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After purchasing a previous set of Cat Mate products (two of the C20 feeders) from another supplier, we thought we would order the C500 to compliment it, especially as the controls would mean our cat wouldn't be able to tamper with it (she tends to knock the C20s around until the timer ticks over).
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.
I bought this in July 2017 and paid around £50.00 but it stopped working completely by March 2020 although it was used in phases - not every day. The digital display gave false 'low battery' indications from early on. - It arrived quickly and worked well for a few months. - However, the digital display started flashing to indicate the batteries were low - even when they were freshly charged. This led to some anxiety about whether it was going to work through the day or even weekend. However it seemed to work whether or not the display indicated low batteries - until recently when it stopped working completely. I want to order a new one but it seems overpriced and wasteful of plastic when it doesn't last that long. - This was not used every day to avoid overusing rechargeable batteries.
-On the plus side, when in use it was a good way of ensuring the cat had regular meals and that I didn't need to get up to feed it super early. - When using over weekends it would not keep food cool and fresh enough for a summer weekend so I tended to rely on dry food for later days - which kind of defeats the object of having it.
From my initial reviewa after purchase: It was very quiet when the food tray moves round which is a mixed blessing. My cat still assumed I needed to go and fill up the food so doesn't always realise food available to eat. So a small bell or some other trigger noise that the cat could learn to recognise might help.
EDIT: The main big button stopped working so nowe we can't set the time ..
i know not all batteries are equal but ours are some of the top ones and still we don't get THAT much life out of them. Other then that the product is mostly fine. Sometimes it turns and doesn't complete a rotation so the food is half showing though. Always when it happens to turn when the lid is off.
I prefer the older style of timer with the analogue dial to turn. You can't programme it to have the same time over a number of days in the order you choose. It'll only do each time once in chronological order. e.g. I can't get it to do 6am & 6pm over two or 3 days, it'll just do the 6am & 6pm for one day. It also makes the cats jump when it turns.
Great idea.. but the batteries last 2 days max. Very disappointing. I actually thought I had a faulty product but I have just read other reviews that say the same thing. Glad I use rechargeables. Probably costing me a fortune 😣
This worked great for a while, but suddenly stopped working Christmas day. Tried to change the batteries (brand new pack of Duracell) and it wouldn't let me reset the time and said the batteries were dead. Initially it was a good product, but I'd expect the thing to last at least a few years.
Feeder suddenly stopped working after six months. The ADJ/SET button (needed for a variety of functions, including setting times) is completely unresponsive. Pet-Mate customer service described it as an unusual electronic fault. Let's hope so, because I've been sent a replacement by Amazon and I'm looking for a bit more than six months out of it. Would have given one star but response from Amazon customer service was excellent.
We love this product... when it works. Problem is we are now having to return our 2nd CatMate in a year. It's the best one we can find but just so unreliable with the digital system appearing to be the issue. Get's 4 meals timed with 1 open hatch, not too noisy and easy to clean. Such a shame about the lifespan though.
Be aware this will not feed your cat beyond one day! It’s the most frustrating product as it will only allow you to set tones within one 24 hour period. I had t originally realised this and twice now I have gone away for 3 days and my cat has been starving in my return. Rubbish!