I'd like to hack it and add timer functionality. See, my cat is always trying to get breakfast early and is always underfoot from 4 A.M. until I feed him. I tripped over him and broke my ankle last month because of this. I figure, if I can load up breakfast's meal before I go to bed, and only "unlock" the feeder after 7 A.M., my cat may eventually learn to stop bugging me at night. The joke will probably be on me though, darn cats.
I'd like to use an ESP8266 for this so I can also have an IoT feeder that reports usage statistics. =P
Did have a good idea for gamifying it though - a cat airlock with a camera, $5 a month, getting bored old ladies on Facebook to compare the cat in the airlock and making the decision to let it through or not...
To curb this behavior, one of us would grab him off the shelf and literally throw him outside (onto grass, maybe 6' in the air), thinking that he would associate the unpleasantness of being thrown with his unwanted behavior.
He did. He changed his behavior such that he would jump up on said shelves and deliberately knock things off the shelf whenever he wanted to go outside.
He was a great cat other than that habit though. Hands down the most social (with humans) cat I have ever owned or met and my sample size on both counts is fairly large. He made everyone he met fall in love with him and had a territory of several square miles given the phone calls from people he encountered who took him in worrying that he wouldn't get home safely (he always did, though one incident when he was gone overnight prompted us to put the home phone number on his collar due to some concerned neighbor who took him in for the night). He also once jumped into a UPS truck that was delivering a package to my parents house - I happened to be looking out the window as the truck was leaving, watched it go halfway up the driveway, stop, and see the driver toss him out of the truck.
My parents have since stopped allowing their cats outside due to the murderous relationship between cats and local bird populations.
That line instantly made me recall this comic: http://theoatmeal.com/comics/cats_actually_kill
So far these are the triggers:
1. I put a hall effect sensor and another C.H.I.P. on his exercise wheel (https://onefastcat.com/) so it feeds him every few revolutions he runs (not sure if he's associated the two yet)
2. Alexa skill.
3. Daily 5am feeding to avoid the early morning hungry-cat-alarm-clock.
4. Hacked Amazon Dash button next to the bed (and IFTTT button on my phone) in case the 5am feeding isn't enough to silence the hungry-cat-alarm-clock.
So yeah, I identify with this statement "You might say I’ve won this battle. However I just spent 20 hours armor-plating a cat feeder. I think we know who’s really in control here, don’t we?"
That might be easier to work into the system on a future refactoring of the system.
If you are paying for any AWS, it's free too.
I added the relay because I wanted more control. Normally you use a wall outlet relay or timer but then you only have one preset duration, and there's a 10 minute reset interval between feedings.
Watch out though for that extra-hard last ditch effort he will put out before giving up. Stay strong.
My cat is almost 5 years old. She is the type to overeat to obesity, probably because she was abandoned at ~1yr by her previous owner. For half her life my partner and I have been feeding her like clockwork 3 times a day, minus all of 2-3 weeks of vacations where our roommate took over.
I have to exert a constant effort to maintain our bedroom door and the rubber that I lined on the jamb to prevent her from rattling the door at 5am to ask for food - the paint is a lost cause. We have a white noise machine. We ignore her cries for food. We ignore her pawing things off our desks. We have a system to keep track of food we give her so she can't "trick" the other person. She knows exactly when we feed her (the meows get cranked up a notch about an hour before food time) but despite not giving in, she keeps acting like meowing at us is going to go anywhere.
No luck. And we know we're not underfeeding her - she's getting the calories appropriate for her (currently normal) weight, is being fed wet food, has fresh water, lots of attention and toys, all that stuff.
Unfortunately we have to give this up because we've got a baby on the way, and it's just so frustrating to lose 2+ years of effort put into having her not weigh 18lbs...
Even though we kept a tight feeding schedule, our cats used to start meowing and pestering us an hour before dinner time. Now, they just sit quietly and stare at the automatic feeder until it dispenses their food.
All the kitty guides on webbernets say, "be firm and don't give into kitty's demands." Whereas I read on the ASPCA website, "buy an automated feeder."
Guess which worked? Happy automated cat feeder owner, and our cat mostly doesn't drive me insane around feeding times.
For reference, I also own this model of cat feeder and have not needed to harden, though I do have it wedged up next to a wall to lessen risk of tipping.
It was certainly this way with my cat. I really regret the months of different punishments we tried on him to discourage his bad behaviors as it changed his personality.
We turn it on when we close the door at night. The cats haven't figured out when it's on or off, but they have figured out if the door is open, they can run really fast past it and it won't get them.
It did stop the door scratching, but now the door scratching has turned to 5am serenades.
