VCR Cat Feeder

One of the most iconic projects from the pages of MAKE is the VCR Cat Feeder from MAKE Volume 03 (2005). It’s depressing to think of all the discarded VCRs in the world, but author James Larsson gave us a creative and useful way to repurpose this hunk of outdated machinery. Cats are wonderfully independent creatures for the most part, so when you’re leaving on a weekend trip, this programmable cat feeder is the ticket for keeping your feline companion well fed. Basically, you hijack a motor from inside the VCR, slow down its rotation with a gearbox, add an auger system with attached food container, and use the VCR’s timer-recording system to dispense scheduled meals. Some things never get old, like watching people’s facial expressions when you say “VCR Cat Feeder.”

Check out the full project on Make: Projects, and also watch this clip of John Park demoing the feeder on Make: television: