With five cats in the house and one of them on a limited ingredient diet, mealtimes involve multiple feeding areas, closed doors and close supervision. While looking for a solution to our mealtime woes, I kept coming back to the SureFeed Microchip Pet Feeder.
I reached out to Sure PetCare, a company I’ve featured before on the blog, and asked if they’d like to work with Three Chatty Cats on a review of their microchip feeder. Much to my delight, Sure PetCare sent us five pet feeders for free in exchange for our honest review. All opinions stated here are our own. Three Chatty Cats only shares information we feel would be relevant to our readers. (There are no affiliate links in this blog post.)
What is the SureFeed Microchip Pet Feeder?
Put simply, it’s a sealed pet feeder that only opens for whichever microchip it’s paired with. Depending on your household’s needs, you can pair one pet or multiple pets to a single feeder.
Highlights of the SureFeed Microchip Pet Feeder
No stealing food between pets. If one cat is on a prescription or special diet (like Sophie), the feeder ensures that that cat won’t eat another pet’s food.
Here’s a video of Woodrow learning that only his feeder will open for him.
The feeder is also great for multi-species homes.
Sealed dish keeps food fresh longer. The lid on the pet feeder closes while your pet is not eating, ensuring that the food stays fresh longer. This is nice for cats who graze or like to nibble here and there.
Portion control. If you have an overweight cat or one who really likes to eat, the pet feeder will ensure they only eat the amount they’re supposed to.
According to the Sure PetCare website, here are some of the feeder’s other features:
- Compatible with all identification microchips worldwide & SureFlap RFID collar tags.
- One SureFlap RFID collar tag included with each feeder.
- Suitable for both wet and dry food.
- 6 months of battery life (4 x C cell batteries, not included). A low battery indicator will flash when the batteries need changing.
- Colorful bowls and mats available to purchase separately (1 gray bowl, 1 gray split bowl, 1 gray mat included with each feeder).
- Stores up to 32 pet identities in memory. Remembers all registered pets even when the batteries are removed.
- 3-year warranty.
Pairing the Feeder
Pairing each cat with their designated feeder was easy-peasy! However, the speed of pairing depends on the cat’s microchip placement. For example, Olive’s feeder took about 25 seconds to pair. I did her pairing first and thought that length of time might be normal. I figured out later that her chip has shifted from its original placement (more on that later).
For all of the other cats, though, the feeder paired within seconds. Here’s a video of Dexter’s feeder pairing. The blinking green light means that it’s in pairing mode. The solid green light means it has been paired. It takes about 5 seconds to pair for him.
Check out Harley’s pairing. His feeder pairs so quickly, if you blink, you’ll miss it!
Note that I placed treats in each feeder for the pairing sessions. These two videos are the first time that either cat saw the feeder. You can see that Harley is a tad cautious, but he decides that treats are more important than caution. #priorities
Using the SureFeed Microchip Pet Feeder
We’ve been using the pet feeders for over a month now. The feeder comes with instructions on how to train your cat to use the feeder over time. Some cats may be skittish around the moving lid. While Dexter is a tad on the skittish side in general, he adapted to using the feeder just fine.
I fed the cats from the feeders with the lids open for several days – with no movement. Later in the week when I closed the lids (I skipped the recommended training of closing them bit by bit over time), all of the cats were fine with the movement. However, Olive experienced some difficulty with getting her feeder to open, which I explain below.
We encountered two areas of concern while using the feeders.
Concern #1: Microchip Has Moved
What if my pet’s microchip has moved? As mentioned above with Olive, it took her feeder longer to pair than the others. I also discovered it’s slower to open when she approaches the feeder. It’s clear that her microchip has moved (it’s been over eight years since it has been inserted). At her next vet visit, I’ll ask them to tell me exactly where it is, but I have a feeling it’s actually pretty far down her back.
Note that each feeder comes with an RFID tag in case your pet isn’t microchipped (or like Olive, the chip has moved). However, Olive is adamantly opposed to wearing a collar, so using the RFID tag on a collar is out of the question.
I called Sure PetCare customer service, and they were very helpful and friendly. While on the phone, the representative had me press some buttons and do some testing. The feeder responded as expected, but the representative offered to send out a range test kit to ensure the feeder was working properly. I received the kit and the feeder is operating correctly.
