Best Automatic Cat Feeders

Looking for the best automatic cat feeder on the market? Let’s make the search simple.

From an ancestral perspective, cats are hunters who don’t know when they’ll sink their claws and teeth into their next meal. These predatory animals eat multiple small meals throughout the day. Whenever they’re not sleeping, they’re on the lookout for their next treat. While two meals a day will suffice, multiple small meals throughout the day are a species-appropriate and instinctively satisfying alternative.

But thanks to work, travel, and all the obligations of being a 21st-century human, it’s not always possible to give our cats six meals a day. For some of us, it’s a struggle to make it home in time for our cat’s evening meal.

When your human lifestyle gets in the way of feline needs, an automatic cat feeder can help to keep your cat happy and satisfied.

Quick Look: 5 Best Automatic Cat Feeders

PetSafe 5-Meal Pet Feeder

Rank

1th

Rating

9.7/10

Technology

Programmable Dish-Style Feeder

Dimensions

18.5 x 8.7 x 12.4

Warranty

12 Months

Price

$52.95

Deals

Check

PetSafe Healthy Pet Simply Feed Automatic Feeder

Rank

2th

Rating

9.5/10

Technology

Programmable Upright Feeder

Dimensions

18.5 x 8.7 x 12.4

Warranty

12 Months

Price

$134.95

Deals

Check

SureFeed

Rank

3th

Rating

9..3/10

Technology

Microchip Pet Feeder

Dimensions

12.6 x 9.1 x 7.9

Warranty

24 Months

Price

$139.99

Deals

Check

Jempet Automatic Pet Feeder

Rank

4th

Rating

4.4/5

Technology

Programmable Dish-Style Feeder

Dimensions

12 x 11.2 x 25

Warranty

18 Months

Price

Check on Amazon

Deals

Check

Feed and Go Smart Pet Feeder

Rank

5th

Rating

4.3/5

Technology

Smart Automatic Cat Feeders

Dimensions

Not Listed

Warranty

18 Months

Price

Out of stock

Deals

Check

Who needs an automatic cat feeder?

People who want their cat to eat multiple meals throughout the day, but who aren’t at home to feed them.

For short trips and long days, an automatic cat feeder provides the portion control and meal management that your cat needs. Unlike an ice cream pail overflowing with cat food, a automatic food dispenser ensures that your cat won’t gorge themselves or gain weight while you’re away.

Also read: Best cat food for overweight cats

Automatic feeders can prevent greedy cats from snagging their housemates’ food – ensuring that everyone gets the food they deserve.

In multiple pet households, dominance dynamics often become apparent in the kitty dining area. Overbearing cats are inclined to steal from other cats’ bowls, preventing them from getting the nutrition they need.

Some automatic feeders are designed with this problem in mind, only allowing one cat to eat from a certain bowl. These automatic feeders can also ensure that special diets, supplements,  probiotics or medications are exclusively given to the cat who needs them.

Similarly, they’re useful for anyone who feeds feral cats outdoors.

If you feed feral cats outside, you probably know that cat food appeals to more than just the ferals – raccoons, skunks, neighborhood dogs, and other local animals love eating cat food. An automatic feeder dispenses cat-sized portions of food and sequesters the rest, ensuring that your outdoor cats get the food they need.

Cats who eat too quickly can benefit from a slow feeder.

If your cat has a tendency to inhale their food and throw it up later, you know that eating too quickly is a real problem. Some automatic feeders are designed for cats who do this, moderating your cat’s eating speed and helping them to properly digest their food.

Also read: Best cat food for sensitive stomach

Here’s what to look for when choosing an automatic cat feeder.

The best automatic cat feeders operate smoothly and quietly.

Jamming and malfunctioning are realities of bad automatic cat feeders. These feeders can’t handle the food you put in them, they malfunction, they clank and whirr, and ultimately, they don’t feed your cat.

The best automatic cat feeders are compatible with your cat’s favorite food.

Make sure that your automatic feeder works with the type of food your cat likes. While top-of-the-line automatic feeders boast compatibility with every shape and size of kibble you can dump into them, you’ll have to do a little more research to find a feeder that’s compatible with wet food.

The best automatic cat feeders are secure, ensuring that your cat can’t hack the system.

