Best Automatic Cat Food Dispenser - TOP 10 Automatic Cat Feeders in 2020

Which auto cat feeder is right for you and your cat? We’ll show you how you can guarantee your furry friend gets their nutritional needs met when you’re away.

You’ve been dreaming of a magical weekend getaway with your loved ones. It may be the first time since the Covid pandemic that you’ll be able to let loose (even if it’s only with your immediate family). Everything is packed and you’re excited for the trip.

But there’s one thing you may have not considered -- what are you going to do with your cats?

Most pet owners run into the problem of worrying about leaving their pets at home at one point or another. Perhaps it’s a family vacation, an emergency or you simply forgot about your furry friends when you’re slammed at work or stressed out.

If any of the above scenarios sound familiar, you’re not alone. Don’t fret -- technology to the rescue because now automatic pet feeders are more affordable than ever.

In this review we’ll uncover the best options on the market, and we’ll also show you why you need one even if you’re not planning on taking a multi-day trip.

Why You Need a Cat Food Dispenser and What to Look For

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There’s no point in beating around the bush -- if your pet is overweight, there are severe consequences for their quality of life. Extra weight puts pressure on their little hearts and other organs, leading to nasty complications. According to Cornell researchers, “50% of cats seen at vet clinics are overweight, if not obese.”

The same researchers said that the biggest driving factor for feline obesity is “free feeding.” In the wild, cats don’t have 24/7 access to food, so it doesn’t make sense to just leave a big bowl of food out. And from what we’ve read, many cats are prone to gorging on food (sometimes until they vomit). Obviously, cats aren’t capable of regulating food intake, but as responsible pet owners, we should be in control.

One way this can be solved is by using an automatic feeder. We’ll look at the differences in feeders in the next section, but what other benefits are there to using an auto feeder?

Advantages of using an automatic cat feeder

  1. Your cat may be on a special diet that requires you to feed them at regular intervals.
  2. If you have more than one cat, one may need to eat less (or more) than the others to stay at a healthy weight.
  3. Your cat may need to take medication with their food
  4. Finding a pet sitter/neighbor/relative may be unrealistic or too steep for your budget.

What are the important features to consider?

You may be looking into purchasing a cat feeder for a particular reason or a combination of reasons. Whatever the case may be, we’ll show you what to look for when choosing one.

Automation

The most basic type of feeder is called a gravity feeder because it works by replenishing food in your pet’s bowl as soon as your pet eats from it. In other words, it’s like a never-ending bowl of food. Not ideal if your cat is overweight -- as we’ve already pointed out, “free-feeding” may lead to overeating and eventually obesity.

Smart feeders can be divided into several categories: automated feeders, automated feeders with smartphone apps, and RFID-chip activated feeders.

Chip-activated is the latest technology but requires your pet to either have a chip embedded in their skin or located somewhere on their collar. When your pet walks up to the feeding station for a meal, the machine senses and reads the chip, dispensing food specifically for that pet.

Food capacity

Depending on how long you’ll be away, you need to factor in the maximum food capacity. And also, it’s worth testing if the cat food stays fresh. Dry cat food is less of a concern, but semi-wet and wet cat food is likely to go rancid if left out for more than a day.

What you should know about automatic cat feeders for wet food

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  1. If you’re leaving for more than a day, you’ll need a feeder with a built-in ice pack
  2. Wet food feeders are much more expensive than dry ones
  3. Not all feeders have airtight compartments
  4. They generally have a larger portion size, which may not be idle for health reasons
  5. Some don’t have timers

Pet-proof

It seems nothing is truly pet-proof judging by the reviews we’ve read. Be that as it may, a lot of budget feeders are easy to break into -- all cats have to do is stick their little paws into the feeding nozzle and jossle it around to sneak some snacks. Our picks are generally considered tamper-proof and they’re heavy enough that most cats can’t knock them over. RFID-chip activated smart systems can double as a dog proof cat feeder because you can program it so only certain cats can activate it.

Ease of use

Some feeding devices are hard to set up at first. Instructions can be confusing and you might think it’s not worth the effort. Trust us though, when you need to leave on a last-minute trip you’ll thank us for this advice -- stay patient, look up video instructions on Youtube and set it and forget it.

Cleaning the hopper/plate/dish and the bowl is a must and thankfully, many feeders have dishwasher-safe parts.

