The 5 Best Automatic Cat Feeders

auto cat feeder

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Thanks to its crowd-pleasing design and consistent performance, PetSafe’s 5-Meal Pet Feeder is our top pick for the best automatic cat feeder on the market. It’s a highly-rated feeder that allows you to feed anything from kibble to treats to medication and raw food.

Its accessible price and ability to handle almost any type of food make it a winner for a wide variety of users. But for all its versatility and wide-ranging appeal, it’s not perfect for everyone.

In addition to our top recommendation, we’ve selected five more of the best automatic feeders you can buy.

Whether you want an automatic feeder to control your cat’s portion sizes, keep him well-fed while you’re away from home, or ban your dog from the cat’s bowl, there’s something on this list for you.

But before we jump into the reviews, let’s talk about what we looked for when choosing the best automatic feeders.

At a Glance: Our Top Picks for Best Automatic Cat Feeders

Image Product Features
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Overall Best

PetSafe Eatwell 5-Meal Pet Feeder Review
  • Compatible with any type of food, including treats, medications, wet food, and any dry kibble
  • While other feeders dispense imprecise amounts of food, this feeder allows you to choose exactly how much you want to give your cat
  • Affordable compared to other feeders
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Best for Dry Cat Food

PetSafe Healthy Pet Simply Feed Automatic Feeder
  • Comes with a dishwasher-safe and hygienic stainless steel bowl
  • Features a slow feed mode for cats who tend to gulp down their food
  • Has a large storage capacity of up to 24 cups of food, plus a five-cup bowl capacity
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Best for Wet Cat Food

Cat Mate C500 Automatic Pet Feeder with Digital Timer for Cats and Dogs
  • Compatible with any type of food
  • Affordable compared to other feeders
  • Safe and secure – cats can’t access the food under the cover
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Best Smart Automatic Feeder

WOPET SmartFeeder Automatic Pet Dog and Cat Feeder
  • A large capacity feeder that contains up to 20 cups of dry food
  • Very easy to set up and program
  • Controlled portion sizes help to prevent overeating
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Best Microchip Automatic Feeder

Surefeed Microchip Pet Feeder Automatic Cat Feeder
  • Great for cats whose food is frequently snagged by more aggressive cats
  • Ideal for separating special diets
  • Remembers cat identities after loss of power
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Top Picks Explained

What Are The Qualities Of The Best Automatic Cat Feeders?

The Best Automatic Cat Feeders Are Smooth And Quiet

Jamming and malfunctioning are constant realities among bad automatic cat feeders. These feeders can’t handle the food you put in them, they malfunction, they clank and whirr, and ultimately, they don’t feed your cat.

We scoured customer reviews to ensure that all of the recommended feeders work quietly and consistently with as few malfunctions as possible.

Great Automatic Cat Feeders Are Compatible With Your Cat’s Favorite Food

Make sure that your automatic feeder works with the type of food your cat likes. While top-of-the-line automatic feeders boast compatibility with every shape and size of kibble you can dump into them, you’ll have to do a little more research to find a feeder that’s compatible with wet or raw food.

The Best Automatic Cat Feeders Are Secure, Ensuring That Your Cat Can’t Hack The System

A poorly-designed automatic feeder is no match for a motivated and crafty cat’s desire to eat. Less secure automatic feeders are acceptable for laid-back cats. Those who are extremely food-driven will require a secure system that only humans can manipulate.

The Best Automatic Cat Feeders Have A Large Food Capacity

Just as the best water fountains have a high water capacity, the best automatic feeders have large hoppers or compartments capable of storing a generous amount of food.

This is especially important if you plan to leave the house for a few days and are relying on the feeder to keep your cat fueled up while you’re away.

The Best Automatic Cat Feeders Fit Your Budget

There’s an automatic feeder for almost every budget. Simple gravity-powered feeders are the cheapest choice, while automatic feeders with high-tech smartphone connectivity integrations will come at a higher cost.

