Should I Get My Feline an Automatic Cat Feeder?

Are you thinking about trying an automatic feeder for your cat? Have you heard good and bad things about them? Are you trying to figure out whether or not this type of feeder is right for your pet?

In our Moline, IL, animal hospital‘s article below, we’ll break down the pros and cons of automatic feeders so you can learn whether or not your cat should have one. You can use this information to make the right decision, but remember too that your vet may be able to give you specific advice about your individual cat’s needs.

Pros of Automatic Feeders for Cats

Regular Feeding Times

The most important reason to consider using an automatic feeder for your cat is to make sure she always has food when she needs it. If you work a rotating shift schedule, for example, you can ensure your cat has access to the right amount of food at mealtime even if you aren’t home at the same time every day.

Easy Access to Food

Another reason cat owners enjoy using automatic feeders is because they allow cats to have easy food access. You don’t have to worry about whether or not your cat will be able to find the food she needs when she gets hungry if you have an automatic feeder available for her to use. This reason is one of the many that convinces cat owners to use an automatic feeder while they’re on vacation—but we’ll discuss in the section below why this might not be such a good idea.

Keeps Food Fresher for Longer

When you fill an automatic feeder with food for your cat, it will stay fresher longer than it would if you just put the same amount of food out into a bowl. This is because the food is protected from the environment when it’s inside the feeder.

Can Be Used with Either Wet or Dry Food

Many types of automatic feeders currently on the market can be used with either wet or dry food. However, it is important to remember that not every model or style can be used with wet food, so you’ll have to carefully read the information on the packaging to determine if yours can.

Cons of Automatic Feeders for Cats

May Malfunction When Cats Are Alone

The most significant reason not to use automatic feeders while you’re away from home is because they can malfunction. If you’re going to be gone longer than an overnight trip—and especially if you’ll be gone for a lengthy vacation—you should have a friend, family member, or professional pet sitter care for your cat instead of using an automatic feeder. Otherwise, your cat may end up stranded without access to her food at all if something goes wrong.

May Encourage Overeating

Automatic feeders encourage overeating in many cats. Since cats are prone to eating all the food available to them at any given time, they may not be able to regulate themselves when they have access to seemingly unlimited food. If your cat doesn’t eat much at a time, this issue may not pertain to her; however, if your cat loves to eat, then keep this in mind.

May Make It Hard to Feed on a Schedule Later On

If your cat gets used to having food whenever she wants it, then she may have trouble transitioning to more scheduled feedings later on if necessary. Cats may become so accustomed to finding food any time they want it that they become difficult to deal with if the situation needs to change for any reason.

May Encourage Cats to Tip Over the Feeder

Some cats may realize that food is coming out of the feeder, and this may encourage them to try to knock or tip over the feeder to get to the food inside. If your cat succeeds in doing this, she could become sick from eating too much food at once. She could also damage or break the feeder.

May Encourage Food Guarding

Finally, automatic feeders may encourage food guarding and fighting over food if you have multiple cats sharing the same feeder. Every cat may consider the automatic feeder hers, and this may lead to a lack of comfortable sharing among your pets.

As you can see, there are a lot of potential issues to keep in mind when choosing whether or not your cat needs an automatic feeder. Although automatic feeders may have their place, it’s typically best to avoid using them unless you absolutely have to.

Ask Our Moline, IL, Vets If Your Cat Should Use a Cat Feeder

There may be ways in which you can incorporate an automatic feeder into your cat’s routine with no trouble. However, you’ll need to consider your specific cat as well as any health and wellness needs she may have before you make this decision.

If you have any questions about automatic cat feeders, let our Moline, IL, veterinarians know during your pet’s next vet visit. To schedule your pet’s appointment, give us a call at (309) 524-5696