Who Made It to the Best Canned Kitten Food List?

This list includes hopper-style, plate-style, chip-activated, and gravity feeders.

SureFeed Microchip Small Dog & Cat Feeder

SureFeed Microchip Small Dog & Cat Feeder

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Say hello to the future of feeders. It only opens when activated by an RFID chip. Perfect for pets on special diets or medication, and it supports both wet and dry food. It’s stylish, and doesn't take up too much space.

PetSafe Healthy Pet Simply Feed Programmable Pet Feeder

PetSafe Healthy Pet Simply Feed Programmable Pet Feeder

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This is our choice for multi-cat households. The addition of a stainless steel bowl is perfect for preventing chin acne. It’s also the only feeder with a slow feed option that extends feeding time to a 15 minute window.

amzdeal Automatic Cat Feeder

amzdeal Automatic Cat Feeder

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A hopper feeder that’s programmable for up to 4 meals a day. The large capacity kibble container has a transparent, locking lid so you can see how much food is left. Rest assured your cat will be fed for a long time.

WOPET Automatic Cat Feeder

WOPET Automatic Cat Feeder

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The WOPET automatic pet feeder has a sleek design, a tamper-proof food nozzle and it’s very affordable. It has a host of programmable features to make your life easier. Additionally, it allows you to pre-record a voice message to keep your kitty company during your absence.

WESTLINK 6L Automatic Pet Feeder

WESTLINK 6L Automatic Pet Feeder

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Ensures your cat gets the perfect amount of nutrition with every meal. The enormous capacity allows you to stay away for longer, if needed. The device is cat-proof and dispenses kibble at predictable, timed rates.

BELOPEZZ 6Liters Smart Pet Automatic Feeder

BELOPEZZ 6Liters Smart Pet Automatic Feeder

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The programmable LCD screen is a breeze to set up. Your cat won’t go hungry with this device and you can easily feed multiple cats with just one of these. It has a sturdy design and a small footprint.

Arf Pets Automatic Dog & Cat Feeder, 4-meal

Arf Pets Automatic Dog & Cat Feeder, 4-meal

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Unlike other feeders, this one has a magnetic lock so even the sneakiest kitties can’t get more than their share. This device warns you when kibble levels are low so you don’t have to constantly check and you’re less likely to forget to fill it.

PetSafe Eatwell 5-Meal Automatic Pet Feeder

PetSafe Eatwell 5-Meal Automatic Pet Feeder

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One of the most popular plate-rotating options that holds 5 cups of dry food. Easy to clean, easy to use and it’s compatible with semi-moist food. Requires a refill every day so it’s a good option if someone is watching your furball while you’re gone.

Cat Mate C3000 Automatic Dry Food Pet Feeder

Cat Mate C3000 Automatic Dry Food Pet Feeder

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This can feed a single cat for almost a month. Plus, it’s battery-operated and everything that touches food is dishwasher-safe. Leave on your trip with confidence knowing the Cat Mate won’t jam. It’s more reliable than the cheaper feeders.

Petmate Pet Café Feeder

Petmate Pet Café Feeder

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This is the only gravity feeder on our list and also the most economically priced. It has a very simple design and keeps your cat’s bowl full. Comes in three sizes: small (3lb), medium (6lb) and large (12lb). No automation or programmable features make it foolproof and the best option if your cat can free feed without overeating.

TOP 3 microchip cat feeders

SureFeed Microchip Small Dog & Cat Feeder

SureFeed Microchip Small Dog & Cat Feeder

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Say hello to the future of feeders. It only opens when activated by an RFID chip. Perfect for pets on special diets or medication, and it supports both wet and dry food. It’s stylish, and doesn't take up too much space.

Number of meals: 1-2 (depending on how much your cat eats)

Capacity: 13.5 ounces (382g)

Portion size: Depends on how much food you put in

Power source: 4 C cell batteries

    Pros:
  • Perfect for multi-cat/multi-pet households, cats on special diets
  • Food is accessible only to the specific animal wearing the RFID chip
  • Includes RFID collar tag
  • Keeps both wet and dry cat food fresh
    Cons:
  • Price tag of $150 is on the steep side
  • No programmable timed features
  • Runs only on batteries
Cat Mate C3000 Automatic Dry Food Pet Feeder

Cat Mate C3000 Automatic Dry Food Pet Feeder

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This can feed a single cat for almost a month. Plus, it’s battery-operated and everything that touches food is dishwasher-safe. Leave on your trip with confidence knowing the Cat Mate won’t jam. It’s more reliable than the cheaper feeders.

