The Best Automatic Cat Feeders Reviewed The Best Automatic Cat Feeders Reviewed
2310(Last Updated On: October 3, 2017)2310 The Best Automatic Cat Feeders Reviewed
(Last Updated On: October 3, 2017)

Cats may not have the title of ‘mans best friend’ as their canine counter parts do. But, they certainly hold a special place in the hearts of so many of us. Just like with any pet we have a responsibility to make sure they are well cared for. And, feeding is part of that responsibility.

But, sometimes we can’t always be home to feed our cat at set times. Increasingly hectic lifestyles and busier schedules can mean that our four-legged feline friends might end up getting their meals a little later than we (and they) would like.

Enter the automatic cat feeder to solve this modern problem. It makes sure your cat always gets their meals on time. Even if you can’t always be there to feed them yourself.

What exactly is an automatic cat feeder?

In its simplest form they are designed to release a portion of food for your cat to eat a a set time. Of course, the styles and kinds of feeders vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. However, they all provide a convenient way not just to feed your pet, but also control the amount of food given and helps make sure we don’t accidentally over feed our cats.

Most can also keep the food sealed. Which means they can help protect your cats food from other pets in your home and from flies and insects.

How to use this guide

For ease this guide is broken down into easy to read chunks. You can read everything in order or skip to certain sections if there is anything in particular you’d like to know first. It covers everything we think you need to know before you buy. Here’s the contents at a glance:

Automatic Cat Feeders Comparison Table:

Great Value

  • Cat Mate C20


  • Our Rating


  • No. of meals served:
    2
  • Microchip detection:
    No
  • Cools food?:
    Yes (with inc. ice pack)
  • Food type(s)?:
    Wet & dry
  • Timer duration:
    48 Hours
  • £

  • Trixie TX2


  • Our Rating


  • No. of meals served:
    2
  • Microchip detection:
    No
  • Cools food?:
    Yes (with inc. ice packs)
  • Food type(s)?:
    Wet & dry
  • Timer duration:
    48 Hours
  • £

  • Andrew James 6 Day Automatic


  • Our Rating


  • No. of meals served:
    6
  • Microchip detection:
    No
  • Cools food?:
    No
  • Food type(s)?:
    Wet & dry
  • Timer duration:
    24 Hours
  • ££

  • Cat Mate C3000


  • Our Rating


  • No. of meals served:
    Variable - up to 30
  • Microchip detection:
    No
  • Cools food?:
    No
  • Food type(s)?:
    Dry
  • Timer duration:
    24 Hours (Auto repeats)
  • ££

  • SureFeed Microchip


  • Our Rating


  • No. of meals served:
    1-2
  • Microchip detection:
    Yes
  • Cools food?:
    No
  • Food type(s)?:
    Wet & dry
  • Timer duration:
    NA
  • £££
Our Top Pick

  • HoneyGuardian (Anmer) A25 Automatic


  • Our Rating


  • No. of meals served:
    Variable
  • Microchip detection:
    No
  • Cools food?:
    No
  • Food type(s)?:
    Dry
  • Timer duration:
    24 hours (auto repeats)
  • ££

Our Pick Of The Top Automatic Cat Feeders Reviewed:

Cat Mate C20 Automatic 2 Meal Pet Feeder

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Made by established brand ‘Pet Mate’, the Cat Mate C20 doesn’t sport the most exciting design, but its reliability and low price point have made it very popular amongst pet owners.

To begin with we’ll look at the food trays.

The C20 has two of them allowing you to get 1-2 days worth of food before refilling. I say ‘around 1-2 days’ because even though each tray can hold up to 450g of food (which is a substantial portion), it depends on how much and how often you like to feed your cat.

For example, you might only feed your cat one large portion of food per day. Which your kitty might eat in one go or come back to a nibble throughout the day. In this case the C20 could provide two days worth of food (one large portion each day). However, if you prefer to feed your cat smaller portions, you might set one tray to open in the morning and one to open in the afternoon, with a smaller portion in each tray. In this case the C20 would only provide one days worth of food.

