Cat Powered Auto Feeder





Introduction: Cat Powered Auto Feeder

I needed a self feeder for my cat, so he would stop waking me up. After looking around on the Net (and instructables) I did find one that I based this feeder on, in a book called (Snowball Launchers, Giant-Pumpkin Growers, and Other Cool Contraptions by Tom Fox) I take no credit for it. Just didn’t like the idea of using cardboard. I also wasted a lot of time trying to use electric motors and timers. This was a much better idea and has been working well so far.

Step 1: Tools and Parts

Tools Needed:  Something to make holes (knife, scissors, drill)

Parts: Clamp type paper clip, rubber bands, golf ball, wire (bread) tie, round food container, 2 liters pop bottle (not shown) and at least one screw for mounting. ((PVC pipe see update on Step 5))

Step 2:

Cut a small hole in the lid of the food container, big enough for the rubber band to go through. In the bottom of the container cut a hole just big enough to thread the pop bottle into.

Step 3:

Take the bottle and cut it down to make a funnel that will fit tight inside the food container.

Cut the hole in the clear cup just big enough so the bottle can be threaded through it, (were the cap was) This will keep it in place.

Step 4:

Run the wire through the ball, this will keep the cat from chewing on the rubber band. Add rubber bands until it will reach the top of the container.

Step 5:

That’s it, now just thread the bottle into the inside of the container, run the rubber band with the ball into the bottle and pull it up to the hole in the lid clipping it with the paper clip.   Update.... the top turned out to be to thin, so the clip was replaced with a PVC pipe.

Step 6:

Use the screws to mount it to something solid, and high enough to remove the lid. The edge of his play tower worked out well. If you need to I’m sure you could mount it to the wall with a block of wood.

Training was pretty easy. Show your cat that food will fall each time the ball is pushed or pulled down. With Apollo, it took one time. One problem I did find is he will pull the clip off the top dropping the ball, but only when he runs out of food.

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93 Discussions

Nice Check this 1 i have it's pretty good


nice idea, tried it today and it works perfectly, my two cats were on it instantly, and Rufs which has more energy when it comes to getting the food :)
he has already figured it out. Puff will take more time but she will get there. Thx :)

2 replies

I LOVE you the names of your cats! My cat is called bean

This is great - my 2 cats wake me up in the middle of the night. Maybe now I can get a full night's sleep.

I only have one question.  Doesn't the rubber band break afterawhile?  I wonder if there is anything that could be used as a substitute.

Your cat is beautiful.

6 replies

He did chew through one, that's why i put the wire leader on the band. Ihaven't had one break yet...but there $0.49 a bag.  You could try asmall bungee cord,  remove the bottom hook and tie a knot at the ball.

 I wasn't worried about replacing the rubber band ($.49/bag) - Iwas just thinking about what would happen if it broke, food all over thefloor.  I also don't want my stupid cat (one of mine is a littledopey) to swallow a broken rubber band if it came apart.
Thanks :-}

I liked this feeder but we have 3 cats and they would go through 2 days of food in less than 1 day.  After a couple refills, they finally broke the rubber band by really yanking down on the ball.

I think I will try it again with a solid practice golf ball or something the cats can't grab with their claws.

Use textiles clothes elastic rather that rubber bands! That way your cats can still grab hold of the ball tho move it but they would be sturdier!

When my cat started waking me up at night, I started feeding herbefore I went to bed.  That way, she would be able to sleep inwith me, but still get her snack on in the middle of the night.

Looked brillant to me! Will try asap. thaks for your kind instructions... Greetings to Apollo :)

2 replies

Thank You, Mines still working good. Apollo is getting to the point were he can drop the food right in his mouth, with very little falling on the floor.

I think I'm just going to use this for my own ease as well as the cats! I could attach it to the wall above our cat bowl and just pour it out easily evry. Morning! (I am a child and our cat food is stored really high up so its hard for me to get it!)

Nice one!

I'm on a quest to have my 3 fatasses forage feed all their dry that they get in the daytime so they don't just sit in front of a food bowl and scarf it down.

I have a whole bunch of foraging/brain puzzle center type things but they can't hold much food each, so a larger version of this or maybe 2 will be perfect.

I found you can skip the plastic food container and use just a full 2-liter pop bottle with an opening at the top to add food. The bottom of the bottle is strong enough you can use a pencil instead of a pipe and the rubber-bands+pencil holds the bottom of the bottle where it should be. The option of a larger food container is perfect for those of us who free-feed our animals.

Great idea!  I don't have a cat, but this same idea would work for a dog if it was built out of sturdier materials and larger. 

My dog is 10 yo and loves food related toys of any kind.  A younger dog would probably rip it apart, but I think something similar to this would work great for my old guy.  I will get to prototyping and post my results! 

2 replies

I've got an old Rott, But would you train the dog the same way you would the cat?

I don’t see why not… I hear that some dogs are almost as smart as a cat. (Just joking) food is a great motivator for my cat.