Suggest an automatic cat feeder?

I’m going out of town for a few days, and for probably two of them my boyfriend won’t be able to feed the cats. Everybody else who might be willing to will be with me. I don’t like to leave them alone, and I’ll put them in the kennel if I absolutely have to but I know they wouldn’t like that. Would one of those automatic feeders be okay for just a couple days? They already have an automatic water fountain that of course I’d top off before I went.

I use a gravity feeder just for daily use - like this. I used the dog-sized one since I can pour a whole seven pound bag of cat food in it.

Works fine.

I use a cat-sized gravity water bowl, too. I don’t want the water to get too stale or icky so I don’t use the dog-sized one here. The cats seem to get food in the water all the time so I don’t want to get too lazy on it. I have an extra one I put out if I’m going to be gone for a more than a couple days.

I can leave for days and they do just fine.

My cats only eat canned food, so any automatic device is out, I guess. In any case, when we do go, we hire a “pet sitter” who will come once or twice a day, as we wish. She not only feeds the cats, changes their water, cleans the litter box, but even waters the plants and sweeps up the kitchen!

My first inquiry was to my vet and the ladies on the staff all recommended this sitter. It may cost a bit more than a feeder, but it keeps them from getting lonely, and she will know if one of the cats might need a vet or if anything else is wrong.

We tried taking another cat to a kennel years ago, and he really hated it and was mad at us for several days. Our guys love this pet sitter as she takes time to play with them and pet them. Unless you have such a need often, I think you could find a reliable person by calling the local vets or shelters.

For the cheapest automatic feeder of all, just put a new bag of dry food into a big shallow bowl or a Rubbermaid tub or something similar. Put a couple of bricks or similar objects into the bowl/tub, invert a Home Depot bucket or other big buckety thing over the bag, with the edges of the bucket resting on the bricks. Slash the exposed lower portion of the bag and jiggle out some chow.

Or, just put an unopened bag of cat chow in the bathtub and know they will have a hobby as well as a food supply, while you are away.

Oh, and we CANNOT free-feed. Stokie would eat it all in an hour and the other two would starve to death. As it is he’ll have to go off his prescription feed for the few days I’ll be gone - not a huge problem, but there you go.

We have the same problem with our kittehs - one of them will gorge herself until she’s sick if she’s allowed to and has to be on a strictly controlled diet due to her diabetes, so leaving a large bowl of food is not an option.

I have this feeder at the moment.


  • easy to program once you get the hang of it
  • holds enough kibble to keep the kittehs fed for a week at a time
  • allows some flexibility in terms of how often they’re being fed
  • surprisingly affordable


  • dispenses incorrect amounts if you’re using very small kibble (though I’ve heard a little McGuivering with a piece of cardboard and duct tape will fix that)
  • the lid can be a little finicky and doesn’t always lock properly, which will allow it to be dislodged by a determined feline (I always give it a good twist to make sure it’s definitely locked after making that boo-boo once)
  • rather conspicuous and large

Mahna Mahna, that link doesn’t work and googling stuff from it doesn’t either - what’s it called?

I had the small dog size one like this for a while and it worked really well for a cat I ahd for a short time.
I thought it worked really well. I sold it to a friend when I no longer needed it and I haven’t heard any cmplaints from it.

Hmmm… weird. The feeder is a Petmate Le Bistro.

There are two versions - the older one was really really really bad, based on some of the customer reviews I’ve seen. Look for one where the food bin is shaped like a large rounded bowl, as opposed to a water cooler (ie. a cylinder that tapers in a the bottom).

I do just the same thing. Big Gravity feed for food, Big bowl of water.
I do clean out the toilet and leave the seat up just in case the idiot deliberately spills her water. (Cats will do that for spite because they’re being left alone)

I am a professional pet sitter, and for less than the cost of any automatic timer feeder you can buy, you could likely get three to five visits from someone who would feed your cat, make sure they are well, give them water, scoop the box and offer scritches and cuddles, not to mention pick up the mail, keep an eye on the place in general, etc.

Uh, I’m too embarassed to let somebody else see my house.

I promise you, anybody you hire with more than a year in this business will have seen worse and MUCH WORSE. Heck, my house is probably worse! :slight_smile: You shouldn’t worry about it. A pet sitter isn’t there to judge your housekeeping, only look after your pets.

Go to the pet store. Get a dozen mice. Know they will have a hobby as well as a food supply, while you are away.

If it’s an automatic cat it should be able to feed itself.