Feed Your Cat The Modern Way

Feeding the cat should be a moment of magic, in which you bond with your adorable pet as she rubs seductively against your ankles. As you place the saucer of tender and moist meaty chunks on the floor, she bounds the length of your kitchen, excited expression on her little kitty face, and tail in the air.

If Hackaday made television adverts for cat food, we’d have it nailed. But our everyday reality involves the cute-as-heck Hackaday moggy turning into a persistent little pest when she decides it’s feeding time. [ThinkSilicon]’s friends had exactly this problem, with their furry friend’s preferred timing coming early in the morning. His solution? An automated cat feeder (translated) that dispenses kibbles from a hopper into the lucky mouser’s feeding dish.

The mechanical part of this endeavour is pretty straightforward, a servo moves a sliding piece of plywood with a hole cut in it across the bottom of a hopper full of cat food. Move the slide, dispense food down a chute to the waiting happy cat. Behind the scenes is an ESP8266 and a NodeMCU web service, through which feeding time can be either scheduled, or dispensed at will.

A happy cat means a happy owner, especially in the very early morning. Until that is the newly-sated creature decides to spread the love, jumping onto the owner’s bed in thanks and breathing cat-food-breath into their face. You really do have to love ’em!

We’ve shown you many cat food related projects in the past, including this Arduino take on the same idea. But why take the effort to trigger it yourself, when the cat can do it for you.

17 thoughts on “Feed Your Cat The Modern Way

    1. Great looking device, and so terribly over-engineered, perfect! :)

      The only issues I can see is that the machine is not “free standing” over the bowl. You have to put it on something, and that limits where it can be used (cannot be used if bowl is against a wall or in a corner for instance).

      Other thing is insects. Because the dispenser is close to the floor, ants and other insects might be tempted to go into the device and eat your cat food. It’s not a big problem when they only get into the bowl, but when they find a big food supply you might have a bigger problem!

    1. Thank you to you and others like you who let your cats roam around, use my front yard as a litterbox, antagonize my (usually quiet) dogs in my fenced-in back yard, and leave a trail of dead birds in their wake. Most locales have regulations requiring pet owners to clean up after their pets (not just dogs) and keep them leashed when off their property. Cat owners around here seem to believe rules don’t apply to them.

      Maybe you live out in the middle of nowhere. Then I don’t care.

    1. Thank you! I aim to please. My background is as much in old-fashioned publishing as electronics, when you’ve had your literacy beaten into shape by lexicographers you don’t forget it. And probably no, I suspect novel-writing’s not for me.

  1. Four furry assasin squad members here. We just put dried cat food in one of those feeders with a slot at the bottom, so that when they eat the bowl content, more falls down due to gravity. Then, wet food time is when someone is feeling benevolent, not when kitty wakes and is hungry and generally they dont view the bald apes as devices to open cans on demand.
    All four of ours seems to manage their own weight, supplement their diet with fresh takeaway that they bring back in, and still appreciate one of us giving them extra wet food as a nice event. Oldest is 17 years old, so must be doing something ok.
    Sorry, no HAD angle though. Maybe you could webcam and put a level sensor in the hopper so you dont have to remember to refil it every 3-4 days if you need that aspect.

      1. And yet in 7 years of living here since we built it, I have yet to see a ant or roach in that room. Elsewhere in the house, yes, but not in the utility where the cat feeder lives.
        Maybe the roaches and ants here are nose blind. Or your comment is nonsense. Its best left as a exercise to the reader which it is.

    1. Why not a rotating tray like a revolver cylinder that holds open cans of cat food and a cover with a single opening. Reload it with pre opened cans, and put the cover on. When it’s feeding time one of the pre opened cans rotates around to the opening, allowing the cat to feed. Or vise versa, have the cover with the opening rotate around. Use a simple limit switch to align the can and opening.

      Could have as many Chambers for pre opened cans as you’d like, the only limit being physical size and the tendency for them to dry out over time (although you could probably do some hemetic sealing of the entire device so that only the open chamber was exposed to air)

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