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10 DIY Automatic Cat Feeders You Can Make Today (with Pictures)

Lindsey Lawson

By Lindsey Lawson


Have you considered getting an automatic feeder for your cat, but you aren’t quite sure whether it would be worth it? We have some good news for you. Some very simple and easy DIY automatic cat feeder options will allow you to put this question to the test.

Below, we will not only go over some of the benefits of automatic feeders but also cover the simplest, yet most effective DIY automatic cat feeders you can make today.

The 10 DIY Automatic Cat Feeders

1. DIY Drink Bottle Automatic Cat Feeder by STick

Materials: Recycled drink bottle, chopsticks, rubber band, plastic sphere
Tools: Box cutter, scissors, saran wrap
Difficulty Level: Easy

The materials needed for this cat feeder are those that are easily found around the house. This includes an old Coke bottle (or any type of drink bottle with a similar shape,) chopsticks or popsicle sticks, a box cutter, a rubber band, and a small toy or sphere container.

This simple, quick DIY project can be done within minutes and easily redone if this one gets too much wear and tear after a while. The instructions are easy and in video form!

2. DIY Automatic Cat Feeder with Bucket by DIY Pets

Materials: Bucket, water jug, two empty detergent bottles(for a bowl)
Tools: Stapler, scissors, knife, tape measure, pencil, marker
Difficulty Level: Moderate

Another sturdy DIY cat feeder that holds a large amount of food is this DIY bucket feeder. This feeder is quite simple to put together overall, but we rated it as moderate on the difficulty scale just because it involves a bit more work than your other DIYs that can be thrown together in a couple of minutes.

All you need for this project is a sizable bucket, a water jug, and two empty detergent bottles (for the bowl). The tools you will need are a stapler, scissors, a knife, tape measure, and a pencil and/or marker. Thankfully, all these materials are very easy to find in just about every home. You will be impressed by how much food this feeder will hold!

3. DIY Automatic Cardboard Cat Feeder by SLICK SLIME SAM – DIY, Comedy, Science

Materials: Cardboard, plastic bottle, glue, bowl
Tools: Scissors
Difficulty Level: Moderate

This simple DIY automatic cardboard cat feeder is made from cardboard, glue, a plastic bottle, and a bowl. The construction of this little project is cake, you can even add a water dispenser on the other side of this automatic feeder, just like the instructions will show you.

No reason to throw out the cardboard. I’m pretty sure your cat wouldn’t have wanted you to anyway. The only downside to this DIY is the kitty claws. If your cat cannot resist cardboard, even when it’s feeding him, you may want to opt for another project.

The good news? This DIY automatic feeder is very easy to rebuild with another cardboard box. You just might want to keep the broom or vacuum nearby for the potential cardboard shreds.

4. DIY Automatic Cardboard Cat Feeder by NoLi

Materials: Wood, motor, timer, cardboard, glue, electrical tape, hinges, plastic jug, plexiglass, or PVC (for clear window)
Tools: Scissors, hot glue gun, drill, saw
Difficulty Level: Difficult

The materials needed for this DIY automatic cat feeder are limited considering how complex it looks. Don’t let the motor and timer scare you away, this does take some extra DIY work and won’t be a quick one to put together like some of the others, but the instructions are very easy to follow.

Once you watch the instructional video, you will gain some confidence. The good news about this one? Unlike all the other DIY projects, this allows you to control the feeding more easily thanks to that timer and motor. It’s high-tech without being too high-tech. Not bad for a DIY!

5. DIY Dual Plastic Bottle Cat Feeder by Pawbuzz

DIY Plastic Bottle Pet Feeder
Image Credit: pawbuzz
Materials: Plastic bottles
Tools: Scissors, glue
Difficulty Level: Easy

The next time that you empty a plastic juice, water, soda, or milk bottle, don’t throw it away! You can use two of them to create a homemade automatic feeder for your kitty. The only other things that you’ll need to complete this project are scissors and glue. The project is easy to complete, and you won’t need anything more than the photo directions and a half hour of free time to put it together.

The plastic bottles hold up surprisingly well, so the feeder should last for months until you need to replace it with a new one.

6. DIY 5-Gallon Gravity Cat Feeder by Instructables

Auto Cat Feeder from buckets
Image Credit: Instructables
Materials: 5-gallon buckets and lids
Tools: Dremel or razor knife, gloves
Difficulty Level: Easy

This DIY gravity cat feeder is easy to make, but it can be dangerous because you’ll be cutting the thick plastic of 5-gallon buckets. The idea is to cut a hole in one bucket to create a controlled flow valve for cat food to go through. The food will fall into the lower bucket, where your cat can get a meal whenever they are hungry.

This automatic cat feeder holds a large amount of food at once, making it a great option for multi-cat households. If only one cat will be eating from this contraption, it’s a good idea to only put a small amount of food in at a time so it doesn’t sit too long and get old, which could lead to the development of mold.

