After researching the market, reading product roundups, scouring customer reviews, and testing the top pet trackers, we’ve chosen the Tractive GPS Cat LTE + Tracker as the overall best GPS cat tracker you can buy.
The Tractive LTE GPS cat tracker has just about everything we’d want in a GPS tracker for cats. It’s lightweight, slim, and sits comfortably on your cat’s neck. Despite its size, this small unit contains a lot of powerful technology. Fully equipped with virtual fences, live tracking, location history, and a “find mode” that allows you to pinpoint your cat’s location, the Tractive app has everything you need to keep track of your cat wherever they go.
At a Glance: 9 Best Cat Trackers To Buy
Want a quick look at the products reviewed in this article? In the comparison table below, we’ve highlighted some of the most important features of each product. You’ll find more detailed information about each product later in the article.
Top Picks Explained
Before we review the Tractive GPS Cat LTE + Tracker and the rest of our top recommendations, let’s go over a few of the things you need to look for in a tracker.
Why Should You Trust Us?
Over the last several years, we’ve written in-depth reviews on dozens of pet tech solutions. From automatic litter boxes to pet fountains and feeders, our experts have spent hundreds of hours testing these products’ performance, user experience, and cat-friendliness.
In addition to our own product research and testing, we’ve read hundreds of customer reviews and consulted veterinary experts and cat behaviorists for insight into what to look for when evaluating these products.
Based on extensive research, hands-on testing, and expert insights, we selected the following nine cat trackers as the best you can buy.
How We Tested
We spent hours researching the different types of cat trackers, exploring the options on the market, and reading hundreds of customer reviews. Most of the products on this list have been tested in-depth by our Head of Content, Mallory, with her two cats, Wessie and Forest.
The cat trackers we tested were purchased at full retail price and the entire testing process was funded by Cats.com without direct input or influence from the companies involved.
To evaluate the cat trackers on this list, we performed in-depth testing to determine how easy they were to set up and how well they performed in various real-world applications. We tried the trackers with different types of collars to gauge their comfort and security.
What To Look For in a Cat Tracker
1. Reliable, Accurate Tracking Is Essential.
Though they’re not a substitute for microchipping and close supervision, cat trackers can help you keep tabs on your cat when he’s out of sight. With a reliable, accurate tracker, you’ll know when your cat strays from home, where he’s gone, and which direction you need to go to find him.
The best cat trackers have long battery lives, reliable connections, and ranges large enough to help you find your cat, whether he’s lounging on the porch or exploring blocks away.
2. The Best Trackers Have Functional, Intuitive Apps or Receivers.
Great trackers make it easy to keep tabs on your cat. Whether in the form of a phone app or a standalone handheld module, the receiver should be straightforward and easy to use.
The trackers we tested earned extra points for systems that included night lights, behavior change alerts, and other fun features, but some in-app features are indispensable.
For example, GPS tracking apps need virtual fences or safe zones. These alert you when your cat wanders too far from home or out of a designated area. Ideally, these fences are customizable, allowing you to set up safety zones that follow the lines of your backyard or other areas.
3. They’re Small, Lightweight, and Attach Easily to Your Cat’s Collar or Harness.
Most cat trackers are made with dogs in mind, so they’re often clunky, heavy, or built into collars that don’t feature quick-release buckles. Whether designed specifically for cats or not, the best trackers are lightweight enough for your cat’s comfort and compatible with his collar or harness.
Cat Trackers Use One of Three Tracking Technologies: GPS, Radio Frequency, or Bluetooth.
Global Positioning System (GPS) Cat Trackers
GPS is a global navigation system that uses satellites to provide location data to receivers around the planet.
Of the types of cat trackers available, GPS trackers provide the strongest visual location data—they display your cat’s general location on a map and have the longest detection range out of all the products on the market. Many GPS trackers can transmit signals to your phone from miles away.
These trackers connect to an app on your phone, through which you can create safe zones, watch your cat’s activity over time, view your cat’s real-time location on a map, and, with some trackers, gain insights into your cat’s health. Some trackers act like fitness trackers, giving you reports about your cat’s daily calorie burn, hours of rest per day, and more.
As exciting as GPS trackers are, they’re not perfect on all counts.
Because they rely on satellite transmissions, they don’t work if something is blocking their connection to the sky. GPS trackers don’t work indoors, and they might be unreliable under the cover of thick brush, trees, or even heavy clouds.
GPS trackers tend to be larger and heavier than other trackers as well, so they may be uncomfortable for some cats. Most are rated for cats weighing 8 lbs or more.
