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7 Best Automatic Outdoor Cat Feeders in 2023 – Reviews & Top Picks
By Ed Malaker
If you have outdoor cats, you know it can be difficult to feed them because you don’t want to leave the food out where it can spoil or absorb moisture and get soggy and stale—not to mention, be stolen by other critters. Outdoor cat feeders can effectively help solve this problem by dispensing food at the proper time. That being said, many brands are available, and choosing the best one for your pet can be a long process, but that’s where we come in. We’ve chosen several different brands to review for you so you can see the difference between them. We’ll tell you the pros and cons of each one and tell you how they worked with our cats. We’ve also included a short buyer’s guide explaining what you should look for if you continue to shop around.
The PetSafe Healthy Pet Simply Feed Programmable Dog & Cat Feeder is our pick as the best overall outdoor cat feeder. It has a huge 24-cup capacity that will help keep your cat fed for several days. It can dispense food up to 12 times per day, and it even has a slow feed option that releases the food over 15 minutes to help prevent your pet from eating too quickly. It’s easy to program using the LCD screen, and the ABS plastic and stainless-steel construction provide you with a durable machine that will last many years. The downside we experienced while using the PetSafe Healthy Pet was that the assembly took a while, and it was challenging to get it operating correctly the first time we used it.
It feeds up to 12 meals a day
Slow feed option
Challenging to set up
2. Van Ness Automatic Dog & Cat Feeder – Best Value
The Van Ness Automatic Dog & Cat Feeder is our pick as the best automatic outdoor cat feeder for the money. It uses non-toxic US Food & Drug Administration-approved plastic, so it’s safe to use with your pet and a smokey, see-through reservoir allows you to see how much food remains. It has a 24-cup capacity, so you will only need to fill it every few days, and it comes already assembled so you can start using it immediately. The downside to the Van Ness Automatic Dog & Cat Feeder is that the plastic is extremely flimsy and bends and warps easily. Our lid wouldn’t stay closed after just a few days of use from the sunlight hitting it.
Sure Petcare SureFeed Feeder Connect Microchip Automatic Dog & Cat Feeder is our premium outdoor cat feeder. It keeps track of how much your pet eats each day and when and delivers a full report to your smartphone app. It can track up to 32 pets at a time, and it stays locked until a registered cat approaches, so there are no thieves. It’s also one of the only devices you can use with wet and dry cat food. The downside to the Sure Petcare SureFeed Feeder, besides the high cost, is that it requires your cat to have a microchip or a special ID tag to open the machine, and it only comes with a single tag. We also have a bully cat that pushes the other cats out of the way to eat their food, and the machine will stay open for this cat once one of the others opens it.
Keeps track of how much food your pet each day
It opens only when your pet approaches
Can track up to 32 pets
Works with wet and dry food
It only includes one collar tag
Cats can fool it
4. PETKIT Automatic Cat Puppy Feeder – Best for Kittens
The PETKIT Automatic Cat Puppy Feeder is our pick as the best for kittens. It’s extremely lightweight at only a few ounces, and it uses a smart system that works with your phone to schedule and distribute food. It has a fresh lock system that prevents moisture from getting into the food, and a low food indicator makes sure you never run out. A battery backup ensures the machine keeps running even if the power goes out. Our biggest problem with the PETKIT Automatic Cat Puppy Feeder had to do with the app you need to use with it. It’s not easy to learn, and there is no way to correct mistakes you made besides deleting everything and starting over. We also notice that the batteries continue to drain with the machine plugged in, so you must check them frequently to make sure they still have power.
The Super Feeder Automatic Cat Feeder is a fantastic feeder that you can set up to provide food for your cats up to 96 times per day using the 15-minute timer. This timer lets you deliver food at exactly the right time, and it’s good for cats that tend to eat too much and frequently vomit because you can set it to provide less food more regularly. It also comes with the amount required to attach it securely to a wall or brace, which can help prevent it from getting knocked over, and you can expand this unit to feed more cats or hold more food by purchasing extensions. The downside to the Super Feeder Automatic Cat Feeder is that it requires some assembly, and the instructions aren’t as clear as they could be. We also found that it needed frequent adjustments, or it would dispense too much food.
The HoneyGuaridan Automatic Cat Feeder is an attractive dispenser that doesn’t have a large footprint. The ergonomic operating panel is easy to use and prevents your cats from accidentally making adjustments well they’re using it. You can program it to dispense up to six meals per day, and it also has a manual feeding option for when you need to give them a little extra between meals. It includes a stainless-steel bowl, and you can expand it with a special food divider that will dispense into two bowls. Unfortunately, the HoneyGuaridan is not without its problems. We found it challenging to set up the portion size, and the batteries drained quickly, so we needed to replace them almost every week. We also felt it was a bit noisy while it dispensed the food compared to the other brands on this list, and our cats were able to get more food out of it by knocking it around, which would allow a few pieces to fall out of the machine each time. It’s also challenging to set up the portion size.
Ergonomic operating panel
Dispense six meals per day
Manual feeding option
Cats can get more food
Difficult to set up the portion size
Batteries drain quickly
7. PETFLY Pet Feeder, Remote Control Automatic Feeder
The PETFLY Pet Feeder, Remote Control Automatic Feeder, is a large capacity feeder that can hold up to 30 cups of food, allowing your pet to eat for several days before the machine needs refilling. The plastic construction is extremely durable and holds up well to sunlight and cold weather. The easy-to-use front panel makes programming a breeze, and it even includes a handy remote control. The downside to the PETFLY is that the battery drains quickly on both the remote and the machine, so you need to keep it plugged in. Another problem was that it clogged up every day or two despite using smaller kibble than the instructions recommend. Unjamming the machine requires constant attention and maintenance.
Easy to program
Includes remote control
Batteries drain quickly
When choosing your next automatic outdoor cat feeder, the first thing you will want to consider is how much capacity it has to hold food. The more food you can put in it, the less you will need to refill it, which reduces your daily chores and allows you to take longer vacations. However, larger capacity machines will also take up more space on your porch or patio.
If you have a properly sized machine, the next thing you want to worry about is its reliability. If the device doesn’t dispense treats when it’s supposed to, it’s not very useful. We didn’t have any significant problems with reliability in the models we reviewed on this list. Still, we highly recommend you check the reviews on any other brands you might be considering to ensure they reliably dispense food when they’re supposed to.
Since these are outdoor dispensers, they will be subject to harsh weather conditions even if you keep them on a covered porch. Hence, construction material is important because flimsy plastic will warp in hot weather or crack in cold weather. We tried to point out any brains that may not be suitable for harsh weather in our reviews and recommend you check the reviews of any brands not on this list that you might be considering for durability issues.
Portion control is extremely important because it makes sure your pet eats properly without becoming overweight. A machine that dispenses too much food can allow food to be leftover in the bowl when your cat finishes eating, which can invite ants and other insects, not to mention other animals. We tried to point out any brands that had problems with portion control in our reviews.
Another thing you want to check before purchasing an outdoor cat feeder is the setup. Many modern feeders use smartphones and apps to control feeding time and portion size, while older units will use ordinary timers and manual devices to do the same. Modern devices will be more expensive, have a steeper learning curve, and may not be as durable as vintage units, but they are often more accurate. Many also have useful features like tracking how much your cat eats and allowing you to see and speak to your cat from a remote location.