Who here has a tomcat who loves to wander? Or a kitten who thinks the world outside is a grand, mysterious place that should be explored despite the door in the nose when she tries to escape?
And who here has feared their fluffy family member could get lost and never be heard from again?
Since being owned by my first cat, I’ve had these fears. Kit-Kat or Justin could run out, get lost, or worse. As a kid, I would have done anything to be able to go find that kitten, but I didn’t have the resources.
So when I first heard of GPS trackers I was instantly enamored with the idea that I could keep my kitty safe. Of course, I knew next to nothing about the brands selling these things and even less about the technology behind them.
I had no idea which ones to consider or which features and benefits would be most helpful in keeping my furball safe.
Things have come a long way since GPS and RF – radio frequency – trackers for pets first came out. But they’re still a bit of a mystery to a lot of us.
Since you’re reading this article, I’m guessing they’re a bit of a mystery to you in one way or another, and I’d love to help you solve it.
Our review process is unbiased and based on extensive research. If you buy through the links on our site, we may earn a commission.
Our review process is unbiased and based on extensive research. If you buy through the links on our site, we may earn a commission.
Quick-Find Top Rated Table
- Lightweight and suitable for most cats
- Budget-friendly up-front and monthly
- Breakaway feature for safety
- Easy to use app
- Great coverage and accuracy
- Fantastic battery life – one of the longest in the industry
- No monthly subscription
- Lightweight and very waterproof
- Works in cellphone dead zones
- Modestly priced
- Fairly durable
- Great size for small living spaces
What to Look for in a Pet Tracker
Since there are probably a couple of hundred trackers available on the market, you’ll want to look for specific qualities to look for. I mean, an easy, no-nonsense buy is awesome. But this is your cat’s safety we’re talking about.
If Princess Pookie Paws loves to wander, all power to her! But you need to be able to find her if there’s some trouble or she’s a de-clawed feline who’s made an unapproved furlough.
The things I look for in a tracker collar for cats include the following critical features.
1. Range of the Tracker
Okay, this one may seem like a really obvious thing, but if you take a look at some of the lesser quality cat locators out there, some of them have a super crappy range.
Like 500 meters. That’s not going to track Tommy-Tomcat on his nightly prowls, and it most definitely won’t cover the ground your scared kitty tracks when she escapes and gets lost in a neighborhood full of boogeymen.
You want the tracker to have at least a one-mile range, and preferably unrestricted range – like those who use a cellphone’s GPS – at least within your own country.
GPS trackers ping off cell towers, so they are going to have some dead zones and other restrictions – you’ve driven in the country and found a no-bars zone. You know what I’m talking about.
2. Subscription Cost for the Cat Tracker
Okay, so there’s this catch with a lot of the best cat GPS trackers. Some of them have an all-upfront cost when you purchase the tracker. You download a mobile app, have the module that tracks, or otherwise have everything taken care of at once.
However, there are tons of trackers out there that require a monthly subscription fee. This is going to be a huge factor for anyone on a budget. The subscription fees can range anywhere from $6 to $30 a month.
Obviously, for someone on a tight budget, this could be a problem. But even if you’re not, who wants to pay extra money every month if you don’t have to?
Make sure that if you are choosing one with a service that the cost works with your budget and that others think the cost makes it a good value. Some subscriptions are just plain junk.
3. Longevity of the Company
The best smart cat collar will come from a company that’s going to stick around. And the reason this is important is that when a company goes under, the support for their products does, too. You don’t want a tracker that stops working six months out from the purchase because the company goes belly-up.
So, if you’re a research nut – like some of us – feel free to research the company’s finances, current standings in the Market, et cetera.
But if you don’t want to spend more time with your computer than your cat, just verify the company isn’t still running Kickstarter campaigns and hasn’t recently made any news headlines.
4. Fit and Weight of the GPS Cat Collar
Obviously, the way the collar or tracker chip fits your cat is pretty darn important. That’s why I specifically recommend looking for trackers designed for cats rather than an “either/or” type.
