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Automatic cat feeders can make life a little easier for busy cat owners and may also help your cat lose excess body weight. Cats can be demanding at meal times, since they are creatures of habit that easily remember when to expect food. By automating this process with an automatic cat feeder, it not only frees you up to do other things when your cat is expecting a meal but it also ensures the portions are always appropriate.
Automatic cat feeders are pre-programmed units that are pre-loaded with several meals at a time. Unlike a basic gravity bin feeder, automatic cat feeders dispense a specific amount of food at a programmed time into a bowl for your cat to eat. Some people use them on a daily basis, while others only utilize them when they are gone from the home for extended periods of time. By using an automatic feeder, cat owners know exactly how often their cat is being offered food and can also control the amount it is getting. It makes caring for a cat much easier and eliminates the concern for overfeeding or a pet sitter forgetting to feed a cat.
Below, you'll find the best automatic cat feeders on the market today.
Best Overall: PETLIBRO Automatic Pet Feeder with Desiccant Bag
Maximum Capacity: 4 liters | Dimensions: 7.5 x 7.5 x 12-inches | Weight: 2.15 kilograms | Food Type: Dry | Life Stage: Not listed | Breed Size: Small to medium
Programming options, a fair price, and good storage make this a popular automated pet feeder that helps keep cat food fresh. PETLIBRO offers multiple models to appeal to different cat owners, but the basic model has an affordable price, and all the basic functions you would want from an automated feeder. It has up to four feedings a day, nine food portion settings, several weeks of food storage space, a backup power supply in the form of three D-size batteries, and a voice recording option. The feeder even has a place for a desiccant bag, to help keep cat food fresh.
Best Budget: EZMioo Automatic Cat Feeder
Maximum Capacity: 3.5 liters | Dimensions: 7.87 x 7.48 x 14.57-inches | Weight: 1.6 kilograms | Food Type: Dry | Life Stage: Not listed | Breed Size: Small to medium
If price is the most important thing to you but you still want a quality, programmable automatic cat feeder then check out the EZMioo. This unit that is shaped like a dog holds but still holds a decent amount of cat food, and has an infrared sensor to prevent the bowl from overflowing. You can also make a recording, and schedule a message or sound to play when it's mealtime. The feeder operates off of three D batteries (not included) or an included USB power cable and wall outlet adapter.
Best for Wet Food: Cat Mate C500 Digital 5 Meal Dog & Cat Feeder
Maximum Capacity: 1.7 liters | Dimensions: 12.2 x 11.89 x 3.7-inches | Weight: 14.8 ounces | Food Type: Dry | Life Stage: All | Breed Size: Medium
Wet or canned cat food spoils much more quickly than dry food, so if the can or pouch has been opened, it needs to stay refrigerated until it is eaten. The Cat Mate C500 automatic food feeder allows for five wet food meals to be programmed, and keeps them cool with ice packs under the food trays. Each compartment holds a maximum of 1.25 cups of cat food, and the food tray is dishwasher safe.
Best for Dry Food: PETLIBRO Automatic Cat Feeder with Twist Lock Lid
Maximum Capacity: 6 liters or 4 liters | Dimensions: 9.5 x 7.7 x 14.2-inches | Weight: 3.97 pounds | Food Type: Dry | Life Stage: Varies | Breed Size: All
Dry food comes in multiple shapes and sizes and it needs to stay fresh, not get stuck in a feeder, and remain secure in the bin until your cat is supposed to eat it. Some automated feeders have problems with cats breaking into the storage bin or reaching their paw up into the food chute. Others routinely have food get stuck during dispensing.
To help avoid these issues, the PETLIBRO feeder with a twist lock lid has a lock on the storage bin that requires thumbs to use, and it also has a clog-free design to dispense dry food. It's available in two sizes and two colors (black or white). To top it off, an infrared sensor will alert you if food gets stuck or if the storage bin is empty.
