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Cat Mate C500 Automatic Pet Feeder with Digital Timer for Cats and Small Dogs
- Serves Up To 5 Meals At Your Pet'S Normal Meal Times
- Twin Ice Packs Help Keep Food Fresh
- Suitable For Cats And Small Dogs
- Battery Operated
- Batteries : 3 AA batteries required.
- Is Discontinued By Manufacturer : No
- Product Dimensions : 30.99 x 30.19 x 9.39 cm; 420 Grams
- Date First Available : 21 September 2018
- Manufacturer : Ani Mate
- ASIN : B01AUYLVU8
- Item Model Number : C500
- Best Sellers Rank: 158 in Pet Supplies (See Top 100 in Pet Supplies)
- Customer Reviews:
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The Cat Mate C500 Automatic Pet Feeder with Digital Timer will serve up to five meals at your pet's normal meal times when you are away - during the day, evening or over the weekend. Suitable for feeding both wet and dry foods, the included ice packs and close fitting lid help keep food fresh. Just program the easy to use digital timer to the required meals. Once set, all programmed feed times are visible on the LCD display. The Cat Mate C500 requires 3 x AA batteries (not supplied) which will give approximately 12 months operation. The five large food compartments each hold 11.5 ounces of wet food - one meal enough for two cats or a small dog. Maintenance is simple, both the lid and bowl are dishwasher safe. The Cat Mate C500 is designed to be tamper resistant to pets, the feeder can also be attached to a board (not supplied) to prevent it from being overturned or moved. The Cat Mate C500 Automatic Pet Feeder with Digital Timer comes with a three year manufacturer's guarantee.
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You get four timers, so we set the first/manual/open slot around 9pm and divide the two daily pouches he has across the rest of the day, so meal 5 or 0 however you look at it will be around 9pm again when we go to change the ice packs and refill the feeder. Here are the times we currently use:
00:20 (1/4 pouch) - small meal, ready for when he comes back after a hunt
04:30 (1/2 pouch) - when he's active again and would usually wake us up
11:40 (1/4 pouch) - small meal, either comes back in by this time or wakes up after a nap
16:40 (1/2 pouch) - right before you're back from work
21:30 (1/2 pouch) - refill time, slot is open for immediate meal
We contacted the manufacturer and ordered a spare set of ice packs so we can rotate them daily and they do seem to work. Previously the cat would turn his nose up at wet food that had been sitting for more than 30mins, but he feasts on the open slot even if it's been left for a few hours.
You'll want to get some quality alkaline batteries too. We used IKEA ALKALISK which lasted a year with our microchip cat flap.
I found it a bit complicated to get my head around the feeding options. This is why it only gets 4 stars. The instructions are not explicit. Don’t let that put you off, it’s given us numerous last minute away days without getting in a cat sitter!
Here is what I understand.
You can have a maximum of four meals served automatically at set times, with the following provisos:-
You can set 1 meal per day, at the same time each day for a maximum of four days.
You can set 2 meals per day over a maximum of two days each pair at the same time.
You can set 4 meals to be served at different set times over one 24 hr period.
I have two c500 feeders working ‘in parallel’ and use them as 4 day feeders, one delivering a morning feed At 7am each day, the other delivering an evening feed at 7pm each day.
It is tricky keeping the cat food fresh ( we use fresh fish offcuts) but by using the provided freezer blocks and filling trays with frozen and part defrosted fish pieces, have managed four days feeding on a couple of occasions.
I have to say 4 days using frozen fresh fish is really pushing the limits, especially if the weather turns very warm.
Note , this in combination with a large dry food hopper and large water fountain. However the c500s are mostly used when we are away for one or two days, and at this they are excellent .
Tip- to keep the food cooler for longer, using a couple of layers of non slip mats to help raise the feeder off the floor, adding to the insulation. It’s is very light, even loaded with food and the non slip mats stop it moving when the greedy furry thing really gets stuck in. It does have permanent screw down anchor points if needed but we find non slip mats easy to use and clean.
Our Bengal cat does not attempt to break in to the feeder, which we simply leave on non slip mats on the kitchen floor and I think it would take a powerful animal to do so. It has screw down anchor points if needed, should your cat insists on trying to relocate it and a pretty much foolproof clipped down top to prevent Intrusion.
As a reliable cat feeder, I recommend the c500. However, I suspect when you come to read the instructions, and try to work out the electronic timer options, you will realise why I only gave 4 stars to what is otherwise a good product.
Easy to set the clock and mealtimes. It's all explained in the little booklet.
I like the fact that it's quieter too. All in all a much nicer design.
It has 5 food bowls. The first bowl is not covered so it can be left empty (leaving 4 automatic feeds) or just put the first meal in at a regular mealtime.
I have two cats and bought a unit for each cat. Neither had a problem with eating from it because they were used to using the earlier version of this feeder. They both got very excited while I was unpacking them and working out the new controls.
Very happy with them
On delivery we found a few issues however:
1. You can only actually "time" 4 meals - this is outlined in the product description but means you have 1 feeder basically doing nothing unless you feed your cat from it at the start. It would have been much better to have all 5 compartments covered since this would give even more flexibility.
2. It isn't clear that you can set the same time over multiple days and it will automatically switch to the next compartment for you. After studying the instructions we didn't find anything detailing this and it was only when we read in the reviews that we worked it out. You can set up to 4 times in total, which means you could have it set for 4 days (if your cat only eats one meal a day), or over 2 days (if it's two meals per day) and so on.
3. The timing functionality is over-engineered. The main issue is that if you want to time over a 24 hour period (we spread our cat's meal times across 4 different times, otherwise she gets moody and very loud in the night), you have to set the AM timings before the PM. This is because if you attempt to set PM timings then AM timings, the feeder will automatically reorder all timings so that AM is first. This is completely useless if you intend to leave in the morning and don't intend to be back the next morning. For example we tried a timing setup of 8:00pm, 9:00pm, 2:00am and 4:00am which then got reordered automatically. Instead of pre-empting what a customer wants by coding the device to re-order, why doesn't it just leave it alone as you set it?
Overall build quality is very good and as you'd expect from Cat Mate. Even though we've not really had chance to test out the product it also seems very easy to clean. However, the above points put us off and so we will be returning it in place of getting some more C20s which offer the same number of meals but with a much easier to understand timing system. We also noticed that the C50 offers up to 4 days of meals but is far more expensive than either the C20 or C500.