It really depends on your cats preferences and if you want to help limit your cats calorie intake.

Finally, the trays are made of a smooth plastic and can be unclipped for easy washing. In most cases you could just wipe them clean.

The C20 can take either wet or dry food and, because wet food can start to go off pretty quickly during the summer months, Pet Mate have included a handy ice pack. This can be fitted beneath either of the trays and will help keep the food cool and fresher for longer.

Looking at the top of the C20 you’ll see two hinged flaps which cover and protect the food until its ready to be released. At the top of each flap is an timer dial – one dial per lid. Each dial can be set with a delay of up to 48 hours and once the timer is up the respective lid opens automatically.

It is worth mentioning that the timers won’t function until you flip a switch located on the base of the unit to activate the timing mechanism. Once you’ve done this you’ll see the gears beneath the switch begin to turn. This can be easy to miss because the switch is quite small.

The device is powered by a single AA battery and can power the device for up to 1 year of continuous use – which is very handy because you won’t need to worry about the batteries running out of juice every few weeks.

One other feature worth mentioning is that you can fit this device to a wooden board to prevent your cat from moving it around. Whilst this isn’t such a consideration for cats generally it is quite handy feature and well worth knowing – just in case your cat does decide to move the feeder to a more appropriate spot!

Overall the C20 is a good value and simple entry model. Whilst the timers aren’t to-the-second accurate, like a digitally timed feeder, they are about as accurate as an analogue alarm clock and will do the job well. Plus, Pet Mate backs this unit with a very respectable 3 year warranty which shows this product, whilst simple, is designed to last for some time. There is also a slightly cheaper, single tray model, the C10, if you require it.

Trixie TX2 Automatic Food Dispenser

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This Trixie cat feeder is very similar in appearance to the Pet Mate C20. Just like the C20 the TX2 features a two tray layout and each tray has an independent timer.

There are however a few differences which make it a worth while featuring in our reviews. The first is price. It can often be purchased for around £10 cheaper than the C20 and this makes it the cheapest cat feeders we’ve reviewed.

The second is that each tray can hold 300ml (which based on a simple conversion equates to 300g of food) this is around 150g less than the C20. The 3rd is that it arrives complete with 2 ice packs to help keep wet food fresh on warm days – compared to just one pack with the C20.

So, whilst you lose on some areas, such as capacity, you gain in others such as a lower price and the inclusion of an extra ice pack.

Now we have made a comparison between this and slightly higher priced C20, lets look at the Trixie TX2 on its own merits and find out what it can do.

As I mentioned earlier the TX2 has two independent timers – each of which can be set to a maximum of 48 hours. This can be handy if you go away for a short overnight break and it can also be useful for busy working days. This is because you can effectively ‘queue up’ two days worth of meals for your cat – just in case you get home a bit late.

Each of the two feeding bowls can be completely removed and are made of plastic which is dishwasher safe – making cleaning a breeze. And, as an added bonus, the bottom of the unit features non-slip rubber feet, which will prevent it sliding over your floor.

Price certainly isn’t everything. However it is a big selling point for the TX2 which offers nearly identical features to a unit which is priced around £10 more it is a worthwhile addition to this guide.

Andrew James 6 Day/Meal Automatic Pet Feeder

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With technology becoming cheaper and smaller it is now possible to fit an incredible amount of useful tech into the most surprising of devices. The Andrew James 6 Day feeder certainly fits into this category and comes loaded with a 6 day programmable timer, motorised feeding mechanism and even a voice recorder – so you can tell your cat its dinner time, even when you’re not a home.

But, we’re getting a little ahead of ourselves, and whilst this tech is impressive, we’ll begin by looking at the basics.

To start with you can get up to 6 days worth of food into this automatic cat feeder.