This seems to have worked so far to avoid the cat bothering us in the morning.
He's a very big strong boy now (20ish pounds) and is just very happy.
My thinking was that he's a cat and what's the point of a cat being unhappy for his whole life.
We really had to push the weight loss because it was clear she wasn't meant to be so big. Her asthma was significantly worse when she weighed more (multiple attacks a week vs now I don't even remember the last one within the past year), and there were huge patches of her body covered in greasy dandruff because she couldn't groom herself. It would have eventually led to a lot of problems. Better for us to put up with her antics than to watch a painful death, really.
Cats are awesome, especially at finding our weaknesses...
So he would surely wake us up if fed at 7:00am, so one solution is to feed at night. This results in a cat constantly underfoot begging for food for two hours, which is literally a tripping hazard.
The solution is to feed him from a machine and to make sure he never sees us touching the machine. Now, at feeding time he sits by the machine and stares at it, waiting for it to open.
> This results in a cat constantly underfoot begging for food
> for two hours, which is literally a tripping hazard.
He'll maybe learn to give up. Or he's like one of our cats where we have to install a baby gate on the outside of the closed door to our bedroom to make it difficult for him to bang on the door all night/morning so that we can sleep.
She is way too old to give a fuck anymore and there is nothing to indicate she will ever change at her age. Just like a human.
She is evil. If her dinner is felt to be sub par she goes into the sleeping child and claws the kid. She has come very close to a final vet visit with this behaviour.
Animals are complex machines, just as people are. They are mirroring a lot of our traits, as anger or ignorance.
As a final resort, give the cat up by letting someone adopt it. That actually works! Good luck!
Not as much fun as an IoT cat feeder, though.
Just cut off the end of the adapter and wrap the wire around the battery terminals.
Seems short-sighted on the manufacturer's side. What happens if you go on vacation and the battery dies?
It should have a wall plug, and a battery to fallback on for when there's an outage.
Dry before work.
Wet when someone gets home. A little dry later. (Which they don't touch right away because they're satiated.)
Wet right before bed. They don't get ticked off unless you sleep in late because the late wet food is so good.
Cured the cat clawing at the door all night because we were trying to put them on a human food schedule for the wet stuff.
Personally, I just put him with food and water in the garage (and a trapdoor to go outside), but then I live in the countryside.
If I forget, he wakes me up to go outside anyways...
now the human has responsibility because they started it when they brought the cat in.
though the cat doesn't seem to mind because hey free food and they get to act however the way they want and the human will think it's adorable.
it is so weird. even though as a human I also find cats often to be adorable. this is a reason I would never get one.
But the relationship between dogs and humans seems a lot less alien to me. I might one day, I could use the company. But it's a lot of responsibility.
Preventing them from opening closets, garbage cans and cabinets is an arms race. You know you will eventually lose, the only thing you can do is slow them down.
I would have put the machine in a base cabinet, run a chute out a small hole cut in the toe mould, and if necessary, put a child lock on the cabinet.
"In animals at least as complex as earthworms, the embryo forms a dent on one side, the blastopore, which deepens to become the archenteron, the first phase in the growth of the gut. In deuterostomes, the original dent becomes the anus while the gut eventually tunnels through to make another opening, which forms the mouth. The protostomes were so named because it used to be thought that in their embryos the dent formed the mouth while the anus was formed later, at the opening made by the other end of the gut."
The laundry basket is the tall type, with a hole cut in the bottom and a funnel installed, plus a chute screwed on for good measure. It's mounted on the wall, raised about 1ft, so they can't get their grubby little paws in there.
The creativity and versatility of even a "simple" biological intelligence is a humbling reminder of how much work we have ahead for AI research.
There's a weird contraption that feeds you twice a day. And you can see food still up there, on the conveyor belt.
How would you like to spend the next 7 hours?
My wife and I personally think it's borderline inhumane to keep a dog by itself all day, since they are extremely social.
While we usually don't keep solitary cats, I don't think it's that uncomfortable for cats to be alone, though per your DM interpretation, they will commonly get into things. Which they will do in groups too.
The amount of desired human attention sought from cats in our household has has decreased as the number of cats in the has increased. That's not to say they don't still want our attention, or that we don't give it to them. Having friends to keep busy seems to make the days go by easier.
When the boy went to be neutered, the girl spent the whole day going from room to room meowing and looking in his usual spots.
When she went to be fixed, he did the same.
I'll probably never have a single cat again (some of that is that they are used to each others presence I'm sure) since they are excellent company for each other.
