How to choose the best cat feeders for multiple cats?

The algorithm of selection includes several essential steps:

  1. First, you should decide what exactly you need a feeder for. Do you want to divide one standard bowl into several ones? Or you need to ensure that each cat receives a normal portion of food. In the first case, you can simply buy one dispenser with separate bowls.
  2. If your cats don’t have any problems with overeating and sharing bowls, a simple gravity dispenser will be just right. Buy the one with appropriate capacity. If you are absent during one day, a simple 3-6 lbs container will be just right. If you plan to leave your feline friends for several days, buy a 12 lbs gravity dispenser.
  3. If your pets should be served definite portions at a certain time, buy an auto cat feeder for multiple cats. Before you make a purchase, ensure you can set up the timing and the size of the portion. This way, you can fully customize the serving. 
  4. Your pets like wet food? Search for the models that allow putting an ice pack on the bottom and have a cover lid that’s opened automatically at a certain time. Such a model is an optimal choice if you leave home for work and get back in the evening. 
  5. Where your feeder will be located? Consider this guide if you’re looking for outdoor cat feeder options.

Automatic cat feeders for multiple cats

The majority of models I reviewed are automatic. This is the right choice for pet owners who leave their cats for a day or longer. The most popular electronic feeder brands include:

  • PetSafe. It offers the whole series of feeders, both for dry and wet foods. If you have several cats, pay attention to the model with five compartments: it allows serving both kibbles and morsels in gravy, preserving the freshness of the food.
  • SureFeed and PortionProRX use chips to serve correct portions to pets. Such devices justify their cost by providing scheduled meals for each cat separately. Please, note that each appliance supports different kinds of chips. 
  • PETKIT provides Wi-Fi connectivity with smartphones (both Android and iOS), as well as Alexa smart home system. It means you can control meals distantly and track consumption.
  • HOMDOX is an easily programmable feeder that allows recording voice messages for pets. I recommend it when your pets need encouragement to start eating.

FAQ

How do you feed multiple cats at the same time? 

To feed multiple cats at the same time, ideally, you need to use several bowls. It allows eliminating aggressiveness and competition between pets. If you use one bowl, make sure it’s big enough to provide enough space for several cats. In case you use an automatic feeder, buy a splitter, and use separate bowls for each cat.

How do I get my cat to lose weight in a multi-cat household? 

In such case, I suggest my clients to properly calculate how much their cat should be fed and select the food more responsibly. After these actions are taken I recommend using a chip-based feeder. Thus, you will have complete control over the meals of your overweight furry friend. Most likely, the other cats will have to eat the same dietary food, but you can let them eat bigger portions.

How do I get my cat to gain weight in a multi-cat household? 

The principle is very similar to a situation with getting one of your cats losing weight. First of all you should calculate how much your cat should eat – read how to fatten up your cat here. After this I recommend using a chip-based feeder like Surefeed or PortionPro Rx. You should adopt a comprehensive approach to this and maybe

Can two cats share a food bowl? 

It’s not a problem if pets don’t exhibit aggressiveness towards one another. If they get along well, eating from one bowl would be natural for them. However, if cats don’t know each other much, they can be averted by the smell left on the dish. 

How can I get my cat to stop eating my other cats’ food? 

Use separate bowls for each pet. Let your cat become accustomed to its one. Check its behavior, and don’t let it eat from the other dishes. If possible, leave your pet in another room while other cats have meals. If your cats like different flavors, you can use several packages of food. Actually we have a separate guide on this.

How to introduce my cat to the feeder for multiple cats?

First, let your cat eat from the feeder’s bowl without switching it on. When they get comfortable with it, you can turn the feeder on. Let pets see the process of food dispensing: this way, they will be less scared with the noise. If possible, let the recorded video messages encourage your pets. 

How I tested the feeders?

To provide readers with unbiased information, I decided to test a few feeders myself and bought one Wi-Fi model and a gravity model. I work with several families that have two and more cats and offered them to perform a test drive. What exactly did we analyze?

  • Capacity. We figured out that a small 4-6 lbs container is just right for households with two-three cats when their owners leave for a day. The kibble reserves last for a couple of days, which simplifies life.
  • Settings and programming. This is where we all had to overcome a steep learning curve. While gravity feeders require no programming at all, electronic devices with one button are pretty hard to control, so don’t even start without reading instruction first. The problem with most models is that settings tend to disappear when they run out of power.
  • Voice commands. This is a pretty cool option for pets that need owners’ encouragement, but don’t expect it to work equally well. In cheap feeders, the sound is pretty weak, and cats may not hear it from the other end of the house.
  • Power source. Buying a battery-driven device without a wire is a big mistake – this is what we realized when the user’s feeder ran out of power in the middle of the day. Cats stayed hungry and embarrassed. If you don’t mind placing a feeder near the wall, prefer models with wires – they won’t let you down.

The price/quality ratio was easy to predict. Cheap automatic models that cost around $50 are very likely to have some defects and significant drawbacks, while more expensive models have faultless features.

To get a broader picture, I read reviews on Amazon: customers’ feedback helps understand some drawbacks and advantages that reveal after long-term usage of devices. For instance, I realized that automatic feeders require recalibration: from time to time, you need to make sure the portions served are correct. Video reviews also assisted me in noting a few subtle but important details.

Final Words

When selecting a feeder for multiple cats, you should mind the needs of your furry friends. The choice should depend on what exactly you need: a solution to divide pets’ meals, or a device for serving exact portions? In the first case, a simple gravity feeder would be just right. However, I strongly recommend you to invest in your pets’ health by purchasing an automated feeder. It will serve the correct portions, which will help your cats maintain a healthy weight. In the long run, it will save you boatloads of money.

Note that there are a multitude of features available, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you need a jam-packed model for over $100. If you don’t have to be away for long, and your cats don’t need such function as voice recording, a simple but reliable feeder for some $50-70 would be enough.

Please, read the instruction before setting the feeder even if programming seems to be a no-brainer for you. I saw the reviews where users blamed the device for improper functioning, but forgot to read the manual properly. If you set the timing and portion size correctly, you aren’t likely to face any serious issues.

The last but not the least is paying attention to the material. ABS and BPA-free plastic is the safest option, and the bowls should be made of steel: it will prevent bacteria buildup.

I am Claudine, a College of Veterinary Medicine alumni and cat health & lifestyle specialist. In this blog, I share my personal experience and recommendations on improving cat’s diet, behavior, and both physical and psychological state.