“ Brand: CatMate / Animals Equipment Type: Dog Bowls / Feeders „
I use this feeder together with its big brother, the Catmate C50, to ensure that my cats get spaced out meals when I have had to leave them overnight.
The feeder is made of fairly lightweight plastic. If you already own a C50 you may well be disappointed with this, as despite being the same brand and comparable name, the build quality feels much flimsier.
The feeder is operated by a single AA battery and alongside the battery there is a tiny "start switch".
Now to start setting up for the cats...
On top of the feeder there are two timer dials, one for each compartment. By turning them round to zero, a simple tab mechanism enables the lids to spring open. At first, they 'sprang' fully upright but after several uses they seem now to only open about 70 degrees. Not enough to inconvenience the cats from eating, though, and there is no resistance from the lids if the cats were to push against them to open further. Inside there are two separate trays, each about 10cm square and around 2cm deep. So plenty of room for a pouch, or certainly a generous portion of whatever your pet can stomach! Underneath there is also a chill block which you can freeze before you place it in there if you wish to go for the added freshness or your pets prefer chilled food!
Once you've filled the trays you need to hold the lid down whilst setting the timer dial. This timer works by a 'countdown' mechanism - so you tell it how many hours 'from now' you want it to open. It goes up to 48 hours. By turning the dial, the compartment is locked, and the feeder starts its countdown! By setting the two dials at the same time I can therefore attempt to give both my cats a feed together. The downside is that because its a fairly crude/basic mechanism, a 2inch dial covering 48 hours, the accuracy is inevitably somewhat hit-and-miss. I always try to get them to be exactly lined up with each other, but I doubt its possible to be 100% successful. Never having been there to witness it, I imagine its probably more of a free-for-all, but two happy cats on my return proves to me that between them, they are managing to share nicely what's available! If you have two cats and one or both are particularly greedy or ferocious eaters then this would be a major flaw in this product.
If you have one cat, though, or if you have two who will share nicely, I would have no hesitation in recommending this product because it is not especially expensive and does a great, reliable job when you can't be there for your cat.
Cleaning is easy because the trays lift straight out of the feeder and the plastic is shiny and they are small enough to go easily in the washing up bowl. The plastic lids can also be removed for a wipe or wash and easily put back.
It's not often that I leave my kitties home alone. Not so much that I am a loving and caring owner (although I am) but more that I dread the inevitable trail of devastation and destruction that I just know would greet me upon my return. 3 bored moggies can wreck a lot of stuff. Believe me: I speak from experience. Every so often, though, I have occasion to go elsewhere for the night and it is for these times that I need an automatic cat feeder. Our most recent sojourn was out to the wilds of County Derry in honour of my birthday for an overnight stay in a nice hotel. The hotel was happy for Neelix T. Dog to pack his little suitcase and come along but not so enamoured about the prospect of 3 lunatic kitties. So, before we set off we made sure we'd filled the cat feeder.
~*~What is it?~*~
The snazzily named 'Trixie Pet Mate C20 Automatic Pet Feeder' is a dual compartment cat feeder. Yes, yes, I know: it says 'pet' in the title which rather implies that your canine companion could use it, but in reality only small yappy-rat-on-a-lead types could get their gob in the compartment, and I think we all know they're not proper dogs, don't we? In the Tallulahbang household, I can't be arsed calling the contraption by its proper name, so henceforth it shall be known as the Food Robot.
~*~How does it work?~*~
Basically, the unit comprises a large plastic tray with two timer-operated lids that close to seal the unit completely. Two removable plastic compartments fit underneath the lids; it is these that are filled with food. The whole thing is powered with an AA battery and the mechanism works via a simple clock: once the lids are closed you just twist the timer to the number of hours you want to elapse until the lids open. Because each half is operated by its own timer, the lids can be set to open simultaneously or at different times. Petmate advertise that a battery should last for a year, but obviously this is going to depend on the frequency with which you use it. There is no low battery indicator, so it's worth using rechargeables or batteries that you know have plenty of life left in them.
You can choose whether you want to add wet food, dry food or a mixture of both. If you want to use wet food there is an ice pack included which slots into a holder just underneath the removable compartments. In theory, this should prevent the wet food from spoiling. Personally, I always stick to dry food as I don't think a solitary ice pack would keep the wet stuff at a safe temperature for more than a few hours and I don't want to risk upset kitty tummies.
