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Idea of the Moment

2004-06-28 15:57:34.266813+00 by Dan Lyke 8 comments

This morning, as I was feeding the cat, I realized that we need a way to dispense wet cat food so that the unused portion stays sterile (ie: equivalent to canned), and the dispensing system needs to do it in small portions (a quarter to half an ounce or so) at a time.

If you could then set the system up to respond to cat input but limit output over some period, wet cat food could be a "fire and forget" operation, we wouldn't waste as much when the cat isn't hungry (because I always end up giving a third of a can when the cat pesters us), and we wouldn't worry about underfeeding the cat.

The dispenser is the easy part, cheaply packing unused catfood in those smaller portions is the hard bit.

[ related topics: Dan's Life Food Cool Technology ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2004-06-28 17:01:36.443573+00 by: dexev

what about those heat-sealed vacuum bags? you could load a full can into the pouch, then break it into four or five sub-compartments with heat seals.

#Comment Re: made: 2004-06-28 17:07:36.227492+00 by: Dan Lyke

Oooh. That's something you could work into a commercial production line, and I can imagine dispensing apparatus that wouldn't need too much cleaning.

Hmmm... Hey, Larry, you know anyone in the cat food packaging business?

#Comment Re: made: 2004-06-28 21:28:41.409926+00 by: Dori

It doesn't respond to cat input, but you might want to look at something like this automatic pet feeder. We have a much lower- end version (from another company) that comes in handy when we want to go away for just a night or two.

#Comment Re: made: 2004-06-28 21:45:10.03384+00 by: Dan Lyke

The problem with that one is that it doesn't work for wet food. Dry food we have no problems with, with wet food the cat will eat a little bit, wander off, and then in a few hours pester us again because the wet food isn't fresh.

#Comment Re: made: 2004-06-28 22:54:35.812895+00 by: Dori

Ah, your cat is suffering from the problem known as spoiled rotten felinitis. Our solution was to train our cat that wet food is eat it or lose it--if he doesn't eat what's given to him, a few hours later, it goes away. Wet food next shows up again on our schedule, not his, no matter how much complaining he does.

He does have a perpetual supply of dry food so I don't worry much about him starving to death, despite his (sometimes insistent) claims to the contrary.

Dunno how thoroughly you checked out the product on that page, but the cool thing about it is that if, say, your cat wants to be fed every three hours, you can program it to open up fresh cat food that often. I thought that it might work if your cat had you trained to a schedule. If not, no, it wouldn't suit.

#Comment Re: made: 2004-06-28 23:45:29.933998+00 by: Shawn

Chiming in in Online Forum style, you could just not feed the cat wet food. We've always had cats growing up and I can't remember ever feeding them anything but dry.

#Comment Re: made: 2004-06-29 02:42:52.13591+00 by: Larry Burton

>> Hey, Larry, you know anyone in the cat food packaging business?

I don't think we are currently doing anything with any pet food companies but packaging is one of our main lines of business.

The heat sealed packages are pretty much common place. That's how foil bags of chips and such are sealed. A flat sheet of the packaging material is wraped around the filling funnel and a continuous seal is started along the back side of the package. the bottom is sealed and then filled with the product and then the top of the package is sealed along with the bottom of the next one.

You could have a bit of a problem with wet cat food because of the heat required close to the filling funnel and the sticky clingy nature of the cat food. You're going to be doing some cooking on that funnel eventually. I'm sure with the right design, though, this problem could be overcome.

Oh, and I agree with Shawn, feed the cat dry food. It's really healthier for them. Especially if they are males. Wet cat food can lead to kidney stones and you don't ever want your male cat to come down with those.

#Comment Re: made: 2004-06-29 04:02:55.759354+00 by: Dan Lyke

This cat's got gum problems, so is short a few teeth. Which is why we spoil him.

And, yes, they've got dry food all the time.