Best Automatic Cat Feeder Reviews and Buying Guide
Automatic pet feeders take way all the fuss of feeding pets and they also ensure that your pet is fed regularly. Whether you are looking for the best automatic cat feeder, or the best automatic dog feeder, the wide range of features and styles of pet feeders can be a bit overwhelming, so we have put together this auto pet feeder buying guide to help you find the best pet feeder for your pet.
The Auto-Feeders can be programmed to dispense a measured portion of pet food at a pre-set time. That means that when you are out of the home, or you are simply busy doing something else, your pet will still be fed on time.
In this buying guide, we will explain what the benefits of automatic pet feeders are, the features to look out for in a feeder, and we give you some handy tips on how to use automatic dog and cat feeders. We have also included our review of Top 5 automatic cat feeders that you will find on the market today.
All of the pet feeders in this review are suitable for cats and for small to medium sized dogs and they are designed, primarily, for dry pet food. We will be covering pet feeders designed for use with moist pet food in some detail in a separate guide.
Below, you will find our reviews of top 5 cat feeders on the market today. Each of them differs in functionality, capacity, in design, and there is one, the PetnetSmart Feeder, that makes use of all the very latest smart technology.
I. Automatic Cat Feeder Reviews
1. Our Pick for The Best of Overall
The PetSafe Healthy Pet Simply Feed Automatic Feeder is an automatic pet feeder that is suitable for cats and small to medium sized dogs. This best automatic cat feeder has a good sized hopper that will store up to 24 cups of dried pet food. The hopper is translucent, which is helpful because you can easily see how much pet food there is left inside it.
The Healthy Pet Simply Feed Automatic Feeder is programmable, so you can set exactly what time of day your pet will be fed, as well as how much food will be dispensed each time. There is also a slow feed option, which slowly dispenses a meal over a fifteen minute period to stop a pet eating their food too fast.
The unit is well designed and we like the fact that it comes with a stainless steel bowl, which is a lot more hygienic and easier to clean than a plastic bowl.
Overall, we rate the PetSafe Healthy Pet Simply highly and it is up there with the automatic pet feeder. A word of warning, though, this unit is battery operated. If you want to connect it to the mains electricity supply, you will need to buy an optional PetSafe power adapter.
Things We Liked
- Slow feed option stops pets gulping down their food
- Programmable for up to 12 meals a day
- Translucent food hopper
- Hopper holds 24 cups of dry food and the bowl holds 5 cups
- Relatively easy to clean
Things We Disliked
- Power adapter really should be included as standard
- Not all the parts are dishwasher safe – Check the instructions
2. Our Pick for The Value
The Cat Mate C3000 Automatic Dry Food Pet Feeder will automatically dispense three meals per day, each meal can be of varying sizes, and there is a frequent feed option for pets with medical conditions, such as diabetes. Meals can also be dispensed manually at the touch of a button.
Like all of the models we have reviewed here, the Cat Mate C3000 may be labelled as an auto-cat-feeder, but it would work perfectly well as an auto-dog-feeder for small to medium sized dogs.
This feeder is designed to be used with dry food pellets of between 1/6 inch and 6/8 inch in diameter. Anything outside of that range could clog up the machine. The hopper will hold up to a maximum of 6.5 pounds of food and the food hopper has a tamper proof, snap on lid. The dispensing nozzle is also said by the manufacturer to be tamper proof, but some pet owners have reported that their cats were able to extract extra food from the dispenser if small food pellets are used.
The Cat Mate C3000 is a battery operated pet feeder and the batteries will last for up to 9 months before they need replacing. The LCD control panel is very easy to use and the instruction manual that comes with the Cat Mate C3000 is clear and concise.
The feeding bowl is a good size and it clips neatly under the feeding unit. Both the bowl and the food hopper are easily removed from the base of the unit for cleaning, and both are dishwasher safe.
Things We Liked
- Customisable feeding schedule of up to 3 meals per day
- Food components are dishwasher safe
- Frequent feed option for diabetic pets
- Dismantling for cleaning is very easy
- Easy to set up
- Simple and straight forward automatic pet feeder
Things We Disliked
- Slightly noisy when dispensing food
- Battery operated only, but batteries last up to 9 months
3. Our Pick for The Best Hi-Tech Automatic Pet Feeding
The Petnet SmartFeeder is an amazing, state of the art, automatic cat feeder. This dog and cat feeder can be controlled from your Smartphone or iPad and it can even help you decide what the best amount of food for your pet will be. You can also get the Petnet SmartFeeder app to reorder more food for you when your pet food supplies start to get low.
The food hopper is a good size that will hold 5lb - 7lb of food and if the food runs low, the Petnet SmartFeeder will alert you on your iPhone. The stainless steel feeding bowl slots into the base of the unit, so it can’t be moved around the floor, but it does come out, so it can be easily cleaned.
