Need Cat Feeder Advice

Soapmaking Forum - Soap & Candle Forums

Help Support Soapmaking Forum - Soap & Candle Forums:

TheGecko

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 22, 2019
Messages
3,253
Reaction score
6,167
Location
Oregon
We now have a special needs cat. For the second time this year, we had to take Pino to the vet because he was constipated and it was pretty bad this time (the vet plans to write a paper on it). I guess it's not surprising that he hid his condition given what he went through the first time. This time it included an overnight stay and if it hadn't been for the weekend, the vet would have liked to have kept him another night to make sure he was fully cleaned out; as it was, he had five enemas and they used every towel in the clinic.

So here is the issue...we have three cats; Pino, Sophie and Minnie. When we first found out that Pino would need a special diet, we figured we'd just switch all three cats over...easy-peasy, lemon-squeezy. Then we found out how much Pino's new food was going to cost...we had anticipated doubling our costs which was not a big deal since they are already a bit spoiled as it was, but then we discovered that it was going to be SIX TIMES the cost! So what we need is a way to feed Sophie and Minnie one food and Pino another.

Unfortunately, the cats don't have set meal times where we could just give Sophie and Minnie one food and Pino another and they would eat and be done. Because everyone in the house is on different schedules we use we have a gravity-fed 'auto-feeder' that allows them to kibble when they want without being dependent on us. The slight exception is that Sophie and Pino get a little wet food a few times a week in the AM depending on when daughter get home and I get up...which can be anywhere between 5am and 8am. So what we need is a way to not only feed the cats separately, but make sure they aren't eating each other's food.

So I'm looking at fancy cat feeders but the majority of them simply won't work because they are mainly about portion control...they dispense xx food at xx times. What I need is something that only allow xx cat to have access to xx food at any time AND in such a way that the other cat(s) can't get to it at the same time. At $60.00 for a 8 1/2 lb bag, we can't afford to have Sophie and Minnie eating Pino's food and for Pino's health (not too mention our wallets) he can't be eating anything other food. So far the only thing I have found that tics those boxes and works off their Microchips is the SureFlap Pet Feeder at $251.28 - $315.99...and I would need two of them. Yeah.

It's not that we don't have the money, but this isn't all that there is. We might lose Pino. The vet is so unsure of his prognosis, that we were told to make sure we didn't through the actually bag of the special kibble away so we would be able to return the unused portion for a refund. Yeah again. So we are praying for the best and looking for special auto-feeders, but are also preparing for the worst and will be holding off buying any for at least a week.

Right now...things look promising: he ate a couple of teaspoons of wet food and he spent about an hour in the sun on the front porch. I can see that he has used the litter box, but he hasn't passed any more solids and he didn't bury it...so I'm not getting my hopes up too much.
 

MelissaG

Owner and Creator at Silver Branch Soapworks
Joined
Jan 6, 2020
Messages
320
Reaction score
309
Location
Louisiana, USA
Ouch. The microchips seem like your only option because cats are really smart and figure out puzzles. I so understand, when we had to switch my Sashas food, she wouldn't eat it. I tried everything I could think of. Most of the time she'd rather go hungry so I hope your Pino isn't going to be that picky. If they get really sneaky and smart, you might have to do the microchip AND move the two dishes to another room. It's expensive but they are worth it. I managed to extend my girlies life by an extra two years with the changes we made. It CAN be done.

Is it kidney disease?
 

TheGecko

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 22, 2019
Messages
3,253
Reaction score
6,167
Location
Oregon
Is it kidney disease?
I had to look it up...Megacolon and it involves the nerves of the color:

If the nerves to the colon do not function normally, the muscles of the colonic wall will not contract properly. If this happens, the muscles become stretched and the colon enlarges in diameter. This enlarged colon may have a diameter three to four times that of a normal cat. Rather than being pushed into the rectum in a normal manner, fecal material accumulates in the distended colon, resulting in severe constipation called obstipation. This massive enlargement of the colon and the resulting constipation is called megacolon.

Vet said he had poop the size a Rottweiler would have. And in his case, they are calling it idiopathic megacolon because there is no underlying cause...no spinal cord injury, no tumors or foreign bodies, no hairballs...all his other blood work came back normal.
 

MellonFriend

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 28, 2021
Messages
485
Reaction score
1,164
Location
Middle Earth or Metropolis
Idea: I'm pretty sure they make cat doors that respond only to certain signal collars. Could you get a cat door installed to let Pino into a certain room in your house that would allow only him to access a bowl of food that the other cats couldn't get to? Maybe something like that could work?