Number of meals: 3

Capacity: 6L (~6.5lb)

Portion size: 10g

Power source: 4 C cell batteries

    Pros:
  • Food parts are dishwasher-safe
  • Low-battery indicator
  • Frequent-feed mode breaks up meals over the course of the day
  • Large capacity
  • Programmable LCD screen
    Cons:
  • Can be loud when dispensing food
  • Runs only on batteries
  • Plastic food tray
Arf Pets Automatic Dog & Cat Feeder, 4-meal

Arf Pets Automatic Dog & Cat Feeder, 4-meal

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Unlike other feeders, this one has a magnetic lock so even the sneakiest kitties can’t get more than their share. This device warns you when kibble levels are low so you don’t have to constantly check and you’re less likely to forget to fill it.

Number of meals: 4

Capacity: 4L (~4.5lb)

Portion size: up to 10 portions, each portion is about 24g

Power source: 3 D cell batteries + standard DC power supply

    Pros:
  • Hybrid power supply
  • Ability to record personal meal call (up to 10 sec)
  • Magnetic locking lid
  • Low-food alarm
    Cons:
  • Only 1 portion size option
  • May be unreliable over the long-term
  • Plastic food tray

TOP 3 timed cat feeders:

PetSafe Eatwell 5-Meal Automatic Pet Feeder

PetSafe Eatwell 5-Meal Automatic Pet Feeder

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One of the most popular plate-rotating options that holds 5 cups of dry food. Easy to clean, easy to use and it’s compatible with semi-moist food. Requires a refill every day so it’s a good option if someone is watching your furball while you’re gone.

Number of meals: 5

Capacity: 5 cups

Portion size: 1 cup per meal

Power source: 4 D cell batteries

    Pros:
  • Works for dry and semi-moist cat food
  • Extremely easy to set up
  • Dishwasher-safe, BPA-free food tray
    Cons:
  • No portion control
  • Lack of automation features
  • Not exactly tamper-proof
  • Large footprint
BELOPEZZ 6Liters Smart Pet Automatic Feeder

BELOPEZZ 6Liters Smart Pet Automatic Feeder

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The programmable LCD screen is a breeze to set up. Your cat won’t go hungry with this device and you can easily feed multiple cats with just one of these. It has a sturdy design and a small footprint.

Number of meals: 4

Capacity: 6L (~6.5lb)

Portion size: up to 39 portions per meal, smallest portion size is about 1/24 cup (5g)

Power source: 3 D cell batteries + USB cord that can be used with a standard power adapter

    Pros:
  • Large capacity
  • Includes a second food rotator (the thing that dispenses food) for larger animals with a minimum portion size of about 1/10 cup (10g).
  • Hybrid power supply
  • Ability to record personal meal call (up to 10 sec)
    Cons:
  • Not exactly tamper-proof
  • May be unreliable in portion size
  • Plastic food tray
WESTLINK 6L Automatic Pet Feeder

WESTLINK 6L Automatic Pet Feeder

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Ensures your cat gets the perfect amount of nutrition with every meal. The enormous capacity allows you to stay away for longer, if needed. The device is cat-proof and dispenses kibble at predictable, timed rates.

Number of meals: 4

Capacity: 6L (~6.5lb)

Portion size: up to 39 portions per meal, smallest portion size is about 1/10 cup (10g)

Power source: 3 D cell batteries + USB cord that can be used with a standard power adapter

    Pros:
  • Large capacity
  • Hybrid power supply
  • Ability to record personal meal call (up to 10 sec)
  • Infrared sensor prevents food from being dispensed if there is still kibble in the bowl
    Cons:
  • Plastic food tray
  • May be unreliable in portion size

TOP 3 automatic feeder for cat:

PetSafe Healthy Pet Simply Feed Programmable Pet Feeder

PetSafe Healthy Pet Simply Feed Programmable Pet Feeder

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This is our choice for multi-cat households. The addition of a stainless steel bowl is perfect for preventing chin acne. It’s also the only feeder with a slow feed option that extends feeding time to a 15 minute window.

