Microchip Cat Feeder – We found 5

This is our English article. Click aquí para ver en Español.

If you are looking for a Microchip Selective Feeder you probably have a specific need you are trying to fill. Maybe you have a cat requiring a special diet. Maybe you have cats stealing food.

Be aware: what works for one situation will not necessarily work for another. This can make search for the right feeder very frustrating. Someone might have left a negative review on a specific feeder because it didn’t work for their situation. It might very well be exactly what you need.

Here we are going to arm you with as much knowledge as we can so that you can make your own decision.

**Spoiler Alert** We chose the PortionPro Rx Pet Feeder as our top pick.

But then right after that we gave another suggestion.

Why?

Because currently there is no RFID Selective Feeder on the market that solves every problem.

Yet.

So let’s find which one is going to help you the most. But first…

What exactly is a Microchip Pet Feeder (aka RFID Selective Feeder)?

This feeder is a food bowl blocked by a door with a chip sensor installed. The door opens only when the correct animal is trying to eat. This helps keep greedy cats from stealing food from their housemates.

The way the feeder knows which animal is standing in front is by reading the chip on the cat. This can either be a tag hanging on a collar or the microchip installed by vets for pet tracking. Which one of these the feeder uses depends on the brand. Some only use one, some both.

What type of pet owner would this help?

This selective feeder is for pet owners that have multiple animals that need to eat different foods.  There are many ways this can happen.

  • If you have different types of animals, such as a dog and a cat, this can prevent one animal eating the wrong food.
  • If you have one cat that eats all the food before anyone else can eat. This can cause one cat to become obese while the other cat becomes malnourished. This type of feeder makes sure everyone gets their meal.
  • If you have a cat needing a special diet other cats might eat their food. Not only can this affect the health of the cat needing specialized nutrition, but you are spending more money on cat food than you need to.

What type of pet owner does NOT need this?

A robot dog.

My friend LOVES technology and LOVES combining it with their pet accessories. For example, their lights on their aquariums are all controlled on their cell phone thru an app. Swoon!

BUT!

A microchip feeder is not a good feeder for them. They only have one cat and do not need to protect her food from other cats. There are other high tech feeders out there that would be more suitable for their situation.

So do not buy an RFID feeder just because you want the latest technology. We have other options for you.

Do I need to train my pet on how to use this feeder?

Yes! That is a very overlooked aspect of a RFID selective feeder.  Your cat will have to realize that the door will open after it performs an action. Usually this action is putting its head near the dish, so this part isn’t too difficult.

Another part of the training includes training your cat to not be afraid of the feeder. Different feeders make different noises. If your cat is skittish it might take a little extra time to train.

Don’t worry! Many cats that frighten easily have still learned to use these feeders. There are also some feeders that have settings to help with this sort of problem.

This is something to consider when looking at the warranty on a microchip selective feeder. Depending on how quickly your cat learns the warranty could expire before you get a chance to really test it out.

Will it really stop “bandit cats” from stealing food?

A cat looking at food on a table as if it is going to steal it.

This depends on two things: the style of feeder and how clever (or persistent) your bandit cat is.

The style of feeder we will talk about in the individual reviews.

If you have a very intelligent cat that has solved puzzles in the past this might be a new (and welcome?) challenge for them. In all the feeders we’ve reviewed there have been cases of cats “beating the system”.

Yes, in ALL cases there was at least one cat that could figure out how to steal the food anyway.

So keep that in mind if you have a very clever kitty. With some modifications some humans did win the battle in the end. They were able to finally keep bandit cats away from food that did not belong to them.

But in other cases the cat was more persistent than the human.

Knowing this ahead of time can give you the right mindset so you will come out the winner.

How many do I need? Is one enough?

That depends on what you are trying to accomplish.

If you have one (fat) cat eating all the food of another (skinny) cat, then one feeder for the skinny cat should be fine. This will act to guard skinny cat’s food.

If you have a cat that is getting a special diet, such as a prescription food, you might need one for each cat. This will make sure that each cat is only eating the food that belongs to them.

It also depends on the feeder that you choose. You can program feeders so that you might not need one feeder for each cat. These features add great cost savings.

The end result is not only healthy cats, but you save money in prescription food costs. You won’t be feeding expensive prescription diets to all of your cats; just the ones that need it.

How do I choose which one is right for me?

There were a few factors to consider when trying to find our favorite feeder.

Blocking Power – How well the feeder can block other pets trying to steal food.

Ease of Maintenance – How easy it is to clean the feeder

Power Source – How is the feeder powered.  All RFID selective feeders require electricity to work.

Durability – How well the feeder can stand up to pet use. Also, how well it can stand up to pets trying to break in and steal someone else’s food.

