Whether you are going to miss dinner time and get home late, or your cat is on a strict diet then portion control can be vital. Because a busy lifestyle shouldn’t get in the way of how well your cat eats, a lot of people turn to modern technology. However, because it is so new, the question remains, how effective are these products? Before you make your mind up, let’s take a closer look at automatic cat feeders and see if they are worth the investment.
What Is An Automatic Cat Feeder?
Let’s start with the basics. An automatic cat feeder is a gadget that can feed a cat when the owner is not at home. There are different types but they will usually work on a timer that releases a portion of food at different intervals. They are not designed for extended long term use so you can’t go on holiday and leave your cat at home, but they are designed for convenience.
Can You Program The Release Times?
Yes, you can, some are basic and will only release one meal before needing to be reset whilst others are good for several meals. Some will release the meal into a bowl whilst others contain numerous covered bowls that are revealed one at a time throughout the day.
Is An Automatic Cat Feeder Convenient?
This is their main benefit. For a lot of people, it gives them the peace of mind knowing that their cat will be fed if they go for a meal after work or a day trip where the cat will be left in the house for the day.
Is An Automatic Cat Feeder Hygienic?
When compared to a regular feed, they are far more hygienic. The food is covered in a container and usually out of sight, they are not left in the open like a big bowl of food that you pour every morning.
Because of this, they are not going to attract bugs or rodents (even though the cat probably wouldn’t mind hunting them!). Also, this keeps the food fresh which is healthier for your feline friend.
Can They Help With Weight Management?
One of the main uses of these products is portion control. If a cat has access to a large bowl of food, the chances are that they are going to overindulge which can lead to them putting on too much weight. Because you can amend the amount of food that is dispersed, they are ideal for anyone who has a cat on a strict diet.
Can They Be Used With Wet Food?
Although they are better suited to dry food, and this is the most commonly used, some brands are fine to use with wet cat food such as the PetSafe 5 Meal Pet Feeder. However, it is best to stick with dry so if your cat only eats wet then they might not be so well suited.
Smart Cat Feeder Technology
Some of the most impressive types of cat food dispensers are the ones that release the food upon microchip recognition. This means only one cat can eat at a time which puts you in control of food stealing. Other smart inventions are products that have cameras so you can keep an eye on your cat throughout the day.
Things To Keep In Mind When Using An Automatic Cat Feeder
To make sure your cat is getting the most out of these neat products, it is best to remember the following:
Monitor The Feeder
Although most products are known for their durability and are reliable, you still need to keep an eye on its performance. If for some reason the disperser malfunctions you need to be aware. Your cat will probably let you know that she is hungry by meowing constantly but it is better to make sure it is working from time to time.
They Take Some Getting Used To
Some cats will be fine with the transition and welcome the new device as it gives her food. However, when they disperse, the action can create an unfamiliar noise that can make a cat cautious. If this is the case, don’t lose patience, they usually return a little later at the smell of their lunch.
They Still Need Plenty Of Water
These products are not water fountains, although some great products complement these devices. Whatever method you go for, make sure there is always plenty of water available for your cat throughout the day.
A lot of people will tell you that an automatic cat feeder will pay for itself before too long, they do require an initial investment of around $75 for a reputable product. Usually, this will get you a product with programmable options such as portion size and frequency of feeds.
Most brands work perfectly fine with a variety of cat food but it is best to make sure they can dispense the particles with ease. Before you leave your cat alone for the first time, be sure to test the dispenser and make sure the portion size is right with no blockages.
Although the word automatic makes you feel like they are low maintenance, there is still a little interaction required on the owner’s part. As well as refilling the food container, it is a good idea to clean it out and the bowl once or twice a week. This keeps everything hygienic so your cat can enjoy a safe meal.
How Long Can You Leave A Cat With An Automatic Feeder?
Although these devices mean you are safe to leave your cat overnight if you must, it is never a good idea to leave them any longer than 48 hours. Even this is too long for some people. Your cat needs fresh water and being alone for too long can be stressful for a cat. Even if you want to leave your cat overnight, it is still a good idea to have a friend or family member pop in to make sure they are ok and top up the water bowl.