Feed and Go automatic feeder – BUST

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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.

Feed and Go is NOT a member of the BBB, and all complaints are closed after company’s lack of response.

3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Elizabeth Female Schoeppner on December 24, 2018 at 11:26 am

    Have you found any new, good alternatives? I wish I was better at programming. I would create a dupe app to at least make the current feeders work better. Even if it is just a way to program feed times. I also bought two and I’m just now finding out that they went out of business. I have been using the same program for a year without real issue other than a tray sticking occasionally (and fixing itself at next program time). So I just hadn’t been paying attention to the company. I am livid but more than anything I need an alternative to feed my cats on a 6 tray schedule.

    Reply

    • Posted by Lala on December 24, 2018 at 12:54 pm

      Dismal hasn’t had any time to try to write anything to keep the feeders running, so we tried a different feeder and then he found a developer that wrote a code for them that we can’t publish.
      That makes me useful, right?
      Well the reason we even needed a code to test them was because we have more than 1 feeder and they had to sync. However, when we tried it, it turns out it’s a pain in the butt for -what- we are feeding.

      https://store.petsafe.net/smart-feed

      I am not promoting this for raw feeding, unless it’s commercial raw and the moisture content is less than what is in my homemade batch. Small Batch sliders or Nature’s Variety Instinct frozen medallions might work, but I only tested that for a day while I was between batches. When we use our mix, over the course of the day, the moisture leeches out of the servings and goes right to the bottom of the feeder… at least a quarter cup. The feeder runs preloaded portions up a conveyor belt and then drops them at the front into the bowl. We used food grade silicone to seal off anything questionable inside, and then tossed ice packs over the top before we snapped the lid on.

      Now, the feeder would surely work for dry food, and brags that you can use it with “semi-moist” foods, but our rabbit and turkey blend from Dr Pierson’s catinfo.org recipe, does not work out.

      The Catzenpup creator and I wrote back and forth for a bit, but they don’t have a way to sync two feeders https://www.catzenpup.com/

      We also used the Petsafe 5-Meal automatic feeder, and Dismal wired two together to a power supply, but I believe that again, the timing slips. https://store.petsafe.net/5-meal-timed-pet-feeder

      I’m hanging around the house again to feed these guys. I ended up being about an hour and forty five minutes late last week while out on some errands, but when I got back the boys hadn’t flipped any furniture or pooped on the stove, so it was all good.

      Reply

  2. Posted by AS on March 1, 2019 at 1:39 pm

    So sorry to read your post! I can completely empathize – feedandgo was a great product, and as you mentioned, i also noticed that in august the amount of stock available on amazon (and price) was reduced followed by resources available for customer service support, then their mobile app, and finally their entire website. I was so bummed!

    i, too, have two, male kitties – both allergic to any kind of dry food. i’ve been feeding them both wet food for the past 7 years (5, i think, using the feedandgo), which was a miracle product for me since wet food feeding is not very easy/convenient – esp when you sometimes get home later than you expected (i loved being able to use the app to do an instant, unplanned feed from work)!

    First – I applaud your efforts to reach out to other companies to ask/encourage them to make a similar product – or maybe even come up with a product yourself! My partner and I are still amazed by the lack of adequate internet-connected feeders on the market that can be used for wet food. There’s definitely demand(!), and I’m actually really surprised that no other competitors popped up over the years (well, none that i’m aware of). You were spot on when you said people would definitely pay good money to have their needs met for their felines! What’s going on?

    In the meantime, similar to you, I purchased a different automatic feeder (2 of them) after reading so many reviews. I ended up purchasing the Automatic Pet Feeder for Dogs & Cats | Dry & Wet Food – 5 Meals, 5 x 240ml feeder ($60) from TDYNASTY DESIGN. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01LRMBEN6/ref=cm_sw_r_oth_api_i_PrwECbXX39R40

    The unit comes with a DC adapter and also runs on C batteries (which i use as a back up in case of a power failure). Similar to you, but not as frequently, the feeders get out of sync (for example – one feeder might go off 30 seconds or a minute behind the other feeder because they’re not connected to the internet), which again, similar to you, can create chaos with my kitties (my older, bigger cat will eat the food in both units when there’s a delay!). HOWEVER, unlike you this happens to me about once every two weeks vs each day, and then I have to sync them again – I wonder if that’s because I use the DC adapter? I’m so sorry to read that you have syncing problems every day – how annoying!

    I love how creative you guys are with wiring the units to run off 1 power supply and timer – i really hope that works! If it doesn’t, maybe consider checking out the unit i mentioned above in the meantime. I’ve purchased two of them (I’ve had each unit for about 5 months now) and so far so no problems (besides being much less sophisticated design and tech-wise) than the feedandgo. similar to the feedandgo, though, i wouldn’t recommend leaving wet food in the tray longer than a day – esp with these cheaper ones as the seal is not nearly as good.

    The feeder has 5 slots, but they’re MUCH smaller, and more challenging to eat from. my cats happen to be very food motivated, so this hasn’t been a problem at all for me (they adapted real quick!) but while reading some of the reviews (mostly great) some folks mentioned that their cats had trouble getting their faces into the trays? Just thought I’d highlight this in case that information might be helpful for you.

    The trays are easy to clean, but unlike feedandgo, you can’t purchase additional trays (which is a bummer for me), so I actually ended up purchasing two more units so I’d have 2 sets of trays, which makes cleaning them out a little less urgent (I have an extra day), and i also have two backups now if something goes wrong with the current ones.

    i hope what i’ve shared is helpful, and I love to see your passion for innovation and taking good are of cats!

    Reply

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