Overall, automatic cat feeders range from $10 for basic low-end models to $250 for a cutting-edge unit.

The Best Automatic Cat Feeders Have Reliable Power

Most automatic cat feeders plug into a power outlet and rely on your home’s electricity. To ensure that your cat continues to receive food in the case of a power outage, it’s important that the feeder is equipped with a backup battery. This will keep your unit alive when your home electricity can’t.

Conversely, some automatic cat feeders have no power cord and rely on a battery alone. Battery-dependent units should have a history of long battery life and reliability.

Here Are The Types Of Automatic Cat Feeders

There are a few main types of automatic feeders on the market. Each of them appeal to slightly different needs and will work best for a different type of person. Let’s learn more about each.

1. Gravity-Based Automatic Cat Feeders

The simplest of automatic feeders, these units dispense using nothing but gravity for power.

They’re not timed, they’re not adjustable, and you can’t use them to watch your cat from around the world, but for some, they’re a convenient solution. These are ideal for dry feeders who want to manage their cat’s food intake while they’re out of town for the weekend.

As the most low-tech choice on this list, gravity-based feeders are also the most affordable.

These simple feeders work well if you’re on a budget, but they’re not the best choice for very food-motivated cats. If your cat is desperate to get food out of the feeder, these are some of the easiest for cats to “hack” or tip over.

2. Programmable Upright Automatic Cat Feeders

This type of feeder has the same hopper and dispensing design found in a gravity-based feeder, but it’s programmable, meaning that you can decide when it dispenses kibble and how much comes out at each feeding.

These feeders work well for people who want to manage their cat’s dry food intake according to a controlled schedule. Quality varies widely and you might find yourself with a feeder that jams or dispenses imprecisely. If you need to closely control your cat’s food intake, you may prefer the next type of automatic feeder.

3. Programmable Dish-Style Automatic Cat Feeders

These feeders work a little bit differently than the typical automatic feeder. They feature several food compartments and, according to a set schedule, expose the food hidden within the covered saucers.

Because they have a limited number of food compartments, this style of automatic feeder might not be the best choice for longer outings. Most will feed up to six meals before needing to be refilled.

That said, this type of feeder is the only type compatible with wet or non-kibble food. You can use these feeders to store canned or otherwise wet food for up to 24 hours.

While these feeders have a limited capacity, they’re a good choice for those who want to carefully control their cat’s food intake.

4. Smart Automatic Cat Feeders

These feeders connect to your smartphone, allowing you to control your cat’s feeder remotely. Many also feature webcams so that you can watch your cat through their automatic feeder.

While exciting in theory, smart automatic cat feeders usually disappoint. You’re paying a high premium for, essentially, a webcam and the ability to change your programs when you’re not at home.

If those features sound interesting, an automatic feeder might be a fun addition to your gadget collection. But if you only care about making sure your cat’s fed while you’re away, a standard programmable feeder will work equally well.

5. Microchip Automatic Cat Feeders

Instead of dispensing food automatically, these feeders help you to keep meals separate among your cats and can also protect your cat’s food from a greedy dog.

While they’re not for every feline family, if you need to keep your cats’ food separate due to special dietary needs or gluttony, these feeders are the most low-hassle option available. They’re easy to use and usually do their job without glitches or hassle.

The Best Automatic Cat Feeders: Our Top 5 Recommendations

#1 Overall Best: PetSafe Eatwell 5-Meal Pet Feeder Review


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Product Info:

  • Type: Dish-style programmable automatic feeder
  • Works With: Any type of food or treats
  • Capacity: 5 cups
  • Ideal For: People who want a consistent, reliable feeder that gives them plenty of flexibility
  • Price: $44.95

Rated the #1 best automatic feeder for cats and small dogs on Wirecutter, this dish-style feeder works consistently and effectively to dole out properly-portioned meals of your choice.

It’s not a great choice if you’re spending more than a couple of days away from home, but it can make your daily routine a lot simpler if your cat requires special meals and treats.

