Back in January we published an article about lost cats and in it shared some statistics on lost cat behaviors, how many ultimately made it home, and how/where their guardians found them. We then introduced a GPS cat tracker from a company called Tractive that lets you follow your furry friend’s every step in real-time on your phone (sample screenshots below).
We felt that it would be helpful in this post to clarify a question we hear regularly … “what’s the difference between a microchip and a GPS tracker?“
Did you know your cat’s microchip will not help locate them if they go missing? Microchips can only help identify them after they’ve been found. But to keep your cat safe, you want to make sure they never go missing in the first place. That’s where GPS trackers like Tractive come in. With live GPS tracking technology, you can pinpoint your cat’s exact location instantly — saving you a lot of panic and heartache.
Here’s the bottom line: A pet owner’s first line of defense against a missing/lost pet is GPS tracking. A microchip is valuable for identification after your pet goes missing (which is still very important), but a GPS tracker can prevent that from happening to begin with.
Studies show the vast majority of pet owners aren’t aware there is a difference between microchips and GPS trackers, which is potentially dangerous misinformation. The most common misconception is that if their pet runs away, their microchip will help locate them, which is impossible.
In reality, a microchip is solely used for identification and contact purposes after your pet has been found. For that to happen, your pet has to be found by a kind stranger and brought to a shelter or veterinarian’s office for the chip to be scanned. Additionally, you need to make sure that your contact information with the microchip company is up to date, something many pet owners neglect to check.
Pet GPS trackers like Tractive provide you with 24/7 live location updates for your pet, no matter where you are in the world. Tractive works with all major cell network providers to ensure the most accurate GPS coverage, which is delivered right to your phone. With the Virtual Fence feature, you can even set “safe zones” for your pet, and Tractive will alert you the instant your cat leaves the designated zone. From there, you can enter LIVE tracking mode, instantly zone in on their location, and bring them home safely.
Whether your cat is an indoor cat, outdoor, or both — Tractive GPS ensures their safety should the worst happen. All pet owners want to keep their pets safe, and having both a microchip and Tractive GPS gives the ultimate peace of mind, and the ultimate protection for your pet.
Tractive GPS Cat Trackers comes with everything you need in one box. You’re good to go the moment you get your device. To learn more check out Tractive GPS Cat Tracker.
Clearing the confusion between Microchipping and GPS Trackers is important, and I’m glad to find your article.
There is, however, one detail in your report which isn’t exactly accurate. You say a GPS “can pinpoint your cat’s exact location instantly”, and that’s not always the case.
I have used Tractive GPS units on my indoor/outdoor cats for years, and consider my cat-collar GPS units to be invaluable. They have literally ‘saved’ my cats several times when my little critters have wandered off.
The Tractive GPS also helped save one of my cats when he was stolen. The ‘safe zone’ alarm sounded, I looked at my computer screen (or you can look on your phone), and I saw my cat headed up a main highway at 60 miles-per-hour. Long story short… it wasn’t my cat that was stolen. Some not-so-smart person had taken the GPS off of my cat’s collar and it was the GPS unit that was headed up the highway – not my cat. I called the police, and we followed the GPS coordinates right to the culprit’s door! My point in telling you this story is to highlight how you can use your computer and/or phone to find the GPS unit (and hopefully, your cat), under some pretty unusual circumstances.
(By the way… my cat came home by himself – without his GPS.)
But I digress… Back to my original point… I have probably encountered just about every circumstance possible while locating lost cats. A GPS won’t always locate your cat with pinpoint precision. Other factors are involved. First, the resultant location from a GPS constantly fluctuates around an area nearby the receiver (your cat). Secondly, obstructions can affect the GPS’s actual position. For example, has your cat wandered into a wooded area where the overhead trees might affect the GPS signal? Has your cat hidden beneath a porch or under a parked car?
Bottom line… There can be many factors that interfere with GPS transmission and reception. Pinpointing your cat’s ‘exact location instantly’ is now only a technological future dream. Having said that, I would not let my cat outside without a Tractive GPS. The Tractive enables me to find my cat’s location close enough, and with a little further time wandering around, I (almost) always find my cat.