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When it comes to keeping track of a far-ranging cat, there’s no question that a cat tracker using powerful GPS technology is your best bet. A cat GPS collar can follow your cat just about anywhere on the globe that has satellite or cellular coverage. Is this overkill?
We think not. While your cat may not be at risk for international kidnapping, any outdoor cat can easily hop unnoticed into a contractor’s van and hop out an hour later in another county. Even indoor cats can vanish during a move or if guests accidentally leave the door open.
A cat GPS collar can be a significant investment. In addition to buying the tracker and charger, you’ll be paying for a monthly or yearly subscription to the tracking service that captures your pet’s information and displays it on your smartphone app. This means you want to make sure you’re getting a pet tracker your kitty will be willing to wear, and one that will give you all the information you need.
To help you find the right fit, we’ve rounded up our testers’ favorite cat GPS trackers, plus suggestions for less expensive cellular, Bluetooth, and RF (radio frequency) trackers. Each tracker has its strengths and weaknesses. The best choice will depend on your cat, their outdoor behavior, and your needs for tracking information.
Best Cat GPS Collar: Jiobit GPS Tracker for Pets (Verified Review)
The Jiobit GPS cat collar tracker uses a combination of cellular, GPS, WiFi, and Bluetooth technology to keep tabs on your cat’s whereabouts. Though it’s used widely on both kids and dogs, it’s one of the strongest choices for cats, since it’s both small and lightweight (0.64 ounces). Our testers were delighted when Mr. Tippy, a true escape artist, adapted quickly to having the Jiobit pendant on his breakaway collar.
The Jiobit’s Live mode offers up-to-the-second information (handy when you’re tracking a cat at 11 at night as he races through the neighborhood). The setting will, however, cause the Jiobit’s battery to run down quickly—so most of the time, you’ll likely leave the device in passive mode.
The Jiobit app can be set to alert you when your cat leaves or re-enters your “trusted place” (an area you designate via the device’s app). When your cat is within the trusted area, the Jiobit switches to Bluetooth or WiFi technology, which means you don’t have a very good idea of where the cat is within the trusted area—but you can “ring” the device using the app and follow the sound to your pet.
We also appreciated the device’s Timeline, which shows your cat’s previous locations in the form of a line on a map. This feature is a big help if you’d like to get a sense of where your outdoor cat usually hangs out.
One of the Jiobit’s best features is that it’s a breeze to charge. You just take the collar off your cat and drop the Jiobit tag, with the collar still attached, into the charger cradle. A green light on the Jiobit flashes while it’s charging and goes green when it’s done—and the app can also be set to message you when charging is complete. Though battery life will vary depending on usage, most pet parents find it lasts between seven and ten days, and charging takes a little over two hours.
- Attaches to your cat’s existing collar via clip or pouch (included)
- It’s thin and light, at 1.45 x 1.96 x 0.47 inches and just 0.64 ounces
- Multiple users can access the tracking software
- Battery life on the newest Jiobit model is about 7 to 10 days
- Requires a monthly six-month, or two-year subscription plan
- Durable and water-resistant
- While the original Jiobit worked internationally, the current Jiobit is limited to within the U.S.
Best for Big Cats: Tractive GPS Tracker for Cats (Verified Review)
The Tractive is a solid choice for larger cats and pet parents looking for a wealth of tracking information at a surprisingly reasonable price point.
The device provides a stunning amount of information, including valuable real-time tracking with updates every two to three seconds, plus a highly detailed activity map that shows not only where your cat has gone but how long they’ve stayed in various places.
Like other GPS collars, the Tractive will shift into Bluetooth mode when your cat is near your home or your phone. This will enable you to “ring” your cat’s collar—which is handy both in the case of cats hiding in hitherto unsuspected places and in the event that an enterprising cat has removed their collar and left it somewhere (it happens). The ring isn’t very loud, but it’s enough to help once you’re in the vicinity.
We were impressed at how well the Tractive conserves battery power. It really did last us seven days on a single charge. The downside, though, is that charging it is a bit of a pain: you need to take the device off the collar, take the rubber protective cover off the device, and then attach the device to a short USB cable.
The other thing to note is that at 0.9 ounces, it’s just a little bulkier than devices like the Jiobit. Our smallest 9-pound test kitties usually wear 0.6-ounce trackers. With the Tractive, success is a little more dependent on your kitty’s tolerance of accessories.
- Live mode offers real-time tracking of your cat’s location
- Choice of Basic or Premium subscription plans
- Multiple users can access tracking information (great for cat sitters)
- With a Premium plan, works in more than 190 countries, using multiple cellular networks
- Battery life up to 7 days
- At 0.9 ounces, this tracking device may be too bulky or heavy for smaller cats (under 7 pounds)
- Charging is complex
“Family sharing” (which you’ll want for your cat sitter) requires a Premium plan
Best Cat GPS Battery Life: Whistle Go Explore GPS Pet Tracker
This well-regarded collar tracker uses GPS, WiFi, and cellular technology to track your four-legged friend in real-time—plus it simply snaps onto their existing collar, making set-up easy. It’s also an activity monitor, so you can keep tabs on your cat’s everyday activities (including how much time they spend sleeping and scurrying about).
