The Absolute Best Automatic Cat Feeders, According to a Vet

updated Aug 10, 2020
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Unlike dogs, cats are pretty self-sufficient and low-maintenance pets, but you still need to ensure that kitty is getting the required nutrition to live a balanced and healthy life. One of the ways to ensure that is to maintain a mealtime schedule and monitor your pet’s food intake. “If your cart is overweight which a lot of cats are, don’t feed them ad-lib and leave dry food out all day,” says Dr. Carly Fox, Staff Doctor at NYC’s Animal Medical Center. “Instead, I recommend getting an automatic feeding timer that only allows the food to be given at a certain time.” Dr. Fox also stresses that the automatic feeders are perfect for families with both multiple cats that are on different diets as well as single-cat families that are looking to get their feline friend in shape. Besides controlling your cat’s diet and preventing health issues caused by obesity in the long-run, automatic feeders are also a hands-free way to ensure your cat’s fed especially on days you’re busy or even traveling. And when it comes to buying an automatic cat feeder, the numerous options can truly get overwhelming. Which is why we turned to Dr. Fox for her expert take on the best automatic cat feeders. Below, we rounded up three of her favorite options!

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"The SureFeed Microchip Feeder is perfect for homes with multiple cats," says Dr. Fox. "Especially if you have cats who are on different or special diets." To get started with, the machine comes with a tag (you can buy extra tags separately) that you attach to your pet's collar, and once the kitty with the assigned pet microchip ID approaches, the feeder opens up and instantly closes when it moves away. This way you'll have to deal with less food-stealing and cat-fights during mealtime, as well as gain more control over your cat's diet. The bowl can hold up to only two pouches (or 13.5-oz.) of food so regardless of how many times your persistent kitty keeps approaching the bowl, it'll be only getting access to a certain portion of kibble or wet food. Additioanlly, the whole device is designed to create fewer messes during mealtimes, plus, cleanup is easy.

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was $90.00

"A much less expensive option, that's equally good," says Dr. Fox. The Cat Mate C500 is a fuss-free, user-friendly feeder that gives you complete control over your cat's food intake. Use the digital timer program to set meal times and the lid will accordingly only open during that designated time. The device also has a helpful LCD display screen so everyone in the family knows kitty's feeding schedule. The feeder comes with five meal compartments which is great if you have multiple cats or even want to feed your kitty smaller portions spaced out throughout the day. Plus, you get twin ice packs to keep food fresh. And once the day ends, the lid and bowl can go directly in the dishwasher and come out nice and clean for the next day.

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was $160.00

An incredibly popular option with cat parents, the PetSafe Smart Feed Automatic Dog and Cat Feeder gives you the hands-free convenience of monitoring kitty's feeding schedule from absolutely anywhere using an app that's compatible with both iPhone and Android devices. And while you can obviously program meal times, there's also a “feed now” option available if you want to give your cat an in-between meal treat. The machine also has a battery back-up so in case WiFi goes out while you’re out of town, feedings will still occur as scheduled. Plus, the bowl is removable for easy clean-up. Lastly, you can disable the button that controls the food dispenser in the situation that your clever kitty figures out how to manipulate the machine and get access to all the food at once.

What’s your secret tool to keeping your kitty well-fed throughout the day? Let us know in the comments below!