I live alone. I have casual friends in the area, but all my close friends live nowhere near me. It's for this reason that I live in constant fear that I'm going to crash and die or be hospitalized, leaving my cats to starve and dehydrate because the friends who can do something about it may not find out about my predicament right away.
I have a water fountain, but also a water dispenser which can hold a full gallon to tide Jake and Jenny over until help is dispatched.
But food-wise I have these small auto-feeders which I never like to fill up very full because the food goes stale very quickly. There are "Desiccant Packets" you can buy to put in an interior holder that keeps the food fresher, but they wear out quickly and are expensive to replace.
Which is why I was excited to see a new kind of automated food dispenser being promoted that has an air pump which removes the air to keep the food fresh...
Look how huge that thing is!
This is the large capacity model, which means I could put in enough foood to last a month and it will always stay fresh! The units are huge, but they still fit on the kitty feeding station I built.
One small problem, however.
When the seal is broken to dispense the food there is a hissing noise. Then the food drops out into a metal bowl which makes a clanging noise. Then the air pump activates and makes a whirring noise (it's not loud, but it's frightening to my two scaredy-cats who are not used to it).
I am confident that they will get used to the noise... even welcome the noise because it means that it's feeding time... but for now? Terrorized by it. Though this morning Jake eventually came back to it, which is an improvement over the past couple days when I had to call them over and assure them they wouldn't die each time...
That video is sped up to 4× speed. As you can see, I can tempt them back to finish their breakfast now. Even Jenny, which used to be impossible.
There is a small problem for me, however. My old feeders used to allow dispensing as little as 1/20th of a cup. This new one only goes down to 10/12th of a cup. I used to dispense breakfast in two 1/20th feeding so there's no scarf and barfing. That's no longer possible. Which means they no longer get second breakfast. Which is probably a good thing since they both need to lose some weight. BUT DON'T TELL THEM THAT! They get upset when they wait for a second meal which never happens! They used to get .45 cups a day. I didn't want to go up to .50 cups, so now it's down to .42 cups a day. Oh well.
The app to run these PetLibro feeders is not great, showing me errors that make no sense because everything seems to be working. And while the actual scheduling of feedings is far easier with the PetLibro app, they don't tell you how much total food you're dishing out as you schedule like the PetKit app did. You either have to add it up by hand while you enter everything or wait until the end of the day to see how much total food was dispensed. This should be an easy fix, so I think I'll suggest it and see if I get anywhere.
My old PetKit feeders had internal clocks which tended to drift. Most times it's a small discrepancy. But every once in a while there's a long delay between Jake and Jenny have their food dispensed. This was madenning, because Jake is aggressive and will push Jenny out of the way if his food doesn't come out at the same time. Then his food will eventually dispense and he'll eat that as well. He gets double. Jenny gets nothing. The only way to resolve this is to adjust the feeding schedule so that the clock re-syncs. So while I was traveling, I log in and make tiny changes so that I know they will both get food since I'm not there to keep Jake from eating everything. So far, I'm not seeing this with the PetLibro feeders. They dispense at the same time every time. Hopefully it stays that way.
Despite how huge these things are, I'm glad I went with the large version because it will give me peace of mind when I'm traveling away from home. The cats could be fed for a long time, the food will always be fresh, and the timing is synced so they both get food. The only con is the sound. But eventually they will get used to the strange sounds (just like they did with the old feeders) so it's pretty much a better solution for me all around.
If you want to try these feeders, I'd advise you to wait for one of the many, many sales that PetLibro has throughout the year. I had a new sale start just a few days after previous sale I missed had ended. Their website is here.