Dec 01, 2020 May 13, 2022

Many busy cat owners understand the challenges of feeding their cats while they are away from home, whether that's for work, an afternoon out, or even when they travel, but hiring a cat sitter to care for your furry friend when you're gone can get expensive. Some cats are notorious for waking their owners up for breakfast, and early morning feedings can be annoying when you're not quite ready to start your day. Making sure your cat is getting their meals on time is essential for healthy, happy cats, which is even more important if you have an elderly or special needs cat. A great solution to these all too common scenarios is an automatic cat feeder, and with plenty of options available to suit your specific needs, you won't have to spend hours looking for the perfect one. Read on to learn which automatic cat feeder is best for you and your cat.  

Choosing the Right Automatic Cat Feeder

When choosing the right automatic cat feeder for your cat, there's a lot to consider regarding features and functionality, including how much food they can store, how they operate, and what kind of food they hold. Here are a few things that you should keep in mind to help you make the best choice of feeders:

  • How does your cat eat? Some cats only eat when they're hungry, while others eat when they're bored or eat all available food. For cats who only eat when they're hungry, gravity feeders work well. For cats who overeat, timed feeders may work better.
  • Do you use wet or dry food? Many of the market's automatic feeders work with dry food, so if your cat eats wet food, you'll need to look out for options that support those diets.
  • How many cats do you have? If you have more than one cat in your home, you may want to buy a multi-cat feeder to ensure that all your cats are getting the right amount of food.
  • Where will you keep the feeder? Some timed feeders on the market need to be plugged in, so it's important to have an available electrical outlet. Other timed feeders are battery-operated, which may be more suitable if you don't have a free outlet in your cat's feeding space.
  • How long will you be gone? Think about how many meals you'll need to have available for your cats. Some feeders may hold enough food for an overnight trip, while others may be good for a few days.
  • How much control do you need? Technology makes it easier to care for our pets from afar. Some automatic cat feeders come equipped with app integration, so you can be in charge of when your cat gets fed.
  • Is it cat-proof? A cat that is both crafty and hungry can mean trouble for some automatic feeders. If your cat is a little mischievous or can open lids, you may want to look for an automatic feeder with secure closures.
  • Is it tech-friendly? Some feeders come with a built-in webcam, so you can check to make sure your cat is happy and healthy even when you aren't there.

With these factors in mind, narrow down which choice is a good fit for your cat. You may also want to observe your cat's eating habits and measure how much your cat eats in a typical day to get a good idea of what capacity and type of feeder to buy.

Best Gravity Feeders

Gravity feeders work just as their name suggests. You fill the feeder with food, and as your cat eats, gravity pulls more food down into the bowl. These feeders are extremely user-friendly, and they are a great option for cats who prefer to eat small amounts throughout the day but may not work so well for cats who tend to overeat. Gravity feeders are often budget-friendly because they don't contain any electronic components. Here are some of the best gravity feeders available on the market.

Aspen Pet Gravity Feeder

This automatic gravity feeder comes in both a three-pound and a six-pound capacity, meaning it's an excellent solution for keeping your cat fed if you're going away for a few days. The larger capacity feeder also works well for households with multiple cats, as long as they don't get territorial over their food. To use, open the lid, fill the storage area, and your work is done! The transparent storage area makes it easy to see exactly how much food is left. This feeder is not dishwasher friendly, however, so that means you will have to handwash periodically. 

Bergan Gourmet Petite Feeder

This compact feeder is ideal for small areas while still holding six pounds of food. It's designed to release food slowly, so your cat stays nourished while you are away. Made from durable, BPA-free plastic, this feeder is safe and easy to clean.  

Best Wet Food Feeders

Some cats or cat owners prefer wet food over dry. Prescription wet food is a must for some kitties with urinary or dental problems, but the challenge is keeping canned food fresh and tasty. If you're going away for the day, you want to ensure your cat's food hasn't dried out or hardened. Here are the best automatic cat feeders that work with wet food:

Tdynasty Automatic Cat Feeder

This feeder is perfect for keeping wet food fresh, so your cat gets tasty meals all day long. You can put aside up to five meals, which each hold one cup of food. This feeder runs on electricity with a backup battery option, so if your electricity gets interrupted for some reason, you don't have to worry about your pet getting fed. This feeder also allows you to put meals on a timer and record a message that plays while your cat eats. 

Cat Mate C500

Built-in ice packs keep wet food fresher for longer in this feeder. And with an automatic timer and battery power, you can rest assured knowing that your cat will receive their meals anywhere you decide to place their meal station.

Best Multiple Cat Feeders

Many cat parents own more than one kitty, which poses a challenge for those who want an automatic feeder, especially if your cats are territorial. If you don't want the expense of buying additional feeders to keep all your cats satisfied, invest in a multi-cat automatic feeder. Here are two of the best automatic feeders for multiple-cat homes:

Cat Mate C20 2 Bowl Pet Feeder

This feeder has two separate bowls that will open when you specify, and each bowl has a 48-hour timer. This feeder is a good option for homes with two cats or scheduling two separate meals for one cat. An ice pack compartment keeps food fresh and chilled, and one AA battery will power this feeder for an entire year.

SureFeed Microchip Pet Feeder

This automatic feeder is worth checking out if you have multiple cats who need special food or if they are on a special diet. The feeder unlocks only for the cat with the matching microchip number, which means that even when you're away, you can make sure each of your cats is getting the correct meals in the proper portions. 

Best Long-Term Feeders

Cats are perfectly capable of spending a few days alone, assuming they have enough food and water handy. If you're going away for more than a day or two, make sure that your cat has plenty to eat. Here are a few feeders that are great for extended periods:

Super Feeder Automatic Cat Feeder

This feeder comes with a five-cup capacity that expands with add-ons, but the best part of this device is that you can program it to feed 48 separate meals. If you have a kitty who eats too fast or has digestive issues, smaller meals can help alleviate these concerns. Scout out a good location next to an electrical outlet as this sturdy feeder needs to be plugged in.

HoneyGuaridan Automatic Pet Feeder

This feeder holds a lot of food and can be programmed to dispense 48 separate meals, so if you plan on leaving for a few days, this is another good solution. You can also save your settings so that the feeder remembers your feeding plan. 

Best App-Controlled Feeders

If you prefer to control your automatic feeder's timing, getting an app-controlled dispenser is a great idea. Anytime you're on the go, a few quick taps on your phone ensures your cat is fed on time. Here are a few of the best app-controlled feeders:

Pet Safe Smart Feed

Download the Smart Feed app to your phone to personalize and dispense meals whenever you want. If there's a power outage and your wi-fi happens to go out, not to worry. This feeder has a battery backup to keep up with your pet's feedings. 

PETKIT Automatic Cat Feeder

Not only does this feeder allow you to dish out mealtime via the PetKit phone app, but it's also Alexa enabled, so you can activate it with voice commands. A battery backup keeps this feeder running no matter what.

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