Or smell it. Consider that cats have better smell than us, and that cat food is designed to smell especially good and addicting to cats. Then that noisy box probably reeks like delicious food all the time for the cat. Probably drove it nuts ;)
Here's one example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nMtn25zxT10
The fact that it took 1/8" steel plate to cat proof it is an amazing testament to the ingenuity of those little serial killers.
Our golden wonder cat Sponge has never done anything to get us up. He patiently waits. He's lovely.
Oddly he never made a fuss even when he was a kitten (before we got this other gang of pests). He's just such a calm cat and actually calms you down if you pick him up [slows your heartbeat down] (he'll purr if you just look in his direction normally)
It is a great non-confrontational way to say the same thing - and one most folks are willing to try because it is cheaper than a vet visit.
(Even if I think you shouldn't own a cat if you don't have somewhere for it to roam, sometimes, life happens)
Because they might die relatively quickly and painlessly at some point? How is that cruel?
Given the choice, cats always prefer to go outside, even after being exposed to hostile animals outside. Presumably their walnut brains have evolved heuristics w.r.t. the utility of being eaten. Plus, I think I'd rather be killed by a dog than slowly grow arthritic, tumorous, and blind until I can't eat anymore and I have to be taken to that place I hate so they can stick a needle in me and kill me. If that's "what pets are supposed to experience in the modern era" then I want none of it.
I've had a number of cats, and the outdoor ones don't usually live as long as the indoor ones, but they seem a lot happier about it. Live fast, die young.
As far as keeping them happy goes, I have found that they tend to do well if they have other cats for company. Solitary cats usually don't make great pets.
I am however, talking about stray cats with no breeding history. I have heard that many pet cat breeds are bred for specific behavioral traits which make them better suited for an indoor only life. I also don't condone such practices.
With regards to your comment, forgive me but I find such a way of thinking to be extreme with no middle ground. I am from India and all sorts of people keep pets here. In many cases the pets are strays who just wander into people's lives. Since everyone does not have the money to provide for an indoor animal, your way of thinking would deprive a lot of animals of some measure of human kindness. Considering the short brutal lives they would have otherwise, any human help is better than none at all.
If you live in an area that really is too dangerous to let the cat out, then you were being cruel by getting a cat in the first place.
Standard operating procedure on rural ranch land is to shoot any dog that you don't recognize near your livestock. The reasoning is that it's either feral, has a disease, or is poorly trained enough to leave its own property. Either way, it poses a serious risk to your livestock; such dogs frequently kill small animals (chickens, rabbits, barn cats, etc.) in bulk (they don't even bother pausing before going to the next one) and will sometimes kill or harass large animals like cows or goats.
People often have a pretty optimistic view of dog behavior because their main exposure to dogs is as relatively well-trained, well-fed, and neutered pets.
>>Either way, it poses a serious risk to your livestock; such dogs frequently kill small animals (chickens, rabbits, barn cats, etc.) in bulk (they don't even bother pausing before going to the
I've never actually seen this nor heard anybody in the town mention this as a problem. I still have family there that farms and raises livestock and to this day I've never heard something like this mentioned.
I'm terrified to think what the next step will be once Sprocket chooses to escalate.
/me does not (any longer) own a cat.
Kudos to the cat for never giving up. My cat is clever and stubborn but this cat is downright devious.
I think we should be very happy that cats don't have opposable thumbs.
I bought that feeder at the last minute before we left town for a weekend, which was just long enough that we needed the cat to be fed, but just short enough that it didn't make sense to bug friends or a service. Ran to the store and grabbed the only one they had, which is to say, no real research was involved beyond necessity.
It's an OK feeder. I don't love it. But I _really_ love having an automated feeder. It literally improved our lives. There were issues, which I'll explain, but for the $80 I spent on it, I couldn't just chuck the thing. I had to at least try to work it out.
First problem was that the bowl is detachable. So almost immediately, the cat would knock the bowl off trying to get under the feeder for more food. And when feeding time came, it just emptied onto the floor. Tape fixed that.
And then he realized that if he lifted the feeder with his face, it would drop a few pebbles of food into the bowl. And so he started knocking the thing around when he got hungry. This wasn't a huge deal at first. He'd do it a couple times and then go back to sleep.
And then we went away for another weekend. When we got home, the feeder was on the other side of the apartment. "Cute", we thought, put the feeder back and went about our day.
The next night, at about 2am, the cat spent a full hour trying to get in. He was lifting the feeder about once per minute, sometimes more. So just a constant banging for a full hour until I got up to do something about it. I tried to leave it be as I got some work done, but it got worse and louder. Just as I arrived on the scene, he'd popped the top off - though he hadn't realized he could get the food from the top.
