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Wet cat food timed dispensers

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 
I'm looking for any information from anyone who has used a wet cat food dispenser with a timer.

What brand, what you liked, what you didn't like, etc.

I need a solution for Mazy's inability to go more than 7 or 8 hours without food. I arrange my life around her needs, and I don't mind it really, but there are times when I would like to enjoy myself on a long hike, or a holiday like Thanksgiving, or other family visit, and not worry about running home, especially since every where I go involves at least 4 hours of driving, round trip. That doesn't leave much time for any fun.

The plan will require three feeders, one for each cat. Jennie will eat anything left out, so there must be three. I am thinking I will have Jennie's go off about a minute before the other two cats' feeders, so she will already be eating and will be less likely to gobble Mazy's portion before Mazy can get to it.

It will take some tweaking of course, and I am planning to get a surveillance camera to make sure everyone is eating their own food on those days I use the feeders.

But first..I need the feeders.
post #2 of 32

This is something I've considered and researched but haven't decided yet.  I'm often gone for 11 hours at a time, and there are some days I'd like to be able to take a class or do errands after work, but no, I have to get home to feed Ritz.  Ritz will eat so fast on an empty stomach, she'll throw up.

Here is a thread http://www.thecatsite.com/t/254514/automatic-feeders-and-feeding-raw

and this one

http://www.thecatsite.com/t/239757/automatic-feeder-recommendations

 

Cat mate seems popular http://www.amazon.com/Cat-Mate-C50-Automatic-Feeder/dp/B0002AR0D8/ref=pd_sim_petsupplies_6

and this was a possiblity by PetCo (PetSafe 5-Meal Pet Feeder) for freeze-dried foods.

The problem we raw/canned feeders run into of course is spoilage; kibble doesn't spoil, raw food/wet food might.  One way to get around this is to put frozen canned food or frozen raw food in the partitions.

 

Otto, let us know which one you chose and how you like it.

post #3 of 32
Thread Starter 
Thanks! I think canned portions would be okay for a few hours, or of course I could start them frozen.

I am going to be doing a lot of reading haha. I can see the main issue will be feeders that are not easily broken into. Queen Eva and Mazy are not food driven, but Jennie is, and once she catches on that there is food in those things, I have a feeling she is going to work very hard at getting into them.

And timing accuracy seems to be a common complaint, too. I am going to need very accurate timing, because I will need Jennie's dish to go off about 30 seconds before the other two. If Jennie is already eating, Mazy and Queen Eva will have a chance to get to their dishes before she finishes.
post #4 of 32
Thread Starter 
another drawback I have thought of. These food trays are plastic, right. I am not thrilled with my cats eating from plastic dishes. Hmmm.

Wish I had a friend who was one of those engineer types that like to create useless gadgets.
Edited by otto - 3/12/13 at 9:31am
post #5 of 32

I'm in the same situation as you, otto.  I need a solution for when I am occasionally gone for the day.  As it is, I can't really be gone for too long.  Since we would only use them occasionally, I don't worry too much about the plastic.  For using them every day, the plastic would concern me.  Like you, I would buy one for each cat...so I need it to be great quality.  I mentioned in one of those links the one I thought had the best reviews and someone who has used it agreed.  In our house, there is no way they would all get their fair share.  On the days I need to use them I plan on putting each cat in their own room with a litterbox, toys, timed feeder, etc...  That's my plan.  I plan to implement it once we move (hopefully this summer) and I'll need to be able to do day trips.  I'd feed them breakfast, then let the timer do mid-day snack and dinner. 

post #6 of 32
Thread Starter 
Well...I could put Jennie in the bedroom (my only other room besides the bathroom) for the day with her timed feeder and a litter box, she spends any time I am not home sleeping in there anyway, but I know it would upset her to be shut in. I have a screen door on my bedroom doorway so she would still be able to see the rest of the apartment anyway. I guess as a once in a while thing it wouldn't be too awful for her.

Jennie is the only cat who is food aggressive, I wouldn't worry about Queen Eva trying to steal Mazy's portions, I'd be lucky if Queen Eva even eats her own. I'd have to make them small, in case Mazy, by some strange chance, decided to eat Queen Eva's, if Queen Eva leaves it. It's not likely, but it's possible.

It's comforting to know other people have these problems!
post #7 of 32

I also think that when it is time to purchase, I'll order one, make sure I like it, then order 3 more.  I read a good idea in someone's review for getting the cats used to the timer.  They set it to go off every 5 minutes, and just had a little treat in each compartment.  That way the cats learn to not be scared of it and come running when they hear it. 

