I was contacted at the end of last month by Caroline Park of Winoe Corporation asking if I would be interested in reviewing the Pet Feedster Automated Pet Feeder. Since I am a raw household, The Crew didn't have much use for it, but with the foster kittens eating anything and everything donated to them through the shelter, I thought it would be great for them. After a bit of back and forth she sent me one and I went to set it up the night it arrived.
|Iz this for sitting?|
|kittens added for size |
oh who am I kidding, I couldn't get a photo without kittens unless I took it outside
|Hopper large enough to fit one whole kitten |
(or 10lbs of food, which ever gets in there first)
The item came mostly assembled. The feeding tray fits snugly over two tabs to hold it securely in the front. The tabs also extend down to the ground so you can screw it down if you feel the need. I was pretty sure the kittens couldn't knock this over (and they tried really REALLY hard) since it weighs seven pounds empty
One of the selling points on this feeder is that it is ant proof. There is a tray on the bottom that this fits on to and you can fill it with some water and vinegar to prevent the ants from walking up into the machine. Another selling point is that it holds up to 10 lbs of food. While I'm not a fan of you leaving your pets alone for long periods of time, there are other reasons to put 10 lbs of food into an automated feeder (like not wanting to fill it every day, or not wanting to store the bag of food).
This unit is programmable to dispense food up to five times per day. You do that by programming three settings, the time (in military time so no worrying about am/pm), the time you want the food to dispense, and then how much food. You do that all with just three buttons
|Just added the optional shoot protector to keep cat paws from reaching up into the machine|
|the timer and controls|
At first I had it dispensing the full amount of food in one program, but I thought that wouldn't be much fun for the kittens, so I cut it down in thirds and had it dispense at 1 am, 11 am and 3 pm. Since the unit does not have a sensor, it will not know when it overflows, so I was trying to be conservative. I normally give the kittens canned food at 8 am and 8 pm. I gave them enough canned food to cover them through the first day and left to see how it would work. Sadly, I forgot to turn the webcam back on that night, so I didn't get to capture the first feeding with it, but they had heard it go off when I was in there and it didn't frighten them at all. When I went and fed them in the morning it was obvious they had been nomming on the food. I was able to capture this the next morning at the 11 am feeding.
You can hear it isn't the quietest thing on the planet, but that can also be a positive because it can 'call' to your pets to let them know it is feeding time. When my Em was suffering from cancer, I got her a magnetic cat door and installed it in one of the bathroom doors so she could go in and nibble on food throughout the day without the other chowhound cats eating all on her. Well the sound of the magnetic door unlocking called to all of the other cats in the house to follow her in.. which was both amusing and frustrating.. but I am getting off track. The sound can be of help.
One nice thing about this product is it's adjustability. There are so many different types of kibble on the market from 3/16 to 3/4 inch sized kibble. This product has the ability to adjust for that and lets you set that manually on the auger inside.
A few not so good things, the power cord was very thin. A lot of cats are cord chewers, and a cord that thin simply begs to be chewed on. You can run it on batteries only, but those are very expensive to replace every six months, and yet are really are kind of necessary because unplugging the unit for more than two seconds wipes everything out of the program. I suppose if you live in a community where you never ever lose power, that would be one thing. It might have been good if they had two separate battery options, one for the timer to save the program in case of a power outage and one to run the machine, but that is me dreaming. I would also really would have liked the programming panel to be on the top of the machine. There are probably mechanical reasons why it is where it is, but in order to program it I had to lay it on the side to get the right pressure on the buttons and see what the display was reading. Since the power cord is a simple insert (like your laptop cord) into the machine, I was fearful of it being knocked out when programming and again when re-positioning it on the ground. If I had the D batteries on hand (not included in the unit) it would have been a little less concerning to me, but really, this is a minor issue (even though I feel like I'm harping on it).
The device worked very well, the kittens were not afraid of it, and it was nice to know they were not going to run out of dry food, and if they got on a kick and ate it all, it would only be a few hours before they would get more. If you have a kitty (or dog) that needs small regular meals and you feed dry food, this might be a really nice addition to your home.
I am unsure if I am going to be keeping this around for the kittens. The footprint of the device is a little larger than I really have room for in this set up. The unit is 17 1/2” high, 13” wide, and 18” from front to back including the food bowl. If I had the batteries for it (or were willing to invest 10-12 dollars for it) I could set it up wherever I wanted in that room, but at the moment we are confined to just two places near an outlet. Then there is the thinness of the cord and the love of kittens to chew such things. But the biggest reason I think I might rehome this is because I think this would be an awesome thing for the shelter to have for their feral cat population. Because it can run without a power source, they could put it in their feral barn, but I haven't decided yet.
After I formed my opinions, I went over to Amazon and read the reviews. They have almost universally glowing reviews. There were a few unhappy customers, but the company replied to all of them offering to help out. One less than five star review even said the designer of the product talked to them about the issue. Talk about your good customer service. Very few products can make every single person happy, so a few not so good reviews in this particular case were nothing to distract from this product.
Another consideration is the price. At over $200, this isn't something you pick up on a whim. There is a year warranty on it, and the company stands behind it's product, so if this is something you are in the market for, I would recommend you take a second look at this one.
This post is the result of the company furnishing me with a Pet Feedster free of charge, but the opinions are all my own.
*edited to add that Caroline contacted me after reading my review and wanted you to know the programming should remain in the device if unplugged. That was not my experience, but she asked that I share with you that this is how it is designed to work. Maybe the programmed times remain, as I did not reprogram it because I did my unplug experiment the night before the kittens were to go back to the shelter and were supposed to not be getting food after midnight anyway, but the clock definitely reset to zero.
(also edited a few spelling errors that spell check didn't catch for me last night)