If your cat is highly motivated, a poorly-designed automatic feeder will be no match for their desire to eat. Less secure automatic feeders are acceptable for laid-back cats. Those who are extremely food-driven will require a secure system that only humans can manipulate.

The best automatic cat feeders have a large food capacity.

Just as the best water fountains have a high water capacity, the best automatic feeders have large hoppers or compartments capable of storing a generous amount of food.

The best automatic cat feeders fit your budget.

There’s an automatic feeder for almost every budget. Simple gravity-powered feeders are the cheapest choice, while automatic feeders with high-tech smartphone connectivity integrations will come at a higher cost. Overall, automatic cat feeders range from $15 for low-end models to $250 for a cutting-edge unit.

The best automatic cat feeders have reliable power.

Most automatic cat feeders plug into a power outlet and rely on your home’s electricity. To ensure that your cat continues to receive food in the case of a power outage, it’s important that the feeder is equipped with a backup battery. This will keep your unit alive when your home electricity can’t.

Conversely, some automatic cat feeders have no power cord and rely on a battery alone. Battery-dependent units should have a history of long battery life and reliability.

Types of Automatic Cat Feeders

Gravity-Based Automatic Cat Feeders

The simplest of automatic feeders, these units dispense using nothing but gravity for power.

They’re not timed, they’re not adjustable, and you can’t use them to watch your cat from around the world, but for some, they’re a convenient solution. These are ideal for dry feeders who want to manage their cat’s food intake while they’re out of town for the weekend. Being the most low-tech choice on this list, gravity-based feeders are also the most affordable.

Also Read: Best healthy dry food for cats

How well do they perform?

These simple feeders work well for some, but they’re not a good choice for very food-motivated cats. If your cat is desperate to get food out of the feeder, these are some of the easiest for cats to “hack” or tip over.

Programmable Upright Automatic Cat Feeders

This type of feeder has the same hopper and dispensing design found in a gravity-based feeder, but it’s programmable, meaning that you can decide when it dispenses kibble and how much comes out at each feeding.

How well do they perform?

These feeders work well for people who want to manage their cat’s dry food intake according to a controlled schedule. Quality varies widely and you might find yourself with a feeder that jams or dispenses imprecisely. If you need to closely control your cat’s food intake, you may prefer the next type of automatic feeder.

Programmable Dish-Style Automatic Cat Feeders

These feeders work a little bit differently than the typical automatic feeder. They feature several food compartments and, according to a set schedule, expose the food hidden within the covered saucers.

Because they have a limited number of food compartments, this style of automatic feeder might not be the best choice for longer outings. Most will feed up to six meals before needing to be refilled.

That said, this type of feeder is the only type compatible with wet or non-kibble food. You can use these feeders to store canned or otherwise wet food for up to 24 hours.

How well do they perform?

While these feeders have a limited capacity, they’re a good choice for those who want to carefully control their cat’s food intake.

Smart Automatic Cat Feeders

These feeders connect to your smartphone, allowing you to control your cat’s feeder remotely. Many also feature webcams so that you can watch your cat through their automatic feeder.

How well do they perform?

While exciting in theory, smart automatic cat feeders usually disappoint. You’re paying a high premium for, essentially, a webcam and the ability to change your programs when you’re not at home. In most cases, a standard programmable feeder works equally well.

Microchip Automatic Cat Feeders

Instead of dispensing food automatically, these feeders help you to keep meals separate among your cats and can also protect your cat’s food from a greedy dog.

How well do they perform?

While they’re not for every feline family, if you need to keep your cats’ food separate, these feeders are the most low-hassle option available. They’re easy to use and usually do their job without glitches or hassle.

PetSafe 5-Meal Pet Feeder Review

A dish-style automatic feeder ideal for feeding multiple types of food in precise portions

Rated the #1 best automatic feeder for cats and small dogs on Wirecutter, this dish-style feeder works consistently and effectively to dole out properly-portioned meals of your choice.

It’s not a great choice if you’re spending more than a couple of days away from home, but it can make your daily routine a lot simpler if your cat requires special meals and treats.

While it limits your convenience by demanding that you measure out your own portions of cat food, this dish-style feeder makes up for lost convenience in control. If your cat is on a special diet, this feeder gives you the ability to carefully measure out portions of treats, snacks, medications, and meals.

