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July 17th 06, 03:53 PM
I need to get some suggestions on time-delayed feeding for my two cats.

I start a new job tonight which will have me out of the house when the
cats normally get dinner and for several hours on either side of that
dinner. I can't come home simply to feed the cats and I don't want to
impose on friends to feed the cats for me.

Can anyone suggest a technological solution that might help me?

I was at the pet store the other day and bought a PetSafe 2 Meal Pet
Feeder - see
http://www.petsafe.net/pet_feeders/lifestyle_products.php?L=2&PROD_CODE=PF2-19
for the product description - thinking that this would solve my problem
but it doesn't look like it will.

Yesterday, I did a test run and put a normal quantity of food in the
feeder about 5 PM and set the timers for 8 PM, the normal dinner time
for the cats. I set the unit on the floor and Bebop immediately started
trying to get into the food. It didn't take him long to realize that he
could push and pull the unit around and he soon realized that he could
catch the trays with his claws and yank them out far enough to eat most
of the food with the lids still closed. He also discovered that he
could nudge the whole unit up on its side and then tip it over so that
it was upside down. That process, by the way, dislodged the battery and
made it fall out. (There is no cover plate over the battery comparment
to keep the battery in place, unlike any other battery-operated device
I have ever seen.)

Even if I could figure out a way to keep the unit stationary so that he
couldn't push it around or flip it over, he would still be able to yank
out the trays enough to get at the food. And, knowing how aggressive he
is about food, he will almost certainly eat all of _both_ cats food,
depriving Samba of her dinner.

I'm wondering if anyone out there is aware of a better automatic feeder
for cats? Or has someone figured out a way to "cat-proof" the unit so
that the cat can't help himself before the lids open on the timer?

I will only be away for a single meal at a time but I need to feed both
cats and they are used to eating out of separate dishes so the PetSafe
seemed like an ideal solution. But the reality is proving less than
satisfactory....


--
Rhino