Unless you’re an expert animal tracker with bare-feet on earth and a nose to the wind, it is likely that you have asked yourself this question. Where is my cat? Fortunately for us, consumer electronics can now help us with an answer.
Whether you have an indoor cat and are wondering which room they are hiding in, an outdoor suburban cat and need to know whose backyard they have gotten into, or if you have an adventure cat far from home, being able to find out the exact location of your beloved is not only reassuring, it is important as a responsible pet owner.
During the preparation for my trip around Australia we would go away for weekends in the van to places around Tasmania. I quickly discovered how much Willow enjoyed these little trips but I was concerned letting her off the leash. On occasion it would be time to pack up and I wouldn’t know where she was! When I got back home I endeavoured to solve this problem so I invested some time in finding a solution. I am pleased to be able to now share with you everything I know about tracking a cat so you can find the best pet tracker for your cat!
There are literally hundreds of pet trackers on the market, let’s talk about a few of them.
These trackers obtain your cats location through GPS then provide an update via the mobile phone network. The location can then be viewed on a map on your smartphone or computer. This means that they can operate as far away as there is phone reception.
Products like Tractive and Pod Tracker (around $150-$250) are all very similar in that the battery life is between 2-5 days, they require a monthly service plan (generally under $10), and provide other features such as fence monitoring and activity monitoring. This will alert you if your cat strays further than a predefined area or let you know how lazy your cat has been!
Note: These products run on the 2G network which may not be available in some countries. Always check the coverage of your area before purchasing. Petrek will be releasing a new product which will operate on 3G cellular networks soon and hopefully others will follow in upgrading their technology.
When it comes to finding out EXACTLY where your cat is, most of these cellular products lack accuracy and battery life is poor. Given the accuracy of these devices they are likely to only to lead you to the general area, which could be a problem if you need to work out which bush kitty is sleeping under.
Radio trackers represent the ultimate in tracking technology. These trackers emit a radio frequency signal from a collar which then can be detected on a handheld unit to point you in the right direction. Think of it as playing ‘marco polo’ with your cat, in fact there is product called just that! The Marco Polo has an incredible range of 3.2km and have a similar price as the GPS Cellular trackers but are a lot more effective.
Read our review of the Marco Polo here!
The Loc8tor Tabcat is a product that is designed specifically for cats. It comes as a small tag that is strapped onto your cats collar and a handset unit that will fit in your pocket. At around $120 the product only has a range of about 120 metres but considering how accurate it is and that fact that the batteries last for a whole year it is definitely worth considering. I use it almost daily on Willow the adventure cat.
The latest Bluetooth technology (BLE) is starting to be used in tracking devices. Products like the TrackR and the Cube have excellent battery life and are designed for finding things at closer range. Perfect for finding a sneaky indoor cat, or one that likes to make a run for the backyard. These trackers are inexpensive and connect to an app on your mobile phone.
No technology is perfect. So when you are deciding which product is right for you please consider: how precise does it need to be? How often can you be bothered changing the batteries? Are extra features important? If buying a cellular product that uses 2G, make sure you are in an area that supports it.
I am constantly researching and trying out new pet tracking technologies and would never let Willow out without a tracking collar.
For indoor cats and cats that stay closer to home I recommend the Loc8tor Tabcat
For adventure cats and cats that like to roam I recommend the Marco Polo.
The reasons I think these two are the best:
Willow wears both a Loc8tor Tabcat and a Marco Polo radio frequency tracker on her collar. I use the Tab Cat for quickly checking where she is, or where she is hiding in my van. The Marco Polo I use in the event that she gets lost. Both these products suit adventure and house cats alike.
Thanks for reading and remember that I will keep updating this article as new products hit the market. Please keep your pets safe and also care for the environment they are in!