I’ve been thinking about writing this for awhile. Around the beginning of August, the CEO and his wife stopped answering requests for support. A few months earlier, they were dropping stock on Amazon for $99 a unit, down from the suggested $249. In August, they also removed their telephone number from their website. By the end of August, the product was no longer available on Amazon. By the end of August, my lovely mate Dismal decided to message the CEO on his LinkedIn account. Then Dismal was blocked.
There are a number of users that felt this was exactly the feeder they needed, and everyone is left high and dry. Some still had units in warranty, some have already had warranty claims over their time with the unit.
In a way, I got screwed. Dismal spent $500 purchasing two of these units in 2016. We had to replace the gear box on Tommy’s feeder in warranty. Stewart’s feeder never had 1 problem. In the last twelve months, Tom’s feeder kept going offline, so then I purchased one in April for $99. That unit was defective and when you would do the user request to advance by one feeding manually at the unit, the compartments would spin indefinitely, backwards. Huh. So I bought another one for $99 and returned the most recently purchased one.
Now Tommy’s feeder works fine, for being the third one he’s had, and yesterday morning…(sigh)… Stewart’s feeder required an exorcism and it just kept spinning and spinning compartments all on it’s own and wouldn’t stop until it was unplugged.
I waited a few minutes and plugged it back in. Holy mother it just kept spinning indefinitely. Unplug. Walk away. Call for help.
Who do you call for help when the manufacturer has ghosted everyone?
Dismal. My partner.
Hoping we could do a kludge, Tommy’s first defective unit was pulled out of storage and taken apart, as well as Stewart’s being taken apart, and we find that both boards are corroded in the exact same areas. The units weren’t sealed properly in manufacturing. This was the way they were designed.
Not one to be completely defeated, we have back up… sorta. We have two $60 Petsafe multi compartment auto feeders. The issue with these is that they run on D batteries. If you sync them at the beginning of the day, by the third feeding one of the feeders will slip, and go off on a delay that is just enough to create chaos with our two boys. Dismal has ordered the proper wiring to be delivered soon so that both units will run off 1 power supply and timer, instead of each unit independently, so the schedule will trigger at the exact same time.
That is if we don’t over stress the system by running two feeders to one power supply and they burn out.
Yesterday I had to start writing. I wrote the most eloquent letter I could to a major feline friendly company, asking were R&D were working on anything that I might be able to help with, that would fit this need. There is a proven niche by what happened with Feed and Go that cat Guardians like us exist, and will pay to have our needs met for our felines. They replied by the end of day about great ideas/suggestions, that nothing was in beta, but would forward it to the appropriate teams and then gave me a few products that they knew about that are already on the market, that have been working well for other Guardians around the company at their local office.
Still not exactly what I’m looking for. The product suggestions were a step above and beyond, and great customer service, but my boys get fed five times a day on a schedule, in sync, on a wet diet.
Then I was writing with another company that is actually a half hour from me, who has been working on a prototype, and we’ve been tossing around ideas and I’ve been getting more information on their feeder, trying to figure out if I can make it work for what we need.
I have checked Kickstarter again, and I need to scour through IndieGoGo. I spend about an hour a day on TheCatSite forums, either looking for more information or answering questions as I can. So many pet parents upset about the Feed and Go decline. If your feeder randomly goes offline, you don’t know that your pet didn’t get fed until you get back home. They had a system to notify you that the feeder had spun via text message or email, but that went down in July. Cats are missing their feedings for kidney food or medications, or parents were leaving home for the day to come back the next morning to very upset kitties.
I used to be just as thrilled as others when this was released and worked religiously. We were able to go to New York City for a day and see a Broadway show and get back at 4 in the morning and know the boys had been fed.
Right now I am feeding them 5 times a day in quiche dishes.