Automatic Cat Feeders: The 5 Pros And Cons

  • Time to read: 9 min.

If you are like us, and you feel guilty leaving your cat at home alone, every morning you have to go for work, then we want to ensure you that you are not alone! Most cat owners stress about their kitties throughout the day. Are they safe? Are they happy? Are they Hungry? What if they are starving? So many cat owners depend on automatic cat feeders to make sure their cats never go hungry. Still, there are some pros and cons to consider before you introduce this wonder to your feline babies and decide whether they are a good idea or not.

Automatic cat feeders are great if you are someone who travels a lot or if your working hours are very demanding. These machines come in handy when you want portioned meals for your cat at specific times of the day. It prevents you from stressing and from having to rush home to feed your cats.

This is a brilliant automatic feeding solution, but you need to be aware of the fact that machines do fail at times, and it is vital for you to make sure that you inspect the device and look closely at the features before you make a purchase. This article will discuss the pros and cons of the automatic cat feeder and allow you to make an informed decision before choosing the one that works best for you and your cat.

A Few Factors To Consider Before You Purchase An Automatic Cat Feeder

There are various automatic cat feeders on the market, but they all have different features and capacities. For you to select a feeder that will suit your cat’s needs, consider the following factors before make your choice;

Feeding Times

If you are going away on holiday or a business trip for a few days, you need to buy a feeder with a timer to set for several days and specific feeding times.

Location

If you have an automatic cat feeder with an AC adapter, you need to place it close to a power outlet or use an extension cord if there isn’t an outlet nearby.

This could cause some inconvenience as it can be a hassle to have cords lying around. Instead, if you want a wireless solution, opt for a battery-operated cat feeder and make sure that the feeder can last up to a year on one set of batteries.

Time Settings

Check the time flexibility on the programming of the cat feeder. Also, read the timing features to see if they can be programmed with web-based systems or home automation. This will allow you to change the timing settings while you are away from home.

Some automatic cat feeders have default programming, so you won’t be able to change the settings. However, if you know when you want the feeder to dispense the first serving, make sure you activate it at the correct time to dispense the first serving of food at the right time.

Wi-Fi type feeders are customizable and enable you to choose the time you want to feed your cat.

Overweight Kitties

If you have an overweight cat, you will need to look into purchasing a cat feeder that you can program to dispense smaller portions at specific times to support and maintain your cat’s weight loss.

Most of the Wi-Fi auto feeders can dispense small meals at a set time.

Some of these feeders include;

  • Feed And Go
  • CSF-Super Feeder
  • Wireless Whiskers

Removable Food Tray And Hopper

Always check to see if you can remove the feeding tray. This way lets you keep the eating station clean without too much effort. Simply remove the tray, wash it and set it back in its place.

A removable tray allows you to replace it with a stainless-steel bowl for cats with acne, or you can increase or decrease the size of the feeding tray or bowl.

Wet Cat Food Only?

If your cat is on a wet food only diet, make sure you buy an automatic feeder with a lid that locks securely to keep the freshness and the smell inside the dispenser. If a wet automatic cat food feeder has an ice pack feature, it is ideal because it keeps the food fresher for longer.

Also, see how many meals it can hold as they come in different sizes with different capacities.

Some feeders include;

  • PetSafe 5-Meal
  • SureFeed Microchip

5 Cons Of The Automatic Cat Feeder

Although these genius devices are convenient, they may experience glitches or malfunctions that we have not considered or aren’t prepared for. These include;

  1. Malfunctioning Auto Feeder

Even though you feel confident to leave your cat alone now that you have purchased an automatic cat feeder, there is no guarantee that something in the feeder can seize or malfunction.

If you are away from home for a couple of days and the auto feeder stops working, it will leave your cats without any food until you return.

2. Depersonalization

Although this may seem like the most convenient invention ever, you need to remember that manual feeding is a bonding time for a cat and its owner.

No matter how little affection, whether it be a pat or a stroke on the head while you are feeding them, cats feel that attention and affection. So, if you rely entirely on an automatic feeder to feed your cat, it takes that special time away from both you and your cat.

So, if you leave feeding up to an automatic machine, the chances are good that you could end up with a depressed or stressed cat that suffers from separation anxiety.

3. Automatic Food Dispensers Can Jam

If you set the feeder to dispense more than a cup of food, the dispenser could jam, resulting in no food coming out at all.

When this happens, no matter how many timers go off after that, the kibble will remain jammed until you manually remove or clear it. This can cause your cat to starve during the time that you are away from home.

4. Auto Feeders Are Noisy

If your cat is sensitive to sound or a bit skittish, the sound of the feeder when it dispenses food could scare your cat away and prevent them from eating or coming near the food altogether.

Not only will they be left hungry, but they will be scared and stressed as well.

5. Auto Feeders Can Be Knocked Over

These feeders are not pinned to the ground or the surface they are standing on, and if you have an inquisitive cat or other pet in the house, chances are they will want to explore the strange monstrosity they see before them.

