There are a lot of multi-pet parents out there who struggle with at least one cat of their cats having their food stolen, with at least one other pet doing the food stealing themselves. If you’re in this particular boat, and have a cat who’s either an excellent food thief, or often a victim of food theft (or both!), one incredibly simple solution to prevent this kind of issue from happening without worry is to invest in a microchip pet feeder that works well for cats and dogs.
There are other precautions you can take. You can do your best to feed your pets meals in separate rooms, wait until all kitties (and pups if you have them) are done eating before you open the doors to prevent food theft. I can see how this solution isn’t going to work out, however, in quite a large number of particular circumstances.
If one of your cats is a grazer and/or needs to eat slowly due to sensitive stomach issues, coming back to have nibble many times throughout the day, this system will absolutely fail. If you’re not able to separate pets because you don’t have enough rooms, or are only able to feed cats in your kitchen, say because you have problems with ants, this is also unlikely to work as a possible resolution. There’s also a matter of convenience, and if you’re in a hurry during one or more feeding times, and one or more of your cats eats particularly slowly – again you’re just not going to have a very good time with this kind of a fix, if it works out at all.
Now, while microchip pet feeders are the most obvious and easiest solutions to integrate in your household (after all, you only have to buy one, plop it on the ground, and you’re set to go), there are alternative solutions out there that will do the trick – some that will work well for every situation, others ideal only in very particular cases.
If you have dogs and cats, and the dogs are the ones stealing pet food from the felines – if without the dogs’ interference, your cats would do just fine with their meals – you have a couple really good solutions. You can feed your cats in a different area from your dogs, like a basement or a laundry room, and give feline-only access while keeping dogs out with a closed door by fitting an interior door for cats, one like The Kitty Pass, on the bottom of the door to the space only cats are allowed. There are also cat door latches like the Door Buddy Door Latch Plus Door Stop that keep dogs out while allowing cats to pass through doors. They’re really inexpensive, and so in my perspective these solutions works a lot better than microchip cat feeders, at least from a cost perspective.
You can also grab a cat-only access pet house – something like the hidden litter box, Petsfit Double-Decker. You can place a litter box in the bottom portion of the cat house, and food & water bowls for cats up at the top as some pet parents have done to prevent canine access. This would not only prevent cat food from being stolen (since dogs can’t jump into these things), but will also prevent litter from being tampered with as well, which I’ve seen a lot of pet parents say their dogs do at times if given the chance.
If you’d like to be able to select which cats and/or dogs have access to a specific space where pet food is left out, but not others, there are also microchip cat doors like the SureFlap Microchip Cat Flap, or if your cats aren’t microchipped, electronic collar cat doors instead. A lot of these doors only work for cats and small dogs, so this system may not be ideal if you have big dogs to let through. If your cats are the ones whose food is being stolen, however, these should do the trick, and if you don’t want to section off an entire portion of the house, you can create little rooms for cats who get their food stolen by other cats and/or dogs by placing a microchip cat door or electronic collar door into cheap see-through plastic storage box. Quite a lot of pet parents seem to have major success with this technique, and I feel it’s particularly good if you happen to be interested in using a slow feed pet bowl in conjunction with giving food access to only specific pets.
But let’s get into the microchip feeder for cats – and yes, that’s singular – because right now it looks to me like there’s only one viable option on the market. Straight after, I’ll go into a number of alternate products that may work out in specific situations, some that are much more affordable than the microchip feeder, others that come with different perks (like timer options!). Let’s begin…
The Only True Cat Microchip Feeder Right Now
The SureFlap SureFeed Microchip feeder is – to my knowledge – the only pet feeder that works by scanning the microchip your pet cat or dog has and using that information to let a cat or dog have access to the food contained within it. The lack of completion isn’t an issue, in my mind, because it seems to be quite a solid product with a lot of glowing reviews from pet parents who love this thing.
As with every product, the SureFeed has its downsides – and the biggest one based on what I’ve read with this particular product is that food theft can be continued in case you have some particularly intelligent pets by seeking ’round the back to eat while the pet who’s supposed to be eating is having a munch of their grub. The quick and easy fix? Placing the SureFeed in a cardboard box, a plastic container, or some other cute lil’ decorative box you have, or getting a hold of the rear cover for the pet feeder. With one of those hacks, you seem to be all set and good to go with the SureFeed.
Have a pet who’s not chipped yet? The SureFeed also works with these RFID tags. Super handy!
Popular Alternatives to Microchip Feeders for Cats
As I mentioned in the intro, an excellent way to get around using a microchip pet feeder is to create a specific safe room, or to use a cheap plastic see-through box in combination with a microchip cat door. These things allow access to only specific pets, meaning the cat whose food is being stolen is safe, and within the safe room or box, you can use whatever you’d like to feed your cat – like a slow feed bowl or a cat food toy. Very handy if the pet you’re trying to protect from food theft also needs to be encouraged to eat more slowly with one of these types of feeders.
The Our Pets Wonder Bowl is a selective pet feeder that uses tags to identify and determine whether or not a pet should be allowed access to food. It certainly doesn’t have as many positive reviews as the SureFeed, in part because there seem to be battery issues quite frequently, but it’s considerably cheaper, and if you’re able to work around those issues, you should be able to make do quite well with this selective pet food bowl.
Another selective pet feeder that works with identification collar tags, this time with quite a hefty price (roughly the same as the SureFeed) and yet having quite mixed including many negative reviews. I personally wouldn’t opt to try this one unless you find the sheer high volume of pet food you can store in it handy. Otherwise, I’d go with the SureFeed.
This particular product is intended to keep dogs out by making it physically difficult for them to get to the food, while allowing cats quite easy access in to eat their share of grub. I don’t know how well it works for most, but it seems to fail considerably often with those who have rather intelligent dogs. It may be affordable enough to be worth a shot, however, if you need to give cats access, but not dogs. It may work out for you!
This is a scheduled meal pet feeder that works with RFID tags, and while it doesn’t have all that many reviews, seems like a solid option for many pet owners dealing with food theft.
There is an issue with food theft if a pet who’s allowed to eat is comping away at his or her grub and a food thief comes around at the very same time, the food thief can eat their grub. That being said, there’s also a mechanism built into the PortionProRx that works to prevent this. You can set the food bowl to be closed again if/when a pet with the wrong RFID comes too close to this dispenser.
Gravity feeding means it’s also incredibly low-maintenance in terms of needing to be refilled. I can imagine this being quite handy if you need to be gone around 24 hours for any reason, or would like to feed your cats smaller meals but are at work for long portions of the day. I’m actually considering grabbing this one myself.
Your Thoughts on Microchip Cat Feeders?
What do you think about microchip cat feeders? Would they be useful in your household?
Have you ever considered buying one? If you have bought one before, what were your experiences with it like?
Are there features you’d like to see combined with microchip cat feeders more often? Like timed/schedule options and/or gravity feed options?
If you could have the perfect feeder made for your cat household, what would it be like?
Looking forward to hearing your thoughts in the comments below!