 

I do have two cats (Leo and Eko) who could probably be in the same space  with two feeders when the time comes.  But my slowest most reluctant eater (Lucy) and my fastest, greediest eater (Emily) would definitely need their own rooms. 

post #8 of 32

I used an automatic feeder  from Petsmart with canned food.  Once ...Ha-ha ! My cats were strays as kittens and they are very food motivated! Always making sure they will get their next meal. The minute I put the feeder on the floor they bit it, scratched it and pushed it across the room. This lasted quite a while. I didn't get much sleep (my apartment is very small and I heard them). The whole reason I was using it was to try to feed their early morning meal so I could sleep a little later, so for my purpose it didn't work out.

They never did break it open though, so it might work out for you. I don't know if they make any that aren't plastic. Also the timer seemed cheaply made. I don't think it will be sensitive enough to set them off 1 minute apart. If I find the brand I will post it.

post #9 of 32
Okay this is a fascinating thread agree.gif I would love to see if any of you have success with one of these moist automatic feeders. Of course I have had excellent success with the dry food auto timed feeders. I too would worry about spoilage but the idea of putting frozen in the dispenser is an interesting one. I will keep following this thread to see any new responses to it.
post #10 of 32

If you start with frozen wet food it will stay fresh for quite a while. You could test it first and see how long it takes to melt. That's what I did. I don't remember how long because it was 2 years ago and didn't end up using the feeder. It stayed cool for several hours though. I was more concerned if it would melt in time.smile.gif

post #11 of 32

It takes from 12 to 10 hours to melt depending on the cat feeder. One of the best so far is the Cat Mate C20.

post #12 of 32

In effect Smitten, currently the market offers feeders that are not very well constructed. Usually materials don't have that good quality. However, they can be a very good solution if your cat is docile and not obsessed with food. Otherwise, the feeder will be running all over the place lol!

 

Lorena.

post #13 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by LorenaAvila View Post

It takes from 12 to 10 hours to melt depending on the cat feeder. One of the best so far is the Cat Mate C20.

 

I don't see how that could possibly be. They aren't insulated. I've put frozen food in a C20 and it was completely thawed in 1 hour.

post #14 of 32

They have ice pack underneath the trays. You have to put them right after the freezer and then the frozen food.

post #15 of 32

I used an ice pack and of course both the pack and the food were straight from the freezer. The only way to get any frozen food to last any amount of time is to put it in an insulated container with an ice pack.

post #16 of 32

Sorry to hear your bad experience with this feeder. It is hard to find a good automatic timed feeder for moist food. I know this one has worked for people, but you know, experiences can be different. 

post #17 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by LorenaAvila View Post

Sorry to hear your bad experience with this feeder. It is hard to find a good automatic timed feeder for moist food. I know this one has worked for people, but you know, experiences can be different. 

 

I'm sorry but it isn't just my experience. It simply isn't possible for food to stay frozen in a C20 for 10-12 hours as you claim.

post #18 of 32

Of course the food won't stay frozen, it will stay fresh, it won't get bad. That is the purpose of the ice packs, to keep the food fresh so that it won't get decomposed.

post #19 of 32

What you wrote and what I have been responding to (my added bold):

Quote:
Originally Posted by LorenaAvila View Post

It takes from 12 to 10 hours to melt depending on the cat feeder. One of the best so far is the Cat Mate C20.

 

As for the ice packs keeping the food "fresh" after it has thawed, the ice packs thaw as well. Once thawed the food quickly comes to room temperature and will not stay "fresh" any longer than it would have if it had never been placed in the C20 at all.

 

You are giving the impression that the C20 will keep food for an extended period of time. It will not and I wouldn't want anyone to purchase one with the expectation that it will.

post #20 of 32

It seems like you have a war against this product. It is weird to me that hundreds of people like this product, they might be all wrong. I don't mind if you or Otto or anybody buy this or any other product. I was just trying to help based in so many people happy with this model. 

 

Good luck!

post #21 of 32

???? Of course I don't "have a war" against this product or any product. I have no idea why you would think I would. dontknow.gif

 

Being helpful entails providing factual information which you have not done.

 

No doubt many people are happy with the C20 but not because it will keep food frozen for 10-12 hours as you claim because it does not do that. I have not suggested that people who like the C20 are wrong. Just that the claims you make about it are.

post #22 of 32
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your replies everyone! smile.gif

I am not concerned with the ultimate freshness of canned food sitting in a covered feeder for a few hours. During their supper meal I weigh out my cats' last meal of the night in dishes, and stack them in a covered container on the counter, so that when it is time for that meal I can simply put the dishes in front of the cats. I do this because Mazy can't go more than 7 hours without food, and I need more sleep than that.