While it limits your convenience by demanding that you measure out your own portions of cat food, this dish-style feeder makes up for lost convenience in control. If your cat is on a special diet, this feeder gives you the ability to carefully measure out portions of treats, snacks, medications, and meals.

The serving disk is segmented into five 8oz compartments. The fifth compartment is designated for immediate feeding. You can choose precise feeding times for all other compartments. Programming using the digital display is simple and intuitive with almost unlimited scheduling options.

This automatic cat feeder looks a bit like a food-dispensing Roomba vacuum cleaner. Because it’s so low-slung, excited cats are unlikely to tip it over. And unlike some upright dispensers, your cat can’t reach into the machine to release food on their own. It’s a good choice for food-motivated cats with a tendency to beg and fight for their food.

The feeder relies on four D batteries, which aren’t included. If you’d prefer to plug it into a wall outlet, you’re out of luck. It doesn’t come with a power cord and no such cord is available as an additional purchase.

What We Liked:

  • Compatible with any type of food, including treats, medications, wet food, and any dry kibble
  • While other feeders dispense imprecise amounts of food, this feeder allows you to choose exactly how much you want to give your cat
  • Affordable compared to other feeders
  • Virtually pet-proof-keeps even the most motivated cats out of the food storage
  • Comes with a 12 month warranty

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Plastic compartments aren’t as hygienic as metal or ceramic bowls
  • With just 5 compartments, this isn’t the best choice for longer trips
  • Relies on batteries alone and they’re not included with your purchase

#2 Best for Dry Cat Food: PetSafe Healthy Pet Simply Feed Automatic Feeder

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Product Info:

  • Type: Upright programmable food dispenser
  • Works With: Dry cat food
  • Capacity: 12 lbs or 29 cups of dry food
  • Ideal For: Cats who eat dry food, especially if they tend to eat too quickly
  • Price: $99.95

This unit, with its 24-cup hopper and smooth operation, is one of the most hassle-free feeders on the market.

Thanks to its conveyor design, it’s a reliable choice that seldom jams when using any dry or semi-moist cat food. Some users say that it’s noisy, but most accounts describe the feeder as relatively quiet and unobtrusive.

This automatic feeder is sturdily constructed and, when filled with food, is difficult for cats to knock over. Highly-motivated cats, however, may be able to reach into the chute and access the kibble.

It’s highly customizable, allowing you to fine-tune your cat’s feeding schedule. You can select your own twice-daily preset feeding schedule with 12 different feeding times. Any time that you want to immediately dispense food for your cat, you can do so using the “immediate feed” function.

If your cat has a tendency to gulp down food, you’ll appreciate the slow feed function, which gradually dispenses food over the course of 15 minutes.

Meal sizes vary from between ⅛ cup (two tablespoons) to 4 cups of food dispensed at one time.

The feeder relies on non-included batteries, which will keep the unit running for about a year. If you’d prefer to pair it with a power cable, you can purchase an optional cable for $13.

What We Liked:

  • Comes with a dishwasher-safe and hygienic stainless steel bowl
  • Features a slow feed mode for cats who tend to gulp down their food
  • Has a large storage capacity of up to 24 cups of food, plus a five-cup bowl capacity
  • Compatible with a splitter that allows you to feed more than one cat at once
  • Sturdy and stable
  • Not prone to jamming
  • Comes with a 12 month warranty

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Limits you to dry food only
  • Bowl might be slightly too large for cats
  • Some cats can reach into the chute and get the food on their own

#3 Best for Wet Cat Food: Cat Mate C500 Automatic Pet Feeder with Digital Timer for Cats and Dogs

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Product Info:

  • Type: Dish-style timed feeder with cooling packs
  • Works With: Any type of food
  • Capacity: 5 and 3/4 cups
  • Ideal For: Cats who eat wet or raw food that needs to stay cool all day
  • Price: $54.93

Like all dish-style feeders, this product has an advantage over upright feeders with a hopper. It allows you to choose exactly which type of food you want your cat to eat.