The serving disk is segmented into five 8oz compartments. The fifth compartment is designated for immediate feeding. You can choose precise feeding times for all other compartments. Programming using the digital display is simple and intuitive with almost unlimited scheduling options.

This automatic cat feeder looks a bit like a food-dispensing Roomba vacuum cleaner. Because it’s so low-slung, excited cats are unlikely to tip it over. And unlike some upright dispensers, your cat can’t reach into the machine to release food on their own. It’s a good choice for food-motivated cats with a tendency to beg and fight for their food.

The feeder relies on four D batteries, which aren’t included. If you’d prefer to plug it into a wall outlet, you’re out of luck. It doesn’t come with a power cord and no such cord is available as an additional purchase.

The feeder is one of the most affordable on the market, costing $49.95 on Amazon.

Pros

  • Compatible with any type of food, including treats, medications, semi-moist and wet food, and any dry kibble
  • While other feeders dispense imprecise amounts of food, this feeder allows you to choose exactly how much you want to give your cat
  • Affordable compared to other feeders
  • Difficult for motivated cats to break into
  • Comes with a 12 month warranty

Cons

  • Plastic compartments aren’t as hygienic as metal or ceramic bowls
  • With just 5 compartments, this isn’t the best choice for longer trips

PetSafe Healthy Pet Simply Feed Automatic Feeder

A programmable hopper-style feeder with numerous settings

This unit, with its 24-cup hopper and smooth operation, is one of the most hassle-free feeders on the market.

Thanks to its conveyor design, it’s a reliable choice that seldom jams when using any dry or semi-moist cat food. Some users say that it’s noisy, but most accounts describe the feeder as relatively quiet and unobtrusive.

This automatic feeder is sturdily constructed and, when filled with food, is difficult for cats to knock over. Highly-motivated cats, however, may be able to reach into the chute and access the kibble.

It’s highly customizable, allowing you to fine-tune your cat’s feeding schedule. You can select your own twice-daily preset feeding schedule with 12 different feeding times. Any time that you want to immediately dispense food for your cat, you can do so using the “immediate feed” function.

If your cat has a tendency to gulp down food, you’ll appreciate the slow feed function, which gradually dispenses food over the course of 15 minutes.

Meal sizes vary from between ⅛ cup (two tablespoons) to 4 cups of food dispensed at one time.

The feeder relies on non-included batteries, which will keep the unit running for about a year. If you’d prefer to pair it with a power cable, you can purchase an optional cable for $13.

Pros

  • Comes with a dishwasher-safe and hygienic stainless steel bowl
  • Features a slow feed mode for cats who tend to gulp down their food
  • Contains up to 24 cups of food
  • Compatible with a splitter that allows you to feed more than one cat at once
  • Sturdy and stable
  • Not prone to jamming
  • Comes with a 12 month warranty

Cons

  • Limits you to dry food only
  • Bowl might be slightly too large for cats
  • Some cats can reach into the chute and get the food on their own

Surefeed Microchip Pet Feeder Automatic Cat Feeder Review

A microchip automatic feeder ideal for cats who need a little protection from food thieves

Instead of dispensing portions of food according to a set schedule, this feeder’s primary purpose is to ensure that only specific cats can access food from the feeder. If your cat is on a special diet or can’t seem to get down a meal without another cat diving in to steal it, this feeder can help to ensure that they get what they need.

The feeder pairs with your cat’s existing microchip or an included RFID collar tag. When the feeder detects one of up to 32 paired collars or chips, the feeding receptacle will open, granting the cat access to their food. Once your cat leaves the detection zone, the receptacle will close again, sealing away the food until next time they’re ready to eat.

According to customer reviews, the programming process is quick and easy, so you’ll be ready to start feeding in minutes.

Because it’s essentially an extra-secure food bowl, the feeder is compatible with any food you would put in an ordinary cat food bowl. And compared to a traditional bowl, the covered dish keeps wet food fresh longer.

It operates on batteries, which aren’t included in your feeder purchase, and there’s no way to set it up with a power cord. However, in the case of a power outage, the unit will retain all programs.

