Cat FAQ – How Cat Tracking Devices Work

Given how fond felines are of roaming and exploring, it can be a challenge to keep track of their location – not good for nervous owners worried that their cat won’t return.

Cats aren’t always that easy to find either, especially if you own a marauding tom that’s looking for a mate.

So what’s the solution? In our view, the best way to keep tabs on your cat is to invest in a cat tracking device.

What is a Cat Tracker?

Cat trackers are wearable devices that allow you to identify your pet’s location to within a few yards.

Typically these devices transmit positional information to a custom handset or to an app on your mobile phone.

They can either be attached to, or come with a collar and are very lightweight.

There are four main variants:

  • GPS Cat Trackers
  • RF Cat Trackers
  • Bluetooth Cat Trackers

What is a GPS Cat Tracker?

GPS cat trackers are attached to a cat’s collar and transmit positional data via satellite to an app on your phone.

Both iOS and Android platforms are usually supported.

The data is then displayed on a map within the cat tracker app.

Some of the best tracking devices also include directions to your cat’s location, heat maps and live location data.

Most models now allow the user to create a virtual fence or safe zone as well.

So if your cat wanders outside of his designated perimeter, you get an alert.

How Accurate are GPS Cat Trackers?

GPS cat trackers are able to pinpoint your cat’s location to within 10 feet.

However, the signal can be interrupted by dense tree canopies and other obstacles such as metal roofs

What is the Range of a GPS Cat Tracker?

In contrast to other cat trackers, GPS models have unlimited range.

Keep in mind though, that you’ll need good network coverage for them to work properly.

How Much Does a GPS Tracker for a Cat Cost?

GPS tracking devices are available from $49.00 to around $220.

With some tracking companies, you’ll also have to pay a subscription on top.

For instance, Tractive charges monthly and yearly fees.

These range in price from $6 to $13 per month depending on the plan that you choose.

Pros

  • Accurate Tracking
  • Live Tracking (certain models)
  • Virtual Fence Functionality (certain models)
  • Unlimited Range
  • Easy to Use
  • Lightweight and Weatherproof
  • Up to 7 Days Battery Life (certain models)

Cons

  • Good Network Coverage Recommended
  • Signal Can Be Interrupted By Trees and Buildings
  • Subscription Often Required

What is an RF Cat Tracker?

Radio frequency (RF) cat trackers transmit a frequency to a simple handheld unit which allows you to track your cat.

Like GPS devices, they’re attached to a cat’s collar and are also lightweight.

When the receiver unit picks up the tracker’s radio frequency, it starts to beep.

The beep then changes in tone as you get nearer to your cat.

Some RF trackers exclusively use radio frequencies, while others utilize additional technologies.

These include GPS, cellular networks and Bluetooth.

How Accurate are RF Cat Trackers?

One of the main benefits of RF cat trackers is their outstanding accuracy.

Most devices can identify your cat’s location to within centimeters.

What is the Range of an RF Cat Tracker?

RF trackers have a range of up to 500 meters, depending on model.

So while they don’t have unlimited range, they can work both indoors and outside.

Additionally, the signal won’t be disrupted by natural or man-made obstacles such as trees, foliage or buildings.

How Much Do RF Cat Trackers Cost?

RF trackers will set you back anywhere from $90 to $100 but they don’t require a subscription.

So in comparison to other products, they’re pretty affordable.

Pros

  • Extremely Accurate
  • No Subscription Required
  • Lightweight
  • Signal Transmission Unaffected by Obstacles
  • Up to One Year Battery Life (certain models)

Cons

  • Very Basic
  • Lack the Features of GPS Models
  • Limited Range

What is a Bluetooth Cat Tracker?

Bluetooth cat trackers communicate with a Bluetooth-enabled device such as a mobile phone or tablet.

Attached to a collar, these variants provide you with basic information about your cat’s location.

How Accurate are Bluetooth Trackers?

Bluetooth trackers can locate your cat to within about 10 meters. So theoretically, they’re pretty accurate.

What is the Range of a Bluetooth Tracker

Bluetooth tracking devices only have a range of about 10 metres.

This means that should your cat venture outside of this 10 metre range, the device will be rendered useless.

Therefore, Bluetooth trackers should only be considered for indoor use.

How Much Do Bluetooth Cat Trackers Cost?

You can pick up a Bluetooth cat tracker for as little as $25.

But there’s a reason why these tracking devices are so cheap; they’re just not very good!

Pros

  • Cheap
  • Long Battery Life

Cons

  • Very Limited Range
  • Basic Functionality
  • Unsuitable for Outdoor Use (Lack of Range)

Highly-Rated Cat Trackers

Is a Cat Tracker Worth it?

Investing in a cat tracker is definitely worth the money, provided you stick to GPS or RF variants.

Given their extremely limited range, Bluetooth versions are not recommended.

So what version should you go for – GPS or RF tracking devices?

Radiofrequency Cat Trackers vs GPS Cat Trackers

Both RF and GPS cat trackers are very effective at providing location information.

RF devices offer more accuracy and emit radiofrequencies that won’t be disrupted by natural or man-made objects.

But in terms of features, they’re rudimentary in comparison to GPS variants and only signal via a beep that you cat is nearby.

In contrast, the best cat GPS trackers offer detailed map-based information including live positional data and location history.

You can also set up virtual fence perimeters, receiving alerts when your cat ventures beyond his designated zone.

What’s more, they offer unlimited range – something that can’t be said of RF trackers.

So in our estimation, both GPS and RF trackers are the best options.

But if you’re looking for a more affordable alternative, we’d suggest going with an RF tracker. Although devoid of many functions, they’re reliable and accurate.

Trusted Cat Tracking Brands

  • Cat Tailer
  • Girafus
  • Jiobit
  • Loc8tor
  • Pawscout
  • Pet Tracker
  • Tabcat
  • Tractive
  • Tuscom

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