Does a Robot Feed Your Pets?

IMG_5570A few days ago, I got a disheartening call from my vet: The test results were in, and Biddy’s diabetes has gotten worse over the last 6 months. He’s fine (kind of), but my vet suspects that he might be developing a resistance to insulin, which I give him twice a day.

My vet said the solution is that we really need to get Biddy’s weight down. Biddy has weight 20 pounds for the last 5+ years with hardly any fluctuations, so I consider it to be his normal weight, but I gotta trust the vet on this one.

I’ve tried limiting Biddy’s food intake in the past, but he can get quite fussy if he doesn’t always have access to food. If the food bowl is empty, he immediately goes into Panic/Loincloth mode, which isn’t fun for anyone.

So I decided to solve the problem in the most futuristic way possible: I bought a robot.

Specifically, I bought the PetSafe PFD00-14574, an automatic food dispenser. My search turned up a variety of options, but this one was the best rated. Most importantly, it appeared to secure the food quite well. Biddy’s big and smart–he would have defeated most of the other dispensers in minutes.

I’ve been using the PetSafe for a few days now. I’m more amused than Biddy and Walter, as the dispenser triggers some Pavlovian response in me that wants the whole family to gather around and rejoice in the spoils. At best, the boys are mildly amused.

The one issue I’m seeing so far is that Walter has pounced on Biddy three times while Biddy’s been eating. I suspect that Walter is marking his territory, as there used to be two food bowls, and now there’s only one. I’ve seen some people solve this by rigging up a device that splits the food into two bowls–I may have to try that.

Have you ever used an automatic dispenser for your pets/children? How has it worked out?

10 Responses to “Does a Robot Feed Your Pets?”

  1. Katy says:

    I’m sorry to hear that Biddy’s diabetes is getting worse. 🙁

    I looked into a robot pet feeder several months ago and am still somewhat considering it, although the feeder I was looking at only selectively feeds certain pets, which would be nice for keeping the cats out of Jasper’s dog food bowl. Even when the cats have a full bowl of food, they will immediately run to the dog food as soon as I feed Jasper, and he patiently lets them have their fill before digging in and eating his kibble– he’s a sweet boy, but the dog food continues to make the cats feel not so great and is bad for their overall health.

    One of the main concerns I have with switching to that type of feeder is Jasper not being able to figure out that he has to stand near the bowl and it will open for only him (it comes with a tag or something for the pet’s collar to tell the bowl it’s the correct pet trying to eat). Does the robot divide up the food somehow so each cat only gets the correct amount of food per serving?

  2. Sara says:

    Sorry, I don’t have a robot feeder, but I will say that the Litter Robot is the best investment I ever made toward the ingrates that are my two cats. I hope Biddy improves. Have you ever looked into feeding something like Honest Kitchen? That stuff is way better than kibble and should take weight off him just fine without starving him.

  3. Helen says:

    I hope some weight loss helps Biddy’s diabetes 🙁

    Ski has had an automatic feeder for years now and I love it. It definitely helps control her weight, and because she knows when the food will drop, she doesn’t tend to harass us too much beforehand. Currently it goes off at 6:30am and 4:00pm, plus she gets a snack at 9:00pm. The early morning feed means less shrieking about being hungry first thing in the morning, and the afternoon feed generally keeps her out of the kitchen while we’re fixing dinner.

    She was really funny the first week after I got the feeder. It was set up near a chair that she’d always ignored, but once she worked out the noise meant food, she spent that entire first week sitting in the chair watching the feeder, waiting for it to go off.

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      Helen: That’s great to hear about Ski! I’m hoping for a similar effect for my cats. I just don’t want them to stress out, and hopefully the regular intervals will help.

      That’s cute about Ski sitting on that chair constantly the first week. 🙂

  4. Jasmin says:

    “Have you ever used an automatic dispenser for your pets/children?” LOL!! It’s not like we put them on leash like pets. Wait a minute!

    And what a cute picture! I see that robot really brings the family together.

    If Biddy needs to exercise more, there’s a wheel for cats!

  5. Brad says:

    I’m back!!! A few years in the slammer really gives you some time to think. I have a lot to share. What did I miss???

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