I posted a while back that at their last check up, both of my feline kids were given the fluffy tag by their vet, and she wasn’t talking about their fur coats. I was given an instruction sheet explaining the importance of maintaining a healthy weight for my cats and why it was optimal to feed them small, set portions broken up into at least 3 servings a day.
Yes, indeed–Body-for-Life for Cats.
So Chris and I switched from free feeding to twice a day feedings about 12 hours apart at 6-6:30 am when I woke up, and again at 5 pm when Chris got home from work. This was all right initially while we were finishing up the bag of regular Purina One Salmon and Rice Adult Cat formula, but after I switched to the lower calorie density Purina One Weight Control formula, my younger cat Neville started to get hungry in the middle of the night. This resulted in him hopping up to my nightstand each and every morning between 4:30-5:30 am and poking or scratching me on any exposed bit of flesh he could reach, usually my shoulder or arm, until I groggily crawled out of bed to dump the morning ration of cat food into the two bowls in the kitchen.
Then I would crawl back into bed and attempt to fall back to sleep for another 1-2 hours. Chris, of course, never noticed any of this because he sleeps like the dead and Neville NEVER tried to wake HIM up.
Meanwhile, I haven’t had a full night of uninterrupted sleep in my own bed for the past two months.
I finally threw in the towel last week when Neville actually had the gall to do his breakfast puncture wound routine on me at 3:30 AM.
I started researching automatic pet feeders that day.
Most of the models on Amazon.com and online had very poor or uneven reviews. Almost all of them were:
a) flimsy/poorly constructed – My cats are 12-14 pound bruisers. They would destroy one of these in a day.
b) battery-operated – I wanted one that could be used while Chris and I are away without fear of the batteries dying and the kids being left to starve, so an AC model was preferred.
c) unable to serve the very small portions needed
d) unable to do more than one or two feeding cycles a day
e) not feline secure – Cats could reach into the feeder and manually dig more food out whenever they wanted
They were also pretty darn expensive for such mediocre products–$50-$80 on average.
I was bummed. Nothing with decent ratings fit the bill.
Then I saw a recommendation for a commercial quality feeder in the comments for one of the pet market models on Amazon.com and clicked over to Super-Feed.com to check it out.
It was recommended by K9 dog trainers and used by government labs. The original model was designed to be mounted outdoors to drop food into koi ponds, which meant that it could withstand some serious physical abuse. It could dump out as little as a few pellets each feeding cycle, and was completely adjustable. It ran on a separate household lamp timer, so I could set as many feeding cycles as needed. It plugged into the wall, so I wouldn’t need to replace batteries every 2 weeks. The design prevented any paws from entering the food hopper. There was an optional 1.5 gallon hopper extension!
I was half in love with this gadget already. I clicked on the online store link.
OMG! $99.95 for the bundle with the feeder, 1 quart hopper, stainless steel bowl, and timer!
I dawdled. I deliberated. I checked my budget. I consulted two friends.
I thought about a lifetime of either being a bad cat mommy and letting my boys get fat, or the alternative of NEVER GETTING A FULL NIGHT’S SLEEP AGAIN.
I paid the $99.95.
The unit arrived on Friday, and Chris built a homemade stand and pedestal for it Sunday. It was indeed well-constructed, came with all the mounting hardware needed to hook it up to our own 2×4 and flat board, and only took a few minutes to calibrate. The timer was set up in even less time.
The boys now dash into the kitchen as soon as they hear the clink of food pellets hitting their bowls every 6 hours at 4 am, 10 am, 4 pm, and 10 pm. Ah yes, the sweet sound of automation!
I have slept like a rock from 11 pm to 6:30 am all week long.
That Super Feeder was soooooooo worth it. I’m going to order the add-on 1.5 gallon hopper next week.
Too bad nobody has come up with a 40/30/30 macro People Pellet food that tastes like cereal. I want a Super Feeder for myself at my desk. :prop: