Where can I find an electronic cat-finder?

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Question: Where can I find an electronic cat-finder?

My cat has gotten away several times now. I've been fortunate to eventually find him both times. I need to be more proactive. I read your article on the mobile cat finders. You mention that there are several versions but I could only find one company. I've tried Google searches to no avail.

Could you please send me the web addresses or phone numbers to the various mobile devices you have found?

I'm looking for one that has the receiver, not a beeper as I think that would scare him.

Answer:

My article actually mentioned that there were currently two versions on the market. However, since that article was written a couple of years ago, new products have emerged. I'll note that with one exception, they are all intended for dogs.

  • Beeper Locator
    These collars come in various versions, and as you can see, the beeper is very large and bulky - certainly not appropriate for a cat.
  • Tracking Collars
    For use when tracking hunting dogs
  • Global Pet Finder
    This is a new product which uses the GPS technology I theorized about in my original article, although it has not yet gotten down to the microchip size. Global Pet Finder is versatile, and can be used anywhere in the world. The owner sets a "boundry" and if the pet crosses it, the device sends a message giving your dog's location to your cell phone, PDA, or computer. The manufacturer acknowledges that the Global Pet Finder is not intended for cats, (nor for humans) but hopes to one day have a cat model.


  • Stealth PetTracker
    This GPS technology tracker can be used with any collar, which is a plus. However, although it is advertised as "small," its dimensions are 3" x 2" x .9" thick, somewhat bulky for a cat. The tracking function is provided by the company's web site; it also provides a geofence mode," wherein boundaries are set (on the company website) and an alert is sent to a cell phone, web site, or by email when the pet exceeds the boundaries. The current cost of this product is around $500 USD.
  • Cat LoCATor
    This is the product I'd be more likely to recommend to cat owners. The cat wears a collar containing a small transmitter which sends a signal to a receiver. The receiver beeps at varying volumes depending on its proximity to the cat.
    I tested this product, and the biggest problem I found with my own cats is that the transmitting device on the collar is rather heavy. Since the collars must be worn at all times for the product to be effective, I'm not sure how many cats would tolerate it. Mine didn't.

    I did find that the locator does the job advertised. We experimented with hiding the collar (sans cat) in various places, both on our property and up the street a couple of blocks, then having someone else use the receiver to find it. There is a definite learning curve to train the ear to differentiate between the various sounds, but it works. It is priced at around $270 for the receiver, one collar, and a 12-month battery pack.
The other products mentioned above come in between the beeper collar at $70 and up to $500 or more for the tracking collars.
Electronic devices will someday prove to be a good backup to other methods of locating lost pets. In the meantime, my recommendations to my readers are:

  • Keep your Cats Indoors
    Only let them outside when they can be closely supervised.
  • Microchip Your Cats. (You will receive an ID tag with the registration number). Tattooing is a second alternative.
  • Keep collars and tags on your cats at all time.
    Even indoor-only cats sometimes slip out.
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