So, at a loss for time as I needed to get back to work, I did what's shown in the photo. Taped the lid under a tall chair. I figured that would buy me some time to get back to work and I could try to work on a better solution in a day or so. It's been that way for about 4 months now.
The magic of it is that the cat can't get enough leverage on the feeder to knock it around and get food out. And if he lifts the chair (with his face), the tape has enough give that the chair moves, but the feeder remains unmolested. It looks ridiculous, but it solved the problem, so we're leaving it as is. That chair is now part of the cat feeder.
"This Is All Your App Is: a Collection of Tiny Details"
Ideally you would want to play with the cat before feeding her so she associates food with hunting not as a cure to boredom. Even if you are too busy to do that, the act of giving your cat food can be a bonding experience for a cat that's stuck indoors 24/7. Many cat health issues can be diagnosed by keeping an eye of food habit since cats famously hide their weakness (to not signal weakness to predators, i would imagine). Free feeding cats would hide their illness till its too late to do anything about it.
Same with litter even if you use 'litter robot' keep an eye on the poop when you change the litter, common kidney diseases can be instantly identified by glancing at poop.
Some people have automatic coffee makers that run on a timer. Does that make them indifferent to their own health?
This analogy is very far off from feeding your cat from a machine.
Feeding a cat is 1. giving it food 2. bonding and establishing a relationship 3. chance to check on cat's well being.
People can talk and tell someone if they are unwell.
In the old days we'd shovel coal into the furnace. We were in tune with nature.
What we do is we feed them manually, once a day, the very same amount (using the same bowl as scoop) in the evening before we go to bed (he's on a diet for FLUTD, and she has to eat the same food so she's slightly obese). This gives us the advantage that the cats are not annoying during night, and if they eat too much they'll have to wait till the evening (which means we either get annoyed during day time, or we don't notice since we're not around). We also give them fresh water at the same time.
A major issue is when we're gone for more than a day. But a cat feed machine wouldn't be adequate. Cats need fresh water as well, and enough. Refilling when it is empty isn't enough. Algae are being formed. So this requires manual labour, daily.
Under "In Comments", third paragraph.
Any ideas on how to detect a poop versus a piss? Perhaps there are urea sensors? The mass of the litter clump would be another good data point to measure, but I don't have any ideas about how to set it up with the Robot.
This hacker has the right idea:
Why bother having a pet at all if you're not going to personally care for it?
The author was giving two meals a day and often got home late in the evenings. Only the evening meal was from a machine. Don't act like the cat is being abused. The author looks like she is providing the cat with a very nice life.
"Whys?" It helps prevent tripping incidents when the cat knows its food time and is rubbing on your feet as you walk. It helps with anxiety associated with irregular feedings. That's just two reasons I thought of off the top of my head.
"An automated feeder would save me one chore per day, and I wouldn’t have to worry about getting home late in the evenings."
You seem to have ignored "save me one chore per day" which is what my original comment was in response too. Occasional late meal is not a big deal at all, you don't need to go about inventing ridiculous machines for that.
How do you, personally, anonymous Internet commenter, know how much stress this specific cat has when the evening meal is late?
You can give constructive comments about the benefits of manual feeding vs auto feeding without being rude and speaking in absolutes. There's certainly benefits of both options that differ with individual cats and circumstances.
def not my intention. Can you point out where i was rude so i can keep that in mind for future.
What I said of course is not true for special needs cats, do whats best for your cat if its special needs. I assumed we are talking about the 99% general case because original article didn't mention any special requirements that her cat had. I doubt anyone reading that blog would get the impression that her cat is special needs. Would you tell you someone "not speak in absolutes" to if she says "don't don't declaw your cat" ?
I know many cat owners who "play" with their cat by dangling a feather on its head, telling them to improve the play by creating intrigue and mystery during the play by hiding the source of noise is not an insult, I wouldn't think so. I made many pet owner mistakes myself. Unfortunately cats have the misguided 'easy maintenance' reputation which works against their well being.
The writer clearly indicated this is just for one meal of the day. People are losing their shit here as if this cat is locked in a room for months on end with no human contact.
I've always found it easier to trick cats rather than force them to do things. But to trick a cat you must think like one. :)
I applaud the ingenuity, but fear she spent far more time and money "fixing" this one instead of doing a little amazon shopping.
I also hope that she unbolts that bowl to clean it every week.
And the cat is not even superintelligent.
If, instead, the cat were trying to turn everything into paperclips it might be harder to combat its efforts because you'd never figure out what it was trying to do beyond causing chaos.