I'm really sorry your poor kitty is going through this. 😞
 

TheGecko

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 22, 2019
Messages
3,253
Reaction score
6,167
Location
Oregon
Idea: I'm pretty sure they make cat doors that respond only to certain signal collars. Could you get a cat door installed to let Pino into a certain room in your house that would allow only him to access a bowl of food that the other cats couldn't get to? Maybe something like that could work?

I'm really sorry your poor kitty is going through this. 😞
It's not just the other kitties getting to his food, it's him getting to the other kitties' food. And we live in a rental so the pet door idea while fantastic, is not an option.

Right now we're just keeping his stuff in daughter's room and the other cats' food on the counter. They are all outside laying in the front yard and when they come in for the evening, we'll put Pino in the bedroom and put the food down for the other cats.
 
Joined
Jun 8, 2020
Messages
2,071
Reaction score
4,934
Location
Florida
Hi @TheGecko I am so sorry to hear about your kitty. I love my furbabies more than I like people.

Considering that his prognosis might not be good, and the fact that you might need to find a rather expensive solution to feeding the cats separately, maybe just go ahead and feed them all of the special diet food. To be sadly, but brutally blunt, it might be only a temporary situation.

However, if you really need to find a solution other than buying the special cat food for all of them...My two cats, although they get the same food, know that this bowl is Betty's and that bowl is Chloe's. I just put them in separate spots in the kitchen, and Betty always eats from hers and Chloe always eats from hers. Nothing stops them from eating from the other bowl later on, but its after they are all done with "being fed". They mostly eat dry food and will pick for the rest of the day. If I do give them wet food, they usually scarf it up in one sitting in their designated spots. It started out of necessity because Betty was getting pissed when the little one went near her bowl, but they get along a lot better now, I just never changed where I put their bowls.

If it was me, that's what I would do. The two cats get THEIR food over there and the special diet cat gets his food over there. After they are done with the main feeding time, just pick up the bowls when they are finished eating breakfast or dinner. I know cats like to pick all day, but it won't kill them to wait for the next meal lol. Even though they will make you think they are DYING in between LOL.

Good luck. I hope you find a solution.
 

MelissaG

Owner and Creator at Silver Branch Soapworks
Joined
Jan 6, 2020
Messages
320
Reaction score
309
Location
Louisiana, USA
I had to look it up...Megacolon and it involves the nerves of the color:

If the nerves to the colon do not function normally, the muscles of the colonic wall will not contract properly. If this happens, the muscles become stretched and the colon enlarges in diameter. This enlarged colon may have a diameter three to four times that of a normal cat. Rather than being pushed into the rectum in a normal manner, fecal material accumulates in the distended colon, resulting in severe constipation called obstipation. This massive enlargement of the colon and the resulting constipation is called megacolon.

Vet said he had poop the size a Rottweiler would have. And in his case, they are calling it idiopathic megacolon because there is no underlying cause...no spinal cord injury, no tumors or foreign bodies, no hairballs...all his other blood work came back normal.
Oh that poor kitty. I didn't even know that was possible. Can they do anything besides give him different food? Is there a surgery that could help? He must be so incredibly uncomfortable or even in pain. Don't worry, cats naturally hide when they feel bad. It's why we humans need to pay such close attention to their behaviors. Otherwise we'd never know anything was wrong until it's too far gone to do anything about it.

If it helps, my dad had to keep the cat food separate from the dog food separate from the rabbit food. It was a heck of a set up lol. The rabbit eats ONLY in his cage with the door shut. The cat has a little table to jump up on that will only fit one kitty, and the dog gets his food on the floor. Otherwise they all try to nibble on each others food.
 

lucycat

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 2, 2017
Messages
299
Reaction score
405
I once put a cat door in a piece of plexiglass to use in an open window in a rental unit. If you are creative I think you might be able to figure out something. It could be like a cat motel with a roof you open to add food but where each room has it's on cat flap. It wouldn't be cheap and somewhat large but it might be a cool piece of furniture depending on the materials. Actually, I would like that for my cats since one always over eats.
 

TheGecko

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 22, 2019
Messages
3,253
Reaction score
6,167
Location
Oregon
Oh that poor kitty. I didn't even know that was possible. Can they do anything besides give him different food? Is there a surgery that could help? He must be so incredibly uncomfortable or even in pain. Don't worry, cats naturally hide when they feel bad. It's why we humans need to pay such close attention to their behaviors. Otherwise we'd never know anything was wrong until it's too far gone to do anything about it.