Whether you feed your cat raw chicken wings, medications wrapped in cheese, or dry kibble, this feeder will dispense it according to a set schedule. You can choose up to 4 different feeding times.

The feeder shows each mealtime on an LCD display, making it easy to keep track of and adjust your cat’s feeding schedule.

This customizability comes with some limitations. The feeder features five 11.5-ounce food compartments—one of which is for immediate feeding only—meaning that you’ll need to refill it regularly. It might not be ideal for multiple cats, extended trips, or people who don’t want to measure out their cat’s food.

This automatic cat feeder offers an experience similar to the PetSafe model listed as our first pick, but has a few added functionalities.

Most importantly, the Cat Mate feeder has ice packs built in under the feeding compartments. Like a miniature ice chest, it keeps food cool and fresh for 1-2 days, depending on the conditions.

Though it doesn’t have all the features you might find in some other programmable feeders and requires frequent refills, this automatic feeder is an outstanding option for people who want to feed their cat wet food or a variety of different types of food.

The feeder is powered by 3 AA batteries, which aren’t included with your purchase.

What We Liked:

  • Compatible with any type of food
  • Safe and secure – cats can’t access the food under the cover
  • Affordable compared to other feeders
  • Contains ice packs for fresher food

What We Didn’t Like:

  • You’ll need to measure your own food
  • Features just five compartments, making it less than optimal for longer trips
  • Batteries are the feeder’s only power source and they don’t come with your purchase

#4 Best Smart Automatic Feeder: WOPET SmartFeeder Automatic Pet Dog and Cat Feeder

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Product Info:

  • Type: Smart automatic feeder
  • Works With: Dry cat food
  • Capacity: 20 cups
  • Ideal For: People who want a smart automatic feeder they can control from their smartphone
  • Price: $169.99

If you want maximum control over your food dispenser, consider this smart feeder from WOPET. Its smart features are built on a strong foundation. This feeder has all the basic qualities of a great programmable feeder.

Using the straightforward LCD screen, the dispenser is programmable for up to 4 automatic, custom-portioned meals per day. Using the portion size wheel built into the hopper, you can choose to dispense anything from 2 teaspoons to 4.5 cups per serving. You can program specific portions for each meal.

The feeder has a voice recorder, allowing you to set up an automated audio message that will notify your cat of each meal.

Reviewers note that the feeder is a cinch to program. Several said they set it up without looking at the manual.

It seems to fulfill all of those basic functions well, working consistently and reliably. It uses a dual power supply system that includes both a power adapter and a battery backup. This gives you peace of mind in case of a power outage and doesn’t leave you reliant on short-lived batteries.

And then there are the smart features. The feeder uses your home WiFi network to connect to your Android or iOS device. Once you’ve connected the feeder to your device, it becomes an interactive pet monitor with remote functionalities. You can view your cat remotely with the wide-angle 720P camera and talk to him using your phone’s microphone.

The app also allows you to adjust your cat’s feeding schedule or trigger a manual feed. It keeps a detailed record of every feeding, helping you to keep track of how much your cat is eating.

Overall, this smart feeder combines all the basic functionalities of a good cat feeder with the ease and entertainment value of a smart system.

What We Liked:

  • A large capacity feeder that contains up to 20 cups of dry food
  • Very easy to set up and program
  • Controlled portion sizes help to prevent overeating
  • Has a voice recording function, which helps to notify your cat of each mealtime
  • This auto feeder works consistently and reliably

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Only works with dry cat food
  • One of the most expensive cat food dispensers you can buy

#5 Best Microchip Automatic Feeder: Surefeed Microchip Pet Feeder Automatic Cat Feeder Review

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Product Info:

  • Type: Microchip feeder
  • Works With: Any cat food
  • Capacity: 13.5 ounces
  • Ideal For: Multi-pet homes
  • Price: $149.99

Instead of dispensing portions of food according to a set schedule, this feeder’s primary purpose is to ensure that only specific cats can access the food. If your cat is on a special diet or can’t start a meal without another cat diving in to steal it, this feeder can help to ensure that they get what they need.