Reliability – How consistently the feeder opens for the correct cat. Yes, the feeders must stay closed for the wrong cat, but does it open for the correct cat? If the feeder only opens half the time you will have a very hungry cat when you get home.

Based on this we made our decision. However, we highly suggest taking what we say here into consideration and then make your own choice in the end. Our goal is to leave you more informed, even if you decide to not go with any of these choices.

What RFID Selective Feeders are available?

We’ve done some extensive searching and did not find many different models of RFID feeders on the market. Many posts we’ve viewed linked to products that were no longer available. We will do our best to keep this post up to date, as the technology grows increasingly faster every day.

SureFlap Microchip Pet Feeder

The SureFlap is the standard model from Sure PetCare. The overall design looks appealing and has a futuristic look to it.

It holds 13.5 fl oz (400 mL) of wet or dry food. If you are only able to put food in the dish once a day this should be enough.

Also, the feeder promotes an “airtight design”. This keeps the food fresh longer than it would if it was exposed to air.

The feeder comes with two bowls: a single bowl and a split bowl. These are removable for easy cleaning. You can also purchase green or pink bowls to customize your feeder.

The feeder comes with an RFID tag that you can attach to your cat’s collar. The feeder is also compatible with vet implanted chips. This is convenient if your cat already has these. You can purchase  additional RFID tags if you need more than one.

The unit is compatible with 9 digit (Avid Secure), 10 digit (FDXA) and 15 digit (FDXB) microchip numbers.

It also has a learning program that helps you train your cat to use the feeder. This is very helpful for skittish cats.

There are a few things that we did not like.

A big one for us was that it only runs on C batteries. There is no power adapter to plug this directly into the wall. Reports have varied on how long batteries last and is most likely related to the amount of use the feeder sees.

Many also noted that there is a large gap on the side that can allow other cats to sneak a bite. There is a SureFeed Cover that fixes this issue, but we would have liked to see it taken care of with the product itself.

There is a known issue with the feeder reading vet implanted chips. Usually these chips are located between the shoulders of the cat. If the chip has moved to another location the feeder sometimes has trouble sensing it. This is a common occurrence in older cats. Luckily you can use the included RFID tag to fix this.

Another interesting con lies within the chip reading function. It goes like this:

  • A “privileged cat” opens the door and starts eating.
  • A bandit cat pushes the privileged cat out of the way.
  • The privileged cat leaves.
  • The door does not close and the bandit cat continues eating.

If you have a clever bandit cat they might be quick to figure this out.

SureFeed Microchip Pet Feeder with Hub – Wifi Link and App Controlled

We aren’t trying to pull a fast one here. This is almost the same feeder that we just mentioned. However, there is a feature on this model that warrants its own review.

All of the pros and cons listed with the SureFlap Feeder also apply to the SureFeed Feeder.

The difference is that the SureFeed Feeder connects to a wifi hub. This allows you to track information about your pets’ eating habits.

The app tells you quite a bit of information.

  • The feeder has a built in scale that helps you measure precise portions (=/- 1 gram)
  • Keeps track of when the last feeding was. This helps answer the question “Did you feed the cat yet?”
  • When your cat eats and how much they ate each time.
  • If they ate wet or dry food (if the spilt bowl is being used)

Swoooooooooon! I really do love technology!

However, there are special cons related with this model.

First, the price is on the higher end of the scale. This might make you consider if you really need these options.

As an option you can purchase the SureFeed Microchip Pet Feeder with or without the hub.

This is nice if you want to try the feeder out and then purchase the hub to upgrade later.

Some have reported that the distance the hub can be away from the feeder is limited. This can be problematic if you have multiple feeders in different locations around the house. But this might not be an issue for some pet owners. And luckily, the hub has cute little cats ears on it. You won’t mind this hub being in view.

Finally, we will bring up again that this is battery powered only. With extra features and heavy use you might find battery life becoming an additional cost factor.

OurPets Smartlink Intelligent Pet Care Selective Feeder

As we said earlier, there are few RFID selective feeders on the market. Since there are not many we have decided to include OurPets Smartlink on our list. We know that you will come across this in your search and we need to inform you.

Make sure to read the WARNING below before purchasing.

The design is very simple. We like simple. There is a bowl, a container with a lid that holds the bowl, and a bluetooth collar sensor. Note that this feeder will NOT work with vet implanted chips.

This feeder can work on batteries or an AC plug. This offers a solution to having to change out batteries. However, you must purchase the ac adapter separately.

Now the cons. Many people have reported that the bluetooth collar sensor has a short battery life. Reports have varied from a week to half a day. This will increase the cost over time.

