GPS trackersPros: Works anywhere in phone reception. Cons: Needs charging every 3-7 days, GPS can be inaccurate. These trackers send your cat’s current GPS coordinates using the mobile phone network. Their location can then be viewed on a map on your smartphone or computer. As long as your cat is within phone reception, you will be able to see where they are. The Tractive GPS Tracker, Whistle 3 GPS Tracker, and Pod Tracker (all around $150-$250) all work the same way. Battery life is between 3-7 days. They require a monthly service plan (generally under $10). They provide other features such as fence monitoring and activity monitoring. Fence monitoring alerts you if your cat strays further than a predefined area. Activity monitoring lets you know exactly how lazy your cat is. GPS can be inaccurate at times. When there are tall buildings or your cat is hiding under a big log these trackers may only lead you to their general area. Is a GPS Tracker for you? Your area has good phone reception. You need great range. You can remember to recharge it each week. The Tractive GPS Tracker and Pod Tracker are great choices.
Radio trackersPros: Very accurate. No monthly service plan. Great battery life. Doesn’t need phone reception. Cons: Range isn’t as good as GPS Trackers. Radio Frequency trackers emit a signal from a collar which is detected by a handheld unit. This is then used to point you in the direction of your cat. Think of it as playing ‘marco polo’ with your cat or dog – in fact there is product called just that. The Marco Polo Pet Tracker has an incredible range of 3.2km. It’s in the same price bracket as the GPS trackers but a lot more accurate and doesn’t need recharging so often. Read our review of the Marco Polo. The Loc8tor Tabcat is designed specifically for cats. A small tag is attached to your cats collar. A pocket sized handset is then used to locate the tag which beeps and flashes. At around $120 it has a range of about 120 metres. It is very accurate and the batteries last for a whole year. I use it almost daily on Willow to check up on her adventures. Is a radio frequency tracker for you? The Marco Polo Pet Tracker is ideal if you spend time away from phone reception and need great range. The Loc8tor Tabcat is a favourite of mine and is great whether you live in the town or country, or have a sneaky indoor cat that loves to take naps in random cupboards.
Bluetooth TrackersPros: Affordable. Doesn’t need phone reception. Excellent battery life. Cons: Not as accurate as radio frequency trackers. Range isn’t as good as GPS trackers. The Tile Sport and the Cube Bluetooth Tracker have excellent battery life and are designed for finding things around the house. The Tile Sport has the greatest range of the two, 200 feet. Is a Bluetooth Tracker for you? Perfect for finding a sneaky indoor cat, or one that likes to make a run for the backyard. These trackers are affordable and connect to an app on your mobile phone. No technology is perfect. So when you are deciding which product is right for you consider:
- How precise does it need to be?
- How often can you be bothered changing the batteries?
- Are extra features important?
So…what do I recommend?I would never let Willow outside without a tracking collar. Willow has been using a Loc8tor Tabcat since 2015. I use the Tabcat for quickly checking she is safe, or where she is hiding in my van. I highly recommend the Loc8tor Tabcat. I prefer radio frequency trackers because:
- I’m not always in phone reception.
- No monthly fees.
- Battery life is great.
- They are well priced.