You can configure the app to receive updates via text, smartphone app, or email when the kitty leaves their authorized area. We like that this GPS collar tracker has a long-lasting battery too—a single charge works for seven to ten days.
User reports of tracking accuracy from the Whistle Go vary. If you are within a strong AT&T cellular network in the U.S. or Canada (like our canine testers) and can get a good satellite signal for Google Maps, you should be set. Note that when in “live” tracking mode, the Whistle reports position every 15 seconds—a bit less often than other trackers, but still useful for most cat tracking needs.
- Includes clips that attach to your cat’s regular collar
- Measures 1.8 x 1.4 x 0.6 inches; weighs 0.96 ounces
- Choice of a monthly or annual subscription plan
- Multiple users can access tracking information
- Durable and waterproof
- Uses Google Maps tracking system and AT&T’s cellular network (U.S. and Canada)
- Outstanding battery life of 7 to 10 days
Available in a choice of three colors
- In Live tracking mode, the Whistle Go doesn’t deliver data as rapidly as some other GPS systems
Best for Your Budget: Apple AirTags (non-GPS)
Apple’s AirTags use cellular and Bluetooth technology so your cat is trackable anywhere that people are using their phones.
Apple markets their AirTags as a way to track your personal belongings. And, no surprise, people are using these to track their cats. AirTags, which use Bluetooth technology, can locate your cat if it’s anywhere near someone’s active smartphone (anyone’s phone—it doesn’t have to be yours).
If your cat is in an urban neighborhood with good cellular coverage and lots of smartphone activity, AirTags may be the right tracking solution. The lightweight, water-resistant tags (0.39 ounces) have replaceable batteries that last about a year. A tag costs just $29—with no subscription needed. They even come with free laser engraving, so you could have your phone number or email added to your cat’s tag.
The Find My app on your iPhone lets you manage notifications for each AirTag you use. If you need to hunt for your cat while they’re wearing their tag, just turn on the “lost” mode. The app will show you highly accurate location updates every time your cat gets near an active smartphone—even if your cat is in another city.
But keep in mind: If you live in a comparatively rural area, or your cat goes for a jaunt in a local ravine, Apple AirTags can’t help until the cat comes back into someone’s phone range—or you get close to the cat while carrying your phone so you can achieve a Bluetooth connection. We did a full test of Apple’s AirTags for dogs, and that may help you decide how well these will work for your cat.
- You’ll provide a clip or ring to attach this to a collar
- Ultra-light at 0.39 ounces
- No subscription plan required
- Replaceable battery with up to a year of battery life
- Durable and waterproof
- Relies on cellular network and Bluetooth
- Not intended to track pets
- Helpful only if your cat is near smartphones and cellular networks
Best for Close to Home: Girafus Cat Tracker RF (non-GPS)
Girafus Cat Tracker RF
Low-tech but highly effective. Just turn on the locator unit—more lights flash as you get closer to your tagged cat.
Need a low-tech way to track your indoor kitty? The Girafus Cat Tracker uses old-school radio frequency (RF) technology. Your cat wears a tiny (0.28 ounce) collar tag and you carry a battery-powered handset with flashing indicators that tell you if you are getting closer to the tagged cat. (A charger for the batteries comes with the purchase.)
The system’s range can go up to 1,600 feet in an area—but only if there are no obstructions. That means it’s easy to locate a cat that’s in the bushes across the street, but difficult to get an RF connection to a cat that’s on the other side of your neighbor’s house.
Where the Girafus beats out GPS/Bluetooth trackers is when your are trying to pin down the exact location of a kitty that is hiding somewhere inside your house or garage. The flashing indicators will guide you to the cat with great accuracy. We’ve found our cats in closets and dresser drawers, and we even used an RF tracker to locate a black cat that was invisible when taking a nap on a black sofa.
- No subscription required
- Purchase one, two, three, or four tags (for multiple cats, or as extras in case your cat loses their collar)
- Tag weighs 0.28 ounces and threads onto your cat’s existing collar
- System uses an RF (radio frequency) tracking system
- System comes with a charger for the tag’s CR2302 lithium battery
- Works only if you can get within 1,600 feet of your cat’s location
How We Chose
The trackers featured here were selected based on a combination of our own hands-on testing with our own cats, a comprehensive look at customer reviews on a variety of retail platforms, and interviews with experts. We prioritized live-tracking devices that make use of a variety of technologies compatible with different locations. Devices were ranked on tracking history, weight, charging requirements, and the success of their user interfaces.