Does your cat frequently escape the house only to come back that night or a few hours later?
If you’re wondering where your cat is when he or she wanders the neighborhood, you can easily find out with a cat tracker. Trackers are made for both dogs and cats to allow their owners to locate their pets if they get out of the yard or house and do not find their way home.
What is a Pet Tracker?
There are several companies which have come up with GPS devices for dogs and cats, so they can be found if they get out of the house or yard and get lost. Many of them have applications that owners can download to a mobile device or a computer that shows their pets’ location on a map.
Most of the trackers will send email or text alerts to let their owners know if their pets have left a designated zone. Once they leave the zone, the owners can begin tracking them to find their pets and bring them home.
Along with GPS technology, some trackers only use Bluetooth technology, so pet owners can track their pets using smartphones or other mobile devices. Many devices also have Wi-Fi capabilities to help track your pet indoors.
There are smaller tags that can be easily placed on a pet’s collar that use QR codes. These tags can help track your dog or cat via the internet. The device has its own webpage so that you can track your pet on any web-enabled device.
Along with tracking your cat near where you live, some trackers work in over 150 countries in case you take your pet with you when traveling. However, read all the information you can before picking out a tracker. Some devices can only track your pet for a few hundred feet, while others have much better ranges and can track your pet for miles.
Some companies that make pet trackers also provide owners with other information aside from their pets’ location. They can monitor a pet’s health by tracking their vitals, checking their fitness, and some can send a vibration through the collar if they get close to getting out of their yard.
If you’ve ever wondered what your cat is up to while you’re at work, some devices have activity trackers built into them. It tells cat owners how active their cat was throughout the day. If you want to know whether your cat was sleeping all day or being a hellion, you can check the device and find out.
Since these devices rely on battery power, many of them come with two batteries, so one can be charging as the pet wears the collar. A low battery alert lets the owner know when to change the battery, so the device keeps working.
Of course, a good device should be waterproof in case your pet gets caught in the rain. No matter what the weather is, a good tracker should work whether it is sunny, cloudy, or during storms. This feature allows you to find your cat and get him or her home before a storm begins so they don’t get scared or hurt.
It is important that a tracker can fit on a pet’s collar, so most of them attach to it by either clipping on or sliding onto the collar. For cats, the device should be small enough to fit on the collar and be lightweight, so they don’t know it is there once they get used to wearing it.
Since cats sometimes crawl into bushes, through holes in fences, and in other small places that most dogs cannot get into, their collars should break away to prevent the cats from being caught and choking. Many clip-on devices will fall off if the cats get tangled in a fence or bushes to allow them to escape without being hurt.
Once such company, Tractive, makes a device that attaches to a cat’s breakaway collar, so the cat doesn’t get caught in a fence or while crawling into other small spaces. It comes with an app to help you find the tracker, and hopefully, your cat, if it does get left behind.
Pet Tracker Costs
The cost of a cat tracker will depend on its features. The more it can do, the more it will cost. In addition, many devices require a monthly subscription to allow you to track your cat if they do wander away from home. When you research trackers for your cat, determine if they require a subscription, its cost, and whether that is what you want.
Most of the service plans, or subscriptions, have nominal costs. You can get a service plan on a GPS cat tracker for as little as $5 a month with some trackers. It can be a small price to pay for being able to locate your pet if he or she gets lost or taken from your home.
The small GPS or Bluetooth tags, that only track cats for a few hundred feet usually do not require monthly subscriptions. Some of them have a lifetime subscription that comes with the device. However, their ranges are often limited, which is why you need to decide what type of device you want for your pet.
Tips for Buying Pet Trackers
If you are thinking about buying a tracking device to keep tabs on your cat’s location, here are some things to consider.
Decide how much you want to spend on a tracking device before shopping for one. There are high-end devices that cost well over $100 and cheap devices that cost under $20. However, the cheaper devices often have limited capabilities, so they may not be what you expect or want in a tracking device.
There are many good options available for less than $100, so consider which features you want and research devices to find the ones that have those capabilities. The updated Tractive collar is expected to cost around $70 with a nominal service plan charge of $5 per month.
The size and weight of the tracker should be small enough that the cat doesn’t know it is on their collar. So, if you have a smaller cat or a kitten, then you may wish to consider a tag to track it around the house. Many trackers are not recommended for cats smaller than nine pounds.
If you do have a larger cat, such as a Maine Coon, then you should be able to find an appropriate device for him or her. However, consider its bulkiness as well, especially if they like crawling into small spaces. A large device could get snagged as they are trying to crawl underneath a piece of furniture, a hole in a fence, or underneath a bush.
Most cat tracking devices are designed to be as unobtrusive as possible to prevent the cat from trying to take it off. Some GPS devices that attach to a collar weigh as little as 32 grams, so a small cat or kitten could easily wear it.
There are many options available for trackers, so you will want to consider which ones you’ll need. If you have a pet that likes to climb trees and fences to escape the yard, you may want a device with real-time tracking. This feature will allow you to track your cat’s movements and get feedback every two to three seconds.
It can be helpful to get smaller devices to track kittens around the house because they can crawl behind appliances, go into closets, or crawl under the bed and not be found for hours. An inexpensive, Wi-Fi tracker will allow you to find them and keep your kitten out of trouble.
Do you need to track their activity, their health, or want to know their location throughout the day? When you research trackers, learn what options are available and which you’ll want for your cat’s tracking device.
Another consideration is the life of the batteries for tracking devices, especially if you’re forgetful. While some devices have batteries that can last six to seven days before being recharged, there are others which may only last two or three days. Also, look for devices that come with more than one battery.
Having two batteries on hand will allow you to recharge one while the other is running the cat’s tracking device. Also, consider how easy it is to change the batteries. Look for devices that allow you to avoid taking the collar off to change them.
While having your pet microchipped is a good way to reunite you and your cat if they get lost, it requires someone to scan the chip to find the cat’s owner. By buying a cat tracker, you can find your cat before it is hurt or taken to the pound.
A microchip and a tracking device can work in conjunction with one another to ensure your cat never is separated from you for long.