Best for Multiple Cats: WellToBe Automatic Pet Feeder with Two-Way Splitter and Double Bowls
Maximum Capacity: 3 liters | Dimensions: 16.9 x 11.4 x 7.1-inches | Weight: 2.88 kilograms | Food Type: Dry | Life Stage: Not listed | Breed Size: All
With a backup battery supply (4 D-size batteries) in case the power goes out and two bowls to feed two cats at once, this cat feeder is like having two feeders in one. The WellToBe automatic pet feeder holds up to 20 cups of food and provides meals up to four times a day for each cat. A voice recording option is even available which can be useful to summon your cats to the feeder at meal time. It can also dispense a portion as small as 1 tablespoon of food at a time to help cats lose weight or eat more slowly, if necessary.
Best with WiFi: WOPET 6L Automatic Cat Feeder with WiFi
Maximum Capacity: 6 liters | Dimensions: 15 x 9.9 x 7.9-inches | Weight: 4.84 pounds | Food Type: Dry | Life Stage: All | Breed Size: All
If you want to be able to program your automatic cat feeder with your phone then you’ll want a WiFi enabled feeder. While WiFi feeders are sometimes glitchy and typically require a 2.4G network, if you can handle those things then the WOPET automatic cat feeder might be for you.
It holds up to 6 liters of cat food, has batteries as a backup in case the power goes out, and can be programmed from your phone to offer up to 15 meals a day. This version is a tech upgrade from the WOPET automatic cat feeder, which doesn't have WiFi, but is also well-liked by The Spruce Pets' reviewer.
Best Compact: PetSafe Eatwell 5-Meal Automatic Pet Feeder
Maximum Capacity: 1.8 liters | Dimensions: 15 x 5 x 18-inches | Weight: 1.49 kilograms | Food Type: Dry | Life Stage: Adult | Breed Size: Small to medium
If you don’t have the space for a vertical holding tank then the PetSafe Eatwell automatic pet feeder may be what you’re looking for. This feeder is flat and has five rotating compartments that are easily refilled with up to 1 cup of food each.
It’s great for cats that only eat once a day, cats that are good at regulating their own food intake, and if you are going to be away for a long weekend. If you want to sleep in, have to work late, or want to feed your cat in the middle of the night while you’re in bed, you can. The food trays are dishwasher-safe, making clean-up a breeze and since it only runs on four D-size batteries, you can place it anywhere in the house without having to be near an electrical outlet.
"Our cat usually nibbles at her food little at a time throughout the day, so this automatic feeder is perfect for her when we're away for a few nights. We place two servings of dry food in each well, and program it to rotate at her regular meal times. That way, we're confident that she's getting a daily serving of food while we're gone. For longer trips, our cat-sitter also refills it, so she can drop by our apartment fewer times." – Margaret Badore, Senior Editor
Best for Maximum Food Storage: Faroro 7L Automatic Pet Feeder
Maximum Capacity: 7 liters | Dimensions: 9.65 x 8.27 x 15.12-inches | Weight: 1.4 kilograms | Food Type: Dry | Life Stage: Not listed | Breed Size: Small to medium
With most of the bells and whistles that other automatic pet feeders have and at a fair price, the Faroro also offers the most food storage space of any of the feeders on this list. Pet owners report being impressed with the high quality of this device. It allows you to program up to four meals a day and as little as two teaspoons of food at a time. It also has infrared detection to keep food from spilling out of the dish or getting stuck in the chute, and a clear lid so you can see when your cat’s food supply is running low. Larger units are available from other companies but at double the price, so this product is our pick if you want a feeder with a big tank.
Best Battery Operated: PetSafe Healthy Pet Simply Feed Automatic Feeder
Maximum Capacity: 5.7 liters | Dimensions: 18.54 x 8.7 x 12.36-inches | Weight: 2.09 kilograms | Food Type: Dry | Life Stage: Varies | Breed Size: All
Some pet owners may worry about a power outage, WiFi going down, or even their pets unplugging the automatic feeder. A battery-operated automatic feeder is a good solution for those scenarios. This one requires four D-cell batteries. It can be programmed to schedule 12 meals, ranging up to 0.25 cup in size.