If it helps, my dad had to keep the cat food separate from the dog food separate from the rabbit food. It was a heck of a set up lol. The rabbit eats ONLY in his cage with the door shut. The cat has a little table to jump up on that will only fit one kitty, and the dog gets his food on the floor. Otherwise they all try to nibble on each others food.
There is no question that he is in pain given the size of the excrement that he had to pass; he walks slowly and gingerly, and we have to put him in the tub to rinse off his bottom with warm water. He has some mild pain relief which helps a tiny bit, but they can't give him more without it making the problem worse.

Right now, from my conversations with the vet and the research I have been doing, the special diet along with a mild laxative are the best options. The only surgical option is to simply remove the colon via ileorectal anastomosis (joining the small intestine to the rectum) and ileostomy (bag)...neither are ideal solutions for a human much less a cat, and then you still have a special diet and even more medications and in the last, a bag to deal with.

If the cats had set mealtimes it would be a simple solution...feed Pino in one room and the Sophie and Minnie in another. But it's been kibble on demand since they were kittens so it's eat a little here, eat a little there several times a day. Right now...we've all be home this weekend so Pino's food is in my daughter's room and Sophie and Minnie's is on the counter and we can open doors and put the food on the floor and keep a close eye. But tomorrow is Monday and I go back to work days, daughter goes back to work nights and hubby...he's disabled and beyond him. What would work for hubby, won't work for Pino so I'll probably go to the office in the morning after daughter gets home and then work from home for the next few days until we can sort things out.
 

TheGecko

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 22, 2019
Messages
3,253
Reaction score
6,167
Location
Oregon
I once put a cat door in a piece of plexiglass to use in an open window in a rental unit. If you are creative I think you might be able to figure out something. It could be like a cat motel with a roof you open to add food but where each room has it's on cat flap. It wouldn't be cheap and somewhat large but it might be a cool piece of furniture depending on the materials. Actually, I would like that for my cats since one always over eats.
The partition idea would only work with a sliding door, but the concept only solves part of the equation. It's not just keeping Sophie and Minnie from eating Pino's food, it's also keeping Pino from Sophie and Minnie's food. So I would have to have two setups in two different rooms and there aren't a lot of options...two bedrooms and a garage. Putting Pino's food in daughter's room would be okay, but putting Sophie and Minnie's food in our room would not so that leaves the garage. A RFID pet door that works off of microchips is around $200, an interior door is around $100 and an exterior door is around $250...so that is $750 and I haven't included the cost of hardware and installation. On the other hand, two of the RRID food will run around $500 with the additional back covers because our cats have no manners.

Now Pino can't jump right now so I could put Sophie and Minnie's food up on the dining table or the counter, but we don't allow cats on tables and counters.
 

Kiti Williams

Crazy Crafter and Neighborhood Nut!
Supporting Member
Joined
Jul 1, 2019
Messages
1,108
Reaction score
821
Location
Reading, PA
We now have a special needs cat. For the second time this year, we had to take Pino to the vet because he was constipated and it was pretty bad this time (the vet plans to write a paper on it). I guess it's not surprising that he hid his condition given what he went through the first time. This time it included an overnight stay and if it hadn't been for the weekend, the vet would have liked to have kept him another night to make sure he was fully cleaned out; as it was, he had five enemas and they used every towel in the clinic.

So here is the issue...we have three cats; Pino, Sophie and Minnie. When we first found out that Pino would need a special diet, we figured we'd just switch all three cats over...easy-peasy, lemon-squeezy. Then we found out how much Pino's new food was going to cost...we had anticipated doubling our costs which was not a big deal since they are already a bit spoiled as it was, but then we discovered that it was going to be SIX TIMES the cost! So what we need is a way to feed Sophie and Minnie one food and Pino another.

Unfortunately, the cats don't have set meal times where we could just give Sophie and Minnie one food and Pino another and they would eat and be done. Because everyone in the house is on different schedules we use we have a gravity-fed 'auto-feeder' that allows them to kibble when they want without being dependent on us. The slight exception is that Sophie and Pino get a little wet food a few times a week in the AM depending on when daughter get home and I get up...which can be anywhere between 5am and 8am. So what we need is a way to not only feed the cats separately, but make sure they aren't eating each other's food.