Cats have a different body structure than dogs, obviously, and bear weight differently. A tracker designed for a small dog may yet be too heavy for a cat.
If the tracker is a full collar, it should fit like a normal cat collar. Be sure to measure your cat’s neck so that you’re getting the right size for a secure and comfortable fit.
Also, you want to make sure the tracker weighs less than 1.5 ounces, especially for smaller cats.
If the pet tracker is an attachment for the collar, you want something lightweight and balanced. Generally, products will list their weight in the specifications, and you can usually look at something to determine how well-balanced it is.
5. Battery Life of the GPS Cat Collar
The battery life on Tigger’s collar is going to be pretty important, especially if there’s any indoor-outdoor lifestyle going on. The average battery time I’ve found for trackers is two to four days. The best, however, is seven, and the worst has been 24 hours.
6. Connectivity for the Tracker Collar for Cats
Some of us live and die with our smartphones. Some couldn’t care less about connectivity. Some of the cat trackers will come with smartphone apps, while others will just have device-specific options.
To ensure you’re getting what you need, verify the specs.
7. Accuracy for Finding Your Furball
Of course, one essential quality in a tracker, whether GPS or radiofrequency, will be the accuracy of the device.
Most companies will make loads of claims about their high accuracy. This is where I trust the reviews and thoughts of others way more. Before purchasing a GPS tracker, always read what other folks – real pet owners who’ve tracked their pets – say first.
8. GPS Versus RF Tracking Technology
Both systems have advantages and disadvantages.
- Readily available
- Long-range tracking
- Can pick up a signal almost anywhere
- Location transmits to cellphone or computer
Disadvantages of GPS:
- There are dead zones
- It may not be able to transmit properly from inside a building or underground
- Short battery life
- Not as accurate as RF locating
- Advantages of RF Tracking:
- Long-lasting power
- Highly accurate
- Doesn’t require a monthly subscription fee
- Disadvantages of RF Tracking:
- Much shorter search range
- Has more difficulty working in dense areas
- Overly powerful signals will bounce and make it more difficult to locate the cat
Honestly, I’m kind of torn on the benefits of RF versus GPS. GPS has that range of “anywhere” going on, but the RF technology is more accurate in close distance and doesn’t require charging as often, and doesn’t need that monthly subscription fee.
9. Value of the Tracker
The overall value of the pet tracker is going to come from a culmination of these features and the price. If the features and benefits of one collar are significantly higher than another but the collar costs four times as much, you have to determine if it is worth it.
The opposite is also true: a collar may have few features and benefits but may be very low in price. Is it worth it?
Generally, for something like this, I prioritize the battery life, range, and accuracy, fit, and cost of the tracker and subscription to determine the value. The rest is icing and usually helps me decide between two great options.
10. Breakaway Feature if a Collar Snags
If the GPS tracker you’re getting is a collar, you need to make sure the collar has a breakaway feature. Since the point of these collars and tags is to track your cat’s wanderings, the ability to break free from the environmental hazards is important.
While obviously, the collar won’t help you track if it comes off, choking your kitty isn’t a good option either.
11. Other Bonus Options to Consider
We each have different needs to consider as we choose the best tracker collar for cats. Because of this, these additional things may or may not be things you want to consider as you decide on the best option for your fur-baby.
- Customizable Safety Zones – Whenever your cat leaves the zone you specify as “safe” you’ll receive a notification.
- Notification style – Will you receive a notice via email, text, or beeping from the home unit?
- App Functionality – What are the options of how you can manage the tracker from your phone?
- Sleep Mode – Is there a mode that helps save battery life when it’s in the home range?
- Waterproof – If Fluffy gets splashy, will the tracker survive?
- Attachment Methods – How is the tracker attached? Collar? Clip-on? How durable is the attachment method?
- Price Range – Both for the unit itself and the subscription fee over time.
