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Auto feeders

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Hi, looking for some creative approaches to this little problem.

I have two cats who scarf down kibbles so I'm looking for an auto feeder that will dispense dry food when I travel or evenings out. Otherwise I feed them myself on schedule.

Problem is that one of my cats is quite dominant so if I buy an auto feeder, she will likely crowd out her poor sister. I tried feeding them from one dinner plate this morning as experimentation and that's exactly what happened. Dory, the timid one, just walked away from the plate even though she loves her kibbles.

I'm not really keen on buying two feeders as money though not the top priority is a consideration. The other issue is that there's no guarantee the feeders will dispense at the same exact time. The scenario where Josie the aggressive one, eats from the first feeder and then makes her way to the second feeder when it dispenses, is a possibility.

I think the ideal situation is if there's a feeder that dispenses food into two separate bowls at the same time. But the only one I could find that does that is $500!

So any creative ideas out there?

My one idea is to fill up the balls that hold treats and make them work for their food. And Josie would be preoccupied with her own ball and not eat Dory's share. The one major block with this idea is that I've carpet in my rented apartment and I really do not want bits of kibbles all over the place...attracting ants, etc.
post #2 of 8
My suggestion to another user who's cat had a scarfing problem was to sanitize some pingpong or golf balls and put a few on top of their kibble so that they have to work around the objects to get to their kibble.

The same concept as this, except without having to buy a whole new bowl.

Also, slightly elevating their dishes to where your cat has to stand on their hind legs can help with scarfing.

Both are cheap and easy alternatives to try out before you invest 500$ in an auto feeder.

Perhaps they scarf because they are afraid that the other cat is going to come eat their portion, passive food aggression. Could you perhaps solve this by feeding them in different areas of the house? Maybe put one up high and one down low or in separate rooms?

The kibble dispensing toys are awesome too and I will attest to that I have never had a problem with kibble lying around as when my cat uses it he is so hungry that he gobbles up everything that comes out and when he is full he stops playing.
post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
Neko, that's some good advice, golf balls!

But I didn't make myself clear...scarfing isn't the primary problem. They do gobble gobble but not to the point of making themselves sick. The issue I want to address is to be able to feed them kibble for, say, a 15 hour period. So if I leave home at 8:30am and put down enough kibble to last until 11pm because I have a social event in the evening. What happens now is that the kibble is gone by 9am since Josie eats until the food is gone. So she's overeating while her sister, Dory, who does regulate her eating, is missing her proper share.

So I want to get an autofeeder to dispense food at 8:30am and then dinner at 7pm. The complication is that the cats will not share a bowl so unless the dispenser can shoot out food into two different bowls, it looks like I will have to buy two feeders. Thus my question about how to address this issue due to lack of money and also because it may be likely that the feeders would not dispense at the same exact time. Which would give Josie an opportunity to eat at both feeders.

I considered the treat balls because it wouldn't hold them off for 8-9 hours, it would at least make them work and wait for their food for a good period.

I hope this clarifies my issue. Thanks!
post #4 of 8
What about something like this - it would only do them one meal but at $27 you could buy two?
post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 
Yes, I've considered a similar item, the Cat Mate 20 which has pretty good reviews on Amazon. The issue is that these type of feeders have timers that are pretty general. I'm afraid that I'll set them to open in 8 hours. One will pop open and Josie will eat from it while Dory watches. Then the second one opens five minutes later...and Josie will eat from this one too. Sadly, this is the dynamic between the sisters. I can't make Dory more aggressive and Josie less dominant and a glutton.

This morning just before I left, I put down 2 dishes of kibble and as I was walking out the I saw Dory stop eating for a couple of seconds and Josie, who had finished her dish, walked over and finished up Dory's dish
post #6 of 8
This is the one I have:

Here is what I like about it:
  • You can program it to feed up to 4 times a day, from 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup each time. Since the kibbles I feed are very very thin and tiny, it dispenses a touch under 1/2 cup instead of 1/4, but it is ok for me - it is very consistent, once you figure this "glitch" out, you are fine... I have programmed to feed 2x day the smaller portion.
  • You can program the exact time you want to feed - I have mine at 8am, and 8 pm.
  • It talks!! I have a recording with my voice calling them for "dinner", Bugsy knows food is ready
  • It holds a large amount of food, however for freshness, I only fill it when traveling... otherwise I tend to put enough for a week...
I really do like this feeder.... In months of use it jammed once, and I think it was more my fault than anything else. If you are going on a long trip you do need to make sure you put enough food in it, otherwise you run the risk of not enough food getting into the roller...

It is much more affordable than the other ones, which would allow you to buy two instead of one, solving you problem...

There is really nothing I don't like about this feeder - it has been great for out furry family, as they get an exact amount of food, and for me, who don't need to worry about dispensing food in the am and pm...
post #7 of 8
You're assuming the timers on the auto feeders aren't precise enough that 2 would dispense at the same time. Are you sure this is the case?

It occurs to me that it might actually be better if they didn't dispense at exactly the same time. If they don't, they should be consistent. That is one would always dispense slightly earlier than the other. If that were the case you could put the ping pong balls in the bowl of the early dispenser and put no balls in the other. When the early one opens Josie would start on it and hopefully stay distracted so that when Dory's opens a short time later she would be left in peace to eat.

But, if the problem is that Josie will eat her own food then push Dory out of the way to eat hers, Josie may learn that Dory's bowl is easier to eat out of and still push her out of the way to eat at the easier bowl.

The only solution I can think of is to find a food that Dory likes and Josie doesn't.
post #8 of 8
Mine has always been very reliable about its timer
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