Are Automatic Feeders Bad for Cats? What You Should Know About These Tools

Pet Care


February 20, 2024

Automatic feeders are considered miracle-workers to many pet parents, but they are by no means perfect.

In fact, many cat experts admit that these feeders offer both pros and cons, so if you’re a pet parent that feeds your cats without an automatic feeder, it’s good to consider both the advantages and disadvantages before making a final decision regarding your cat and which feeder to buy.

This article is not meant to steer you in any direction but to give you objective information so you can decide for yourself if you want an automatic feeder.

What Are the Types of Automatic Feeders for Cats?

Before you do anything else, you should be familiar with the different types of cat feeders, which include the following:

  • Basic gravity feeder – These are the simplest type of automatic feeder and generally the cheapest. They work by — you guessed it — gravity, but many pet parents dislike them because they continuously refill the container with food, and cats won’t stop eating as long as the food is available, which is dangerous for their health.
  • Programmable feeder – This type of feeder usually runs on electricity, batteries, or both, and they allow you to program when and how much food the cat will eat. They also have easy-to-read digital displays for convenience.
  • Feeders made just for wet cat food – If you love giving your cat wet food but you’re concerned about keeping the food safe until it’s time for the cat to eat, this is the feeder you want. They have special compartments that you can place an ice pack in, which keeps the food safe until it’s time for Fluffy to eat.
  • Wifi-enabled feeder – These are “smart” feeders that do everything practically by themselves. You can even control the feeder with your smartphone, which means even if you’re not home when it’s time for your cat to eat, it can still eat until it gets full. They cost a little more than other types of automatic feeders, but most pet parents consider them worth it.

Some automatic feeders are so advanced that you can make the food accessible only to certain pets, which is perfect when you have more than one cat in your home.

Microchips and RFID technology help make this possible, and it helps prevent “food stealing” when you have a greedy cat in your home.

Are Automatic Feeders Bad for Cats?

So, if you’re wondering about the pros and cons of owning an automatic feeder for your cat, let’s take a look at some of them. Some of the pros include:

  • They are extremely convenient, especially for people who are busy and at work whenever it’s time for the cat-feeding to begin.
  • They save a lot of time. This is because you don’t have to portion out your cat’s serving every day; instead, you simply set the feeder on the right setting and forget about it.
  • They save a lot of stress because you can be away from home for long periods of time and never worry that your cat will be fed properly.

On the other hand, there are some disadvantages of using an automatic feeder for your cat, and they can include:

  • There is always the chance of a cat being overfed, especially since cats tend to be opportunistic feeders.
  • They do not always work for all cats, especially if you have a cat that “grazes” throughout the day instead of eating a full meal.

While automatic feeders mean accurate portion control and a regular feeding schedule, cats also miss the socialization skills that can be developed when sharing a meal with another cat.

Just like humans, socialization is an important part of the eating experience, but this isn’t always possible when they’re relying on an automatic feeder to get their food intake on a daily basis.

What Should You Do?

When it comes to automatic feeders for cats, the choice is yours and only yours to make, but now that you know about some of the pros and cons of these feeders, your decision should be a little easier to make.

Many pet parents use the feeders only occasionally, but if you like to feed your cat when everyone else is at work, it’s good to know you can use them more often if you like.

They are also good for pet parents who work shift work. When your schedule is different every day, it’s usually difficult to keep track of making sure your cat gets the meals they need to grow and thrive.

With an automatic feeder for cats, this is never a problem, although a basic gravity type is not usually recommended in this situation. Instead, get one that’s automatic and reliable.

Once you learn all you can about automatic feeders for cats, you’ll be able to make the right decision for your family. Each family is different, and so is each cat, so good research should be done before you rush out and buy one of these feeders.


Automatic feeders for cats have advantages and disadvantages, so pet parents have to decide for themselves whether or not to buy one. They are certainly convenient, but they can sometimes cause cats to overeat.

If you use them only occasionally, some of these problems can be eliminated, which is why it’s crucial that you do your due diligence before making a decision one way or another.

Automatic feeders also come in various types, and it’s important to be familiar with them before deciding which one to buy in the end.