.
By the way, have I mentioned that this feeder is on the cheaper end of spectrum?
|Can serve 5 cups of food per day||Removal of batteries causes it to lose data|
|The detachable tray can hold both dry and semi-moist food||You need to put food manually each day|
|Sturdy and low-profile design with a non-skid bottom|
|Affordable and user-friendly|
Aspen Pet Le Bistro Programmable Pet Feeder – Best Automatic Cat Feeder for a Large Breed
Do you have a large pedigree cat breed or a horde of kittens? If you work crazy hours on some days, you should worry big-time because cats will scratch your house to bits when bored and hungry. So, consider getting a large-capacity cat feeder, such as the Aspen Pet Le Bistro.
This product comes in an 18-cup and 30-cup capacity food reservoir, making it a suitable choice for the future cat lady. Whether you have a big kitty or a horde of kittens, you will have the peace of mind knowing that your cat’s needs are met. As you can see in the picture, you can always keep an eye on the food level because the hopper is crystal clear.
The Pet Le Bistro may exhibit a simple gravity-fed design, but it comes with innovative yet user-friendly programming, as well. With three simple buttons, you can set different food quantities to be served once or thrice daily by the feeder. Feeding portions range between 1/4 and 3 cups of dry food. The bowl is deep and wide, so your furry pals can eat together if they wish.
Likewise, you can keep track of your cats’ diet via the LCD. There is also a low-battery power reminder beside the LCD to let you know when the unit needs a new pack of three D-cell batteries.
Now, you might be wondering: does the Pet Le Bistro offer any other striking feature aside from its sizeable food reservoir? Just so you know, the experts at Aspen Pet added Microban protection to this model. This feature gives the feeder an added level of protection against bacteria. It also helps prevent stains and odors due to mold and mildew.
Although the detachable food bowl is not dishwasher-safe, you can wash it with warm sudsy water.
The Bottom Line
The sturdy and user-friendly design of the Aspen Pet Le Bistro makes it a breeze to look after your pet, even when life gets a little topsy turvy. With this unit, you can create personalized meal plans to help keep your cat’s weight at a healthy level. This feeder is compatible with all types of dry cat food, measuring kibbles in 1/4 cup to 3 cup increments.
The feeder’s durable hopper can store up to 30 cups of kibble, so you won’t have to refill it too frequently. Paired with Microban protection and a twist-lock lid, the kibbles will remain crunchy and flavorful throughout the week. Rest assured, your feline ninja can’t steal a bite when you’re not looking!
Since this is a battery-powered machine, it works through electrical outages. Placement should also be the least of your problem. You could even use this feeder outdoors to feed strays or feral cats, as long as you keep it in a covered area.
|Dispenses 1/4 cup to 3 cups of food 3x daily||May need modifications to shield the chute|
|Boasts of 30-cup kibble capacity|
|With added Microban protection|
|A decent feeder for the price|
SureFlap SureFeed Microchip Pet Feeder – Best RFID Feeder
As the name suggests, the SureFeed is a sealed pet feeder that only opens for the microchip it is paired with. This unit is compatible with all identification microchips worldwide. But in case your kitty isn’t microchipped, you can use the RFID tag that comes with the product.
At first glance, you might think this high-tech feeder requires complex programming, but you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to set it up. With a press of a button, it will scan and your cat’s microchip while eating. The process may take five to twenty-five seconds, depending on the location of the microchip. You will know that the pairing is successful once the green light indicator blinks.
If you have a dog hell-bent on eating cat food, a snooping toddler, or another cat that likes to hog up everything, this feeder will be the answer to your woes! You can be confident that all your pets have access to their respective diets without one getting fat while the other is starving.
Most importantly, a cat on a prescription diet can benefit significantly from this feeder. Tomcat can dine at its leisure, while unauthorized pets are left trying to figure out how to sabotage this machine. The lid will automatically close to form a seal with the neoprene lip when your kitty steps away, helping to retain moisture and keep the food fresh.