While it does take Olive’s feeder longer to recognize her chip, she’s still able to use it just fine. Her feeder takes anywhere from 1 to 5 seconds to open, depending on how she’s standing. But she always eats all of her food throughout the day, so I don’t see it being a problem in the long run.
Concern #2: Sneaky Cats Sneak Food
A repeated complaint in the feeder’s online reviews is that there is no back to the feeder. So, if a cat figures it out, they can eat from the back of the unit while the “paired” cat eats from the front (as long as the paired cat stays put to keep the lid triggered to stay open). The company’s response is to place the unit against a wall. Even with this complaint among some users, the feeder still has a 4.5 out of 5-star rating on Amazon.
In response to the no-back issue, Sure PetCare developed a clear cover that easily snaps onto the unit. However, the cover doesn’t automatically come with the feeder and costs extra (another complaint in the online reviews).
Of course, Sophie figured out how to co-eat with her pal Dexter, so I invested in the covers. And I actually like the look of them on the pet feeders. I purchased them on Amazon for $16.80 each. I see they are now $19.99 – I’m not sure why the jump in price in less than a month. My guess is it has to do with how many are in stock at the time of ordering. Here’s the feeder with the cover.
SureFeed Microchip Pet Feeder Accessories
Speaking of the clear cover, let’s talk about the other accessories. The feeders come with one single bowl, one split bowl and one feeding mat – all gray. I purchased a pink set for Sophie. Even though I labeled each feeder with their names, I figured a different colored dish would help our cat sitter in the future. And just for fun, I also purchased the blue set. It comes in green as well. They also offer a stainless steel bowl set (no mat included).
Cleaning the Feeder
The pet feeder is easy to clean – just remove the mat to clean off any spilled food and wipe down the inside of the feeder with a damp cloth. Obviously, the bowls are removable and they should be washed by hand. The lid of the feeder pops out easily for cleaning. See how quick and easy it is in this video! (Assistant credit: Woodrow)
Even with the two concerns listed above, I love the SureFeed Microchip Pet Feeder! And more importantly, the cats eat from them just fine. I’ve definitely found a solution to our previous mealtime woes. All five cats eat in the same room now and there are no closed doors or supervision required. Each cat also knows which feeder is theirs, although I do see Sophie sniffing around to see if she can get into anyone else’s food. Denied!
And as the pet parent, I really like that I can tell exactly how much food each cat has eaten.
Purchasing and Discount Code
The feeder is not inexpensive. Each feeder costs $149.99 (USD). But Sure PetCare has been kind enough to offer readers 20% off of their SureFeed Microchip Pet Feeder! Enter discount code chattycats20 at checkout. Code valid until December 31, 2019.
Order at surepetcare.com
Valid until December 31, 2019
Any questions? Ask away and I’ll answer them in the comments! What do you think? Would your cat eat from one of these feeders?
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47 thoughts on “SureFeed Microchip Pet Feeder Review”
I like this idea a lot… but I wonder what would happen here if we had one… ;O)))
A pricey but super easy way to handle portion control, special diets, and “piggy eaters” (those who push their siblings out of the way so THEY can hog their food!). Actually, considering the technology involved, it probably isn’t really pricey….it’s the answer to a lot of problems in multiple cat households for sure. Thanks for the review!
Ellie eventually got used to our fountain, but Bear did not – he would only drink from it when it was off (the sound bothered him). That’s the closest experience we’ve had with something like this. I’m glad they offer stainless steel bowls because Bear gets acne.
Very interesting. Thank you for your review.
I sure could have used these when I had Hazel (my Hoover cat). I have one cat who is finicky and doesn’t always eat when I put the food down. I have to be vigilant or my newly adopted Hoover cat (why do I always have one who eats everything that isn’t nailed down?) will clean it up. She is an old cat and isn’t microchipped. She also does not wear a collar. Food for thought though. I have a vet visit for her today and I’ll discuss. Thanks. This was a really great review.
I could use outdoor versions, for The ‘O’ Cats! The PO’M will eat, eat, eat!
However, I like this idea very much, and will play your videos for The Hubby, who will scoff and say that we don’t need to bother, but he forgets how much time he spends daily, managing food bowls!
An excellent review of the product, and with such darling helper cats, how could you go wrong?
P.S. Is there a side pocket, so Sophie can store her purse?