So I doze on the couch until exactly 7 hours before I have to get up, then I stagger into the kitchen, take out the pre-filled dishes that have been sitting, covered, on the counter for about 4 hours, and put them in front of each cat, wait for them to eat, pick up the dishes and drop them into the sink run hot water over them, and go to bed.

The canned food, after being out for a few hours even, is room temperature and it is fine.

If I use a timed feeder for a mid day meal it will be about the same concept. Mazy doesn't like cold canned food, so unless it it a very hot day, I probably wouldn't even bother with an ice pack.

I doubt canned food would stay frozen, even with an ice pack, for 10 or 12 hours, but it certainly will still be fresh within that time frame, if it starts frozen, on top of a frozen ice pack.

If I decided to try this, of course, I will post my experiences. Jennie is so, SO, food driven I just don't know if it would be practical.
Edited by otto - 3/20/13 at 7:11pm
post #23 of 32
I expect the C20 would work just fine for your purpose, using canned food. Whether it keeps food fresh for several hours depends largely on your definition of fresh and exactly how many hours. I wouldn't be concerned about canned food left out for 4 hours either.
 
I'm looking at a solution for keeping raw food for several hours (6-8). That's why I know the C20 won't keep food frozen for 10-12 hours. I've tested it. The only solution I've found that I'm satisfied with for raw food requires the food compartments to be fully insulated.
 
For your situation you wrote that you require multiple feeders to open at the same time. I can tell you it will be very difficult to get multiple C20s or any other feeder that uses the same type of timer to open anywhere near to at the same time. The feeders that have digital timers would probably work better but I've never tried one of them.
post #24 of 32

You are right Otto, feeders with ice packs keep canned food fresh for several hours, not frozen, but fresh. And about all the feeders opening at the same time, I am afraid to tell you with analog timers that won't happen as mschauer says. They have usually a range of difference from 5 minutes to even 30 minutes, so most likely Jenny will be in a party with these feeders lol!

 

But you are not alone in this. I have read several times about cat owners that have more than one cat feeding them with moist food and one of them eats the other cat food. It is a problem because moist food feeders don't have digital timers. I have not seen any so far, if I see one, I will tell you for sure.

 

About your cat Jenny eating too fast, you can re-educate her to slow down eating through a food ball toy. They are designed for eating dry food though, but they certainly help cats to reduce the speed when eating. These toys also reduce the anxiety. Just giving you ideas. I really hope you find the best solution for your and your beloved cats.

post #25 of 32

Otto, I think I found a possible solution for you. It is the Petsafe 5 meals Electronic Pet Feeder. It seems like it works good and gives you option for feeding schedule because it has digital timer. The only problem I saw is that moist food gets dry within the day as it does not have ice packs. But at least it is one solution for moist food with digital timer. Do a better research to see if it good for you. Good luck!


Edited by LorenaAvila - 3/28/13 at 8:38pm
post #26 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by LorenaAvila View Post

Otto, I think I found a possible solution for you. It is the Petsafe 5 meals Electronic Pet Feeder. It seems like it works good and gives you option for feeding schedule because it has digital timer. The only problem I saw is that moist food gets dry within the day as it does not have ice packs. But at least it is one solution for moist food with digital timer. Do a better research to see if it good for you. Good luck!

Thanks Lorena! I'm not Otto but have been following this discussion. I'm going to check this one out for future reference. biggrin.gif
post #27 of 32

I too use the Pet Mate.  I lined the entire component with tinfoil. First, I freeze the 2 cans of food for a few days. when ready, I place in the frozen ice pack, place in the food trays, and set the timers. THEN the whole feeder gets placed on an old pillow. I've been able to leave on a Friday afternoon (feeding them in normal dishes that day) and return to them on Monday morning. Saturday and Sunday were on the timer. My girl friend checked it out for me just in case and it worked great- in July! Two thoughts- keep feeders out of sun and make sure you give the food ample time to freeze.

 

I hope this helps!

Now I need to find stainless steel dishes because on of mine has acne due to the plastic dishes. Bummer.

post #28 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by greycats42 View Post

I too use the Pet Mate.  I lined the entire component with tinfoil. First, I freeze the 2 cans of food for a few days. when ready, I place in the frozen ice pack, place in the food trays, and set the timers. THEN the whole feeder gets placed on an old pillow. I've been able to leave on a Friday afternoon (feeding them in normal dishes that day) and return to them on Monday morning. Saturday and Sunday were on the timer. My girl friend checked it out for me just in case and it worked great- in July! Two thoughts- keep feeders out of sun and make sure you give the food ample time to freeze.

