Aqara’s new smart feeder can give your pet control of its bowl

Smart home company Aqara is bringing some connected fun to your pets. The new $99.99 Aqara Smart Pet Feeder C1 can feed your cat or dog on a schedule, remotely using its app, by a voice command with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple’s Siri, or based on motion when connected with an Aqara motion sensor.

There are plenty of automatic pet feeders out there, but very few can integrate with smart home devices to create useful automations for feeding your pet. The C1 uses Zigbee 3.0 and requires an Aqara smart home hub (starting at $30) to connect to the internet and Aqara’s app to set up those automations.

For example, you can have an Aqara indoor camera start recording when the food is dispensed so you can check and see if your pet is eating, or pair an Aqara motion sensor to dispense food whenever your pet approaches, or send you an alert when they go to the feeder. You could even put an Aqara vibration sensor under the bowl and teach your pet to tap the bowl to get food on demand.

The C1 also works with IFTTT for connecting to more smart home gadgets and Aqara has said it will support the new smart home standard Matter through its hubs. Pet feeders aren’t part of Matter yet, but if they are added at some point then the C1 should work through one of Aqara’s Matter-compatible hubs. This would connect the device to any Matter-supported platform. Currently, it isn’t compatible with other home automation platforms directly, but you can set up scenes in the Aqara app through the Aqara hub to work with Amazon Alexa, Google Home, or Apple’s Siri shortcuts for voice control.

A microphone and speaker built into the feeder add the option to record a message for your pet, so if they aren’t likely to come running at the sound of kibble hitting the bowl you can encourage them with your voice. With a 4-liter food tank holding about 3.7 pounds of dry pet food, the Smart Pet Feeder C1 dispenses up to 2 to 4 ounces per meal. Combined with a small food bowl, this is best suited for cats or smaller dogs, although you can double or triple the portions using automations in the Aqara app.

The feeder is powered by a USB-A cable and has the option of battery backup using D batteries. You can also create feeding schedules in the app and track how much your pet has eaten. The schedules aren’t dependent on an internet connection, so if power and internet go down your pet will still get its kibble.

The C1 has been available in China for about a year and is now on sale in the US, Canada, and Europe (France, Germany, Italy, Spain, UK). For the launch, Aqara is offering 10 percent off the C1 through Amazon.