However this is based on one meal a day and, if you feed your cat twice a day, it will last 3 days and so on. It can take both wet and dry food but we’d probably recommend against using wet food in this device in warmer weather. It does not come with any ice packs to keep the food fresh and, as I’m sure you already know, wet cat food can begin to pong quite quickly in the heat!

Inside the Andrew James 6 Day is a circular, removable feeding tray which is separated into six segments. Each segment rotates under an access hole at the feeding times you set. But, before you can configure the feeding schedule you first need to set the clock.

This is very similar to setting a digital watch. The ‘set’ key is held for two seconds and then you press the mode button to increase the hour. Once you are finished a single push of the ‘set’ key saves the hour and the minutes digits begin to flash. All you need to do is repeat the process above to set the minutes and you’re done – easy.

Next you will need to set the feeding schedule. This works in a similar fashion to setting the clock. Pressing the mode button for 2 seconds will change the clock display to show the feeding schedule. The first digit represents the feeding number and the 2nd and 3rd digits represent the time of the day in 24 hour format. Pressing the mode key will increase the time and pressing the set key will save it. The machine will then cycle through all six times, in turn, for you to set.

The only setting which was not immediately obvious was how to set the device for multiple feedings per day. Although this is pretty simple too – once you know how. The best way to illustrate how to do this is with an example. So, to set the device to feed your cat twice a day, once at 8am and once at 6pm, you would set the first feeding to ’08’ (8am) and the second feeding to ’18’ (6pm).

Using this simple system you can set the device to automatically feed you cat up to 6 times per day. There is even a delay feature which allows you to start the feeding schedule tomorrow. A single button press is all that is required to activate this. The advantages of this feature are obvious and it is a very nice touch.

Lastly we’ll look at the message record feature. Depending on your cat it will either love or loath this feature! Pressing the record key on the front of the device for a few seconds will cause a red light to illuminate. You will then have 20 seconds to record a personal message to let your cat know its dinner time. This message is played 3 times at each feeding schedule – because we all know cats generally won’t come the first time you call them…

This is a very cool gadget with some great features. It even has a securely locking lid to prevent your cat from getting its meals early and the smart technology means you can literally set and forget this device from anywhere between 2 and 6 days. It also comes backed with a very healthy 2 year warranty should anything go amiss. This is always good to see and shows real faith by Andrew James in their products. If you’re looking for a simple to use and secure cat feeder, but don’t mind the lack of cooling packs, this unit is sure to please.

Cat Mate C3000 Automatic Dry Food Feeder

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The Cat Mate C3000 is one the largest feeders on our list. It can store up to a whopping 3kg worth of dry food in its hopper and dispense enough meals to last for up to 30 days. It is a true set-and-forget system because its programmable timer can literally be set to loop indefinitely. All you need to do is remember to top up the hopper and give it a clean periodically.

One of the things which caught our eye about the C3000 is just how customisable it is. You can configure the feeder to dispense up to 3 meals per day and even control how much food is dispensed for each individual meal. This is a fantastic way to make sure we don’t accidentally overfeed our cats and can help prevent some of the problems which can develop when they become overweight.

Just like most digital feeders you first need to set the timer. This is done in a similar fashion to a digital watch. One key thing you need to remember is that once you’ve set the time you need to leave the unit for 60 seconds before entering any further information – a simple but easy to overlook step.

Because this device is more customisable than most automatic feeders there are two more steps to configuring the dispensing system: setting the meal sizes and then setting the meal times. Although this may seem like a bit of bother it is really fast to do and takes only a minute or two.

To set the meal sizes press and hold the ‘FEED’ button for 5 seconds until the letter ‘F’ and two zeros appear and begin flashing on the display. Pressing the ‘+’ and ‘-‘ buttons will allow you to set how many feed units you want dispensed for this meal. Pressing the ‘FEED’ button again will then allow you to set the meal sizes for meals 2 and 3 – although you can leave the units at 0 to tell the machine that no feed needs dispensing if you only want one or two meals to be dispensed per day.

