February 4th, 2013
DIY Automatic Wet Cat Food Feeder
Let's make an automatic wet cat food feeder.
This all seems pretty self-explanatory, but here are the instructions:
Measure the circumference of the back area of the automatic pet food feeder to see how big of a hole you need.
Now that you have a huge gaping hole in your mini fridge there is no turning back. Line the hole with the insulating waterproof tape.
In the Automated Pet Feeder setup instructions it says "DO NOT GET WET", and boy do they mean it. I can't stress this step enough. I didn't waterproof the electronics on my first try of this and the condensation that naturally occurs inside the fridge fried the electronics. Cut up the Ziplock bags so that you can cover all of the electronics with plastic and duct tape the edges around it.
Shove the automatic pet food feeder inside the fridge and you are good to go! You may need to open the door of the mini-fridge and slide the automatic pet food feeder through from inside to outside. TADAAAAAAAAAA you did it!
After 11 years of grazing on dry cat food, Matt innocently decided to blow Cat’s mind by introducing her to one of the best tastes in the world. After breakfast one morning Matt started a tradition of giving cat a taste of milk that is left over after he ate his Trader O’s (….That is exactly what you think it is). A resounding success! Cat liked it so much that she thought: “hay, why would I eat anything else ever?”.
So, she didn’t eat anything else unless it was this sacred mooched cereal milk for an entire week. After about 6 days of this cute Matt + Cat post breakfast interaction, she started waking us up in the middle of the night just completely JONESING for cereal milk. Later that day Matt finally realized that he was over his head and sent me an email:
We had to fix this. It didn't matter who started it. Yay marriage!
Cat got REALLY SICK from not eating anything else but her prized cerial milk. After 11 years of dry cat food I caved and got her on wet cat food to hopefully nurse her back to normal. It worked, but I had another problem: How to feed her every day? She had always had a large bowl of dry food out all of the time but wet food was gross and different.
I set out to purchase an “Automated wet food pet feeder”. I don’t know if you’ve looked lately but everything available is pretty much garbage, too expensive, or some combination of the two. However, there was a great automated pet feeder by PetSafe that looked promising. I got it, filled it up with her nasty wet food, and went on my way for the next 5 days. Our problem was solved! She got fed right on time at 5:30AM and we could get sleep... until day 4 when she didn’t eat all of her food. On day 5 I found out why: her food was molding at an alarming rate. This pet feeder wasn’t going to work for wet food. Foop.
[ The Brainstorm ]
Now that I understood why the PetSafe feeder didn’t mention that it could work for wet food, I needed to find a solution that could make it work. I acknowledge that mold on cat food was a thing I couldn’t physically stop….but I think I could delay it for at LEAST 5 days if I found a way to keep the food cold, right? My first guess was using a ton of ice packs on the automated cat food feeder.
This was a complete disaster. The ice packs melted on the floor and I had to change them at least every day. This wasn’t the “set it and forget it” system I wanted. I might as well just feed her every day myself if I had to keep babysitting these ice packs. Now, what do I know that can keep things cold with minimal effort on my part?
A FRIDGE. A FOOPING MINI-FRIDGE!
What if I cut a hole in a mini fridge door and shoved the back of the pet food feeder inside it so that the wet food could be kept cold while it was waiting to be dispensed??? I set out on Amazon to acquire a mini fridge that met few qualifications:
It didn't take long to get some push back from Matt: "THIS IS STUPID. WHY??". I really wanted to try this and he was the last person to judge me for buying some dumb stuff for a project. He is always getting dumb stuff for projects. He gets the weirdest things from Amazon to tear apart to see how it works, and this time it was MY TURN. MY. TURN. All of the electronics of a fridge are typically in the back, so all of the cutting shouldn't damage anything [crazy] dangerous.
The mini-fridge arrived 2 days later (thanks, Amazon Prime!) and I was ready to go. We took it over to our friend Peter's house so that he could cut the door with his fancy tools.
Fun fact: did you know that the door of a mini fridge is mostly styrofoam? Well, we found this out real quick..plan accordingly:
Anyway, after we assembled it everything was great!!!
Best of luck! If you make this project contact me and let me know what you think!!
You are welcome, internet.
"I made this site." -- Kaitlyn Hova