Product Review: SureFeed Microchip Pet Feeder
Updated: Aug 29, 2019
So, a little background on my cats. Both of them have complex health needs, compared to your average cat. Bibble has a prescription diet, and if he eats any other type of cat food he will become life-threateningly ill within about 48 hours and require immediate advanced (and therefore expensive) veterinary care. Nugget has a number of food allergies, and so far we have only found one food which doesn't cause him to have vomiting and diarrhea. So, if Bibble eats Nugget's food he could die. If Nugget eats Bibble's food, he will vomit profusely and become very ill.
As you can imagine, feeding them with open bowls quickly became impossible as they would both become ill very quickly. I tried feeding them at different times, in separate rooms, and even removing the bowls as soon as they had finished eating. The first two options did little to prevent them eating each other's food, and the latter led to two very disappointed cats and wasted food. After a hefty vet bill of over £2,000, I began scouring the internet looking for tips on how to keep both of my babies healthy without wasting a fortune in prescription kibble, and eventually stumbled upon an answer.
Enter the SureFeed Microchip Pet Feeder , available on Amazon for £62.99. This genius little device is a sealed bowl with a microchip reader, which can be programmed to recognize up to 32 different pets. Once programmed, the feeder will only open for recognized pets, remaining sealed if unauthorised furry friends try to get to the food. I was a little put off by the hefty price tag, but the Amazon reviews were overwhelmingly positive and at this point it was a lot cheaper than having to pay another few thousand in vet fees when they became ill again. I decided to try it, and ordered two feeders straight away.
The feeders arrived quickly from Amazon, as they're eligible for One Day delivery for Amazon Prime members. In each box was a feeder, a mat and two bowl inserts, one with a divider and one without. There was also an instruction manual, which was easy to follow (and that's not something I say often!). Setup was easy; put 4 C batteries in the feeder, and then press a button to open and insert the bowl. Programming was simple too: simply press the "Add Pet" button and hold your cat under the reader for a moment. Once registered, the feeder will now only reopen when the registered pet puts their head under. I put the food in the bowl and closed the feeder. Sure enough, it worked a treat! Bibble's feeder opened as soon as he approached, and closed as he left. When Nugget wandered over for a sniff, the cover didn't budge. Excellent.
As with most things, Bibble took to the new feeder like a duck to water. Nugget was more timid, as usual, so I was able to take advantage of a nifty feature. At the push of a button, the feeder enters "Training Mode", where it remains partially open to allow the cat to smell the food, and moves slightly and slowly when approached to get the cat accustomed to the sound and motion. Further presses of the button will cycle through the stages of the training, each closing the door further and increasing the movement speed, until eventually the cat is using the feeder as normal. This worked a treat with Nugget, and within a couple of days he was eating from it happily.
The real test came leaving them unsupervised, but the feeder passed with flying colours. The cats tried every which way to get at each other's food, even battering the feeders with their paws, but they don't open, even when the batteries are low. If the batteries run out, the feeder remembers the registered pet, so when you replace the battery you don't need to re-register them to their feeders which is a very handy feature!
All in all, I am completely satisfied with my purchase. I have had the feeders for about 2 years now, and in that time there have been no issues of mistaken identity, and no food-related vet bills! The feeders are easy to use, effective, and also look really smart in my home. Plus, I have two happy and healthy babies who can each enjoy their meal in peace. I'm now eyeing up the latest model, which comes with connectivity that allows you to track your pet's eating habits and weigh out food, which would be perfect for two indoor cats who gain weight easily.
Many thanks for reading! Happy Cat Parenting!