What is a Cat Tracker, and How Does it Work?
Cat trackers are small wearable pieces of technology that do just that - they help you keep track of your cat. Trackers are designed to be worn on a collar (or they come with a collar), and they are made to be dirt and water-resistant. Some are even waterproof. While you may not be worried that your cat will go swimming, this can provide peace of mind if lost during heavy rain.
Why Get a Cat Tracker?
According to the American Humane Society, approximately 10 million pets are lost each year. Millions of those end up in shelters, and only 2% of cats without tags or microchips are reunited with their owners. This means one out of every three pets is lost at some point. Sadly, when cats are lost and brought to a shelter, very few are returned to their owners. By some estimates, the rate of return is only between 1.5 to 4.5%. Why? There are several reasons:
· Unless a cat is injured, most people assume that a loose cat is feral or lives somewhere nearby and is an outdoor cat.
· A cat may be missing for weeks or even months before being found and brought to a shelter.
· Many people provide feral cats food so cats can survive outside for quite a long time before ending up in a shelter.
· Sadly, many shelters have too many cats already and may have short stray holds.
If your cat is prone to wandering, a tracker is essential. However, even if your feline friend likes to stay close to home, a tracker is an excellent way to ensure that if something does happen, you will be able to find your friend in no time. Cats are curious creatures and will sometimes slip outside when no one is watching, which can be scary for both you and your cat!
While a tracker is a fantastic way to keep track of your cat and find them should they get lost, cat trackers should be used in conjunction with a microchip. Most veterinarian offices offer microchipping as an inexpensive service. In addition, almost all shelters and rescue groups have scanners that can look for the chip and help reunite you with your furry friend. Remember, though, microchipping does not track the location of your pet. Microchips carry essential information about you - your name, address, and phone number, for example. That is why, combined with a tracker, these two pieces of technology are the best ways to ensure you never lose your cat. On the other hand, if you do, you will not be separated for long!
The other advantage of a cat tracker is you can monitor your pet's movement. A tracker lets you ensure that your pet is getting enough activity to keep them fit and healthy. Some will even send health reports to your veterinarian for you. These health reports may be precious if you have a senior pet or have a pet with a health problem.
How Cat Trackers Work
Technology Needed For Your Cat Tracker
Most cat trackers have apps that you download onto your phone, and almost all are available for Android or IOS phones. There are a few that have handheld devices and a few that use websites. However, most will require a cell phone and downloading an app for tracking. Most tracking devices use Bluetooth to get things started and link your phone to the tracking device. The trackers are designed to work in real-time so you can check in on your pet's activity at any time.
Many cat trackers will have a "safe zone." As long as your cat is within that zone, the tracker will remain quiet. However, if Fluffy decides to head out on the prowl, the tracker will send up an alert. The tracker then has GPS that will then help you locate your cat.
You are probably familiar with GPS by now. GPS is the same system that lets you use your phone to navigate an unfamiliar city or your car to driving directions. The GPS uses satellites to pinpoint your pet's location and then enables you to know what is going on through the app on your phone. If your cat has somehow travelled quite a distance from home, many of these apps will also give you directions on how to get where they are as easy as possible.
The tracker itself is either designed to be removable and can clip onto any collar, or it will come with its own collar. For cats, it is usually recommended trackers that come with the collar as part of the system. Following the recommendations on ThePets guide, the removable ones are great for dogs, but some are bulky for cats, while those with built-in tracking units tend to be smaller and better suited for felines. However, the size of these units are getting smaller and smaller as technology progresses.
The GPS trackers all do have batteries that will need to be recharged. Some trackers need to be charged every few days, while others can go for a couple of weeks or longer without recharging, although the time may be based on your Wi-Fi signal and cellular coverage strength.
Some of the trackers have additional handy features like light-up LED lights, which flash can help you find your cat should they slip out of the house at night. Others offer features designed to help the health of your pet. For example, some monitor behaviours such as licking, scratching, and sleeping.
What if I Live in a Rural Area?
If you live in an area where it might be hard to get precise GPS or cellular signals, there are still cat trackers that can work for you. These trackers work on radio waves, and they have been available for decades. They are based on the same technology that hunters use with collars on their sporting dogs. The downside to these devices is that they may not be able to pinpoint location quite a well as GPS, but there are still some great options out there.
Fortunately, if you know to look right away, most cats be found quickly and in their own neighbourhoods, which is another reason cat trackers are so beneficial. The likelihood you will find you can begins to go down the longer your cat is missing. However, with instant notification, you can recover your lost pet quickly and safely.
What if My Cat is Lost?
Use your cat tracker to help pinpoint their location. If you don't have a tracker yet, the following methods have been used successfully to find lost cats:
· Search nearby areas; if your cat hasn't been gone long, they will likely be in your neighbourhood.
· Speak with neighbourhoods and alert them of your missing pet.
· Post fliers around your neighbourhood with photos of your cat.
· Use social media to alert friends and people living nearby about your missing pet. In addition, many missing pet groups on Facebook and other social media platforms will allow you to post a lost pet.
Losing a pet is a frightening idea. No one wants their pet to be outside, wandering scared. A cat tracker can provide safety and assurance to you and your pet that you will always be together.