~*~Is it effective?~*~
This all depends on the kind of cat you have. I have one for Jellybean and he's fine with it; when we return from an excursion the lids have always opened properly and he's been able to access the kibble without any problems. It must be said, though, that he is a happy combination of utterly stupid and not very food-orientated. If presented with his dinner he'll eat it cheerfully enough, but if it's not there he won't exert himself in looking for it. Minou, though, is a very different proposition. She has clearly read Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats and decided to model herself on Macavity. The minute the Food Robot is filled she plonks herself beside it and meows plaintively at it, occasionally pausing to punch it. On previous occasions, this hasn't bothered me at all: her constant yowling doesn't affect how it works (although I imagine it's not a barrel of laughs for my neighbour) and I always returned to find that everything had worked as it should. On our last trip away, however, having loaded both sides of the feeder (one for her, one for Dudley) we returned to find two very hungry kitties and the Food Robot nowhere to be seen. After hunting around the room it eventually turned up under the bed and upside down with the food uneaten. Retracing the steps of Minou's criminality it would seem that, having grown tired of prostrating herself before it and yelling 'feed me Food Robot! Pleeeeaaassseee!' she had taken matters into her own paws and decided to batter merry hell out of it in the hopes of forcing the lid. Unfortunately, other than inflicting a few scratches on the plastic, all she managed to do was turn it upside down so that it couldn't open when the allotted time came. As we were only away overnight and had fed them just before we left, this wasn't too big a deal but it's still quite a major design flaw. Minou isn't a particularly large cat - just over 4kg - and yet she still managed to upend this pretty easily. The problem is that the base isn't weighted at all, making the unit quite light. I'd thought of taking the ice pack out and putting small sandbags in the base instead to add a bit of ballast, but there isn't enough room to add an effective amount of weight. The only way I could see of getting round the problem would be to gaffer tape the base of the unit to the floor, but then I worried that Minou would just chew the tape off and make herself really sick.
~*~Should I buy one?~*~
For anyone with criminal mastermind cats, this will be a waste of time and money. I bought a large electronic feeder with a hopper that dispenses measured portions of dry food instead, and this has worked much better. If you have normal cats, though, this should work fine and will feed two portions of food over a 48 hour time frame. It'll set you back around £12 - £20, depending on whether you buy it online or from a pet shop. Cats are notoriously finicky creatures so I'd recommend holding onto the receipt and doing a few dummy runs while you're at home just to make sure it works and that your cat will eat from it.
This is a really handy piece of equipment- not the most sophisticated and best designed but if you have a cat that you leave alone for short periods then it is great!
Mine has two compartments both have removable dishes (that have survived my dishwasher fine). There is some space underneath for an ice pack to keep the food fresh for a couple of days, this is just a regular sized Ice pack so can be replaced really easily.
Each compartment has a separate lid which comes off a little too easily but is easy to put back on, its only held on with a small piece of plastic that I'm sure I'm going to break soon. The lids fit the compartments quite tightly so the food does stay fresh, and a pouch of food easily fit into the compartment. Both compartments have a separate timer that can be set any time up to 48 hours. The battery compartment is on the bottom-it takes one double A battery, but even when its switched off makes a ticking noise that drive me crazy, leading me to take the battery out- subsequently we can never find one the next time we use it!.
You can buy them with more compartments if you have more animals, mine cost £25 and has lasted 2 years so far
I bought a catmate C20 for our Fergus last year. To start with I only used it when I went away for weekends etc and was really impressed. Then I started using it all the time as fergus eats mainly dried food eg iams. This stopped him from waking us up at 5am begging for his breakfast. Also as my lifestyle is sometimes quite hectic my cat always knows he gets a meal at 6am and 6pm! I used it once when I was away for 4 days (one of my friends looked in on the flat every day) and it worked ! The only fault I can find is that the white lid is quite hard to keep clean ... its always covered in mucky pawprints!
I purchased one of these for my cat as I had to go away over the Christmas period and was unable to get someone to feed my cat. I went away knowing my cat would get her meals and that they would be fresh. The feeder has spaces provided for 5 meals, starting with a meal for now. A timer can be set over a period a few days so as each time comes around the lid of the feeders moves around giving the cat access to a fresh feed. The feeder has two good large size ice packs in the bottom which keeps the meal fresh. Now when I go away for a short time I use the feeder instead of paying someone to look after my cat. It has saved me a fortune and also gives me peace of mind that a stranger doesn't have to come into my house whilst I'm not there.
This feeder serves one or two meals over a maximum period of 48 hours