2006-08-23 22:32 - General
I've got two cats. One of them is having trouble keeping her food down. As best I can tell, given the chance she will just eat, eat, eat until she can't hold any more. Then eat some more, and since she can't hold it at that point, up it goes!
More frequent, smaller, meals has helped her a bit. But since I sleep, work, or commute for so much of each day, it's not easy to really make that happen. At best, I really split it into two meals a day instead of one. Of course, I make them too big because I worry about them being too small. The obvious solution: technology!
They make many sorts of automatic pet feeders. Problem is, most of them are geared for people that plan on leaving a cat alone for 3, 5, 8 days and are set up to dish out one meal per day. I can do that, and it doesn't work for Brandy. After some searching, I found a model or two that might work. But they just seem too expensive. I could try building something myself. I'd enjoy it,, though I don't know if anything I make would hold up over time. And, I wouldn't be the first person to do so.
So I've got visions of machine designs dancing about in my head. I'm trying to imagine what I could actually build that would reliably dispense portions of a regular size at regular intervals. My first idea was based on a rotating wheel, either divided into pie slices or like a water wheel. Enclosed, openings at the top and at the bottom allow gravity to feed in and out, and a set rotation speed controls how often the portions come out. A friend had the idea of some sort of auger/screw which would allow more direct control via the duty cycle. In any case though, I might simply have to admit that I don't have the proper capacity to machine any appropriate material to the tolerances necessary. Only time will tell, but don't hold your breath.