Cat feeders have given owners a much more effective and hands-off means to ensure that their cats receive optimal nutrition. These cat automatic feeders are designed to deliver the correct amount of food to the cat on a regular basis so that they aren’t over-eating or going hungry.
They also take into account the often busy lifestyles of cat lovers who cannot always be home at feeding time. However, while the feeder can fill in for a few feeds here and there, they are not exactly designed to deliver food for an extended period of time. They simply cannot replace a human being providing meals for their cat.
This is because although cats may seem like loners, they are actually social animals and require much more care than meals simply being delivered on a regular basis. Your cat may not run away or refuse to eat after a couple of days without human interaction, but the effects of long-term neglect will start to show.
Statistics show that pet owners are far less likely to leave their dogs to their own devices when they go out or away than they are their cats. This isn’t because cat lovers aren’t as caring but rather that people have the general misconception that cats are more self-sufficient.
There is therefore a correct and incorrect way to use an automatic cat feeder.
So When and For How Long Should You Use A Cat Feeder?
1. One Meal A Day
Adult cats generally require only one meal a day. Unlike a dog, most cats won’t continue to eat after they are full, and putting out one bowl of food in the morning or evening should be sufficient. However, if there is a chance that you will not be home to provide the next feed, a cat feeder can be beneficial.
Depending on how many meals the automatic feeder provides, it can be tempting to leave the cat alone with the feeder for four days or even longer. However, this is not recommended as you may return to a home that has been destroyed and food that has gone uneaten. In general, one meal a day cats should only be left for one or two days without human interaction.
2. Two Meals A Day
For cats that like to scoff their food in one go, two smaller meals a day are recommended to keep them happy. An automatic feeder can be set to deliver these two meals. Two meals a day mean that there is a greater likelihood that an owner will skip one or more feeding times. It is not recommended to leave the cat alone with the feeder for longer than one or two days.
This does not however mean that being a cat owner should limit your social life or travel time. A cat sitter is ideal to fill in when you cannot be there to feed your cat for extended periods. Simply introduce a willing friend, family member, or neighbor to your kitty, give them a key and let them know when you won’t be around to feed your cat.