If it gets knocked over, it could stop dispensing food, or it could break open, spilling all the food onto the floor, leaving your cats to eat as much as they want. When you return home, you could either be surprised by a hungry, unhappy cat or a lethargic, overeaten cat.

5 Pros Of The Automatic Cat Feeder

Apart from the cons of an automatic cat feeder, some pros prove why an auto feeder is a great invention. These include;

  1. Disassociation. You Can Finally Sleep Late!

Life is busy! Every extra hour of sleep counts and helps you to recharge a little more for the day ahead. Because cats associate you with getting fed, they will continue meowing until you give them food, sometimes as early as 5 am.

An automatic pet feeder will feed your cats “automatically” without you having to be there physically, leaving you free of guilt and giving you peace of mind when you hit the snooze button.

2. No More Overeating

Auto cat feeders are designed to dispense the correct amount of food at each serving. This helps to eliminate the chances of you accidentally overfeeding them. If a cat gets as little as one teaspoon extra per serving, they could gain 1lb in a year, which may sound like little, but is a significant amount of weight gain for a cat.

3. Taking Turns To Eat

Some auto feeders on the market allow you to control which pet is next in line to eat. This is especially beneficial to owners who have cats with a prescription diet, dogs, other pets, and greedy kitties who devour each other’s food.

Some of these auto feeders include;

  • portion RX
  • SureFeed Microchip Pet Feeder
  • Wireless Whiskers

4. Controlled Eating Times

Choosing an automatic cat feeder with the capability to set specific eating times is great for monitoring how much your pets eat and how often they eat.

This helps get your cat used to an eating routine that is very good for their health and weight management.

5. No More Stressing About Your Cat While You Are Working

Very few incidents have been reported where owners would come home from work or a trip and are greeted with starving and unhappy cats. In fact, having an automatic cat feeder can be tremendously beneficial for the times you are away from your cat.

If you place a large amount of food in your cat’s bowl early in the morning when you leave for work, it is highly unlikely that your cat will portion his food throughout the day. Cats love food and may eat the entire bowl shortly after you have left for the office.

There will be no more food for them for the remainder of the day until you come home, and your cat will be starving and grumpy. So, with an auto feeder, you can have peace of mind, knowing that they will receive multiple servings of food throughout the day.

Different Types Of Automatic Cat Feeders

There are various types of automatic pet feeders, and they all have different features. These include;

Gravity-Based Auto Feeder

  • No timing
  • Not adjustable
  • Affordable

Programmable Upright Auto Feeder

  • Programmable and allows you to decide when and how much food should be dispensed.
  • Affordable

Smart Automatic Cat Feeder

  • Connects o your smartphone
  • Remote controlled
  • Features a webcam that allows you to see if your cat is safe and eating

Microchip Auto Feeders

  • Dispenses separate meals for each cat
  • Protects the food from being eaten by dogs or other pets
  • Easy to use and hassle-free

Top 4 Automatic Cat Feeders

  1. WOPET SmartFeeder Automatic Feeder from Amazon
  • Dispenses dry cat food
  • 29 Cups capacity

WOPET Automatic Cat Feeder with Camera,7L App Control Smart Feeder Cat Dog Food Dispenser,6-Meal Auto Pet Feeder with Timer Programmable,HD Camera for Voice and Video Recording

2. Cat Mate C500 Automatic Pet Feeder With Digital Timer from Amazon

  • Dispenses wet or dry food
  • 20 Cups capacity

Cat Mate C500 Automatic Pet Feeder with Digital Timer for Cats and Small Dogs White, 13.4 x 11.4 x 2.8

3. Petlibro Easy Feed 6L Automatic Pet Feeder from Amazon

  • Dispenses dry cat food
  • 25.4 Cups capacity

PETLIBRO Automatic Cat Feeder, 6L Auto Dry Food Dispenser with Twist Lock Lid for Naughty Pet, Low Food LED Indication with Clog-Free Design, Up to 50 Portion Control 6 Meals Daily for Dogs and Cats

4. PetSafe Healthy Pet Simply Feed Automatic Feeder from Amazon

  • Dispenses dry cat food
  • 29 Cups capacity
  • In Conclusion

PetSafe Healthy Pet Simply Feed Automatic Cat Feeder for Cats and Dogs - 24 Cups Capacity Pet Food Dispenser with Slow Feed and Portion Control (12 Meals per day) - Includes Stainless Steel Bowl

We all love our cats, and we just want the best for them, even when we are not always around. Ensuring our cats get the food they need to stay happy and healthy is a big deal, and we try numerous ways to cater to their every need.

However, we can’t always be around. We have to work, socialize, tend to our obligations and responsibilities, and it isn’t always easy to ensure that your cat is happy at home when you are not there. It does give you some peace of mind with an automatic cat feeder, knowing that even if you are running late, your cats will be fed.

The only important thing to remember is not to let these auto-feeders take away all of the bonding time you have with your cat. Find different ways to give them attention by playing with them, holding them, talking to them, and giving them snacks…manually!