So I'm looking at fancy cat feeders but the majority of them simply won't work because they are mainly about portion control...they dispense xx food at xx times. What I need is something that only allow xx cat to have access to xx food at any time AND in such a way that the other cat(s) can't get to it at the same time. At $60.00 for a 8 1/2 lb bag, we can't afford to have Sophie and Minnie eating Pino's food and for Pino's health (not too mention our wallets) he can't be eating anything other food. So far the only thing I have found that tics those boxes and works off their Microchips is the SureFlap Pet Feeder at $251.28 - $315.99...and I would need two of them. Yeah.

It's not that we don't have the money, but this isn't all that there is. We might lose Pino. The vet is so unsure of his prognosis, that we were told to make sure we didn't through the actually bag of the special kibble away so we would be able to return the unused portion for a refund. Yeah again. So we are praying for the best and looking for special auto-feeders, but are also preparing for the worst and will be holding off buying any for at least a week.

Right now...things look promising: he ate a couple of teaspoons of wet food and he spent about an hour in the sun on the front porch. I can see that he has used the litter box, but he hasn't passed any more solids and he didn't bury it...so I'm not getting my hopes up too much.
I remember seeing a cat feeder that used a collar to approve the cat wishing to eat. You would need 2 sets and 3 collars for this. Pino would only be able to eat from his collar dish. I will see if I can find the manufacturer for you.
 

Spoonie98

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2022
Messages
46
Reaction score
30
Location
USA
We have the microchip feeders. Have had them for several years. Game changer for us and worth the cost. Especially when we have 3 different feeding needs in the house. One with renal failure, one with stomach issues and one that wants to eat everything in his way. They do come with a collar microchip fob so if your cat doesn't have a chip you can still use it. Really made life easier for us especially with the renal cat. Wish I could offer advice for an auto feeder but I haven't seen any that do what you are hoping for.
Hope you get it figured out. :)
 

TheGecko

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 22, 2019
Messages
3,253
Reaction score
6,167
Location
Oregon
We have the microchip feeders. Have had them for several years. Game changer for us and worth the cost. Especially when we have 3 different feeding needs in the house. One with renal failure, one with stomach issues and one that wants to eat everything in his way. They do come with a collar microchip fob so if your cat doesn't have a chip you can still use it. Really made life easier for us especially with the renal cat. Wish I could offer advice for an auto feeder but I haven't seen any that do what you are hoping for.
Hope you get it figured out. :)
Right now we're looking at approximately $200 per feeder, plus maybe another $80 each for Rear Covers if the cats can't behave themselves. I'm waiting to hear back from the company about whether a 'hub' is actually needed because I don't need a 'app'.

Right now the wet food is fairly easy to control between Pino and Sophie. Pino likes it and it's a small enough portion (1/4 can) so he eats it up right away. Sophie like to eat about half and then come back later, so as soon as she is done, I put her dish on the counter and give her the rest later. The dry kibble situation is no fun right now because they are snackers...eat a few bites, go off, come back later for a few bites...rinse repeat...and they don't do it together there is a lot of up and down with the dishes the last couple of days to make sure the right cat is eating the right thing.

As an experiment I'm just leaving out the expensive stuff. From what I have read, this food is supposed to be more filling so they don't eat as much. If this is true, it ultimately may not be anymore expensive than a regular high-dollar brand, which we had planned to do. So I have measured out xx amount of food and I'll see how much they are eating and then run the numbers.

Here are the top 4 micro chip feeders for 2022.
Thanks. I already have the Sure Feed since that is the only one that would work; the others are more about portion control.
 

earlene

Grandmother & Soaper
Supporting Member
Joined
Apr 30, 2016
Messages
9,781
Reaction score
11,962
Location
Western Illinois, USA
I see you already have the SureFeed. That's the one I found that I thought would fit the bill, but today nobody seems to have it in stock anymore, at least on the sites where I normally buy things for Kitty Baby.

Did you buy one, two or three of them?

I was wondering if you need to make it easier on your husband while you are out, so that he doesn't have to deal with the complexities of herding cats, perhaps the other two cats might be able to eat from the same SureFeed bowl, since it works with a registered microchip or a collar chip. I don't know if it's possible, but IF you can put the collar on one cat and have the microchip of the other cat linked to one feeder, then those 2 cats could eat from that feeder, keeping your Pino out of their food.

Please share your experience with how your cat(s) react or adapt to the feeder. I looked at the videos of these feeders in use and wonder if my kitty would adapt or if it would cause whisker stress.
 

Latest posts

Top