Granny remembers those feeders when she was catsitting three kitties and one had diabetes, the other had different food for her stomach and one was healthy. So far so good, but the one with diabetes also found out how to eat the food of the other two, just like you, Sophie😹Thank cat since they knew, they kept an eye on them all while eating. Pawkisses for a Happy meal🐾😽💞
Excellent review ! If needed, we would use that kind of feeder. Purrs
Very thorough review and great videos! Quite a lot of engineering went into these to get them perfected and ready for mass production.
Cool!! A great review.
That is such an interesting product and we like how it works. We have 2 that haven’t been chipped yet so they would be outta luck MOL!
they offer a collar tag for cats who aren’t chipped (though I know most not chipped are also not collared, it’s an option)
Those are so cool. We could’ve used them when we had Sammy and Moosey. They would try to eat each other’s “snacks” all the time!
This feeder really comes in handy for feeding cats with differing diets. Thanks for the review!
We tried 2 feeders years ago that were of different construction with lids that were more secure. Rumpy destroyed them both in 2 days. I would be cautious if you have a large cat who is aggressive about food. I still like these and the concept of using chips is wonderful
I love the different colors. I wonder if something like that would keep the skunks out of the outdoor cats’ food.
If a kitty has triggered it’s bowl, another squeezes in from the front to eat, and the correct kitty is pushed out… is there any fear the 2nd kitty will get trapped by the closing feeder? or will they be able to keep eating? or does it move at just the right speed to encourage them to leave?
Good question! No, the 2nd kitty won’t get trapped. Also, there are three levels of speed to close the lid. So if you have a sneaky kitty, you can have the lid set at its fastest closing speed. It comes set at the middle speed. You’d use the slowest speed for a very skittish cat. And by speed, I mean how quickly (in time) it closes — not that the lid slams shut. The lid itself moves at the same speed for all three settings. I guess I mean to say the delay at which it closes.
Brilliant review. I have very recently purchased two of these feeders and whilst delighted with the overall setting up and performance, I have encountered the same problem with a shifted microchip in one of my cats. Your description of how Olive is dealing with the delayed action of the lid was very reassuring. I did in fact speak with the company this morning and they suggested putting the feeder into extended mode in order for it to read a possible low frequency chip. That didn’t work. I came to the conclusion that Jessie’s chip has shifted and have since tilted the feeder very slightly on the left side and it seems to have done the trick, so far!
That’s interesting to learn about the tilting trick! If the feeder acts up for Olive in the future, I will have to remember that. Thank you!
Hi, I’m having trouble with both of my cats chips registering. We did the extended mode. They’re sending me a testing kit, but I suspect their chips moved. How did you decide on tilting it to the left, and by how much? And what did you use! Thanks, sorry, I’m desperate for this to work!
Hi. Eva. In response to your question about tilting the feeder. It was a trial and error thing and only tilted by a small amount, about a quarter of an inch, by putting folded cardboard under the left side. However, this idea was short lived because the feeder on occasions still didn’t open. I resorted to putting a cat collar on my cat so that I could attach the Sure Petcare collar tag, provided with the feeder. Doing this worked well and my cat didn’t object at all to wearing a collar or the tag. All is well and my cat can feed whenever it pleases her. I hope this is helpful to you.
Thanks for responding! I’m so frustrated I’m willing to try anything. My cats definitely object to collars unfortunately. I’m worried that I’m going to have to rechip them both to get this to work.
How do you put it into extended mode? I have a cat who’s chip has slipped too and sometimes I feel sad for him when it won’t open right away (or at all till he comes out and goes back in as he just lays there with his head on the shut bowl) I’ve tried Googling but can’t find it
Hi, Donna. Further to your query about putting the SureFeeder into extended mode. It is quite some time since my cat had the same experience with the feeder not reading her chip. After speaking with Sure Petcare, they suggested putting the feeder into extended mode and explained how to do it. That didn’t work either, so I decided to put a collar on my cat with the tag provided with the feeder. That worked very well and continues to be readily accepted by my cat. I can only suggest that you contact Sure Petcare. You can find their contact details in the feeder manual it on their website. I hope this is helpful to you.
To do extended mode, first move the speed switch on the bottom of the feeder to 1. Then turn it right side up and hold down the training mode and add a pet bottoms down at the same time for at least 10 seconds until the light turns red. Then immediately press the main/open button. If you think you did it too slow try again.