How I Chose the Trackers to Review
Because I wanted to make sure that I only recommend the absolute best options, I thought I’d check out the GPS cat collar reviews from others before I started the process of creating my own reviews.
Across about twenty-five review sites, I found about seventy-five options. I’d heard of a bunch of them before, but not all. I wanted to check out everything, though, so I looked at all of them. I sought out other reviews from folks who’d used them to see which ones I should look into further.
I quickly eliminated most of the trackers because of things like reviews that were obviously paid for by the company. I also eliminated trackers that had terrible real-life user reviews, and ones that had too little information available to really know anything about them.
I narrowed the list down to the ten most highly rated trackers, and then I began my own reviews. You’ll see the results below.
Reviews Of The Best Cat GPS Tracking Collars
You’re going to notice some glaring choices missing from my list if you’ve already done your own Google search for “pet tracker cat” choices.
Some of the most popular trackers have purposefully been withheld, though, as I just didn’t find them up to specifications. I love my cats, and the whole point of having a cat GPS chip is to protect them and make sure they’re safe if they get outside.
I’m not going to trust my cat’s safety to an inferior product just because it’s popular.
For example, the Pod 3 is an extremely popular choice among reviewers. Many of them gave the product 4 and 5 stars. But before doing my own examination of the cat tracking device I looked through the reviews of real folks who want to keep their cats safe.
And I didn’t hear much good to be said of it. People complained about the app not working or crashing constantly, and not being able to find their pet using it.
The ones I have included are the only ones I’d currently trust to care for my furry family members.
#1. Tractive GPS Tracker
- Range: Anywhere you receive a cell signal
- Weight: 35 grams
- Company: Well-regarded
- Battery Life: Up to 5 days
- Connectivity/Apps: Phone or browser
- GPS or RF: GPS
- Bonus Features: Several
Overall Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
One popular option on multiple review sites is the Tractive GPS tracker. Because it’s always showing up in the top five, I wanted to check into it more closely. And I’m glad I did.
As I looked into the Tractive GPS tracker, I found that both professional and real-life users like this one. And the more I looked into it, the more I like it, too.
Of all the options I found out there, this one seems to be the absolute best option for tracking wide-wandering or lost kitties.
It meets all the requirements I look for, plus a variety of bonus features that make this one of the top contenders for me.
The Positives of the Tractive
The Tractive is loaded with benefits for your sanity, starting with a lower price than many competitors. There is a monthly subscription fee, but the plans are low-priced, starting as low as $5 monthly per tracker collar.
The app is easy to use and has loads of great features. You can track kitty’s activity throughout the day with the activity tracker, see where she’s going and when she’s napping in the window.
The tracker collar works as a geo-fence, meaning you’ll get a notification when your kitty wanders past the “safe” zones you set in your app.
And, of course, we’ve got to talk about battery life. This isn’t the longest-lasting one in the industry but pretty close. If set appropriately, the tracker will last five days.
And because this is a collar instead of a tag, having a breakaway feature is pretty important. Obviously, we don’t want this to happen, but if kitty gets caught in a branch or something, being able to break free from the collar is vital for safety.
The Tractive GPS tracker has a wide range thanks to the T-Mobile coverage. You have GPS tracking that works anywhere that T-Mobile has a signal, and you can actually track in 80 countries. While most of us don’t travel overseas with our pets, if you move around a bit, you would still have coverage in most places you could relocate.
From everything I can tell, the GPS is also highly accurate – which is majorly important.
Additional positive features and benefits:
- Durably made
- Real-time tracking
- The app works on Android, iPhone, or Windows phones
- Easy to set up a new safe zone wherever you go
- Multiple trackers allow you to monitor multiple cats at once
The Negatives of the Tractive
One of the immediate negatives is that this is a bit larger for smaller-sized cats. Cats over 7.7 pounds are fine, though. So, if you’ve got a bigger cat, you should be fine.
