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Cat Mate C500 Automatic Pet Feeder Review

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Mallory Crusta / Cats.com

The Cat Mate C500 Automatic Pet Feeder is our top pick as far as automatic feeders go. Not all automatic feeders are created equal since some can only dispense dry food while others can handle wet food. With the Cat Mate C500 Automatic Pet Feeder, you get the best of both worlds.

We tested the Cat Mate C500 Automatic Pet Feeder over the course of several weeks with our two cats, and came up with some pros and cons. In this review, we will provide you with all the details about the Cat Mate C500 Automatic Pet Feeder and you can decide if it is a good choice for you and your cat.

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Why Should You Trust Us?

Cats.com has reviewed hundreds of cat products, including a range of pet tech and accessories like water fountains, toys, and feeders.

As one of the head product reviewers at Cats.com, I’ve personally tried dozens of these products with my two cats, Wessie and Forest. I’ve researched, pulled apart, cleaned, and tested feeders ranging from classics like the PetSafe Healthy Pet Simply Feed to high-tech units with microchip detection and built-in webcams.

Based on this background, I know what to look for in a good automatic feeder, which shortcomings are deal breakers, and which feeders are the best fit for different types of homes.

With all of that in mind, let’s jump into my review of the Cat Mate C500 Automatic Pet Feeder.

Mallory Crusta, our Head of Content, tested the Cat Mate C500 Automatic Pet Feeder in October of 2021, and I tested it myself this year. Check out Mallory’s in-depth video review of the Cat Mate C500 Automatic Pet Feeder on the Cats.com YouTube channel.

The Design

The Cat Mate C500 Automatic Pet Feeder can be used with any kind of cat food like wet, dry, and even treats

The Cat Mate C500 Automatic Pet Feeder is made of BPA-free plastic that is durable and has three stacking parts. There is a bottom piece that offers an LCD screen and the control panel, a rotating carousel food tray, and a cover that snaps securely on top.

The Cat Mate C500 Automatic Pet Feeder can be used with any kind of cat food like wet, dry, or even treats. You can program up to four different meal times, plus immediate feed, and choose the portion size for your cat. Each of the five large food compartments holds about 3/4 of a pound of food.

You can program up to four different meal times, one immediate feed, and choose the portion size for your cat. Mallory Crusta / Cats.com

What is also nice is this feeder also comes with twin ice packs to keep the food cold as well as a close-fitting lid to help keep it fresh. It is also easy to clean with a dishwasher-proof lid and tray.

Cat Mate C500 Automatic Pet Feeder came with an envelope containing a quick start guide, user manual, and some stickers.

How Does It Work?

Mallory Crusta / Cats.com

The Cat Mate C500 Automatic Pet Feeder has a three-button control panel that allows you to set four meal times in 10-minute intervals. It also distinguishes AM from PM. The feeder does require you add 3 AA batteries, which are not included. Leep in mind there is no outlet plug option with this feeder so you will want to keep batteries on hand.

There is a 5 compartment tray that spins on a cylinder and is driven by a motor at the base of the feeder. As previously mentioned, it has two ice pack compartments built in under the feeding area to add the included ice packs. This will keep food cold and fresh for approximately 12 hours to 1 day.

You can choose up to 4 different feeding times which can be programmed on the LCD display control panel. Once programmed, the feeding times will show on the display. The timer can be pre-set for up to 90 hours.

There have been some customer reviews stating the tray sometimes gets misaligned and if this happens you can press and hold both the ADJ/SET and UP ARROW buttons simultaneously for 5 seconds, and the unit will automatically align itself. Do not try to realign it manually, as this can damage the motor.

Overall Impressions

Wet food in one of the 5 trays. Mallory Crusta / Cats.com

We found the Cat Mate C500 Automatic Pet Feeder great especially if you don’t want your cat’s food just sitting around in a bowl. It’s great because it can be used with any type of food, allows you to choose portions for each tray compartment and you are able to program up to four meal times with a bonus immediate feed setting.

The included twin freeze packs are good at keeping wet food cool but they don’t stay cold for very long, but you can buy backup ice packs that are sold separately. Some customers use the ice packs from Rubbermaid for backup, because they fit perfectly in the compartment.

The fact this feeder’s parts can be placed in the dishwasher makes it very convenient. However, the base should only be wiped with a damp rag and never submerged in water.

The only complaint we really had about the Cat Mate C500 Automatic Cat Feeder is that sometimes food gets stuck in the corners of the tray sections, but it’s easy enough to clean.

