Anyone who owns a cat knows that feeding time is one of the most sacred times of day for your feline friend. But sometimes, issues ranging from overeating to other pets stealing food can prevent your kitty from maintaining a healthy diet. That’s where a microchip cat feeder comes in. Read on to learn more about these helpful devices and how they can improve your kitty’s eating habits.
What Is a Microchip Cat Feeder?
A microchip cat feeder uses the common identification microchips that many pet owners embed into their pets to regulate and protect a cat’s food. They come in various designs. All include a microchip reader and a food compartment that automatically opens and closes based on the reader’s input. Most are fairly compact, not taking up much more space than a typical feeding setup.
How Does a Microchip Cat Feeder Work?
Just because the word “microchip” is in the name doesn’t mean these feeders are complicated. Owners load their cat’s food into the feeder as usual, either directly into a bowl or a larger holding compartment. From here, the tech works its magic.
Construction and Power Source
Most microchip cat feeders consist of high-quality plastics that can take the abuse a hungry cat (or other pet) might try to inflict upon it. Some come as a simple bowl that opens when your cat approaches. With others, the cat places its head through an arch-like reader over the bowl. Some plug directly into a wall outlet, while others run on rechargeable batteries that must be regularly juiced up.
Recognizing Your Pet
The first step to using a microchip cat feeder is ensuring it can identify your cat or cats. Different models have varying instructions, but all allow you to program one or more cats into the feeder. Later, a sensor will read the chip, and your feeder will open as designed. The bowl will close again when the sensor no longer detects your cat’s presence.
Mobile App for Tracking
Some high-end microchip cat feeders even track data fed to an easy-to-use mobile app. Feeders can help you keep an eye on how much and how often your cat is eating and provide data on eating patterns to help tweak your feeding schedules. It unlocks a whole new world of information about your cat that would otherwise go mostly ignored.
Do Microchip Cat Feeders Really Work?
While some may be skeptical about these futuristic feeders, there’s no reason to be wary. Many owners are surprised at how easy microchip feeders are to set up and how quickly their cats learn how to use them. The technology may seem magical, but it’s typically very reliable.
Still, it’s critical to remember they’re subject to the same hazards as any other tech. That includes power surges, water damage, and potentially defective chips or components. You should check them periodically to ensure they’re working correctly.
Are Microchip Cat Feeders Safe?
Pet owners will do anything to keep their furry friends from being exposed to danger, but there’s no reason to worry about microchip cat feeders. They’re very safe, pose no risks, and will avoid harming your cat when closing the food compartment. Even the largest cats are unlikely to get stuck in feeders that require them to place their heads inside.
The biggest potential risk when using a microchip cat feeder is running out of power, which would prevent your kitty from accessing its food until you charge it up.
What Are the Benefits of a Microchip Cat Feeder?
Beyond their effectiveness and safety, there are plenty of other great advantages to switching to a microchip cat feeder. Here are a few notable ones.
Keeps Food Fresh
How would you like it if your food was just sitting out all day? Chances are your cat would prefer a little protection too, and that’s what a microchip feeder provides. This can be especially helpful for wet food, which sometimes smells a bit funky after a bit of time out of the can.
Dry food stays fresher, too, with protection from humidity and other environmental factors.
Prevents Other Pets From Stealing Your Cat’s Food
Those who’ve lived in multi-pet households have doubtless experienced one particularly hungry cat or dog stealing food from the others. This can force shyer or smaller pets to go hungry, which isn’t fun for anyone.
Microchip feeders ensure that any unfinished food is secure against four-legged food robbers by closing tightly when the microchipped cat isn’t nearby.
Can Help Weight Management
You can also program some microchip feeders to dispense food from a larger container at given times or only open it for your pet during particular times. This is vital for helping cats that tend to overeat or graze throughout the day.
As mentioned above, some smart feeders pair with apps to provide insights about your cat’s eating habits, another essential way to help keep your kitty healthy.
What Are the Disadvantages of a Microchip Cat Feeder?
While microchip cat feeders can be amazingly convenient and helpful for you and your feline friend, they’re not a perfect solution in every situation. Keep these potential issues in mind ahead of switching over to a microchip feeder.
May Upset Your Cat
Most cat owners know how temperamental their kitties can be, especially when it comes to their food. Some cats will have a hard time adjusting to a new bowl or food location. Others may be scared by the moving parts or other mechanical elements around their feeding spot. While most cats will get used to it, owners who want to avoid any potentially stressful changes in their pets’ lives should be aware of this potential to upset them.
Having to Microchip Your Cat
Without a microchip in your cat, your microchip cat feeder is naturally useless. The process is painless and quick but requires a vet trip. The procedure is affordable (typically around $50, though it will vary by location), but those on a tight budget may not find it a worthwhile expense.
Keeping It Charged
Microchip cat feeders often operate on a battery instead of a dedicated power source from a wall outlet. In these cases, you’ll need to remember to regularly charge your feeder or risk finding your cat locked away from its food. In a world where we seem to be charging dozens of devices daily, adding another may not be what some pet owners are looking for.
Are Microchip Cat Feeders a Good Idea?
Not every cat owner will need a microchip cat feeder. Some may only have one cat with no weight or feeding issues or find their cat isn’t willing to change its same old feeding routine. Others may be on a budget and simply can’t splurge on a high-tech feeder when a simple bowl may do.
However, many pet owners can benefit significantly from a microchip cat feeder. Rarely can one device solve so many complicated issues for cats. By automating some key parts of the feeding process, you can reduce stress for yourself and provide regularity and comfort for your cat.
After a few weeks with a microchip cat feeder, it may be hard to imagine how you ever got by without one.
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