Before we move onto setting the meal times we thought we should briefly mentioned what a feed unit is. This equates to around 10g worth food and it is recommended that for just one meal a day an average cat should have around 5-7 units. You can even get the machine to dispense feed units one at a time whilst it keeps count of how many it has released. Weighing the dispensed food will then help you to work out how many units you need for you cat.

The final step is to set the meal times. This works in a similar fashion to setting the feed unit sizes and all you need to do is press and hold the ‘FEED’ buttons for five seconds to enter the ‘meal times’ mode. Using the plus and minus buttons it is possible to set not just the hour but also the minute the food is dispensed. This is particular handy if say, for example, you cat is used to being fed at 5:30.

The Cat Mate C3000 is a really impressive feeder which can be customised not only to make your life easier but also help make sure you cat remains healthy by only dispensing the correct amount of food at meal times. When you couple this with the easy clean hopper and tray (both or which are dishwasher safe) and the huge 3 year warranty provided by Pet Mate it is clear to see why this device has become so popular.

SureFeed Microchip Pet Feeder

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The SureFeed Microchip Pet Feeder is slightly different to the other feeders on this page. This because it does not come with a timing mechanism and can only serve 1-2 meals before it needs to be refilling.

But, these lack of features are deliberate. It was never designed to be a delayed feeding system. In place of this functionality SureFeed have managed to solve several common problems most of us have encountered when feeding our pets. Which we thought was pretty spectacular.

The SureFeed system is designed to help protect your pets food and keep it fresh. This might sound quite simple but anyone who has more than one cat or, indeed, a cat or a dog knows some of the problems this can bring. One pet cat could be more dominant than the other and steal food or your dog might take a liking to your cats food (as ours does) and gobble it down any-chance it gets.

Not only that but flies quickly cover wet food during the summer and even toddlers have been known to stick their hands into wet cat food and have a play – yuck!

So, how have SureFeed solved these problems?

The first way they is be simply covering the food using an automated hinged lid. But this lid does not simply rest on top it forms an air tight seal to keep flies, fingers and dirt out of your cats food. This seal will also help keep the food fresher for longer.

Secondly the SureFeed employs a smart RFID system which detects your cats microchip and only opens the cover for the microchips it is linked with. It even comes with a free RFID collar tag so you can use the system even if your cat is not microchipped.

With all this impressive tech we first though that configuring the SureFeed device would be tricky. In fact, it is very simple to set. To add a cat to the device a single button press is all that is required (located around the rear of the feeder). This will cause the indicator light to flash green then place your cat, or the supplied RFID tag, near the unit until the light turns solid green. Thats it. Your cat has been added to the system.

Cleaning the device is also very straight forward. A switch around the back of the unit can be toggled to manually open and close the lid so you can remove the feeding bowl for cleaning. Even the lid can be removed for easy washing should it get any food on it.

Included with the device are a number of useful accessories:

The first is that two different feeding bowls are supplied. One has a divider in the middle so you can fill it with wet and dry food, the second has no separating barrier and is suitable for one food type.

Secondly is the RFID tag (which we mentioned above) which will allow you to use your device even if you cat doesn’t have a microchip.

Finally, one of the included items which impressed us the most, came in the manual. Inside is a very comprehensive guide on how to get your cat to associate the feeder with food. This is sure to come in handy during the early days of using it. There is even a second guide on how to get even the most cautious of cats to use it. Not only that but the device can also be put into ‘training mode’ where you can manually cause the lid to part open and close slowly so your cat gets used to the noises of the feeder.

SureFeed have managed to conquer some common problems associated with feeding your cat and had the foresight to include some genuinely useful extras with this device which will make using, and cleaning it, simple. The only down side is the cost. It usually retails for around £99 (a the time of this review), although you can make often make a substantial saving by buying the product from Amazon.