Also, like most of the brands of trackers, there is a monthly subscription fee. The prices are fairly reasonable, though, so that’s not a deterrent for most of us.
Make sure you get the cat version of the tracker, as the dog version is larger and has different clips that won’t work on your cat’s collar.
Our Verdict: This is the Best Cat Tracking Device on the Market
This tracker from Tractive is our top choice because, well, it has what we were looking for. I feel fully confident that if my furball ran off one night, I’d be able to find her without too much difficulty using the Tractive.
It’s not perfect, of course – no technology is, honestly. But the Tractive helps me feel like my cat will be safer and healthier because I’m tracking her with it.
#2. Whistle 3 Dog & Cat Tracker
- Range: anywhere in the USA
- Weight: less than 1 ounce
- Company: Reliable and well-known
- Battery Life: Up to 7 days – when on battery saving mode
- Connectivity/Apps: Excellent
- GPS or RF: GPS
- Bonus Features: Yes
Overall Rating: 4.8 out of 5 stars
The Whistle 3 appears to be the most popular cat tracking collar. Nearly every review site I visited had this as the number one choice, all ranking it at least 4 out of 5 stars.
Of course, that meant I had to look into it to see if this was baloney or if the Whistle 3 really is the best cat tracker.
The Positives of the Whistle 3
The main function of a tracker is to help you locate your cat. And since the Whistle 3 has both great coverage – anywhere that a cell phone has a signal in the USA – and is pretty accurate, it meets this most important requirement.
And, if you get close but can’t quite find kitty, there’s a ringing feature that allows you to pinpoint Garfield’s hiding spot.
You can also track your cat’s activity and rest periods throughout the day. You’ll know whether or not your kitty is snoozing all day or romping through the house while you’re sleeping.
The tracker is waterproof – a big bonus for kitties who wander – and weighs less than an ounce. The design is described as “durable” by many, and I agree. You can tell by the feel of the tracker that it’s high-quality and can handle a little rough terrain.
The tracker attaches to the cat’s collar that’s up to one inch wide. I’m not totally sold on that since my cats tend to be a little… rambunctious, shall we say, and could lose this kind of tracker more easily than I would like. But for most cats, it’s probably okay as a clip-on.
Another interesting feature of this collar is that you can use your smartphone app to call your cat’s collar and speak to kitty. My cat gets separation anxiety, so that’s a bonus feature that really rocks for our household.
A huge bonus for this particular tracker is that the Whistle 3 has one of the longest-lasting battery lives on the market – at nearly a week.
Many have only one or two days before they need to be charged.
And for cats who rarely wander and don’t have a penchant for escaping, those might work. But for a cat who loves the outdoors, the week-long battery life is pretty dang important.
The Negatives of the Whistle 3
Just like with everything, there are a few negatives for the Whistle 3.
One problem I do see with this tracker is that it’s only designed for cats that are eight pounds or larger. For most cats, this is fine. But a little fluffball I know weighs less than six pounds so her owners couldn’t expect her to carry this around very easily.
There’s a mild lag when you’re tracking kitty. It’s not huge, but it can be a little frustrating if your cat is speedy.
The other less-than-spectacular things I’ve noted are that there’s a monthly fee – which most have – and it’s only usable in the USA.
Our Verdict: The Whistle 3 is a Solid Choice
The Whistle 3 is a great option for any pet owner. I would recommend it to just about anyone who needs to track their kitty. I placed it second because I think the Tractive has a few additional features that make my life easier, but the Whistle 3 might be just as good an option for your particular situation.
The bulkiness and lag time are my only real complaints about this GPS cat tracker, so if those aren’t a big deal for you, you’ve got a great option in the Whistle 3 for sure.
BEST RF TRACKER COLLAR
#3. Marco Polo from Eureka Technology
- Range: 2 miles
- Weight: 0.8 ounces
- Company: Well-established and reliable
- Battery Life: varies – 3 days tracking to 45 days idle
- Connectivity/Apps: Hand-held tracking unit
- GPS or RF: RF
- Bonus Features: Waterproof to 3-foot depth
Overall Rating: 3.9 out of 5 stars
From everything I can understand, this is the best RF cat tracking device available. It’s designed for cats 5 pounds or heavier and works in areas where there are no clear cell signals to help you locate Furball.