People have also reported the bowl randomly opening with no pet present. This can allow other pets access to the food. It will also drain battery life of the feeder if you are running it on batteries.

Warning!

The app that powers this feeder is no longer supported by the company and they have shut down the app.

Some have reported that you cannot connect the bluetooth fob without the app. We did not get our hands on one of these to confirm this. In the manufacturers instructions it appears that you can connect the bluetooth fob by holding down the OPEN/CLOSE button with the fob next to it.

The instructions also say to do this after you register your fob on the app.

If the reports are true, the product will not serve its purpose at all.

Additionally, the company has discontinued the Intelligent Pet Care line.

Getting support for this product could be very challenging.

This is low on the budget scale, but for good reason. Understand what you are getting into before purchasing this product.

PortionPro Rx Pet Feeder

A cat eating out of a PortionPro Rx Pet Feeder.

The PortionPro Rx Pet Feeder uses a very unique system that addresses many cons in other models.

The PortionPro has RFID tags on all pets in the house. One pet would have an “allowed” tag, all others would have “forbidden” tags. These you program yourself.

When an allowed cat is within 2 feet of the feeder the door will open. This is much longer than other models.

If a forbidden cat approaches the door then shuts. Once the forbidden cat leaves the door will open again.

There is also an “always open” setting that will instead close the door if a forbidden cat approaches. This is a great option for skittish cats that might be afraid of the sound of the door opening. It also allows you to work the feeder with only one RFID sensor.

The feeder holds over 30 cups of dry food. This food is dispensed throughout the day in quantities that you set. This prevents an allowed cat from gorging and getting sick.

Many have found the programming to be easy. This is all done at the feeder. You do not have to worry about cell phone apps becoming updated.

This model is powered with an AC cord. However, in the event of a power outage it has a battery backup that saves your settings. This means you don’t have to reprogram the feeder.

But it is not all rainbows and unicorns.

The RFID tags are Active RFID tags. Without going into too much technical jargon, this means that the tags are constantly sending out a signal. This feature is what allows such long range detection by the feeder.

The cost of this is that the tag is a bit bulky. Tiny cats might find this uncomfortable. Using the tags on the “forbidden cat” instead might clear this hurdle for you.

Another thing about Active RFID tags is that they have a battery. The tags last about 10 – 12 months and then you will have to order another. This does add to cost. Some more savvy cat owners opened the tag and successfully replaced the internal battery. If using a soldering iron is not in your wheelhouse, we recommend just buying another tag.

PortionPro has also been reported to be louder than other designs. But as we said earlier, changing the mode from “always closed” to “always open” can possibly work around this.

We found the PortionPro Rx Pet Feeder to be an interesting design. If you are looking for functionality options this will give you plenty of room to play with. We feel that this is a well thought out system and will be looking forward to what they come up with in the future.

Wireless Whiskers AutoDiet Feeder

The Wireless Whiskers AutoDiet Feeder works a little differently than the other models. The first 1 – 3 days it runs in calibration mode. Here it tracks how much your cat eats over a length of time. It then saves this information and sets it as “100%”.

After that you can limit your cat from eating simply by decreasing the percentage of what they normally eat. This is helpful for people that have trouble measuring out their cat food.

What we did not like about Wireless Whiskers is the way it measures your cat’s eating habits. It does not measure the food eaten. It measures the time the door remains open. So if your cat is standing by the feeder but not eating it will still be counted toward your cat’s food intake for the day. This can leave your cats hungry.

It can also allow bandit cats to eat while the doors are open for a permitted cat.

The interface also did not look very user friendly. There is a 20 minute video guide to help you understand the programming. This seems like a long video to just be programming a cat feeder.

Our Choice

The PortionPro Rx Pet Feeder is our overall choice.

A cat and dog sitting in front of a  PortionPro Rx Pet Feeder.

Blocking Power – It prevents other cats from eating using “forbidden” tags.

Ease of Maintenance – Removable parts for easy cleaning.

Power Source – AC powered with battery backup in case of a power outage.

Durability – Feeder is also rated for small dogs. Built with a wide base and rubberized footing to prevent knock over.

Reliability – Using Active RFID technology allows better detection by sensors.

We also like the SureFeed Microchip Pet Feeder. We would buy the one that could connect with the hub but does not have it included. We recommend you wait to see if you like the app functionality over the long term before actually buying the hub.  This would be a better choice for you if you need a feeder for wet food. The PortionPro currently only has a dry food model.

We hope in the future manufacturers will come out with new microchip selective feeders with even more features. When they do we will be certain to let you know.

featured image attributed to Giraldillo. Source: Own work. Date: 30 March 2016, 13:13:51. Description: English: RFID (chip) controlled pet feeder. Click here for link.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on email
Share on print