Pet parents with cats that get into everything will appreciate that the jam-free dispenser is set up to keep food securely locked away. Both the food dispenser and stainless steel serving bowl can be washed in the dishwasher.
“This feeder works best only with the bowl that they provide. I initially used a smaller bowl that I've been using for some time now and some of the food bounced out of it.” – Spruce Pets Product Tester
If you are feeding your cat dry food, then your best options for automatic cat feeders are the PETLIBRO Automatic Cat Feeder with Twist Lock Lid (view at Amazon) and PETLIBRO Automatic Pet Feeder with Desiccant Bag (view at Amazon). PETLIBRO has several different models that rank highly with pet owners but also have a number of features, have good food storage space, sleek styling, are reliable, and are less than $70. The model with the twist lock lid is especially favorable for owners with cats that seem to be able to break into other feeders and the model with the desiccant compartment is nice for those that live in humid climates.
What to Look for in an Automatic Cat Feeder
When it comes to selecting a cat feeder, you want one that fits your space and meets your cat’s (or cats’) needs. If you have limited room, select a smaller feeder, but size up if you have multiple cats.
Automatic cat feeders range from basic models that simply feed your cat to those with some seriously fancy features. For example, some will let you schedule multiple feedings ahead of time, while others will play your pet a personal message from you.
Ease of Use
Some cat feeders are easier to use than others. High-tech options allow you to feed your cat via an app on your phone, while others don’t require much more than you loading food into it. Don’t forget to also consider how easy a feeder may (or may not) be to clean. Your comfort level with technology as well as your lifestyle should drive your choices when selecting a feeder.
How do automatic cat feeders work?
Automatic cat feeders are either battery or plug-in powered devices that hold and distribute cat food at certain times of the day. Similar to an automatic coffee maker, automatic cat feeders have programmable settings for cat owners to customize meal time.
Feeders with a tank have a timer inside the feeder causes a door to open and dispense a set amount of food from a container into a bowl below. This little door shuts once the pre-programmed amount of food has been allowed to fall into the bowl and secures the remaining food in the container. Other feeders have a round tray design, with several small compartments and lid that's open to just one compartment at a time. At the set time, the tray rotates to the next compartment. Both designs prevent your cat from getting to the food and helps keep the food fresh until meal time.
Can multiple cats share the same feeder?
While multiple cats may have no problem sharing a dish that is kept full at all times, sharing a bowl on an automatic feeder can be problematic. Since only a certain amount of food is provided at each meal, one cat may end up eating all the food while the other cats end up not getting any. Not all cats will be as motivated to eat as soon as the food drops out of the feeder so slower cats may miss meals if a quicker cat gets to the bowl first.
Because of this, it is better to have one feeder per cat so that everyone gets their fair share of food. However, some automatic cat feeders have two bowls instead of one so this may be an automated option for a two-cat household.
How much food can an automatic cat feeder hold?
Some automatic cat feeders hold several pounds of food while others only hold a few cups, but each model will be different. Less expensive models typically only hold a few meals worth of food and more costly options may hold over three pounds of food. To help you compare models, we've calculated the maximum capacity in liters of each feeder on this list. While it may seem as though it would be better for a feeder to hold larger amounts of food, smaller containers may help food stay fresh since they'll be refilled more frequently.
Why Trust The Spruce?
Adrienne Kruzer is a Registered and Licensed Veterinary Technician in three states and has been writing on pet and vet topics for over a decade. She has a special interest in animal nutrition and loves researching, learning, and problem solving in order to better help pet owners. Her years of working in various animal hospitals alongside her formal college education and elective continuing education classes have provided her with a wealth of pet experience and knowledge.