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I have the most annoying persistent cat. He ripped apart a previous auto feeder. Could not get into this one. In the process of training him to stop begging insistently. This has done the trick. Now the feeder has 4 set times that the locking into and slowly he is leaving us alone when in the kitchen. He is becoming aware of feeding times. Waiting by the feeder in silence and leaving us the f@$k alone. Easy to use, setting times a breeze. Ordered 2 more ice packs.
Bought to cover a short absence. Wasn't quite convinced that it would work as planned but was pleasantly surprised. I used room temperature sachets of food for the first meal, then frozen sachets of food in conjunction with the supplied freezer bricks for another two meals. It worked and worked well. I had a friend check in on the second day and they watched as the unit performed as expected and at the specified time. Great!
Had to go away for two days on business, this device was a life saver. Pro tip: freeze the meals for the second day to keep them fresh, and do a couple of practice runs while you're home to get the cat used to it.
I use this to feed my cat her wet food in the morning so she doesn't wake me up. HUGE success. I do notice that after about 10 hours the ice pack is room temperature so I'm not sure how long it would last for multiple meals but I would probably try out the freezing of wet food like others recommended.
This is a fantastic product. We've only had it for about a week but already our cat doesn't moan for food at night and we've gone from four meal preps to one (except he now gets five meals which is healthier for him) so everyone's happy. 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.
This ‘Millennium Falcon’ style feeder has 5 food tray compartments but as one is always open, the maximum useable compartments are effectively 4. This gives a maximum of four controlled feeds.
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. OR You can set 2 meals per day over a maximum of two days each pair at the same time. OR 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.