Have you ever tried to weigh a cat? For that matter, have you ever tried to get a cat to do anything they don’t want to do? The wilful independence of our feline companions is a large part of what endears them to us, and must have done ever since the ancient Egyptians first had a hybrid wildcat that became domesticated
No wonder it’s so hard to care for multiple cats with different dietary needs. But the mere act of weighing the cats just might be the key to automating their diets while giving them the choice of when they want to eat. It’s a task that [Psy0rz] has cracked with the Meowton, a weighing machine/feeder combo designed to regulate the diets of his various moggies.
The multi-faceted system involving a scale to weight the cat, a food hopper with dispenser, and a scale for the food bowl. The cat has to stand on the scale to eat, and the dispenser doles out some food when it detects this. It identifies each cat by weight, and controls the quantity dispensed accordingly to spread that cat’s allotted diet over the course of the day.
Behind it all is an ESP32, which delivers the stats to a web interface and makes them available for import to a database. He’s identified a flaw in the system, that two cats of the same weight could cause misidentification. To that end he has an RFID reader under way, but it’s still a work in progress. There is even a live stream of the unit in action.
We’re suckers for cats here, and while the various Hackaday Cats provide plenty of companionship and entertainment we’re always up for more. Over the years we’ve featured plenty of cat feeders, but only one cat elevator.
28 thoughts on “Automatic Cat Weighing Machine Knows Which Pet It Is Feeding”
Cool build, but dry food is bad for pet cats. Check out catinfo.org to learn why.
if they want fresh meat they can go out and kill it.
I agree, however i’m also feeding them wet food in the morning, and the dry food is high quality food low in carbs and fillers. (Still all wetfood would be better. Preparing your own meat specially for the cats is even better. )
Look at it like this: If you’re going to feed them dry food, at least dont overfeed them on it. :)
Excellent! We struck a balance with quality canned wet food when we realized our cats’ health problems were all because of the dry food we were feeding them.
Dry food is bad because cats do not have much of a natural thirst drive – their system has evolved to to get most of their hydration from their food (prey).
Carbs are bad – their system has evolved to digest primary protein and fat.
We turned around a diabetic female and a male with a urethra blocked by crystals in his urine just by switching them to canned wet food – and it happened fast! Diabetes cured & the boy started peeing without fear in less than a week.
“the boy started peeing” all over the place ” without fear in less than a week.”
Does this even work? I can tell you right now that this would not work with my cats because the aggressive one will wait for the food to be dispensed and then push the timid cat away. Do not underestimate the intelligence and persistence of a hungry cat
It has worked for my cats for a few years now. It does substract “stolen” food from the cat that eats it.
I’m very curious to learn how it will work with other cats, so i hope a lot of people will built this. :)
The easy and foolproof way to weigh your cat is to first weigh yourself and then weigh yourself holding the cat, and I hope you can figure it out from there.
cat weight = your weight – cat weight – blood loss inflicted by cat (if so inclined)
Your human needs to be trained, send them to obedience school.
You need to weigh yourself with a blanket then make a cat burrito
To weight a cat:
– put an empty box on the scale
– wait for cat to jump in the box, record new weigh
– Weight of cat = difference
Cats like to sit in marked area e.g. a circle. see here: https://duckduckgo.com/?q=cat+i+circle&iax=images&ia=images
its not just boxes, a cat will sit on practically any item that is new to the environment.
i got 3, a lazy fat kitty, a very active yet still pudgy young kitty, and a very skinny old kitty. any system that lets me feed the skinny kitty without the fat kitties getting it would be great.
I thought about doing something similar linked to the catflap. Weigh cats on the way out the house and then auto-lock the catflap if the weight on the way back has increased by approximately 1 mouse.
That should also rule out adult raccoons!
Here’s another version:
Note: I just moved the cat scale to the attic, so Mogwai (the fat one) gets more exercise. For this reason you will see that the cats have to get used to it in the newer videos. (The other 5000+ videos on youtube show the cats eating at the previous place. :)
The cats weight is of utter importance if one wants to build a drone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w8yaaaAZ4r4
Reminded me of a visit I made to a dairy farm. They don’t have to milk the cars manually, they do it themselves. There is a turnstile that opens and each cow walks in on its own. The other cows wait patiently in line. A robot milks the cow and then gives it a treat. It identifies each other cow through an RFID tag. It then opens the exit to the milking station and usually the cow walks out on its own. If it waits too long the robot gives it a bit of a shove.
The cows are supposed to come only twice a day at certain times. If the system detects that a cow has come back too early, it won’t give it a treat and shoves it out! All the dairy farmer has to donate is watch in case there are problems. A computer tracks the milk production of each cow in a database. Now *that’s* a hack!
can it also automatically slaughter the cow once it detects the productivity period is over? now that would be one hell of a hack
“They don’t have to milk the cars manually,”
Hopefully, the engine is off, and the Parking Brake is set, when they do.
I heard they had a similar system to feed pigs, each one had an RFID collar and would only get fed what and when it was supposed to, but some pigs figured out how to steal others RFID tags to get more food. Isn’t amazing that many people eat animals smarter than they are?
I have the same RFID hardware that you tried and tried to convert a simple feeder myself. Unfortunately, this is not so easy to do without building a kind of “ring” in which the head has to be put through, like with commercial products. The SureFeed devices work great. But they are not suitable for “big” cat breeds. If you have any success in making your own antenna, please let me know. I would like to build a SureFeed in XXL.
Isn’t everybody putting RFID chips in their pets now? If there is food involved I’m sure the cat will learn which part of its body to rub against the scanner to eat.
“ever since the ancient Egyptians first had a hybrid wildcat that became domesticated”. Cat’s domesticated themselves, the furry little bastards know suckers when they see them.
Hey hack-a-day, how about a cat toy?
What a neat idea. I guess necessity is the mother of invention. Great post.
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