Some customer reviews said the programming may be confusing at first while others mentioned there is no “battery low” indicator on the LED. This causes some cats to miss a meal but thankfully batteries seem to last up to 12 months before needing to be replaced.

What Did The Cats Think?

Meal time is served per the timer setting. Mallory Crusta / Cats.com

Our cats had no issues using the Cat Mate C500 Automatic Pet Feeder. We used it to serve up dry food, wet food and even treats. Our cats were unable to get the snap-on top off and had to wait for patiently for their programmed feeding times.

Keep in mind, when the tray rotates, the sound may frighten cats who are skittish, but it’s not very loud. According to several reviews, this was an issue in the beginning, but even nervous cats learn to understand and accept it.

How Much Does Cat Mate C500 Automatic Pet Feeder Cost?

The Cat Mate C500 Automatic Pet Feeder is priced at $59.99 on both Chewy and Amazon. This is a budget-friendly feeder and mid-range when compared to other similar feeders.

Amazon also offers a 3 meal feeder that will cost you a little bit less at $48.50. You can also change out the plastic feeding tray for a stainless steel one for $34.99.

Is The Cat Mate C500 Automatic Pet Feeder Worth It?

Kibble shown in Cat Mate tray. Mallory Crusta / Cats.com

Yes. As we mentioned in the beginning of this article, this is our favorite automatic cat feeder. We believe it is an effective way to feed your cat meals or medicine on a schedule, especially when you can’t be at home to do it. It is also a great option for people who feed their cats both wet and dry food. The fact that it has the option to add ice packs to keep food cool, puts this feeder in a league of its own.

While the Cat Mate C500 Automatic Pet Feeder may not have all the whistles and bells you might find in other programmable feeders, it has its upsides. Many upright feeders can be knocked over by hungry cats or may not disperse the correct amounts of food. The Cat Mate C500 is more reliable and secure in those areas which makes mealtime simple.

Also Read: Petlibro Granary Automatic Pet Feeder Review

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About Amy Brown-Towry

Amy Brown-Towry is a Certified NAVC Pet Nutritionist and animal lover. She is the proud owner of two cats and a dog and her love for animals has led her to a successful career as a freelance writer specializing in pet care, nutrition, and product reviews.

5 thoughts on “Cat Mate C500 Automatic Pet Feeder Review”

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  1. Christine D

    After watching Mallory present the Top 5 Best Auto Cat Feeders video and
    following up reading your article we’re interested in the C500.
    You mentioned Rubbermaid ice packs as an option. The Rubbermaid we have are 1 3/8″ thick.
    Is there actually clearance for these or do they need be closer to the 3/4″ thickness off the Cat Mate packs?
    Thanks and enjoy your day.

    1. small mallory photoMallory Crusta

      Hey Christine, that’s a good question. My cat Mate C500 is currently in storage, and I can’t check to get the exact depth of the cooler compartment, but I believe a 1 3/8″ thick ice pack would be too thick. The ones included with the feeder lie pretty much flush with the top of the compartment, so it wouldn’t make much sense to get something thicker.

  2. Christine

    Thank you so much for replying. When we go on vacation our cat sitter comes once a day . My cats are completely off dry food now so I am concerned about keeping the food cold overnight for the 4am feeding. If you have any other suggestions I appreciate it. Thanks

    1. small mallory photoMallory Crusta

      It depends on at what time the cat sitter comes by. The packs that come with the unit should keep the food cold for about 8-12 hours, depending on the temperature of your home. If your cat sitter comes in during the late afternoon or evening, they should be able to fill up a fresh meal for the morning. Alternatively, you can put the food in while pre-cooled or frozen to extend its life in the cooled compartment, kind of like a cold thaw in the refrigerator. Here’s a review from someone in a similar position to you: “For the most part, this is a great feeder while we are traveling and have sitter come once per day. How it worked well for us…one cat who gets half can wet for breakfast and dinner. Bought extra set of ice packs. Froze half can. Refrigerate half can. Sitter comes in late afternoon or early evening. Puts in fresh ice packs, refrigerated food in Dish #0 to be immediately served, frozen food in Dish #1 to open at 6 AM. Repeat daily. How it worked okay for us…same as above except we started giving our cat a little bit of dry food at bedtime. Dry food goes in Dish #1 and frozen food in Dish #2. Problem was timer settings will not stay in the order you set them. They changed to chronological order. So, it would have Dish #0 immediately served. Dish #1 would be served at 6 AM and Dish #2 opens at 9 PM. We needed #1 at 9 PM and #2 the next day at 6 AM. So, I worked around it by setting the dry food snack at midnight.” You can see the original review here.