If you need to control or monitor what your pets are eating, particularly in a multi-animal household, the Sure Microchip Pet Feeder Connect could be your friend. This smart feeding station uses your pet's microchip to only open for the right animal, while the built-in scales make sure that you both feed the right amount and can monitor how much food is being eaten on each sitting. It's a touch expensive, but if you need that level of control, it works brilliantly.
- Near-silent operation
- Easy to set up
- Nice reporting
- Hard to pour dry food in
- Review Price: £119.99
- Dual or single bowl configuration
- App control
- Microchip reader
This Connect version of the feeder (there’s a standalone version, too) also hooks up to the Sure Hub, so you can monitor eating habits. The hub also works with the Pet Door Connect, too. Quality build and near-silent opening are great, and this is a useful way to track what your pets are eating.
The Sure Microchip Pet Feeder Connect is easy to set up, but the cloud service wasn’t as reliable as it should be
It’s easy enough to set up the Sure Microchip Pet Feeder Connect. Once you’ve fitted the four D-type batteries, you can hook the feeder up to the Hub, which looks like a cat. If you have the Pet Door Connect, you’ll likely already have a Hub, so you can just buy the Pet Feeder Connect (£119.99); if you don’t have a Hub, you’ll need this and can buy it in a bundle with the Feeder for £169.98. Subsequent Feeders can be connected to the Hub, too.
Once the Feeder is connected to the Hub, you can use the app to assign a pet to the Feeder. If you’ve already got pets in your app, you can just select them, and their microchip ID is sent to the Feeder. As a Pet Door Connect user, I already had my three cats registered so I could just pick one.
If you don’t have any pets registered, you need to follow the on-screen instructions to put the pet bowl into learning mode. You then need to get your pet under the arch for its microchip to be read. Once you add a new pet in the system you can name them, say what type of animal they are (cat or dog), add a photo and select a gender.
As neat as this is, the backend wasn’t as reliable as it should be. During testing, I had a few times where I couldn’t remove a pet from the Feeder and assign a new one. I had an entire day where the Pet Feeder wasn’t showing as connected, although I did get notifications. However since then, I’ve been told that a lot of work has happened to increase reliability and I’ve not noticed any issues for a couple of weeks now.
The Sure Microchip Pet Feeder Connect works brilliantly when configured and can monitor what your pet is eating
Each Pet Feeder can take a double bowl or a single bowl, depending on whether you want a mix of food or just a load of food. From the app, you can set how much and the type of food each bowl holds.
To fill up, you press the button on the back to slide open the top, tap the zero button to reset the scales and put in the food and watch the green LEDs fill up: when all are lit, it means that you’ve hit the weight target that you set. You can also zero the scales from the app, although this takes far longer.
Getting a packet of food or a can in is easy, but the arch makes it fiddly to use a box of dried food – you might need a scoop. When the food is in place, just tap the button on the back again, and the lid closes keeping out flies.
When the registered pet walks up, the lid slides open and they can start to eat. There’s a short delay when they finish before the lid shuts, which lets a pet that’s lifted its head back go back to continue eating; the delay is short enough that another pet can’t swoop in and eat everything.
Pets need to get used to the new Feeder, which can take some time. My first cat, Monty, took to it immediately: I just lifted him into place, let him watch the lid open and then he tucked in. After that, he just went to the bowl for each feed. My next cat, PJ, didn’t like it so much and kept running away. Fortunately, there’s a training mode, which doesn’t fully close the lid to help pets get used to it. There are four stages to move through, from almost completely open to almost completely closed. For nervous pets, move slowly through the stages.
Once a cat has eaten, you get a message telling you how much they’ve had. From the app, you can monitor eating habits and see when your pet has eaten. It’s great information if you’ve got an animal that needs to put on weight, as I have, as you can check to see how much they’ve eaten in a day.
The Sure Microchip Pet Feeder Connect is easy to keep clean and there’s a choice of additional bowl colours
Sure makes it easy to keep your Pet Feeder Connect clean. All of the plastic exterior is wipe-clean, and you can lift the plastic flap all the way up to clean off food debris stuck to the underside.
The bowls lift out and can be washed by hand alongside the bowl holders and the silicone mat that your pet puts their food on. Food can drop down the inside of the Feeder, but the underside unclips so that you can remove it and clean away any food this way.
For multi-pet households, you can buy different-coloured bowls and mats, which helps you and your furry friends identify whose feed is whose.
Should I buy the Sure Microchip Pet Feeder Connect?
If you’ve got a multi-pet household where your animals steal each other’s food, or you have animals on special diets or medication, the Sure Microchip Pet Feeder Connect is a great tool to restrict access, control how much they eat and keep the flies away.
It’s also a handy way to monitor your pet’s eating habits, seeing not only when they eat but how much they eat at each visit to the Feeder. The result is far more information about your pet and means that, even if you’re on holiday, you can make sure that your animal is eating properly.
It’s frustrating that the app experience isn’t quite up to the level that I’d expect, with a few errors changing settings during testing. Admittedly, most of the time you won’t need to make changes past setup, but when you do, I’d expect the experience to be smoother.
The price is quite high, but there aren’t other pet feeders that offer the same range of features. If you want more control over when and what your pets are eating, the Sure Microchip Pet Feeder Connect is an excellent product that integrates neatly with the other Connect products, including the Pet Flap.