Move something 1mm the cat comes into the room and seems to be thinking "Hey who messed up the place? What's going on?"
Cats are little pattern recognition machines.
(As the owner of both a cat and parrot, I've learned not to underestimate their intelligence.)
And it doesn't stop there. She knows how to use the litter-box, but she prefers to go outside - which means I rarely have to clean it - like once every month at most, only when she has been left inside for too long. I should find something to notify me when she actually used it.
She probably spends 70% indoor, 30% outdoor, which is when she terrorizes the other, more tame (but much larger) cats of the neighborhood or goes hunting. I should also find something that addresses here hunting nature, because the rate at which birds and mice are dropped at my back-door is quite alarming. A collar with a bell didn't seem to affect her hunting success-rate at all, and only gave her an allergic reaction to the collar - so we removed it.
I have two cats, male and female. They are from the same litter, and have had the same upbringing. One is quite chubby, the other stays fairly thin. The chubby one is also naturally lazier.
We just leave a bowl with kibble out for them during the day. Most of them self regulate. Two (out of six!) don't, and are a bit overweight.
His sibling on the other hand would eat quite a lot, but only if the food is fresh out of the bag, so ultimately she doesn't eat that much throughout the day.
i don't think it would be hard to dispense from the puck cans, or extrude out of a plastic sack.
but it seems like portioning would be hard with the cans.
i can't imagine how it would clean itself though. even if you were wasteful enough to use disposable feeding dishes you'd be functioning as much as a bio reactor for flies and bacteria as much as a feeding station.
incineration? alcohol? steam cleaning and a sewer hookup?
It is expensive but impregnable. My cat can smell the food in there, so for the first couple of days he relentlessly attacked it. But he can't get in so he has given up.
He can figure his way into many things, including most trash cans, so we put kitchen trash into a 5-gallon bucket with a screw top lid.
Most pet feeders are cheap, poorly thought out, and easily penetrated by cats.
Is this an indication of cat cleverness, or tech person's engineering ineffectiveness?
If I ever design a cat feeder, then I'll design one with discrete feeding compartments, and holes tapped in a bottom plate for hold-down screws.
The product design is about as nice looking as you can make a feeder, and the mobile app's UI has improved a lot over the past few months to a good state.
You would think an IoT device like this would default to using a locally stored schedule or something.
This video is from when I had the beta feeder but the same principle applies: https://youtu.be/YHq1xHL8p2o
Additionally, my obese cat was on a very controlled amount of "diet" food for years, it doesn't actually work. Switched him to Blue Buffalo and didn't observe any weight change.
And before anyone asks, yes, the cat has been to the vet and has gotten all the blood work and I've tried multiple meals and everything. Don't even go there.
Cats are true carnivores. They shouldn't be getting dry food to begin with.
Some, like yours, will just eat as hungry. Daintily. One of my cats is like this.
Some cats tend to be chubby. They will eat on cues, and eat often. I have one of these cats as well. He's also a somewhat finicky eater - he'll eat lots or refuse to eat. He's been a bit large since he was born, but I don't have a need to restrict food yet.
And some cats will just eat until they throw up. Sometimes it is because of food insecurity, sometimes just personality. For these cats it is pretty vital the food is regulated.
Sidenote: There are other reasons to regulate food as well. I once had a cat with allergies and was fed prescription dry food, twice a day, as per vet instructions. Sad that I had to put that cat down due to health.
Bad teeth aren't a problem for cats in the wild because they live on average 3-5 years, but the majority of house cats will have teeth problems as they get older.
> You might say I’ve won this battle. However I just spent 20 hours armor-plating a cat feeder. I think we know who’s really in control here, don’t we?
I find this very disturbing... That said, the final result looks very well-made. Nice hacking!
Additionally, putting any expensive gadget up high above a hard surface is a recipe for disaster.
Machine parts and cat vomit (because the explosion will have dropped all the dry food through the room) not your style?
- What's the highest a cat can jump?
- [... no idea or wrong answer ...]
- How high do you store your food?
Vid of a cat jumping over 1m90 high:
I used to form lines with cat food. Looked a bit like farming.
Birds then would try to eat the remains, only to become additional cat food.
I've heard some vegans force their cats to become vegans as well. I think it is not healthy.
You are correct. I'm mostly vegetarian (I eat fish), but I won't do that to a cat. They need meat for health, and not doing so is cruelty.
I truly wish that these folks would give the cats away to someone that can feed them properly and invest in a vegetarian pet that fits their lifestyle: Birds, iguana, and so on.
I would try sealant around all the seams And revert back to so lesser security measures to test it.
What like being able to see how much cat food is still in the machine?