The amount of food that is dispensed is fully controllable, as is the number and frequency of meals. In fact, this is probably one of the best auto feeders in terms of the flexibility that it has in that respect. There is also a one-off feed function that can be triggered remotely via your iPhone.
This model is powered by an A/C adapter, which is connected to the power supply through a chew-resistant cord and it also has a battery back-up.
The Petnet SmartFeeder is the good cat feeder for the modern smart home, but it might not be for you if you are a bit of a technophobe!
Things We Liked
- Amazing range of smart functionality
- Meal times and sizes fully customisable
- Removable food bowl and hopper for easy cleaning
- Sturdy unit that won’t topple over
- Quiet when dispensing food
- Relatively easy to set up
Things We Disliked
- Not suitable if you don’t have a smartphone / internet connection
- Hopper could do with being a bit bigger
4. Our Pick for The Best Design Pet Feeding
Our good design choice of this auto-cat-feeders is the very stylish looking Lusmo Automatic Pet Feeder. This is another battery operated cat feeder that you will also find listed on best automatic dog feeder reviews because it is large enough to use with small to medium sized dogs as well.
The Lusmo Automatic Pet Feeder will dispense food up three times a day and you can programme the size of each meal. The unit has a clear and easy to read LCD display on the top of the unit and programming the feeder is quite straight forward.
The capacity of the tank is 2700cc, which is smaller than some of other cat feeders we have mentioned here, but it is enough to last an average sized cat for at least ten days. The hopper has a tamper proof top that locks down to stop mischievous pets helping themselves, and the dispensing chute has a guard on it to stop paws getting inside to get more food.
The Lusmo Pet Feeder is well-designed model and it comes in a choice of three colours. The three meals a day is a bit limited but is still sufficient for most pet owners. The features on the Lusmo that are designed to stop a pet from getting at the food in the hopper are amongst the best we have seen, so this will be the best cat and dog feeder if you own a mischievous, hungry pet.
Things We Liked
- Stylish design
- Excellent food protection features
- Customisable meal portions
- Large, easy to read LCD control panel
- Reasonable hopper size – will last about 10 days
- Can be programmed to dispense very small portions
Things We Disliked
- Battery powered only
- Portion accuracy can be affected when the food levels in hopper are low
5. Automatic Pet Feeder with Voice Reminding
The HoneyGuaridan A25 Automatic Pet Feeder is a battery operated automatic pet feeder that will dispense up to 6 meals a day and each of those meals can be different portion sizes.
Although the unit is battery operated, that doesn’t pose a big problem with this cat and dog automatic feeder because the batteries can last as long as 6 months
The HoneyGuaridan A25 has a built-in feeding tray, which means that it can’t be pushed away from the dispensing unit by your pet, but it does also mean that the unit has to be cleaned as the whole, so you can’t just clean the feeding tray on its own.
What is very nice about this model is that it has a voice recording and playback system, so you can record your own voice message to call your pets when it is time for feeding.
The food hopper can hold 2.9 lbs of food and it has a twist top lid that cannot be opened by pets. The hopper is also airtight, which will keep food fresh for longer. The A25 has a nice, clean looking design that will fit in well with most kitchens.
The HoneyGuaridan A25 will take both dry and moist pet foods, but the nozzle that the food is dispensed through is quite small, so the recommended maximum size of pieces of food for use with this model is 1cm x 1cm.
Things We Liked
- Voice recording to call pets at feeding time
- Programmable for varying portion sizes and for up to six meals per day
- Infrared detection system to prevent food blockages
- Twist top lid to prevent pet access to food hopper
- Push button feed for one-of snacks
- Nice, clean looking design
Things We Disliked
- Batteries only, but batteries do last up to six months
- Food tray can’t be removed, which can make cleaning a bit tricky
- The food tray is quite shallow
- The dispenser does make a slight noise when it is working
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II. Important Features to Look for in The Best Automatic Cat Feeders
While most automatic cat feeders do operate in basically the same way, the features that you will find on the various models can differ quite considerably. Some automatic pet feeders, for example, will dispense three meals a day at pre-programmed times, while others can provide an unlimited number of scheduled meals.
Here are the main features that you will need to consider when you are looking for the best automatic feeder for your cat or dog.
The first thing to think about when you start looking for a automatic cat feeder for your pet is the amount of food that can be held in the food hopper. The food capacity that you will need will depend on how frequently your pet will be served meals, the portion sizes of the meals, and how long you want to be able to leave the pet feeder without having to refill it with more pet food.
Ease of cleaning
Automatic pet feeders do need cleaning on a regular basis, both for hygiene reasons and to keep them working properly. It is advisable, therefore, to check how easy any pet feeder will be to clean and to find out if the parts that will come into contact with the pet food are dishwasher safe. The best way to find out how easy a product is to clean is to take a look at out the customer reviews.