It didn’t help me, I’m waiting for a diagnostic kit. Hope it helps! I might have to rechip both of my cats. I think it would be less stressful for them than having to wear a collar.
That was really helpful! I’ll probs end up buying two of them. So helpful to read real-life reviews!
Where did you get the name stickers with the cats’ names on them? They are so cool! Are they waterproof? Thanks!
I’m glad you found the review helpful! You can get the letter stickers at an art store like Michael’s. I think I actually found these ones at Tuesday Morning years ago. They aren’t really waterproof, but they hold up okay to being wiped down with a wet paper towel or cleaning wipe. I completely remove the clear cover and lids and wash them in soapy water. But the base unit, I just wipe down every so often with a damp cloth.
I love the names you added to the top. If I may ask, how did you do that?
They’re letter stickers that I got at an art store (for journaling or crafting) They’re not waterproof, but they’ve held up well when I wipe down the outside of the unit with a damp cloth.
Love the article, I actually came across it when looking for name stickers (I’ve now found some). Something you might want to add is, if left unlocked the lid can be removed by a determined cat and they can then eat out of any bowl (my Bengal does not appreciate she is not allowed the expensive prescription food, and is very determined! lol). It actually took me 6 months to realise the slide at the top was a lock to keep the lid on, even with the picture of a lock on it!
Haha, I had the same confusion with the lock at first! I thought it might mean to lock the lid from opening! :-)
I also have 5 of these but had to pay for them. One of my cats decided to spray on the others feeders. If your cat does this you must dismantle them immediately (and i mean screwdriver to take case apart) and clean them out. Two of mine now have damaged circuit boards. Surepet DO NOT supply parts. If it stops working you must buy a new one. I am sure most cats wont do this but i bet im not the first.
Oh no! I bet that was no fun cleaning up. Good to know about them not supplying replacement parts. Thank you for sharing that information!
This post is very informative about microchip pet feeder. Thanks for sharing this with us.
Thanks for a great review. I was actually just trying to find typical battery life (which I found). Lots of other tips in your review appreciated. I know the manual says not suitable for rechargeable batteries, but I’m wondering if anyone has tried.
Hi Charlie, I did a quick search on rechargeable batteries, and I couldn’t really find anyone who said they’ve used them. Just lots of posts saying not to. If you email the company, I’m sure they will tell you why they advise against it. They were pretty helpful when I needed to contact them.
Do you know is the microchip that comes with the feeder waterproof? Our cats tags hang in their water bowls a bit when they drink.
I don’t know if it’s waterproof, but it’s plastic. My guess is that it would be fine if it got wet.
Does not work. The cats are still eating NEXT to each other. When the legal cat walks away and the illegal cat stays eating, the lid stays open for the illegal cat! Called a lot of times with Surefeed but no solution. They let me program the intruder mode, but with no results. I tried it 10 times, also with resets in between, but it does not work.
Even after receiving 2 new feeders….same problem.
I have to send them back and have no solution for my diet cat. I work fulltime and can’t leave food for them when I am gone.
I also can’t wait till they finished eating before I leave the house and in the evening, because my cats eat in steps so just a little bit…after 5 minutes a little bit again etc.
Yesterday I have seen that one of the lids stayed open all night! So the diet cat ate all of the other cats food again!
He needs an urgent operation what can be done after 2 months kidney diet or else he will die because of the anesthesia. I have the feeders for one month now with all kinds of help, but everytime my diet cat has been eaten the normal food. Now we have to wait another 2 months :(
And like I said, I have no solution.
Sonya (The Netherlands)
Hi Sonya, I’m sorry they didn’t work out for you. Thank you for sharing your experience.
My senior cat, Matilda, eats from a raised bowl but we just got a new cat and need to keep this cat out of Matilda’s food. It doesn’t look like this feeder can be raised and still usable. Is that accurate?
Hi Jessica, I don’t think it would work to raise it somehow. But if you haven’t already, it might be worth contacting their customer support to see if they have any suggestions. When I contacted them for something else, they were very helpful. Good luck!
Great review, and I agree! How did you label the feeders? I have 2 and if I’m not careful I can’t differentiate between them
Ha! Didn’t realize there were comments and saw your previous response. Thanks for the idea!
I hope you’re able to find something similar for your feeders! The letters I used have held up very well, even after all of the wipe downs during cleanings.