Number of meals: 12

Capacity: 6L (~6.5lb)

Portion size: ⅛ cup (~12g) to 4 cups (~400g)

Power source: 4 D cell batteries + standard DC power supply

    Pros:
  • Ideal for multi-cat household
  • Works with dry and semi-moist cat food
  • Accurate portions
  • Slow-feed option dispenses food over a 15-minute period
  • Includes a stainless steel bowl
  • BPA-free plastic parts
    Cons:
  • Power cord not included
  • May have a steep learning curve
amzdeal Automatic Cat Feeder

amzdeal Automatic Cat Feeder

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A hopper feeder that’s programmable for up to 4 meals a day. The large capacity kibble container has a transparent, locking lid so you can see how much food is left. Rest assured your cat will be fed for a long time.

Number of meals: 4

Capacity: 6L (~6.5lb)

Portion size: up to 39 portions per meal, smallest portion size is about 1/10 cup (10g)

Power source: 3 D cell batteries + USB cord that can be used with a standard power adapter

    Pros:
  • Large capacity
  • Hybrid power supply
  • Ability to record personal meal call (up to 10 sec)
  • Infrared sensor prevents food from being dispensed if there is still kibble in the bowl
  • Transparent locking lid
    Cons:
  • Plastic food tray
  • May be unreliable in portion size
WOPET Automatic Cat Feeder

WOPET Automatic Cat Feeder

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The WOPET automatic pet feeder has a sleek design, a tamper-proof food nozzle and it’s very affordable. It has a host of programmable features to make your life easier. Additionally, it allows you to pre-record a voice message to keep your kitty company during your absence.

Number of meals: 4

Capacity: 4L (~4.5lb)

Portion size: up to 8 portions per meal, each portion is about 1/24 cup (5g)

Power source: 3 D cell batteries + USB cord that can be used with a standard power adapter

    Pros:
  • Hybrid power supply
  • Ability to record personal meal call (up to 10 sec)
  • Infrared sensor prevents food from being dispensed if there is still kibble in the bowl
  • Stainless steel insert for food tray
  • Transparent locking lid
    Cons:
  • May be unreliable in portion size
  • USB cord/power adapter not included

The verdict - So what’s the best automatic cat feeder?

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Not everyone has the budget to hire a full-time pet sitter. We understand that, and that’s why we highly recommend buying an auto feeder. Take that trip you’ve been wanting to take, and know your cats are well-fed and safe.

From what we’ve read, researched and experienced ourselves, we would suggest these three options as the most reliable and accurate.

PetSafe Healthy Pet Simply Feed Programmable Pet Feeder -- Combines a large capacity hopper, excellent portion control and a hybrid power supply.

PetSafe Eatwell 5-Meal Automatic Pet Feeder -- Perfect for a one-day trip or for people that like their cats to have more variety in their diet (you can put semi-moist food in it). Reviews also state that this feeder can be used with wet food, however the manufacturer does not recommend this.

SureFeed Microchip Small Dog & Cat Feeder -- If you wanted to see the future of auto feeders -- this is it. An RFID-chip activated food bowl? Sign us up. Hopefully the next iteration will be timer-based so you can make sure your kitty isn’t overeating.

FAQ

paw background image
Do automatic cat feeders work?

They sure do. Depending on the model, they can portion and schedule the meals and even sound a specific alarm to notify your kitty of the food being served.

Should I use an automatic cat feeder?

If you're rarely home or have to leave your kitty alone for days at a time, getting an automatic feeder is the cheapest and most reliable option. However, if you're stuck at home or have a reliable neighbor or relative willing to take care of your cat, you might not need an automatic feeder.

Can I put wet food into an automatic cat feeder?

There are only a few options on the market that are compatible with wet cat food. Remember that wet food should be refrigerated after opening, so you should not leave more than a couple of meals worth of wet food in the feeder. Otherwise, the food may go bad.

How long will an automatic cat feeder supply last?

The answer depends on the model and the food bin capacity. Some feeders are only good for a day or two, while others can support your kitty's diet for over a week. Match your requirements to bin capacity before buying.

Will an automatic cat feeder work during a blackout?

Most automatic feeders are powered by electricity. If you're worried about power outages, look for gravity feeders that don't require power or models that come with dual power supply and can switch between battery and outlet power.

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