The feeding bowl has a 13.5-ounce capacity divided into two sections so that you can put both wet and dry cat food. Each unit comes with a removable grey-colored dish and mat, but you can purchase a different color to identify whose is whose.
Unfortunately, this unit lacks a power adapter or a port to plug one in. You need to install four C-batteries to operate this model. It would have been nice to make daily use of the feeder without having to worry about dying batteries.
The Bottom Line
All in all, the SureFlap SureFeed Microchip Pet Feeder is a fantastic product. It is safe to say that it is the best automatic cat feeder in terms of handling special diets and bully cats that hog their sibling’s food.
This feeder will only open for the right pet, and it will close quickly to keep others out. Likewise, keeping the food covered at all times will preserve the freshness and protect the food from contamination.
Don’t let its futuristic design intimidate you because it is a breeze to set up. Each unit comes with an RFID collar, so an implanted microchip is unnecessary. If you want to give the feeder some flare, you may also buy a colored bowl and mat.
If we had any complaints, it would be the price. But given the technology involved and convenience it offers, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it carries a hefty price tag.
|Can simultaneously store dry and wet food in a sealable compartment||Expensive|
|Restricts access to children and unauthorized pets||Batteries do not last as long|
|Closes automatically when cat is out of range|
|Portable, sturdy, and contemporary|
PetSafe 2nd-Generation Smart Feed – Best Automatic Cat Feeder with Wi-Fi
The PetSafe 2nd Generation Smart Feed Automatic Cat Feeder boasts of durable construction and an attractive blue and silver color scheme. This bulky machine measures 20.3″ x 12.6″ x 9.4,” and so, you need to find a suitable space in your kitchen that is within reach of a power outlet. While this unit can operate using four D-cell batteries, it is wise to use it only as a backup during a power outage.
Inside the feeder is a large 24-cup capacity hopper, which is protected by a plastic lid with two latches to secure it in place. Similar to the Simply Feed, the food travels from the hopper up the chute in a conveyor belt before being dumped into the dish.
The dish is stainless steel, which is a plus, and it sits in a special holder that makes it impossible for your pet to move it away from the dispenser. All the components inside are dishwasher-safe and easy to assemble and disassemble for cleaning.
Whether you are on the road or working overtime, you can have full control over this unit using the Smart Feed app. Simply tap the big feed button to dispense a specified amount of kibble into the dish. You can dispense 1/8 of a cup all the way up to 4 cups for each meal. What’s even more interesting is that you can schedule 12 meals a day or set the feeder to serve each meal in a 15-minute period to prevent your cat from wolfing down its food.
In addition, you can determine the total amount of food delivered using the Smart Feed app. The app will also send you a notification when the food supply is running low. You can also configure Amazon’s Dash Replenishment service so that the app will reorder food automatically. If you have a toddler at home, you can enable the child lock option from within the app to prevent the feeder from dispensing food when someone presses the release button on top of the machine.
The Bottom Line
The PetSafe 2nd Generation Smart Feed is one of the most expensive pet feeders in the market. If you are looking for the creme de la creme, then look no further. However, you need to install the Smart Feed app for your Android or iOS device to take full advantage of this model.
This model offers a versatile set of scheduling options, smartphone connectivity, a stainless steel bowl, and a large-capacity food reservoir, among others. While it delivers its promises, we expected it to cope with wet food, given its price.
|Can dispense a max. of 4 cups in one sitting||Very expensive|
|Can serve up to 12 meals per day||Cannot dispense wet food|
How To Pick The Best Automatic Cat Feeder
You need to consider the following factors to find the best automatic cat feeder for your whiskered friends.
Capacity is a prime factor to consider when it comes to purchasing an automatic cat feeder. First of all, how many cats do you own, and how much do they eat in a day? Work out how many meals in liters your feline companions can consume.
