The cats all went missing in the Cambrian Park area of San Jose in the autumn of 2015.
Chatman ruled that the 26-year-old will not be registered as a sex offender, the San Jose Mercury News reported.
Before the sentencing, Schroeder read a letter written by Farmer, in which he said "it feels like another man committed these crimes, but I know it was me".
A necropsy showed at least one of the cats died of blunt force trauma and may have been sexually abused.
Robert Roy Farmer, who pleaded guilty past year to 21 counts of animal cruelty as well as misdemeanor battery and being under the influence, lured some of his prey from their homes in San Jose, California. I stole a member of their family.
Several cats subsequently turned up dead, including two discovered in a dumpster.More news: IN teen crashes into home, killing two sisters inside
While prosecutors believe Farmer killed up to 16 cats, they were only able to locate four feline bodies.
Numberous blood stains were also discovered in Farmer's vehicle, along with a dead cat. The fact that I was out of my mind was no excuse'. In an interview a year ago, Deputy District Attorney Alexandra Ellis said surveillance video helped detectives track the suspect down, "Our hearts go out to the families that were affected by this crime, and we look forward to Mr. Farmer being held accountable for these heinous acts", she said.
Miriam Petrova described her easygoing 17-year-old orange tabby "Gogo" before being tortured to death. Residents pointed police to Farmer. His attorney, Wesley Schroeder, said his client could be released in as little as 4½ years.
When Farmer is released, he will have to register for probation until the terms of his entire 16-year sentence are satisfied.
Farmer will not be allowed back within 100 yards of the Cambrian Park neighborhood. The defendant did not address the court, but instead wrote a statement that his attorney read on his behalf, blaming the use of meth for what he did.
Although she had hoped Farmer would have to register as a sex offender, Petrova said she's "relieved" that the ordeal is finally over.