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Mine learned to camp out at the dispenser and eventually learned how to put his paw inside the chute and push the food paddles and make more food come out. He ate weeks worth of food in a few days.
Stay the heck away from this dispenser or you'll have a disgustingly fat cat.
Edit, look at the pics and comments and see what wacky solutions people have come up with to fix this broken dispenser. It's a collection of rube goldberg machines.
I bought the Aspen Pet LeBistro Portion Control Automatic Pet Feeder. Would definitely recommend it. You'll see in the Amazon reviews it does have a few possible flaws, but I haven't experienced any of them personally.
Cats are such a pain in the ass sometimes. I think the best example of what it means to own a cat/cats is the Amazon reviews and user submitted photos of automatic cat feeders. My wife and I were looking to purchase one since our two cats wake us up relentlessly for food in the middle of the night. We have regular feeding schedules and they are well taken care of, but they go bananas over their dry food and seem to want it at all hours from 12am-5am.
Just look at the user reviews and customer submitted pictures of this automatic cat feeder:
You can just see the frustration and work that went into every complicated contraption that these owners had to build just to keep the cat from destroying the cat feeder, or pulling all the food out of it. They are never satisfied with things the way they are, and will always outsmart you.
Probably spent about 55-60 bucks. I had some parts laying around which helped reduce cost too.
If you're looking for just food and on a budget, I have this item which would be cheaper:
The version we have is no longer available, but this is the updated version. [link]
If your bun is as food crazy as ours are, a tip I would suggest is to put an opaque bag over the part of the feeder that is clear. Our bunnies used to knock the thing over to get more food single time we used it, until we started doing this. Out of sight, out of mind I guess?
It's basically a box for the LeBistro Automatic Feeder (Aspen Pet Lebistro Programmable Food Dispenser- 18 Cup [link])
Instead of collecting in the tray at the bottom, this allows it to split into 2.
I think they mean an auto feeder that is timed. Like this I have that. We have used it a number of times with our cats when we go out of town. We now use it every day for their mid-day feeding since no one is home. It portions out a certain amount and drops it down at the same time every day. It's perfect.
The one I have can be timed to drop a certain quantity of food at a specific time of the day. This is what I have:
That's pretty cool - pair that with a Wemo wall wart and you'd have easy wifi control.
I bought this one a couple weeks ago. Not wifi controlled, but the built-in digital timer has worked great so far. Despite others' reviews, mine DID NOT have a power port, but I was able to drill a hole in the casing and wire in a power adapter pretty easily (It's supposed to use 3 D-cell batteries).
I have a programable auto feeder off of Amazon that works great and portions the food throughout the day. My cat got smart and started putting his hand up there. However, I made a tape cover over the bowl connection so he can't reach up into the dispenser.
Sometimes he still meows for attention if I wake up earlier than feeding time!
Aspen Pet LeBistro Portion Control Automatic Pet Feeder, Black, 5 pounds. [link]
Petmate lebistro automatic cat feeder. Got them for a friend of mine, reports are in, cats stop pestering you for food.
Downsides: No more cute begging pics to milk karma on reddit.
Upsides: That alarm clock on 4 legs which you can't seem to set the time until after you wakeup is gone. Your cat will no longer try to commit suicide by being trod on around meal time.
I didn't even know the microchip feeders were a thing.
I used something similiar to this for years, but I was free-feeding three cats from it:
Amazon has a whole category of automatic pet feeders. ( https://www.amazon.ca/Best-Sellers-Pet-Supplies-Automatic-Cat-Feeders/zgbs/pet-supplies/6291910011 ) Reverse the trend, use them for research and then buy it at your local pet store ;)
I have an older model of this.
This feeder lets you select the food size and the frequency feeding. We have it on the lowest food setting and feeding 3 times a day, works great with 2 near adult cats. [link]
This water dish comes with a filter, kitty should have clean water. Beware, they may play with the water to see the bubbles come up. [link]
This cat litter works amazing, it will turn yellow when you need to change it all. With our two cats, we change out the crystals about every other week or so. but clean up is so very easy. [link]
I recommend the greatest invention in the history of the world!