As summer months approach, many of us start thinking about spending our weekends away. I know that in my house, we already have several weekend camping trips in the works. How to feed our older Maine Coon cat while away on these trips is an important concern for us when planning our trips. Hiring a pet sitter often feels unnecessary and is expensive as well, and friends and neighbors are often away during the summer months as well.
Leaving a bowl of dry food and hoping it last through the weekend is one strategy that we have tried in the past. However, our older cat’s diet includes some wet organic cat food along with the dry, that can’t simply be “left out” for him to eat. Fortunately, in recent years some great electronic pet feeder models have arrived on the market!
Tips for Selecting the Best Automatic Cat Feeder For Your Family
When selecting an automatic pet feeder you will want to consider both your unique needs in terms of days you will frequently be away, how many times per day your cat needs to be fed, whether it needs to be refrigerated or not, and also your cat’s temperament. Some cats will find these devices curious or frightening, and you will want to try them out prior to leaving on a trip to make sure your cat will eat from them.
There are two main types of automatic cat feeders, electric timed models and a simple cat food dispenser. Here are some of our favorite models, and some of the pros and cons of each feeder.
1) LeBistro Portion-Control Automatic Feeder (Dry Cat Food Only)
What We Love About It: This model holds more dry food than many of the feeders on the market (about five pounds), and the bowl is removable making clean up easy. The easy to read, programmable LCD display lets you know if your cat has eaten yet or not. An affordable model.
What We Don’t Like About It: Very clever cats may be able to figure out how to open the lid themselves! Also, if you use small sized cat food, the portion control readings that are built in may not be accurate, and you may have to adapt these yourself to work with your cat food choice.
What We Love: One of the most affordable and popular models at Amazon!
- Secure latching lid; easy-to-set digital timer; dishwasher-safe food tray
- 5 1-cup-capacity chambers;
- Easy to use, relies on 4 D-cell batteries
What We Don’t Love: Better suited for dry cat food than wet cat food.
3) Cat Safe Timed Feeder (Wet and Dry Cat Food)
For those who want the ability to feed their cats wet food as well as dry food, we recommend this model by Cat Safe.
What We Love About It: Easy to use and affordable option for both dry and wet cat food. Relies on twin ice packs, has five feeding compartments and a timer. Easy to clean.
What We Don’t Like About It: Battery can fall out (may want to secure with duct or mailing tape), only good for a weekend and not a good option for extended trips. Fairly expensive.
4) Super Feeder Large Automatic Cat Feeder (Dry Food Only)
This isn’t the cheapest option on the market, but may well be the best one for those using dry cat food!
What We Love About It: Probably the best “cat proof” model on the market! Heavy and stable, and great for extended trips. You are able to record your voice to use with this feeder, which may help reassure skittish cats while you are away.
What We Don’t Like About It: The price. Also, some may find the many programming options a bit overwhelming.
5) Lentek Six Day Automatic Cat Feeder (Wet and Dry Cat Food)
Can work for longer trips, suitable for both wet and dry cat food.
What We Love About It: Affordable, programmable, suitable for both wet and dry food. Suitable for longer trips.
What We Don’t Like About It: Not the most solidly built – some customers complain that it can break easily. Relies on a 9 volt battery that drains quickly.
Did not see one you like? Check out all our automatic cat feeders here!