7. Fun DIY Pringles Cat Feeder by Instructables

Automatic cat feeder
Image Credit: Instructables
Materials: Wood craft sticks, cardboard box, Pringles can, country pâté box, power strips, tape, glue
Tools: Adhesive tape, glue, scissors, compass, box cutter, USB power cord, cloudBit, Servo
Difficulty Level: Difficult

This is a tougher automatic feeder project that requires more components to complete than most other options on this list, but it’s a fun way to use your imagination and improve your DIY skills. The resulting contraption enables you to control when food is released for your kitty right from your smartphone, whether you are away from home or not. This will help ensure that food is not left out in the open between feedings, which can help keep pests away.

If you’re not up for putting together all the electronic aspects of this feeder, you can leave them out and create a manual release for the food instead.

8. DIY Cat-Powered Feeder by Instructables

Cat-powered automatic cat feeder
Image Credit: Instructables
Materials: Plastic 8-ounce tub, circular food dispenser
Tools: Scissors
Difficulty Level: Easy

This is a creative DIY cat-powered feeder that will require a bit of work on your feline’s part if they want to eat. You don’t need many materials or tools to create this feeder, but you will probably need patience when it comes to teaching your kitty how to use it. No food will be released until they learn how to push food through the feeder, which provides extra exercise and helps minimize the risk of overheating.

Expect to leave their regular food bowl out for a couple of weeks while they get the hang of their new feeder, though.

9. DIY Grain Container Pet Feeder by Instructables

Automatic pet feeder
Image Credit: Instructables
Materials: Plastic grain feeder, wood, mounting brackets
Tools: Auger drill bit, bolt wings, locking pliers, mounting screws, washers,
Difficulty Level: Difficult

You can use this grain container feeder to automatically feed your cat, your fish, or any other pets in your household. Many materials and tools are necessary to create this project, and it’s probably the hardest project on this list, but it’s also the most unique. If you plan to keep this automatic feeder outdoors, you should paint the exterior of the grain container to prevent UV damage to the material.

Otherwise, it is bound to start cracking and breaking down.

10. Alexa Controlled Automatic Cat Feeder by Jonathas Barbosa

Materials: None
Tools: 3D printer, a device with Alexa installed
Difficulty Level: Easy

If you’re looking for a high-tech way to provide your cat with their daily nutrition, this might just be the right DIY cat feeder project for you. The plans for this project are not in-depth, but that is because you simply use a 3D printer to make the feeder, and you can use your imagination to create a unique design that meets your specific preferences.

Once the feeder is made, it can be connected to Alexa, and you can command that food be dispensed for your kitty at any time of your choice, day or night.

Benefits of Using Automatic Cat Feeders

Automatic cat feeders really work well for a lot of cat owners. If you are considering creating your own with a DIY project or purchasing one, it’s beneficial to know the potential benefits these feeders can offer you.

No More Early Morning Meows

We all know how notorious cats are for waking up their owners for that early morning feeding. In fact, they can be downright intrusive. No one wants to wake up earlier than they must, but a lot of cat owners are not given much choice by their insatiable kitties. When they want food, they want it now.

Having an automatic feeder handy will prevent this pesky wake-up call and free you up to sleep in as long as you please. Your cat will be self-sufficient enough to feed themselves with these wonderful contraptions.

Great for Travel

Do you have an upcoming vacation or plan on traveling soon for business? You no longer have to worry about having someone come over to feed your cat (though you may want a litter box attendant.) Having an automatic self-feeder for your cat will give you peace of mind while you are out of town, knowing your cat is not missing a meal.

cat eating on automatic food dispenser
Image Credit: gofra, Shutterstock

Portion Control

With automatic feeders, you get to control your cats’ portions. While you will have to delegate amounts in the DIY versions of automatic feeders, commercial automatic feeders will have their own settings where you can set up specific amounts to be dispensed at certain times. Regardless, these feeders can be a great help for quantity and portion control purposes.

Maintain Feeding Schedule

Automatic feeders can help you maintain a regular feeding schedule for your cat by scheduling feedings. This is another instance where the DIY versions will be reliant on the owner since they do not have the technological capabilities of the commercial feeders.

Great for Grazers

Some cats are grazers, while others will eat all their food in one sitting. This can be difficult in multiple cat households, as the dominant cat can bully others and hoard all the food. If you have a cat that is a bit lazier with its eating habits, automatic feeders are a great option. These setups allow your cats to eat when they please, so no one goes hungry.

You must keep an eye on allowing large portions, as some kitties will take advantage of this and overindulge. You want to avoid overfeeding to prevent obesity and the associated health issues.

Image Credit: Kylbabka, Shutterstock

Final Thoughts

You could put together your own DIY automatic cat feeder in just a few minutes with materials that are likely already somewhere in your house or garage. DIY is a great way to occupy your time, hone in on your creative skills, and try out something new.

Making your own DIY automatic cat feeder, regardless of the level of difficulty, could give you an idea as to whether it’s worth purchasing a high-tech one from the pet store. It may even get the job done itself and end up saving you money overall. Regardless, you can’t go wrong with these.

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Featured Image Credit: Kylbabka, Shutterstock

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