Cat vs. Human Escalates with Armor-Plated Feeder

Wars generally increase innovation as the opposing sides try to kill each other in ever more efficient ways. Even the soft war waged daily between felines and their human servants results in innovation, to wit we offer this armor-plated automated cat feeder.

The conflict between [Sprocket H.G. Shopcat] and her human [Quinn Dunki] began with a thoughtfully provided automatic food dispenser. Like human vending machine customers who witness a just-purchased bag of Cheesy Poofs dangling on the end of the dispense auger, [Sprocket] learned that the feeder would dispense a few fishy nuggets when nudged. [Quinn] embarked on an iterative design process to control [Sprocket]’s off-schedule snacking. Fastening the feeder firmly to the floor, and adding obstructions to prevent her from pawing up the dispense chute — nothing seemed to stop the clever feline’s raids. [Quinn] then pulled out all the stops and whipped up a [Sprocket]-safe enclosure for the feeder from 1/8″ plate steel and copper. This seems to have put the cat back on the straight and narrow, and it doesn’t look half bad either.

All kidding aside, [Quinn]’s approach to this problem is pretty instructive. Careful observations informed several cycles of reasonable modifications until it became clear that only the most extreme solution would work. There’ve been tons of cat feeders here before, from the simple to the complex, but we think all would fall prey to the clever [Sprocket] without a little up-armoring.

Thanks to [Nate] for the tip.

16 thoughts on “Cat vs. Human Escalates with Armor-Plated Feeder

  1. +1 for Sprocket. Our other feline is Ratchet.
    Which you have to be careful how you say to the vet, pet insurance, children, etc.

    We have two bowels out with dry food and top them up whenever passing. This lets them graze on their terms but they still complain about the bowels being “cat empty”
    https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=cat+empty&tbm=isch
    This doesn’t make them over weight and it means they dont worry/obsess about food and can come and go and kill things as they like/bothered.

    I like the build, I wanted to do an automated feeder but they have conspired to train me to feed them this way instead.

        1. When they remove the food, do they disembowl the food?

          If they instead had a dog and the dog was upset at this, would they be disembarking?

          Seriously though, it seems like the cat is just hungry. Does the cat have a weight management issue?

    1. My family never micro-managed the cats’ food and the cats never got overweight, same as with the dogs.

      However, once a cat/dog gets in the habit of immediately eating all the available food… it will need intensive management to avoid getting overweight.

      1. Yah, our previous cats never had a problem with self management, they maybe swung a little either way winter and summer, according to activity. Recently re-catted with a fella who is a bit of a chunk, tempted to rename him Moochmaster 5000 for his begging habit, think he used to get a lot of table scraps. His previous humans had him on restricted kibble, but really, I don’t think that was the problem, keeping his bowl topped now and he does not seem to be eating excessively. He’s maybe lost a bit already, skin saggier, been getting him running round with the magic red shiny thing.

  2. It seems to me that solving the mystery of the food-giving box is fun for Sprocket, and her continued entertainment would be well worth the price of a few kibbles of food. So now I’m thinking that there could be a switch mechanism hidden up inside the chute that would trigger an Arduino to run the belt motor for just a brief second, to dispense a small amount of extra bonus cat-rocks. The sketch would need a counter to limit Sprocket to 3(?) bonus snacks per day, and no more than one an hour.

    Armoring the Arduino’s reset switch goes without saying. Clever kitty is clever.

    1. If it wasn’t for the floor I’d have though that was my cat. I had a feeder just like that and my cat looks just like that one. Though she’s just heavyset and not overweight yet according to the vet.

  3. I had a similar feeder for our cats. Cat #1 will graze all day if I leave food out for her, I could leave her with several days of food and she’d be fine. Cat #2 is a fat kid and was also a stray, so he has this “must eat all the things” complex , so I can’t leave food out since he’d just scarf it all down and then she’d have no food. He also has a penchant for thinking 4am is “feed the kitty time” and if you don’t, he will howl and the other cat will knock things over, jump on your head, etc.. until you get up and feed them.

    Auto feeder similar to this one, cat #2 figured out he could stick his paw up the chute and get a few kibbies that way, and he’d also eat all the food and not leave any for cat #1, but I could have it spit some out at 4am to at least appease the cat overlords until I got up and fed them.. But it broke and I didn’t feel like replacing it.

    Bought a dual feeder that just had lids that popped open at a preset time, loaded it with food, set them to open close enough together that they’d both eat, problem solved. Then the cats figured out all they had to do was slam it into the wall a few times and it’d pop open…

  4. I’ve also got an automated cat feeder, albeit this one: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/6a/21/2c/6a212c9c7a619e86e5fc36d540329ce2.jpg – my cat worked out fairly quickly that brute force was the way into it. I’ve come home to find the unit metres away from where it started. At least she can only brute force one segment – if she could operate the latches that keep the lid on securely, I’d be concerned. I have to distract her and very quietly put the feeder down, and not use it every day.

    Some cats that once had to worry about where the meal was coming from never forget the behaviour. Mine overeats, and then brings it back up, which just exacerbates the problem.

  5. If a cat gets the better of you then you really aren’t trying very hard. The human brain is over 40 times more massive than the cat brain. Even as a brain to body mass ratio the human has 2.5 times the brain power. It is not a far contest.

    Now if only I could figure out how to stop killer whales from eating my pet baby seals….

  6. I don’t think the feeding is the big hassle…

    …it’s what comes after that is the hassle.

    Which by the way, has anyone come up with a better solution for the catgenie 120 other than the catgenius software or the cartridge genie?

    https://hackaday.com/tag/catgenie/

    Maybe sniffed and recorded the 13.56 khrtz rfid tags on the sanisolution and got a rpi or something to emulate it?

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