Who doesn’t like pets? In fact, they are now part of a modern family. It is undisputed that pets make great companions. No wonder we see many people having multiple pets.
However, the advantage of having multiple animal companions comes with its own set of challenges. For example, it is quite common that food intended for one pet often ends up in another pet’s belly, if left unsupervised.
Many pets overeat, and it has been found that more than 25% of the canine population in North America is overweight. In fact, obesity is a common disease across North America in dogs, however, it is preventable.
The challenges are very common. Many people have, therefore, thought through the possible solutions and invented smart feeding and monitoring systems for pets.
In this article, we are going to see some of the patented inventions and some of these products.
Smart Patented Solutions To Feed Multiple Pets Selectively
If you have a dog and a cat as pets, chances are that you are struggling to stop your dog from eating your cat’s food.
Dogs generally eat their food fast almost inhaling while cats eat their food in a leisurely manner, nibbling or eating small portions of food at a time and then returning back to finish the remaining food.
However, if your pet dog has an eye on your cat’s food, it might eat if given the opportunity, as dogs can keep eating even when their stomach is full.
So, it creates two problems: 1. your cat remains hungry, and 2. your dog eats an unhealthy amount of food. Both situations are not desirable.
Sometimes, it is also possible that one of your pets is sick and is on prescribed food. The prescribed food may be expensive. In such a case, you wouldn’t want that food to be eaten by another healthy pet.
Here for the purpose of example, we have taken dogs and cats as pets, but the challenges are similar for other kinds of pets as well.
So, worried that your dog might eat your cat’s food? The list of inventions below has an answer to your worries.
Patented Solution1: System and method for providing selective access to animal food
One of the solutions to the problem of pets eating each other’s food is presented in US Patent 7395782B1. This solution makes a point of providing access to food selectively for authorized pets. So, what’s the technology behind this solution? Let’s dive right into it to understand the answer.
For the purpose of understanding the patented solution, we have taken a cat and a dog as pets. But this solution is equally applicable to other kinds of pets as well.
To understand how this invention ensures that only the intended or authorized pet eats the food, let’s look at the image below.
Our food is reserved for cat 110, which has a tag 114 attached to it with the help of collor 112.
The tag is electronic and generates signals. These signals are received by food container 10.
Now, suppose our cat is hungry and another pet, i.e., a dog, is not present near the food container.
So, as the cat moves near the food container, it recognizes the cat through the signals sent by the tag attached to the cat. Upon recognizing the cat, the motor in the food container opens it up so that the cat can eat the food.
Now, suppose another pet a dog, for example, comes near the food container. The container would read the signal released by the tag of the dog. As the food container allows only the cat to eat, the motor in the food container will close it so that the dog can’t access the food intended for the cat.
Isn’t it cool?
Further, what happens when the cat is done eating and moves away from the food container?
In such a case, if no signal from the cat’s tag is received for some time, the motor closes the food container automatically.
Patented Solution 2: Selective animal feeding apparatus
Feeding multiple pets at home is a common problem faced by many of us. That’s why we have a number of patents attempting to provide smart solutions to the problem. Our next solution comes from the US Patent 7124707B1.
This invention is also similar to the previous invention.
The feeding apparatus 10 in the image below is smart and only allows authorized pets to eat.
In the image below, our pet, i.e., the cat, is wearing a transmitter 28. As the cat approaches in close proximity to the feeding apparatus, it detects the signal emitted by the transmitter and opens the lid 36. This way, our cat can access the food 22 easily.
The transmitter, by design, emits a low signal strength. This has two benefits: 1. It ensures a long battery life, and 2. Low signal strength ensures that the signal is detected by the feeding apparatus only when the pet is really close to it.
So, when our cat is done eating and moves away, the receiver at the feeding apparatus either receives no signal or a very weak signal.
The computer in the apparatus interprets this as meaning that the authorized pet is no longer near it, so it closes the lid 36 denying access to food any further.
Now, let’s move to another image shown below for the next scenario.
As usual, our other pet, i.e., the dog, suddenly arrives at the scene and decides to eat our cat’s food.
Fortunately, our dog isn’t wearing the transmitter. So, when the dog approaches the feeding apparatus, no signal is detected by it. This way, in absence of any signal, the feeding apparatus would keep its lid 36 closed denying the dog access to our cat’s food.
In this whole game described above, you may be wondering what happens when the dog is lurking nearby and is able to move in right after the cat leaves getting access to the food before the lid closes.
For this very situation, the feeding apparatus has a mechanism that stimulates the dog to stop eating and to pull back from the food enclosure while it continues to close the lid 36 without harming the dog.
This was the basic operation of the invention. However, you may be thinking about what happens when you need to give access to more than one pet.
The invention has a solution. It talks about assigning different frequency signals to the different transmitters worn by different pets. Now, each pet has unique signals assigned to them.
Given the signal arrangement as above, we can now have multiple feeding apparatuses, each tuned to detect a unique signal assigned to one pet and housing the food for that one pet.
To prevent a situation of multiple eating opportunities, each feeding apparatus could be placed away from any other apparatus.
We have tracked down one product that, in principle, is similar to this invention. You can check out this here. The operation of the product is very smooth and it keeps the other pet away very gracefully without harming it.
Patented Solution 3: Animal identification and entry control system for feeding
This solution is a little bit different from previous ones. This solution comes from US patent 7458336B2. Our pet, for example, a cat, accesses the food by entering an enclosure as shown in the image below.
Entry through the door is selective and authorization-based. This invention provides a collor-mounted RFID tag that is read when our cat reaches the entry point.
The passage to the door of the system is designed in such a way that at a time only one pet may enter the door.
For example, in the figure below, cat 98 enters first through door 20 and clears the authorization test. In this situation, while cat 98 is going through the passage to the door, cat 99 can’t enter the passage that leads to door 20.
Animal feeder 5 also has arrangements inside to accommodate any appropriate kind of nutritional material, such as food or water. Further, animal feeder 5 has the cooling means if the food is required to be cooled.
This solution is not limited to cats only. It can be used for other pets as well if the size of those pets is in the design range of animal feeder 5.
So far, we have seen various solutions and corresponding patents. But patents or solutions as a theory are of no value if there is no physical implementation done.
We tracked down a product similar to this invention, which you can check out here. However, it is important for you to note that having a patent never guarantees the success of the corresponding product in the real world. We have checked out the product, and based on our understanding, we wouldn’t advise you to go for it. However, from the perspective of understanding how patented solutions reflect in real life, it’s worth checking out.
If you are really looking for a better solution in this category, then we’d advise you to check this out and decide for yourself.
As an author, I have a keen interest in inventions happening around the world. Practical solutions as a result of inventors’ hard work, intellect, and imagination always fascinate me.
So, when I was faced with the question, how does one tackle the problem of feeding multiple pets and stopping them from eating each other’s food? I decided to dig down the solution in patents.
In this article, we covered 3 such solutions which also have been granted patents. All of the solutions are different in their approach to trying to solve the same problem. It was fun to check out real-life products that are similar to the solutions presented in those patents.
If you liked this approach of presenting solutions to daily life problems, do check out our other articles.