Veterinarian-written / veterinarian-approved articles for your cat.

Automatic Devices for Fun Cat Care

Automatic cat care devices are fun and technological.

Are you a techie who likes to own all of the latest and greatest gadgets? If so, you'll want to know about these automatic cat care devices.

Water Fountains

Water fountains for cats keep water flowing through a filter at all times. Many cats drink more out of a running water source than they do out of a stagnant source because, in the wild, unmoving sources of water can be unhealthier than running sources.

Cats, known for being picky about things, also tend to find fountain water less objectionable because the filter removes odors and tastes that can be present in tap water. Getting more water into your cat is always a good thing because felines have a naturally low thirst drive. Wild cats get most of their water from eating prey, but many of our indoor house cats get dry kibble, and they need to drink more water than they are normally prone to do. Giving your cat a water fountain can increase their water intake.

Cats that don't drink enough water are at risk for developing or exacerbating many medical conditions including kidney disease and urinary tract problems. Water fountains can help reduce the risks of these conditions.

When you first introduce a water fountain to your cat's environment, leave the regular water source available until you are sure that your cat is reliably drinking from the fountain. It can take a few days or more for a cat to warm up to the idea of the fountain, and you don't want him to have no other source of water during that time. You can learn more here: "Should You Get Your Cat a Water Fountain?"

Automatic Pet Feeders

Sometimes you can't be home to feed your cat at exactly the time he is used to eating. Other times, he continually wants his breakfast before you're ready to get up in the morning. An automatic pet feeder can help relieve those situations. Not only that, but they can really help if you are trying to feed your cat less to help him lose weight.

Meal feeding is healthier for most cats than free choice feeding, where the food is left out all the time, but it can be hard to fit meals into a busy schedule. Automatic feeders can help alleviate that problem, too, allowing you to switch to meal feeding more easily.

Take a look at this feeder: Digital Two Meal Feeder, which allows for two meals to be "delivered" to your cat at two different times.

Automatic Toys

Interactive play is crucial for keeping your cat healthy and happy. Playing with wand toys and throwing catnip toys are great ways to mimic prey behavior and allow your cats to exercise their hunter instincts. Making a habit of playing in these ways with your cat daily can help decrease unwanted cat behaviors like inappropriate urination and unwanted scratching, which can sometimes be manifestations of feline boredom or stress.

Automatic cat toys are not a substitute for playing directly with your cat, but they can provide additional play time when you aren't around or can't play. Here are a few fun toys to consider:

Note: If you choose to use a laser toy to play with your cat, keep in mind that some cats can become obsessed with them. You can learn more about that, including how to avoid it, here: "Are Laser Pointers Good Cat Toys?"

Self-Cleaning Litter Boxes

If litter box cleaning is your least favorite chore, you might like a self-cleaning litter box like the Litter-Robot. Inappropriate urination in cats is often caused by a litter box that isn't kept cleaning enough for the cat's liking, and an automatic box can solve that problem.

However, some cats are afraid of these and may avoid them, so if you choose to try one, be sure to keep a regular litter box around for a while, until you're sure your cat is reliably using the automatic one. Learn more about litter box cleanliness here: "Tips for Good Litter Box Cleaning."

Automatic Deterrent Devices

Positive reinforcement is the best way to train your cat to do or not do certain things. For instance, if you want your cat to stay off of the counters, it's best to provide an alternative spot for him to get up high and to watch you cook and then praise him when he uses his spot. However, sometimes a mild deterrent can also help teach a cat his boundaries, but you don't necessarily want that deterrent to come from you. Rather, it should be a natural consequence that occurs when your cat approaches the forbidden spot, making it unpleasant and leading to him avoid the area.

If a deterrent is needed, you can use something like cans half-filled with coins and taped shut, perched on the edges of a counter or other off-limits area, that will fall and be alarming when a cat jumps up. You can also use something like a Scat Mat, which produces a tiny static pulse when a cat steps on it. This automatic deterrent removes you from the equation, so your cat isn't associating any negative consequences for an action with you.

You May Also Like These Articles:

Training Your Cat To Stay Off The Kitchen Counter

Dehydration in Cats: How Can You Tell If a Cat Is Dehydrated?

Kidney Disease in Cats

Should You Get Your Cat a Water Fountain?

Should Cats Be Fed Meals or Free Choice?

Understanding Cat Scratching

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