Whether you plan on using the machine as a permanent feeding solution or as a way to provide provision during your absence, it should be large enough to store and dispense the right amount of food, regardless of its purpose.
With a programmable timer, your feline companions can eat at the same time every day, even if you get home later than planned because of a work emergency, traffic, or inclement weather.
One of the main objectives of getting an automatic feeder is that you will not always have to be directly involved in the process. This feature gives automatic cat feeders the edge over gravity-based feeders.
Additionally, being able to set the amount of food and frequency in advance makes it a lot easier for your kitty to stick to its diet, rather than leaving an open bowl out while you are away.
Note that scheduling options may differ from one product to another. New models can dispense up to 12 meals a day of varying amounts, while old rotating models have small compartments that you program different times for.
Wi-Fi Connectivity & Built-In Camera
Automatic cat feeders with Wi-Fi connectivity comes with smartphone apps through which you could schedule feeding times and manage portion sizes. Also known as “smart feeders,” these devices can detect unusual happenings and send alerts to your phone. However, you must have a stable Wi-Fi connection at home if you want to make use of this kind of automatic cat feeder.
Cat feeders with a built-in camera may also require a Wi-Fi connection to work appropriately. With this feature, you can take pictures or record videos of your furry pals and share them on social media. Since any collision could damage the camera, you want to ensure the stability of the food dispenser before purchasing it.
Standard models often use batteries to operate, but complex units with a built-in camera and Wi-Fi connectivity may need a plug socket nearby. If you need to plug your feeder into the wall, you want to make sure you have a good spot to place your unit.
Automatic cat feeders, particularly the newer models, are energy-efficient. Therefore, you don’t have to worry that your electric bill might go up so high,
Do not forget to check the unit for a cooling system if you are feeding your kitty wet food. This system typically consists of a small chamber in which you store an ice pack. While the ice keeps the food fresh for longer, it doesn’t refrigate the food completely. Therefore, you should not allow the food to stay longer than a couple of days.
Do bear in mind that most manufacturers design cat feeders to hold kibble. But if you insist on feeding your kitty with wet food, you want to make sure that the unit will be able to hold up against an all-out feline assault.
Some automatic cat feeders come with a feature called “selective feeding,” which is quite handy if you have multiple pets that require different diets. This type of feeder works by using your cat’s RFID tag (the same microchip collar tag that you use to identify pets and store data.)
Frequently Asked Questions
- Why is an automatic cat feeder better than a gravity feeder?
Using a gravity feeder may encourage cats to eat more than they should because the food will keep dispensing as they eat. An automatic cat feeder, on the other hand, allows you to program portion sizes or set feeding times, you risk your pet from getting obese.
- Why shouldn't you let cats eat freely?
Giving cats unlimited access to food is a sure-fire way to make them obese. Most cats will eat far beyond their required calorie intake. Since the physical activities of our pets are a far cry from their wild cousins, it will take a lot of effort to bring them back to shape.
- How many times a day should cats eat?
According to the Cornell Feline Health Center, kittens will do well when fed three times a day until they reach maturity, while feeding adult cats two to three measured meals a day would be appropriate in most cases. If your cat suffers from a health condition, you need to talk to your veterinarian to determine the right frequency and meal portions based on your situation.
Thankfully, pet product manufacturers have recognized the woes of busy pet owners and have given us the option to automate our cat’s meals. These inventions are a real-time saver, especially for pudgy kitties that need to adhere to their respective diets.
After scouring the market for the best automatic cat feeders, our team has determined the PetSafe Healthy Pet Simply Feed as the clear winner. The durable construction of this unit can withstand abuse from a “hangry” cat for quite some time. All plastic components are BPA-free and the bowl is stainless steel to minimize allergies.
Best of all, the Simply Feed can dispense 12 meals per day with a maximum of four cups per serving. These features, combined with its three innovative feeding modes, make this unit a fantastic choice for any cat owner.