Saturday 22 April 2023

Automatic cat feeder controllable by a smart phone is a bad idea

The Mail Online promotes what the author considers to be a wonderful device for a cat owner. It says that you can feed your kitties from your phone. The device costs about £80. It is an automatic cat feeder which will keep your pet happy but not hungry and it can even stop them from overeating! Great.

And they start off by saying that if you go out to work during the day and then after a hard day's work you like to have a pint with your pals in a local public house, and then get home around 10 PM, you can feed your feline during those long hours apart.

Automatic cat feeder controllable by a smart phone is a bad idea
Automatic cat feeder controllable by a smart phone is a bad idea.

This must be a very poor idea for a cat owner and worse for their cat. The device promotes feline separation anxiety. It encourages people to stay away from their cat all day and long into the evening.

RELATED: How long can I leave my cat ‘home alone’?

And if their cat lives in an apartment with nothing to stimulate them throughout those long hours, what are you going to end up with? A nervous, anxious cat, stressed up to the nines. It is just not going to work.

Dry foods

This high-tech piece of kit feeds dry cat food all the time as it has to. It can only feed dry foods. The general consensus today is that you should feed dry cat food occasionally or perhaps at night for grazing but it is not a good idea to feed dry cat food 100% of the time because it is too unnatural. 

Domestic cats do not compensate adequately for the unnatural dryness of the food which means that it keeps longer and therefore is more convenient for the owner but in terms of pure feline health it is not as good as a good quality wet cat food.


This is the kind of arrangement that could lead to the cat suffering from cystitis because there is not enough liquid in their diet and too much stress in their life. A recipe for this well-known bladder infection.

Voice recording

It seems, however, that the manufacturers have, to a very minor extent, taken on board what I mention above about separation anxiety. A nod to the problem and a weak attempt to deal with it. 

They allow the cat owner to record their voice into the machine which then plays it back automatically. This allows the cat to at least hear their owner's voice.

Is that going to be enough? No, is the short answer. I am sorry for being so negative but I do not believe that these sorts of devices are useful. They may be worse than that. They encourage poor cat caregiving.

Lifestyle unsuited to cat caregiving?

They encourage people to believe that they can work all day and go out all evening while believing that they are doing a good job in looking after their cat companion. I am afraid not. There is no substitute for being with your cat. With making contact with your cat. With playing with your cat. And with petting your cat.

Domestic cats like contact. They need physical contact. They want to feel the hand of their owner. They want to touch the hand of their owner. They want to sit on their lap and so on. All this is obviously impossible if the man or woman is in a wine bar chatting with his or her mates after a hard day's work.

Firstly, I don't think a person should have a cat companion if they habitually work long hours and then go to the pub afterwards. This person should suspend the idea of being a cat owner and wait until their lifestyle is more suited.

And don't believe what the bumf says about this device. It misses the most important aspect of the human-to-cat relationship: direct contact with your cat and being in the presence of your cat on a regular and substantial basis.

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