Pros

  • Great for cats whose food is frequently snagged by more aggressive cats
  • Ideal for separating special diets
  • Remembers cat identities after loss of power
  • Food stays fresh in covered compartment
  • Compatible with wet and dry food
  • Both bowl and mat are easy to remove and clean
  • Available in a variety of colors
  • Comes with a 3 year warranty

Cons

  • Very motivated food thieves may be able to eat food from the sides of the bowl after the lid has raised
  • Doesn’t come with necessary batteries and there’s no power cord option
  • Metal and ceramic bowls are more hygienic than plastic

JemPet 5 Meal Trays Automatic Pet Feeder

A dish-style automatic feeder ideal for feeding multiple types of food in precise portions

Like all dish-style feeders, this product has an advantage over upright feeders with a hopper. It allows you to choose exactly what type of food you want your cat to receive. Whether you feed your cat raw chicken wings, medications wrapped in cheese, or dry kibble, this feeder will dispense it according to a set schedule.

This customizability comes with some limitations. The feeder features just five 240ml food compartments, meaning that it might not be ideal for multiple cats, extended trips, or people who don’t want to measure out their cat’s food.

The JemPet automatic cat feeder offers an experience similar to the PetSafe model listed as our first pick, but has a few added functionalities.

In contrast to the PetSafe unit, this automatic feeder comes with a power cord. Under normal circumstances, you can plug the feeder into the wall. If you lose power, the machine will switch to battery operation using the optional batteries. After 25 seconds of inactivity, the unit switches into “standby” mode, which helps to conserve energy.

The voice recorder is another feature that sets this unit apart from the rest. A microphone integration allows you to create a brief recording of your own voice. Once programmed into the device, this voice recording will announce each scheduled meal.

Pros

  • Compatible with any type of food
  • Has a recorded voice feature that allows you to call your cat to meals
  • Safe and secure – cats can’t access the food under the cover
  • Affordable compared to other feeders
  • Comes with a power cord and is compatible with batteries – not included

Cons

  • You’ll need to measure your own food
  • Features just five compartments, making it less than optimal for longer trips
  • No warranty information currently available

Feed and Go Automatic Pet Feeder with Built In Webcam

A smart automatic feeder ideal for tech-loving cat guardians

Of the smart automatic feeders on the market, this one is relatively well-known, feature-rich, and highly-rated. Its smart technology comes at the not-particularly-low price of $249 (Amazon), but if you’re crazy about exploring the latest pet technology, you’ll probably like some of the features found in this sleek space-age feeder.

Fundamentally, this is a dish-style feeder with six compartments. You measure out your portions  and choose the type of food, treats, or medications you want your cat to eat, then start programming the feeder.

The scheduling system is fully customizable, so you’re not locked into specific intervals or settings. By setting up the Feed and Go with your smartphone or PC, you can manage your scheduling settings remotely, changing and monitoring feedings from any location. The Feed and Go app is available on iOS, Android, and Windows. Although the smart integrations are powered by WiFi, you will retain your settings after WiFi is lost.

The built-in webcam, although low-resolution, gives you the ability to view your cat as they eat. Several reviewers express their appreciation for this feature, saying that it’s great to see proof that your cat is eating.

Like the JemPet, the Feed and Go allows you to call your cat to dinner no matter where you are. The voice recording is easy to create and gives your cat a personalized notification every time a meal is served. One reviewer said that the voice message is played at the same time the feeder rotates, creating a loud and potentially frightening noise.

The feeder plugs into a power outlet and doesn’t come with a backup battery.

Pros

  • Unlimited scheduling options
  • Features a webcam for peace of mind and a cute diversion at work
  • Allows you to record your voice as a meal notification
  • Connects to any mobile device or PC
  • Compatible with any type of food
  • Virtually cat-proof
  • Comes with a 12 month limited warranty

Cons

  • No battery backup option
  • The webcam has very low resolution
  • According to some reviewers, the feeder is noisy and might frighten your cat
  • One of the most expensive automatic cat feeders on the market

About the author


Mallory Crusta is a writer and adventurecat enthusiast on a mission to make cats’ lives extraordinary. She’s one of the founders of Wildernesscat – a site for happy, healthy, and adventurous cats who are fueled by nature. Visit Wildernesscat for radically natural cat nutrition, home remedies, and lifestyle inspiration.

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