Raspberry Pi Raccoon-proof Cat Feeder

Feeding things in the outside world is difficult, especially when there are clever creatures like raccoons out there that will break in and steal everything given half a chance. [_ah6] wanted to build a feeder for feral cats that would dispense food, but without encouraging the local raccoons. So, they built a feeder that included a webcam that could see who was waiting for dinner, and dispense food remotely without spooking the cat.

The feeder is built around a modified cereal dispenser that is connected to a Raspberry Pi. This is also connected to a webcam and an IR light source. The camera view can be checked through a web browser, and the feeding can be triggered from a voice assistant. Cats are creatures of routine, so [_ah6] feeds them twice a day and the cats quickly figured out the routine. The feeder only dispenses small amounts of food, and the heavyweight construction of the feeder means that the local raccoons can’t get into the stored food. [_ah6] had originally planned to use a solar power source, but that remains a project for another day.

We’ve come a long way, but cat-facial recognition was en vogue eight years ago for guarding the cat door — keeping the dead mice out rather than the racoons.

Via [reddit]

21 thoughts on “Raspberry Pi Raccoon-proof Cat Feeder

        1. That’s what the cats do to make hitting them with a projectile more difficult: dart from a distance. It’s like they have a sixth sense when you are scoping for ’em.

  1. The cats with a white stripe on their backs (skunks) are a bigger problem than raccoons in the southwest part of the US. This might actually solve that for outdoor pet feeding.

  2. Speaking from Toronto, the self-proclaimed raccoon capital of the world (they even ride the subways and hang out at the airport here), there is no such thing as “raccoon-proof”. Once they know there’s food in there, they’ll figure out a way to get it. I expect they’ll lay in wait for the cat to come, then chase the cat off once the food has been dispensed.

  3. Raccoons will take big rats. Cats like mice because they can swallow whole and not get injured. Raccoons are more fun to have around than feral cats, but you have to feed them in person. Like scatter dry dog food on the ground as they eat. They will associate you with the food and just pass by if you are not there. If they can see you getting the food from a bucket or can, all bets are off.

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