Monday, October 20, 2014

Sponsored Post - Pet Feedster Automated Pet Feeder For Cats


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.

What's this?
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
Programming does not require a masters degree, but it does need some manual dexterity and some patience. I was disappointed the controls were on the front of the machine and not the top, as I thought it would have been a heck of a lot easier if it was, but hopefully you aren't going to have to do this too often. This machine can run on either your standard electrical outlet or 6 D batteries (which should last you for six months). You would probably want to do both, because a simple power outage will wipe the memory and you will need to reprogram it all over again. :(


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.

(bonus kitten video - it has nothing to do with the product, but I love watching Pan attack Happy Bear's eyes)

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)

11 comments:

  1. Kona would like one of those provided it gave her food on the half-hour...oh wait, that's ME! I can see the advantage if your pets were left alone for a long workday and they were gobblers.

    AND--I got your package yesterday and there was CHAOS and MAYHEM resulting from the nip pillows! Thank you, everything is great!

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  2. I told Mom that if she moves into assisted living she could take Evelyn with her. This would be perfect for her. But that price...WOW!

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  3. As a rule, we don't eat dry food, so we wouldn't use it, but having food served on a timer does sound like a great idea - that's one job we kitties would not need humans for!

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  4. We also were contacted by this same person and said we would like to try this (it sure is loud though) and they said they would be back to us and let us know when they could send it. Seems now that we have read your review, we know all about it, and don't need to test it for them. No problem...the size sounds prohibitive for us. Loved watching the kittens zoom around the room. XOCK, Lily Olivia, Mauricio, Misty May, Giulietta, Fiona, Astrid, Lisbeth and Calista Jo

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  5. We really like the idea of using this for a feral barn or for feeding ferals when the colony caretaker can't get there for some reason, though even ferals should have their caretaker check on their well-being and not just drop food and run. The kitten-in-the-feeder photo is priceless!

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  6. You do the best reviews! Very thorough. This company contacted me as well but I haven't heard back. I can see where a multiple-cat household of more than two or when owners are gone all day (I work from home) can be more of an ideal household for a timed feeder than my household. Nevertheless, it would be nice for middle of the night since Pierrot howls every night. I really like your idea of having it for a feral situation.

    Again, really great review!

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  7. I initially thought, wow that would be great...I could actually sleep in on the weekend since the cats are accustomed to being fed at 6:30 a.m. But $200 is bit pricey for a little extra sleep.

    Great review....and those kittens are so cute (and helpful)! :)

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  8. Mommy seriouslies. What is UP with visiting and then not COMMENTING? We saw this YESTERDAY and you said NOTHING!!! Grrrr.... We thought it was funny how the one kitteh really perked up at the sound!

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  9. We have 3 cats that mostly get wet food but sometimes they wake us up pre-dawn because they are hungry. I would love something like this to drop little bits of food once or twice during the night to keep them full until morning. We currently feed wet food at 6:30 am/pm. Although with 3 cats I suspect one or two of them would crowd around it and the other cat(s) would be left out.

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  10. Glad you are trying that out and not me. I have enough things set up around here for fosters and a big feeder unit, that's hard to use (controls on the side, losing memory every time the power goes off) would incite me to riot and I'd chuck it after the first time it let me down. Do you have to send it back or do you keep it? Honestly, I don't see the point of the unit unless you're going out of town and you have a mess of cats. With ours, we just heap up their bowl and go away for a week. Unless we have fosters, in which case we have a cat sitter. I think the feeder would be better for dogs. They lack the wit to control their intake.

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