This is an overdue endorsement. I got my Auto Pet Feeder, model 2000GS, from Ergo Systems, in 2002, when I adopted my cat from the shelter. I think my life has been better for having it, no exaggeration, and here’s why.
- The feeder goes on at the scheduled times every day. Feeding my cat is not a daily chore, because this amazing appliance takes care of it for me.
- My cat never wakes me up at the crack of dawn to tell me it’s feeding time. Why? Because she doesn’t associate her feedings with me. As far as she’s concerned, her food is provided by the Auto Pet Feeder. And I get to be the amazing human that plays with her and gives her treats.
- I never worry about her over-eating, like I would with one of those non-electronic feeders that constantly pours food out as it’s being eaten. The feeder goes on for pre-set increments of time, providing good portion control and pacing.
- I don’t need a pet-sitter/feeder for short trips away. Yes, for longer trips, you need to have a sitter look in on your fur baby to keep her company, play with her, refresh her water, scoop the litter box, etc. One of the benefits of having a cat (vs a dog) is that they don’t typically need daily pet-sitting, and they’re certainly capable of being on their own for a weekend. Provided that there is a reliable food source, like the Auto Pet Feeder.
The digital timer controls when and for how long the feeder turns on. The timer is pretty flexible and can be programmed to go on several times a day. You can even program different schedules for each day of the week, I keep it simple and have it go on at the same times 7 days a week. There’s a battery backup in the digital timer so that it retains program settings and the clock continues to keep time in the event of a power outage. Ergo Systems also offers replacement parts, like lids, feeding bowls, and timers. I find this is super convenient, better than having to replace the whole unit if something minor fails or breaks.
The opening on the storage container is large which makes it easy to refill and wipe out, and the feeding bowl detaches for cleaning. I typically buy 5 lb bags of food and put about 1/3 – 1/2 of the bag in at a time to prevent it from going stale. She’s not a big eater so a bag lasts approximately 6-7 weeks. Every couple of months, I let the feeder empty out so that I can give it a good cleaning. The storage container can be removed relatively easily so that you can access the auger and base for cleaning a few times a year, which your pet will thank you for doing.
The food moves down from the storage container, through an auger unit into the feeding bowl. It took some experimenting to arrive at the right amount and frequency of feedings. Every pet is different, and for my cat, the feeder is programmed to turn on twice per day for one minute each time. During the one minute that the feeder is on, enough food comes out to satisfy her, and refills the auger chute so that when she plays what I like to call “slots”, a few pieces fall out for her to snack on. “Slots” is when she reaches around the auger cover, sticks her paw into the chute and jiggles the auger, causing a few pieces of kibble to fall out, a trick she learned to do very early on. This allows her to snack when the mood strikes her, which I’m happy for her to do throughout the day, keeps her from eating too much, too fast in one sitting. I’ve found that most kibble is sized perfectly, though smaller kibble will fall out a little faster, and larger kibble could jam in the auger.
The one I have is the version with a flap covering the auger opening, I see that they have another version with what looks like a tube coming out of the base into the feeding bowl, though it’s not clear from their website which is the one they are currently shipping. I imagine that the tube version might prevent your cat from being able to play slots for snacking in between meals. The feeder comes in several sizes that hold 5, 10, or 20 lbs of dry food, I have the small which can hold 5 lbs. I see that Ergo Systems also offers a line of water filterer/feeders, as well as feeders for birds, small pets, and fish.
I’ve had mine for over 12 years and it’s still going strong. Get your own Ergo Auto Pet Feeder here.