HoneyGuaridan (Anmer) A25 Automatic Pet Feeder

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The HoneyGuardian A25 is the second fully automatic ‘bulk’ feeder we’ve reviewed and offers similar functionality to the Cat Mate C3000. With a few notable differences.

The first is the design. The A25 is designed as an all-in-one unit and does not disassemble into as many parts as the C3000. Whilst this means you can only wipe down the feeding bowl and dispensing chute (opposed to washing them up) it has the added advantage of making the unit feel very sturdy and rock solid.

The second is the customization of the feeding schedules, meal sizes and how you configure the system. This varies radically to the C3000 and whilst, on first appearance, seems intimidating we found it much more flexible and easy to use.

So what can you expect from this feeder? Lets dive in a take a look…

One of the first things which surprised us about the A25 was the sheer amount of configuration options you have and the amount of meal times you can program each day. The A25 supports up to 6 individual meals each day, and you can program each meal to have its own individual size.

Configuring the meals it a little tricky but not difficult – if you follow the instructions in the manual.

For example to set the feed times you need to first press and hold the power button for 2 seconds until the indicator light flashes green.

Then, to set the first feeding time of the day, you need to press the ‘clock’ button and set the time using the plus and minus buttons. After this, pressing the ‘feeding’ button will allow you to set the feeding amount dispensed for this meal. Finally, pressing the ‘settings’ button will then save your settings and move onto the next meal time, where the process is repeated.

This might seem a bit complex, but after you’ve done this for the first time it is incredibly easy. Not only that but how useful it is to be able to customise each meal becomes apparent – especially if you cat likes feeding little and often, is on a restricted diet or even prefers one large meal a day.

For a personalised touch you can record up to a 12 second message which is played twice at feeding times. This is a neat way to let you cat know its dinner time, although they might be a little confused if they hear your voice but then can’t find you! But, we’re sure that when they start tucking into their food they’ll soon forget.

We mentioned above about setting the amount of food dispensed at each meal. The amount of food is expressed as a single number and represents 2-3 grams. For example 3 units would be 6-9 grams of food and so on. There is even an infrared beam (similar to what motion detection alarms use) to ensure the dispenser chute does not become blocked with food when the meals are served.

One problem we’ve seen with some feeders is that cats can quickly figure out how to get at the food outside of meal times. This is not a problem for the A25 because the lid locks on the top with a twist and is so secure you can even pick up the unit holding nothing but the lid itself.

Visually speaking the A25 might not be to everyone’s tastes. But, aesthetics aside, we were impressed with the functionality of this device, its build quality, how it prevents food from being stolen outside of meal times and its excellent price point. For these reasons this is our star buy and we think is it definitely worth checking out.

Different Kinds of Automatic Cat Feeder

Looking at this guide you’ve probably already seen that automatic feeders come in all shapes and sizes. But, how do you know which kind is right for you? In this section you can find out what different kinds are available and read their pros and cons. Allowing you to quickly figure out which kind meets your needs.

Drop/Gravity feeder

Can hold many days worth of food

Gravity feeders usually comprise of a relatively large hopper of food and a feeding bowl/tray which is situated beneath it.

The food is dispensed from the hopper in portions sizes set by the user and at certain times. For example; 25g of food might programmed to be released at 5pm and 10g of food and 11am and so on.

They are ideal for controlling meal sizes because you can control how often and how much your cat eats – which can really avoid the temptation to over feed. This has the advantage of making sure your cat maintains a healthy weight.

Pros


  • Can usually hold up to 1 weeks worth of food.

  • It is usually impossible for cats to figure out how to get extra food outside of the programmed meal times.

  • These are typically the most flexible. Allowing you to set not just feeding times but also portion sizes.

  • They only use dry food which means they are easy to keep clean

  • The food is well sealed protecting it from flies and insects.

Cons


  • They can become jammed if larger than the recommended kibble size is used.

  • They can only be used to dispense dry foods.

  • Typically these are more expensive than other kinds feeder.