Since it’s so highly rated among professionals and pet owners alike, I wanted to check out the benefits of using a Marco Polo over GPS trackers.
And as I reviewed, it honestly comes down to taste and specific need rather than one option being “better” than another.
With that in mind, here’s what you need to know about the Eureka Technology brand Marco Polo RF pet tracking device.
The Positives of the Marco Polo
The thing with RF – radio frequency – trackers is that they have a specified range, but they work just about anywhere within that range.
The Marco Polo works reliably within a 2-mile radius of the hand-held tracker device and doesn’t require a GPS signal or cell network to work. So, if you’re in a dead zone, this is the way to go for finding your pet.
There’s real-time searching for your pet, showing the distance and direction you’re shooting for as you track kitty.
The tags are lightweight enough for most adolescent and adult cats and are waterproof and durable enough to handle rough-going from kitty.
One nice thing about this, too, is if you already have a Marco Polo hand-held locator, or plan to buy more, the tags are compatible with any model.
And if you have more than one cat that you want to track, you can buy another tag – or two – to work on the same hand-held device.
And I do love that there’s no monthly subscription cost for the tracker.
Of course, because there’s no subscription cost, there is a much higher price tag upfront. The Marco Polo costs more than twice the upfront price of the GPS trackers I’ve reviewed, so that may be prohibitive for some.
Finally, the big positive is that with the RF-technology in the Marco Polo, the battery can last much longer. GPS trackers require frequent charging, but the Marco Polo only needs frequent charging if you’re actively tracking your cat.
The Negatives of the Marco Polo
The less positive things about the Marco Polo are the same negatives I see with all RF-based cat tracking devices. They only have a small range compared to GPS tracking, which, if your cat is really lost means you’re going to have a harder time finding her.
There aren’t any bonus features for the Marco Polo beyond the fact that it’s waterproof to 3-foot depth.
The Marco Polo is also pretty pricey up-front. For anyone on a budget, this would have to be more of an item paid from savings than a straight-up purchase.
Up-close tracking isn’t as precise as some other options, though it does have a better range than many RF trackers.
Our Verdict: It Comes Down to Preference
Honestly, the Marco Polo being an RF tracker is the biggest negative for me. I have lived in rural areas, however, where cellphone coverage is pretty much non-existent – I once had better cell reception in the Andes mountains than I did while visiting rural Florida! – so I get that for those who live in dead zones an RF tracker is a better option.
And of all the trackers I reviewed, the Marco Polo is definitely the best RF option.
I had hoped to have at least two runners-up as I looked through all of the options that were so highly praised. But there just weren’t enough that met my standards for the things necessary to make a good cat tracker. The one I did think was a decent choice after my top three was the Link AKC collar.
#4. Link AKC GPS Tracker
- Range: Bluetooth range
- Weight: 35 grams
- Company: Fairly new, but reliable
- Battery Life: up to 3 days
- Connectivity/Apps: Android and iOS
- GPS or RF: GPS
- Bonus Features: Yes
Overall Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
As one of the other most praised cat GPS tracker collars, the Link AKC is worth considering. Other reviewers and pet owners gave it a big thumbs up, though enthusiasm varies. So, I pulled up all the reviews and started researching before making my final decision on which trackers to review myself.
The Link AKC isn’t the best on the market, but it is better than the vast majority of options I looked at before choosing my top picks.
The Positives of the Link AKC
There are some unique benefits for the Link AKC that make it a better option for some than others. For example, there’s an LED night light tracker in the app. That’s a really great feature if Fluffy bursts out the door at bedtime.
Link AKC also allows you to store maps and keep images of the tracked activity. This is a unique feature that I find more “cool” than useful in the scheme of finding my kitty on a dark night, but it’s still interesting.