Additionally, GPS trackers are the most expensive type of pet tracker you can buy, with most costing between $70 and $200. Plus, most of them require a data plan, which will cost up to $10 per month.
Radio Frequency (RF) Cat Trackers
RF trackers feature a radio transmitter that attaches to your cat and a receiver that you carry. When the receiver detects your cat’s radio transmission, it will start beeping and lighting up, telling you the transmitter is within range. As you move closer to your cat, the signal changes, telling you you’re headed in the right direction.
While GPS trackers can estimate a cat’s location to within a few yards, an RF tracker will pinpoint your cat’s location down to a few centimeters. These trackers work both indoors and outside and have no problem transmitting through dense undergrowth, floorboards, or walls. They’re lightweight, streamlined, and have long-lasting batteries that should stay strong for months.
But for all the strengths of such a straightforward locating system, RF trackers look like rudimentary tools compared to GPS trackers.
They won’t alert you if your cat goes missing. They won’t give you a visual overlay of your cat’s location on a map. Worst of all, they seldom detect anything further than 1,600 feet away, demanding a slow, steady trial-and-error approach to finding a lost cat.
Most RF cat trackers go for around $100.
Bluetooth Cat Trackers
Bluetooth cat trackers have a few great qualities. They’re cheap, lightweight, and measure battery life in months rather than hours. But those are the only things they have going for them.
Bluetooth trackers are the weakest option available. With a range of no more than 300 feet, Bluetooth trackers will help you find your cat when she’s hiding under the bed or playing on the deck. But if your cat gets lost, a Bluetooth tracker isn’t usually much more helpful than your own pair of eyes.
After researching cat trackers and reading customer reviews, we chose the following eight trackers for hands-on testing.
Our nine candidates are popular products that have generated a lot of conversation on the web. They include products from all three tracker categories: GPS, RF, and Bluetooth.
Those nine cat trackers are:
- Tractive GPS Cat LTE + Tracker
- Girafus Pro-Track-Tor RF Tracker
- Loc8tor Tabcat RF Tracker
- Cat Tailer Bluetooth Tracker
- Tile Mate Bluetooth Tracker
- Eureka Technology Marco Polo Tracker
- Jiobit GPS Pet Tracker
- Weenect 2 GPS Tracker
- Fitbark GPS Tracker
Best Cat Trackers Comparison Chart
|Product Name||Type of Device||Weight||Battery Life||Includes App||Accuracy Level||Price||Warranty|
|Tractive GPS LTE+ Tracker||GPS||1.76 ounces||2-5 days||Yes||Mid||$34.99||1-year|
|Jiobit GPS Tracker||GPS||0.6 ounces||7 days||Yes||High||$129.99||1-year|
|Eureka Marco Polo Tracker||Self-Contained||0.8 ounces||Up to 45 days||No||High||$274.95||90 days|
|Loc8tor Tabcat RF Tracker||Radio Frequency||6 grams||4-12 months||Yes||High||$119.99||2-year|
|Cat Tailer Bluetooth Tracker||Bluetooth||7.9 grams||6 months||Yes||Low||$67.00||1-year|
|Tile Mate Bluetooth Tracker||Bluetooth||6.1 grams||12 months||Yes||Low||$44.95||1-year|
|Weenect 2 GPS Tracker||GPS||25 grams||3 days||Yes||High||$29.99||2-years|
|Girafus Pro-Track-Tor RF Tracker||Radio Frequency||4.2 grams||Up to 30 days||Yes||High||$97.49||N/A|
|Fitbark GPS Tracker (2nd Gen)||GPS||16 grams||10-60 days||Yes||Mid||$99.95||1-year|
After receiving the trackers, I subjected them to a series of tests.
First, I tested their ease of assembly and setup.
I ran a stopwatch while getting the trackers set up.
While assembly, app installation, and setup were effortless, the GPS trackers had the longest wait time before they were ready to use. All of them needed to charge for a few hours before they would work.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, the Tile Mate Bluetooth Tracker took the shortest time from unboxing to cat tracking. With a visit to the Google Play store and the press of a button, the Mate was ready to go within a few minutes.
Next, I let my cats try the trackers on to test their comfort and security.
Like harnesses, collars, and clothes, I was concerned that the tracking devices might overwhelm a feline wearer.
Of our test trackers, only two were made specifically with cats in mind. The others are primarily geared towards dogs or, in the case of the Tile, keys and other inanimate objects.