Suitability for dogs and cats
Most of automatic cat feeders will be perfectly suitable for a small to medium sized dog as well. The only proviso to that is that you should check the size of pet food kibble that a feeder can take. Some automatic pet feeders that have been designed for cats will only take small sized kibbles and that may not be suitable for large dogs. You will also need to check the portion sizes that a feeder dispenses, especially if you have a big dog.
Number of feeds per day
Some of the cat feeders and dog feeders can be programmed to provide frequent, small feeds throughout the day. This can be especially useful if your pet has diabetes or any other condition that requires it to have frequent access to food. On the other hand, some pet feeders will only dispense a maximum of three meals per day, so that is another important thing to consider when comparing different models of automatic pet feeders.
Dry or moist food
In this guide, we have concentrated on dry pet food dispensers. There are pet feeders that dispense moist food, but you do have to be aware that moist pet food may spoil if it is left for too long in a feeder.
Ease of use
In our reviews of automatic cat feeders, we have included a smart pet feeder that has an amazing array of different functions and options that are controlled via your smartphone. It is worth bearing in mind, though, that the more features and functions there are, the more complicated the pet feeder will be set up.
Voice recording and playback
Some of the automatic pet feeders have a voice recording and playback facility so that your pet can be called when the food is ready to eat. This is a very nice additional feature that is not available on all models, so if you want that feature, be sure to check the product specification carefully before you buy.
III. Benefits of a Cat Automatic Feeder
Automatic pet feeders are a very convenient way to feed your pet and they also control how much your pet eats and when your pet eats. Here are the main benefits that an automatic cat or dog feeder will provide.
One of the first benefits that an automatic cat feederor an automatic dog feeder provides is the pure convenience that it brings. Whether you are at home or not, an automatic pet feeder will always feed your pet on time and you don’t even have to get up out of your armchair to feed it.
Regular feeding and controlled portion sizes
An automatic pet feeder will feed your pet the correct portion size, on time, every time. Pets like to be fed to a regular routine and a pet feeder will never forget to feed the cat!
Feeds your pets when you are out
Most of the best pet feeders have large food hoppers that will hold 10 – 15 days’ worth of food. That means that you can be sure that your pet will be fed regularly, even if you are away from home for a few days.
Stops pets overeating and eating too fast
Some pets will gulp down all their food in one go and sometimes even make themselves sick doing it. If you have an automatic pet feeder, you can control the portion sizes precisely and feed your pet smaller amounts, more frequently.
Stops your pet associating you with food
Eventually, your pet will come to understand that it is your automatic pet feeder that is responsible for providing its food. That can be a big benefit if you have a cat that comes and mews at you and claws at your clothes when it’s time for feeding, especially when that is first thing in the morning and you are still in bed!
IV. Tips When Using a Cat Automatic Feeder
Automatic cat feeders are designed to make feeding your cat easier and to help you control portion sizes. They can be used for feeding your cat when you are not home as well, but no pet should be left unattended for extended periods of time. Here are some tips that will help you get the best out of your automatic pet feeder.
Only use the type of food specified by the manufacturer
Read the manufacturers’ guidelines on what type of food can be usedin the automatic cat feeder that you purchase. Some models are only designed to be used with dry cat food and some will only work properly with a certain size of kibble.
Clean your pet food dispenser regularly
Whatever model of best automatic cat food dispenser you choose, you will need to clean it regularly to prevent blockages and for the sake of your pet’s health. Check the manufacturer’s instructions to see which parts are dishwasher safe and which are not.
Always make sure that your pet has a good supply of water
Whenever you feed your dog cat with dry pet food, it is very important to make sure that they also have plenty of water drink. If you are going to leave your pet unattended for any length time, a pet water fountain is a good way of ensuring that they will have plenty of water to drink while you are away.
Don’t use automatic cat feeders in damp areas
Don’t use a dry pet food dispenser in damp rooms, such as garages or bathrooms. The pet food will become moist and it could clog the food dispenser.
Keep the food hopper filled up.
It is advisable not to let an automatic cat feeder food hopper run out right to the bottom. Keep it topped up with food, because when the food gets to the bottom of the hopper, you might find that the pet feeder dispenses incorrect sized portions of food
There is no doubt that automatic pet feeders make feeding your pet a lot easier. They always dispense the right sized portions of food and they always feed your pet on time, whether or not you are at home.
We hope that you found this guide interesting and useful and that it will help you find the best automatic feeder for your pet. As you will have seen, the functions and features on automatic pet food dispensers can vary quite considerably, so we do recommend you take your time choosing a good pet feeder for your pet and you read the product specifications carefully before you buy.