One of the most useful benefits of the phone app that comes with the Link AKC is that you can use it to keep vet records. This feature also lets you set medical actions and reminders, which can help you better track your cat’s health and help him when he’s having some issues.
You’ve also got live monitoring with the Link and ambient temperature alerts to help you make sure kitty’s not getting into trouble.
One of the most important aspects of this particular tracker is the material the collar’s made from, and that’s high-quality leather. I love a good leather collar because it will last longer than others and won’t fray or look gross like so many others.
Finally, the Link AKC is waterproof to 3 feet. That’s about as deep as a cat would dare go and be okay, so that’s deep enough to meet my standards on this feature.
The Negatives of the Link AKC
While the outdoor tracking feature is pretty accurate with this, the smaller, local activity tracking isn’t as accurate as would be nice. If you’re not incredibly concerned about Fluffy’s at-home wanderings, though, this shouldn’t be too big of an issue.
One of my biggest complaints with the Link AKC is how bulky it is. Smaller cats definitely can’t handle it well.
Also, the battery life isn’t the best. It’s not the worst, for sure, but others have way better lifespans, and that’s important when you’re tracking a lost pet.
It’s also a bit more expensive than similar units that have more of the practical features I’m looking for.
This collar is also not specifically designed for cats, so I feel it may not be as functional and safe for cats since it’s made of leather since there doesn’t seem to be a breakaway feature.
Finally, from everything I could learn about this collar, your range is more limited with it than with the regular GPS units. You have to be within Bluetooth range to find your kitty. For local wanderers, that might work, but for toms who like to survey their territory, you’ll have some issues.
Our Verdict: This is a Decent but Not Amazing Cat Tracking Collar
Honestly, there are a lot of good and not as good things about the Link AKC. Many of the features and benefits make it a good option for any cat parent who needs to track her kitty. But the limited battery life and less accurate tracking system make this at most a decent choice.
While this one will do if it’s the only one available, I would recommend going with one of the top three choices instead.
If you do choose to purchase the Link AKC, make sure you’re getting the smaller cat-appropriate size rather than the dog collar.
Why I Believe in Cat Tracking Collars and Tags
Not everybody agrees that you need a GPS or RF tracker for your cat.
And I’m not going to try to guilt you into believing you absolutely have to have one.
But I personally feel better knowing that my cat has the option to be found if she were to run away sometime when the door’s open and she gets scared.
Busy roads, wild animals – there have been mountain lion sightings near me! – and other hazards make me cautious. And having the best GPS collar for cats available gives me peace of mind when otherwise I’d be up at night worrying.
And if you think you do need a cat tracker, these options I suggested really are the best, from all the experience, testing, and reviews I could do on them.
FAQs for Cat Tracking Devices
How do I find my cat with a tracker?
Each tracker will have instructions on how to use the apps and devices used to track your cat, so be sure to follow the specific instructions.
My cat has a microchip. Isn’t that the same thing?
A microchip is not the same thing as a GPS locator chip. Microchips are only useful if someone finds your cat and brings it in somewhere to have the chip read. It will not help you locate your cat otherwise.
What’s the difference between a dog tracker and a cat tracker?
The primary difference between a cat tracker and a dog tracker is the size and weight.
Since the majority of dogs are larger than the majority of cat breeds, dog trackers will be bulkier, larger, and heavier than cat-specific trackers. This is the main reason we recommend using a tracker specifically designed for cats.
Where can I buy a cat tracking device?
Most of these are available on Chewy.com or Amazon.com, but you may also be able to find them on eBay or smaller business sites that focus on pets. You can also find them on the manufacturer’s retail site, though you’re likely to get a better price on Chewy or Amazon.
Some physical stores may have them in stock as well, but as I searched for these specific models on PetSmart, PetCo, and Pet Supplies Plus, I didn’t find any options for pet trackers in their online inventory.