To test the trackers’ comfort and cat-friendliness, I enlisted the help of my two cats, Forest and Wessie. Forest is a 7-lb lightweight, while Wessie weighs 13 lbs. Neither of them wears collars around the house, so I didn’t know how they’d react to having a tracker strapped to their necks.
To my surprise, neither cat seemed to mind—or even notice—the trackers. From the bottle cap-sized Cat Tailer to the clunky 1.2-ounce Tractive, none of the trackers slowed them down.
Were the trackers easy to put on and secure enough to stay attached to a collar?
Whether they used key rings, plastic mounts, or rubber attachment loops, all of the trackers attached securely and easily.
Finally, I subjected the trackers to two field tests.
After watching my cats wear their trackers around the house, setting up data plans, and getting familiar with the apps and receivers, it was time to put the trackers to the test. I tested the trackers in a rural, partially forested area with decent cell coverage.
First, I tested the GPS trackers’ ability to keep track of movement by carrying all the trackers in my pocket and going for a walk.
Because it updated frequently and provided accurate location data on the app, the Findster Duo+ was the clear winner of this GPS field tracker test.
The other GPS tracker didn’t update as frequently, so it lost some ground and failed to give an accurate location on the map. While the Findster Duo+ tracked the entire walk accurately, the other was still loading, refreshing, or trying to get a connection.
The Findster Duo+ was the clear winner in this GPS tracker test. But keeping tabs on your cat isn’t always as straightforward as taking a planned walk with your cat outside. I wanted to know what would happen if my cat escaped the house or wandered out of sight while wearing each of the trackers.
To test the trackers’ ability to come to the rescue in a surprise escape scenario, I played a game of cat tracker hide-and-seek.
In this test, one person held the receiver—or smartphone, in the case of the GPS trackers—while another played the role of a runaway cat, taking the trackers to secret spots outdoors.
Only three of the trackers were able to locate the “lost cat.”
The Girafus Pro-Track-Tor and Findster Duo+ did well in this test, each reuniting tracker and receiver within six minutes.
By the time the Loc8tor Tabcat started alerting, I’d already spotted my test partner through the woods. Though it quickly brought me to the target once it was within the 400-foot range, it’s hard to say what would have happened if I’d been searching for a small, frightened cat.
Our two Bluetooth-powered competitors did the worst in this test.
After two minutes out of sight, my testing partner had moved out of the Bluetooth range and I had nothing to work with—they wouldn’t connect until the tracker was within my line of sight. While the Cat Tailer sends notifications when your cat leaves the Bluetooth range, the connection was so inconsistent that I wouldn’t be able to differentiate between a bad connection and a cause for alarm.
Though it worked well in our initial tracking test, the Findster Duo+ simply isn’t made for door dashes.
The device is designed for walks, so it doesn’t track your cat unless you’ve started a walk in the app. If you haven’t started a walk, a cat wandering two meters or more from the app will disconnect, leaving you without any way to monitor your cat’s activity.
Based on field testing, I wasn’t satisfied that the options I tested were the overall best, so I conducted a little more research.
That brings us to my top pick for the best RF tracker, the Eureka Marco Polo Tracker.
This pet tracker is designed with a self-contained system that doesn’t require GPS or a cellular network to use it. It features durable construction, a long 45-day battery life, and the ability to work with more than one pet. We also appreciated that it doesn’t require a monthly subscription fee.
Now, let’s take a closer look at my top 9 overall picks for the best cat tracker.
Best Cat Trackers: Our Top 9 Picks Reviewed
How Do You Know Which Tracker Is Right for You?
While reading customer reviews, researching the market, and testing trackers with my own cats, the reality of cat trackers was obvious. There is no perfect cat tracker. From GPS to Bluetooth and high-priced to cheap, every tracker has something that will disqualify it for someone.
Think about your cat first—will he be comfortable with a large, heavy GPS tracker? Does he roam far away or are you confident he’ll stay within the yard? Is he an indoor-only cat but tends to hide in the closet? These questions will help you decide if your cat needs a GPS tracker, RF tracker, or a small-range device that relies on Bluetooth.
Before you make a decision, think about the cell coverage in your area. If it’s spotty, an RF or network-independent tracker might work best. Also factor in the network provider that the tracker uses. If it relies on Verizon, for example, your tracker won’t work in an area that’s not covered by Verizon.
Finally, factor in price. You’ll find trackers of every category at a wide range of prices, so look for one that fits your budget both upfront and over time.