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How can I make a cat auto feeder that only goes off when a specific cat is in range? Answered

My sister has a cat that has to eat special diet food. Problem is that she runs a shelter and has 6 other cats who would gobble up the food given the opertunity. Since feeding expensive diet kibble to all the others is not feesable and not healthy for the others, I thought maybe we could come up with an idea of an auto feeder that only goes off when the one cat comes near. Kinda like the pet doors that keep racoons and other animals out, and only let your pet come in with the special collar. And daily meals are not an option at this point with another finicky cat that goes on huger strikes in the shelter. Any ideas?


Hi all.
creative_cait, do you have solved the problem? if so how do you solve it? i've the same problem here...


make a normal aotomatic feeder but use a reed switch and put a magnet on your cats collar the magnet will make your car healthier aswell

We have a "cat food box" that we made out of wood, a shelving grate and a kitty door. It's a basic box with a top that has a metal closet shelf that lifts open (hinged on one side) and a kitty door on one end. The cat who gets to eat in it has a collar with the magnetic piece on it that allows her to open the door but not the other cats. She can access her food 24 hours while the other cats can't get at it. We trained her on how to push the door open with her nose/face in the matter of minutes and she loves it! Hope that helps!

hmm are you stressed for money? you could RFID tag your cat and install an RFID sensor that only responds to that specific tag. or the cheaper way-train your cat. make it do something weird to get the food like jump on a push-button or lever several feet away for it to get the food. the other cats won't be able to get the good unless you teach them or they learn (which could take a while but will probably happen-and if it does just change up the routine).

I might consider the RFID tag option for my two cats. The bunny tends to munch on cat food, and so I have to keep the food up on a shelf. Are there multiple, or generic, manufacturers? I'm pretty cheap on cash.

Why not just separate the cats at mealtime? Leaving out a dish of food is generally not a bad idea (cats tend to eat until they're full and then stop), but it can be wasteful unless you're putting out exactly and only the amount that the cats eat in a given day. Putting the diet-cat in a room (or kitty condo, or whatever) for fifteen minutes or so at mealtime will let it eat in peace and keep the other cats away from its food. Since the cats are mixed and this one's dieting, I'm guessing that you can't leave bowls of food out all the time, so segregating them at meals might be simplest. As for your finiky kitty, try a little (not too much!) variety in the diet. Just like people, cats get tired of eating the same thing all the time, so a little change can be good. Too much can throw off the cat's diet, though, making it a little sick and probably putting it off of its food for awhile. I worked at a no-kill, nonprofit animal shelter last summer as a cat room attendant. We had quite a few cats (I'd guess 30+ out of over 200) with special diets, and this was how we did it. Feeding everybody at the same time helps, too; that way the other cats are distracted with their own food and less likely to go for the diet stuff.

I think the RFID tag is a good idea, but just because that cat's near doesn't mean the others can't eat it. I think a mix of using an RFID tag to tell a servo to open the flap or a stepper motor to turn a cover and a narrow corridor of plastic or metal leading up to the bowl to stop other cats sticking their heads in the side and having a nibble while the dieting cat is feasting too.