January 2016 | Helen
You don’t need to be ‘Mad Cat Lady’ to treat your pets like your children, so somehow, leaving them to fend for themselves all day, or for an entire weekend, feels wrong. Yeah, there have been pet feeders on the market for ages that offer timed food delivery, but as usual, technology is taking these gadgets to the next level. A smart pet feeder also offers a camera and wifi connection that allow you to see Mrs Meowington and Mr McWoof when they approach the feeder and in some cases, even speak to them, all via your mobile.
But which smart pet feeder made it into The Wifi Pad?
Why we bought the Feed and Go:
✓ Purrrfect for keeping tabs on your pets from anywhere
✓ Good design means it won’t get knocked over or raided ahead of schedule
✓ Offers a great alternative to timer-style feeders
✓ Delivers up to 6 feeds on any schedule
✓ For us there is no other choice for The Wifi Pad
✓ Price at time of writing – £176 (Amazon)
Why did the Feed and Go tick our boxes?
Ever wondered what your pets get up to when you are out of the house? Like the idea of being able to say a quick hello so they know you are still around (yes it’s a little crazy…but we tend to be more than a little crazy about our pets). Or maybe you are less loopy and more functional when it comes to Rover or Fluffy and just need a reliable way to feed and check on them when you are away for more than a few hours.
If this is you, look no further. The Feed and Go Smart Pet Feeder is a feeding system that comprises of an automated bowl that rotates between six trays based on a programmed schedule. The system comes with a web cam that links up to the user’s computer and voice recording so that the user can be there with his furry friend even if they are not physically in the room.
Functionality – what can it do? Does it cover the basics well and give you any notable extras?The Feed and Go can be programmed via your wifi connection, through which it lets the user program a set schedule, set up a link to the device’s webcam, and program recorded voice messages, all on their phone, tablet, or desktop – and we have to say, we’re intrigued about what messages people might leave for their pets! “Don’t eat too fast Fluffle-Puff…you’ll give yourself moggy indigestion!”
There are three feeding settings: one-off feeding, where the user can instantly log in and open one of the trays with the touch of a button, one-time feeding, which is pre-scheduled, but will not repeat, and scheduled feeding, which repeats after each feeding.
This is a good quality feeder. There are locking mechanisms between each tray so the pet will not be able to open the feeder – which should reassure owners of especially greedy pets that they won’t be able to break and enter the other trays to get second/third/fourth helpings! Plus, the low, sleek, aerodynamic positioning of the feeder also means it can’t get knocked over.
Connectivity - is it compatible with Apple and Android? Does it use a wifi or Bluetooth connection? How reliable is the connection?The device connects to your wifi router so you can connect to the feeder with your smart phone, or via a Windows desktop. The system does not have an app, which makes it a little less convenient than it could be, however you can control it easily through your account at the Feed and Go website (www.feedandgo.com).
So, as long as you have an internet connection you can dish up Moggy’s grub anytime, anyplace.
There is however, one issue with this otherwise brilliant smart pet feeder. It doesn’t have a backup battery, meaning a prolonged power cut will leave the device unable to react to the schedule you have programmed for it. So if you live somewhere where that is a regular, and prolonged, issue this may not be the best bet for you.
Does it look good? - as this may well be located somewhere visible in your home, it needs to look good, but does it?The device is quite chunky to ensure that your pets will not clumsily knock it over as they chow down, but in spite of this it still maintains a sleek outline and aerodynamic shape, and looks good. Aside from the exposed tray, the lid and the rest of the exterior are a glossy white, and the buttons complement, rather than interfere with, the aesthetic. In short this is not going to be an ugly addition to your kitchen floor.
Though, of course, the look of the device is also dependent on how regularly you clean it. Those pets can be messy eaters.
Value for money – is this product a positive steal or a purchase to make your eyes water?Clocking in at £179.95 on amazon.co.uk at the time of writing, the Feed and Go feeder is one of the more expensive pet feeders on the market, however, it does come with smart capabilities, such as a web-cam, that the others (at this point) lack.
So ultimately the value for money depends entirely on how important it is to you to be able to see your pets when you aren’t home, and to have a device that allows you to feed them on a flexible schedule, even when you are away. It’s worth bearing in mind that this is the first product of its kind in the UK. As more products enter the market and the second generation of smart pet feeders appears, it is likely that the price will come down significantly.
The home foot spa test – Is this a genuinely useful product, or one that you will only use once before relegating them to the back of the cupboard?The Feed and Go Smart Pet Feeder is certainly a feature-rich, sleek device that eets the bill when it comes to feeding pets, and allows the user to be in full control remotely.
For anyone who is regularly away from their pets for more than a day, or who REALLY likes to check up on them during the day, then this is a great product.
For everyone else, it’s a case of sticking the pet food and a bowl and leaving your beloved Fluffikins to eat at its leisure, why complicate things?
What do others have to say about the Feed and Go?
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Videos about the Feed and Go pet feeder
Feed and Go official video
Feed and Go set up
Which other smart pet feeders did we check out?
Petnet Smart Feeder
NB: This is not yet available in the UK (US only)
App-controlled feeder that calculates precise portions according to age, weight, and fitness. Comes with a delivery service that replenishes stocks when needed. Cannot be managed without the internet, but at least it has an app. The connection can sometimes be flimsy and some loose kitty-snacks might get stuck, causing the device to jam.
Bistro Smart Cat Feeder
NB: In production, coming soon
Feeds based on facial recognition technology. There is a potential to feed cats based on certain facial patterns, thereby allowing the user a more hands off feel, but as it is in still in development, only time will tell if the technology is reliable. Also, only marketed towards cats.
Get Nibbles automatic pet feeder
NB: In production, coming soon
Very similar to Feed and Go, but comes with an app for Android and iOS and users can receive notifications for their pets. If there is a power outage, but the system does have a backup battery, but there is no access to the webcam.