The Automatic Feeder: Is It Love, or Is It Feline Obsession?


Tick Tock Tick Tock Tick Tock … Here we go again with the ominous ticking. I sure can’t hear it, but you know it’s happening because my cat James’ ears jump to the rhythm of the beat. The mysterious sound emanates from the timer in his fabulous automatic feeder (or KibCat), the one that has substituted mommy in all things food. No more getting up at 5 a.m. to feed the kitty. Now the machine wakes up and serves breakfast while we humans catch a few more Z’s before starting our day. Working late? Dinner invite? Poor cat will be starving ’til we get back! Not anymore. The machine will take care of that.

As wonderful as it is, a yang must have a yin. In this case, it’s the obsessive relationship James has developed with the electrical device.

Don’t let that sumg look fool you. He is one obsessed cat.

Is it mutual? I think KibCat plays hard-to-get and it’s working. You want proof? My usually chill feline is now possessed and won’t stop looking at the damn thing. All. Day. Long.

Exactly 2 hours before feeding time, he takes his usual post in front of the thing and works on his insane routine, convinced that his mind trick will work: Look at the machine / Look at the timer / Look at the bowl / Look at the machine / Look at the timer / Look at the bowl …


This goes on until of course the machine blinks, setting off the alarm and releasing the goods. You’d think it would satisfy James, but obsessions don’t work that way. That is why right after eating he will sit another hour hoping that his new BFF will feel bad and release a few more kibbles. (Dessert, perhaps?)

After-breakfast nap. Regaining strength for the next stare down.
After-breakfast nap. Regaining strength for the next stare down.

Has the invention changed James’ relationship with us? Well, we are no longer the providers of food, so the “Your cat likes you because you feed him” myth is busted. That said, the feeder has opened the possibility of machines taking care of kitties that freaks me out in a very Matrix-y way. The new device has given James his tiger confidence back in order to fight for his daily sustenance; but after the food has settled he is still the same lovey-dovey cat that melts in your bed and starts napping … while you are still sleeping.

Do you have a machine-obsessed kitty? Tell us in the comments.

About Glorimar Anibarro: A proud Puerto Rican now living in Southern California who traded a career in advertising for a new adventure as bilingual cat writer, sharing her knowledge of kitties in Spanish as the Gato Expert for en Español and Siempre Mujer Magazine and in English for Catster, among others. She has also mixed her love of paper dolls and graphic design to write, design, and illustrate the adventures of Gato Avocado, the two-dimensional cat living in a three-dimensional world.

2 thoughts on “The Automatic Feeder: Is It Love, or Is It Feline Obsession?”

  1. My overweight cat has an automated feeder. The skinny cat has a Surefeed which just opens with a microchip but keeps fat cat out. My skinny cat absolutely knows I put food in it, and still after months will try to herd me to the dish because she wants me to sit with her while she eats, despite the fact I don't do this. But incidentally she thinks it worked if I happen to be leaving because I have to walk by it. The fat cat knows we fill it too, and will come yowl at us and then go beat the auto feeder to death. All. Day. Long. She sits there and rocks it so it goes, "thud thud thud." All day. All night. And unfortunately if she beats it hard enough, sometimes a kibble that was stuck will fall out of the chute, so she thinks it works. And when it doesn't, she yowls. The vet has checked her out, and she just really likes being a chonk. It's driving me insane.

  2. We used to feed our little Lucifer 3 times a day. Morning, dinner, second dinner (just before bed). Over time, she would beg for food earlier and earlier, until 8 am ultimately became 4 am.
    We got an automatic feeder almost a month ago for our little Lucifer. While it has helped us regain a few extra hours of uninterrupted sleep in the morning and allowed us to feed her controlled portions throughout the day.
    She now spends hours a day sitting next to the feeder. Staring. Waiting. An hour before her feed, she comes over and waits. and waits. Feed time hits, she inhales, and then waits. and waits. If we walk by, she meows as if we didn’t just watch her eat.

    She’s still very affectionate, but she’s obsessed now. We still play with her, but if she’s currently waiting by the feeder, nothing else interests her.

    I will continue to monitor this behavior. Hopefully she adjusts and it becomes a part of life, otherwise we’ll have to cut back on this!

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