The feeder pairs with your cat’s existing microchip or an included RFID collar tag. When the feeder detects one of up to 32 paired collars or chips, the feeding receptacle will open, granting the cat access to their food. Once your cat leaves the detection zone, the receptacle will close again, sealing away the food until next time they’re ready to eat.

According to customer reviews, the programming process is quick and easy, so you’ll be ready to start feeding in minutes.

Because it’s essentially an extra-secure food bowl, the feeder is compatible with any food you would put in an ordinary cat food bowl. And compared to a traditional bowl, the covered dish keeps wet food fresh longer.

It operates on batteries, which aren’t included in your feeder purchase, and there’s no way to set it up with a power cord. However, in the case of a power outage, the unit will retain all programs.

What We Liked:

  • Great for cats whose food is frequently snagged by more aggressive cats
  • Ideal for separating special diets
  • Remembers cat identities after loss of power
  • Food stays fresh in covered compartment
  • Compatible with wet and dry food
  • Both bowl and mat are easy to remove and clean
  • Available in a variety of colors
  • Comes with a 3 year warranty

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Very motivated food thieves may be able to eat food from the sides of the bowl after the lid has raised
  • Doesn’t come with necessary batteries and there’s no power cord option

Are Automatic Cat Feeders A Good Idea?

Automatic cat feeders promise a convenient way to make sure your cat stays well-fed and healthy whether you’re at home or on the go. But they’re not the right choice for every household. Here are a few of the benefits of automatic feeders and signs that you should buy one.

An Automatic Feeder Ensures That Your Cat Receives Portioned Meals When You’re Not Home

For short trips and long days, an automatic cat feeder provides the portion control and meal management that your cat needs. Unlike an ice cream pail overflowing with cat food, an automatic food dispenser ensures that your cat won’t gorge themselves or gain weight while you’re away.

If you feed wet food, a refrigerated dispenser is one of the best ways to feed your cat fresh food while you’re away.

Additionally, automatic feeders are an effortless way to provide multiple small meals a day. As natural predators, cats in a natural environment might eat six meals a day. This eating routine can keep cats stimulated and may help to keep your cat satisfied, staving off the boredom and hunger pangs that may promote gorging and obesity.

Similarly, They’re Useful For Anyone Who Feeds Feral Cats Outdoors

If you feed feral cats outside, you probably know that cat food appeals to more than just the ferals – raccoons, skunks, neighborhood dogs, and other local animals love eating cat food. An automatic feeder dispenses cat-sized portions of food and sequesters the rest, ensuring that your outdoor cats get the food they need.

Cats Who Eat Too Quickly Can Benefit From A Slow Feeder

If your cat has a tendency to inhale their food and throw it up later, you know that eating too quickly is a real problem. Some automatic feeders are designed for cats who do this, moderating your cat’s eating speed and helping them to properly digest their food.

Automatic Cat Feeders Can Be Helpful, But They’re Not The Solution To Every Problem

Great automatic feeders can make your life easier. They free you from the need to feed your cat throughout the day.

They make sure your cat gets well-portioned meals when you’re not home. And if you choose the right one, they can help cats with special diets or shy personalities get the food they need.

But they’re no substitute for human care. Even the smartest automatic feeder can’t come close to replacing a good cat sitter. If you’re leaving the house for more than a day or two, you’ll still want to find someone to care for your cat while you’re away.

Also Read: The Complete Feeding Guide from Kittens to Seniors

About the author


Mallory Crusta is a writer and adventurecat enthusiast on a mission to make cats’ lives extraordinary. She’s one of the founders of Wildernesscat – a site for happy, healthy, and adventurous cats who are fueled by nature. Visit Wildernesscat for radically natural cat nutrition, home remedies, and lifestyle inspiration.

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