 

I hope this helps!

Now I need to find stainless steel dishes because on of mine has acne due to the plastic dishes. Bummer.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by otto View Post

I'm looking for any information from anyone who has used a wet cat food dispenser with a timer.

What brand, what you liked, what you didn't like, etc.

I need a solution for Mazy's inability to go more than 7 or 8 hours without food. I arrange my life around her needs, and I don't mind it really, but there are times when I would like to enjoy myself on a long hike, or a holiday like Thanksgiving, or other family visit, and not worry about running home, especially since every where I go involves at least 4 hours of driving, round trip. That doesn't leave much time for any fun.

The plan will require three feeders, one for each cat. Jennie will eat anything left out, so there must be three. I am thinking I will have Jennie's go off about a minute before the other two cats' feeders, so she will already be eating and will be less likely to gobble Mazy's portion before Mazy can get to it.

It will take some tweaking of course, and I am planning to get a surveillance camera to make sure everyone is eating their own food on those days I use the feeders.

But first..I need the feeders.

 

I too use the Pet Mate.  I lined the entire component with tinfoil. First, I freeze the 2 cans of food for a few days. when ready, I place in the frozen ice pack, place in the food trays, and set the timers. THEN the whole feeder gets placed on an old pillow. I've been able to leave on a Friday afternoon (feeding them in normal dishes that day) and return to them on Monday morning. Saturday and Sunday were on the timer. My girl friend checked it out for me just in case and it worked great- in July! Two thoughts- keep feeders out of sun and make sure you give the food ample time to freeze.

 

I hope this helps!

Now I need to find stainless steel dishes because on of mine has acne due to the plastic dishes. Bummer.

post #29 of 32

Hello all,

I am a Mechanical Engineer, and work on developing products.
Like one of the members (Otto) here said, I am one of those engineer types that like to create useless gadgets. :)
 
Currently, I am developing an automatic feeding system with the following features:
 
1) Automatic feeder controlled over the internet
 
2) Ability to store and dispense normal and frozen food. I am not using any ice packs, or a fridge. Just using some simple physics to develop a small cooling space. (Volume: 10 inch X 10 inch X 10 inch), (Can reach freezing temperatures.)
 
Since my expertise lies in electronics and controls, I was hoping to get feedback from experts on this forum about the usefulness of the system. I have worked on developing a similar watering system for my plants, and this seemed like a logical next step.
 
From my rudimentary understanding of the topic, I understand that there are quite a few products with timers, but not a lot which allow control of the feeder over the internet.  Secondly, majority of them are restricted by the fact that they can't store frozen food for a day or so, without spoilage.
 
Any help or suggestions are greatly appreciated. Also, if you think that there might be something else which I could add to the system or definitely avoid/improve (no plastic, low profile/i opaque feeder to hide the food storage area), please feel free to let me know. I would be grateful for all the feedback and your valuable inputs.

 

 

Thanks,

R

post #30 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by rudraxx View Post

Hello all,
I am a Mechanical Engineer, and work on developing products.
Like one of the members (Otto) here said, I am one of those engineer types that like to create useless gadgets. smile.gif
 
Currently, I am developing an automatic feeding system with the following features:
 
1) Automatic feeder controlled over the internet
 
2) Ability to store and dispense normal and frozen food. I am not using any ice packs, or a fridge. Just using some simple physics to develop a small cooling space. (Volume: 10 inch X 10 inch X 10 inch), (Can reach freezing temperatures.)
 
Since my expertise lies in electronics and controls, I was hoping to get feedback from experts on this forum about the usefulness of the system. I have worked on developing a similar watering system for my plants, and this seemed like a logical next step.
 
From my rudimentary understanding of the topic, I understand that there are quite a few products with timers, but not a lot which allow control of the feeder over the internet.  Secondly, majority of them are restricted by the fact that they can't store frozen food for a day or so, without spoilage.
 
Any help or suggestions are greatly appreciated. Also, if you think that there might be something else which I could add to the system or definitely avoid/improve (no plastic, low profile/i opaque feeder to hide the food storage area), please feel free to let me know. I would be grateful for all the feedback and your valuable inputs.


Thanks,
R

Welcome to TCS. wavey.gif

Great idea you have got. I'm no help though sorry, never used one.

But I just wanted to say it might be a better idea if you start your own thread on here. That way more people will see it and respond.

Good luck
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