Hinged Lid

Easy to use, but has some drawbacks

We’re not sure if ‘hinged lid’ is the correct terminology to describe this type of feeder – but it certainly seems a good fit.

Hinged lid devices are the simplest of all the automatic feeders and consist of a food tray, timing mechanism and lid. A portion of food is placed into the tray and the lid is closed. The timer is then set and the lid will only open when the timer has elapsed.

They are by far the cheapest and usually come in single or dual tray configurations with a maximum delay of 48 hours. So, unlike a gravity feeder, the timer will not reset itself and loop indefinitely. It needs to be manually reset after each use.

Pros


  • Very simple to use and setup

  • Inexpensive

  • Can accept both wet & dry foods

  • Ideal for feeding your pet over short periods of a day or two (at most).

  • Some come with ice packs to keep wet food cool and fresher for longer

Cons


  • Cats can sometimes figure out how to open the lids and get their food early.

  • No automatic control of portion sizes

  • Timer can only be set once before it needs resetting again.

  • You need a separate tray for each meal. IE if you want to feed you cat twice in one day you’ll need two trays and so on.

Rotating tray

Can accept wet & dry foods

Again we’re not sure if the term ‘rotating tray’ is the correct term but it does a pretty good job to describe how these devices work. This kind of feeder consists of a circular tray divided into 6 segments, each of which can be filled with food. This tray is then placed inside a base unit and a lid, with an opening the size of one of the segments, is securely fastened on top.

The device can then be configured to slide one of trays to an opening in the unit at set times, allowing your cat to eat.

Pros


  • Can accept wet and dry foods

  • Can feed you cat for several days between refills

  • Easy to use and setup

  • Feeding trays can be removed for easy cleaning

Cons


  • Cannot be used with ice packs so wet food cannot be used to feed your cat for more than one day at a time.

  • Cats can sometimes steal food from the next meal because of the gap required to allow the feeding tray to rotate.

Buyers Guide – What To Look For

Knowing a few simple pointers can help narrow your search and settle on a feeder which meets your needs, first time. And, that’s just what you’ll find this section of the guide. We’ve put together the core requirements we think everyone should know about before they buy.

Cooling mechanism

If your cat prefers wet food, or is a kitten and cannot yet eat dry food, you may need a device with a cooling mechanism to keep the food fresh – especially during warmer weather.

Most devices achieve this by having a compartment beneath the feed tray which can accommodate an ice pack. Even with an ice pack we’d still only recommend queuing up 1-2 days worth of wet food to be absolutely certain it does not spoil.

Capacity

A larger capacity device means you can let the machine do its job with less intervention. This is particularly handy if work absorbs your week and you can’t always get home on time to feed your cat. Having a device with a large food hopper means you place a weeks worth of food into the device and it will feed your cat on time every day.

Typically gravity fed devices are the only feeders capable of this device of functionality and they can only accept dry food, so it is important to make sure you cat is happy to eat just dry food.

Timer function

Timers are the heart of automated feeding devices. They are what allow you to feed you cat when you can’t always be there to do it yourself.

This is why you need to think about how often you need the feeder to take your place during an average week. Do you have time to refill it every day? Or would you prefer something you only have to re-fill once every week?

Asking these kinds of questions will help narrow your choice and ensure the feeder you buy will meet you needs and is a worthwhile investment.

Accepted food types

This is probably down to your cat more than you! It might be tempting to think that you can switch your cat from wet to dry food and they’ll be fine.

But, we’ve had many a cat which wouldn’t even try dry food and ignored it. So, it is worth testing different dry foods on your cat before you buy. Especially if you buy a gravity fed or other device which can only accept dry food.

Conclusion

There’s no denying just how useful automatic cat feeders can be. They can make sure our feline family members are fed even when we can’t do it ourselves. So long as we remember common sense rules and never leave our cats alone for extended peroids these devices are incredibly useful, time saving contraptions.

If you’re still a bit unsure we recommend: