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Tractive GPS Cat Tracker Review (We Tested It)

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The Tractive GPS cat tracker is slim, lightweight, and comfortable for your cat to wear. It offers useful features like live tracking, virtual fences, and location history as well as a “find mode” that enables you to pinpoint your cat’s location.

In this review, we’ll go in-depth about how well the Tractive GPS Cat Tracker works in real-world situations and explore details like battery life, subscription fees, and more.

Buy On Tractive.com

We named the Tractive GPS cat tracker our top overall pick for the best cat tracker in 2022. The video below provides some personal insight into this cat tracker and four other models we liked.

Also Read: 9 Best Cat Trackers – We Tested Them All

Testing The Tractive GPS Cat Tracker

testing the tractive gps cat tracker

To find out how this tracker really works, we subjected it to hours of testing, including cat comfort tests and a lost cat simulation. Mallory Crusta / Cats.com

Mallory Crusta, our Head of Content, tested the Tractive GPS Cat Tracker along with ten other models to determine the best options currently on the market. She enlisted the help of her two cats, Wessie and Forest (along with a few human friends), to help her test it.

Before we jump into Mallory’s experience with the Tractive GPS Cat Tracker, let’s talk a little more about this cat tracker and how it works.

After years as the world’s leading pet tracker brand, Tractive has created its first cat-specific tracker for the US market. Developed with the help of an animal behaviorist, the tracker is a rectangular device with a slightly curved shape that attaches easily to your cat’s collar and sits comfortably on the neck.

The 4G-reliant tracker communicates with your phone more quickly than the 3G version we tried last year, and a combination of GPS and Bluetooth tracking makes it a consistent, powerful choice. It offers an impressive suite of features including live tracking, location history, virtual fences, and more.

Getting Started With The Tractive GPS Cat Tracker

opening the tractive gps cat tracker box

The Tractive GPS tracker for cats comes neatly packaged with all the components you need to get started. Mallory Crusta / Cats.com

Opening the box, you’ll see three main pieces: the GPS tracker itself, the collar attachment, and the charging cable. If you opted to purchase the package including a Rogz Alleycat breakaway collar as well, the collar will be packaged separately from the device.

Before using the Tractive GPS Cat Tracker, you’ll need to make sure the device is fully charged and turned on. You’ll also need to download the Tractive GPS mobile app (available for Android and iOS) and activate your tracker by purchasing a subscription plan either through the app or on Tractive’s website.

You’ll also want to slip the tracking unit into the molded holder and slide it onto your cat’s collar.

What Did Our Test Cats Think?

wessie wearing tractive cat tracker

Our test cat, Wessie, seemed to feel comfortable wearing the tracker on his collar for about 12 hours during the day and night. Mallory Crusta / Cats.com

The Tractive GPS Cat Tracker is a fairly slim, lightweight tracker that sits comfortably on the neck. Wessie wore the tracker during the day and overnight and didn’t seem to mind wearing it.

The tracker attaches easily to your cat’s current collar of choice, or you can purchase it with a Rogz breakaway collar.

The Features Of The Tractive GPS Cat Tracker

The Tractive GPS app offers a number of features to help you keep tabs on your cat’s location and find him if he gets lost.

One of the app’s most useful features is the Virtual Fence. This feature enables you to set up a virtual perimeter around your home. When your cat leaves the safe zone, you’ll get a notification on your phone. Mallory found this feature worked reliably, sending prompt notifications each time the tracker left the designated area.

tractive cat tracker map

The main screen of the Tractive app features a highly-adjustable map. The map shows your virtual fence (the blue ring in the photo) and your cat’s most recent location. When you’re ready to search for your cat, click the live tracking button in the lower right corner. Mallory Crusta / Cats.com

If you’re trying to find your cat, you’ll most likely use Live Mode. This mode allows you to follow your cat’s movements using GPS and cell service. Note that the tracker contains its own SIM card and connects to mobile networks available in the area. Because Tractive has agreements with various service providers, it’s not limited to the provider that your smartphone uses.

During our tests, the app updated consistently, providing timely updates on the tracker’s location.

But while the regular updates and consistent performance were great compared to other trackers we’ve tested, Tractive’s tracker faces the same challenges that affect all GPS trackers. GPS is built to give you accurate readings up to within three meters (about 9 feet), but they won’t pinpoint your cat’s location the way that a radio frequency tracker would.

And that accuracy goes down when there are obstacles in the way of the sky, so tracking may be less effective in heavily-treed areas and indoors. In homes with metal roofs, for example, indoor tracking may not work at all.

bluetooth find mode

Mallory Crusta / Cats.com

Using the Tractive cat tracker’s Bluetooth-powered Find Mode, you’re able to pinpoint your cat’s location. Sound and light tracking help you to narrow down the search no matter the conditions.To help make up for those limitations, this tracker also offers a Bluetooth Find Mode which enables you to pinpoint your cat’s location whether you’re indoors or outside. The app also allows you to activate a light or sound on the tracker to help you find your cat more easily, even in the dark.

tractive cat tracker augmented reality

One of the more fascinating features of the Tractive app is the augmented reality tool, which places a distance and direction overlay on your phone’s camera input. Mallory Crusta / Cats.com

Other features the Tractive GPS Cat Tracker has to offer include heat map, location history, activity monitoring, and an augmented reality tool.

Activity Monitoring With Tractive

setting up activity monitoring

Impressively, the Tractive cat tracker is developed to accurately monitor your cat’s activity—not a dog’s. In this photo, Mallory sets up Wessie’s profile and prepares for tracking. Mallory Crusta / Cats.com

While activity monitoring is a common feature among pet trackers, most of it is geared toward dogs first. Tractive is unique in that this tracker is designed specifically for cats.

Tractive activity monitoring is calibrated to your cat’s body, so it provides some pretty useful insights into your cat’s activity. The app tells you how much time during the day your cat is active and how long he sleeps. You can view insights into your cat’s calorie expenditure as well.

It’s difficult to say how accurate certain features like calorie expenditure really are, but it can be helpful to know how much exercise your cat gets on a daily basis, and it may provide other insights into your cat’s health. If you notice your cat is sleeping more than usual, for example, you might be encouraged to look for other indications that he might be sick.

What’s The Battery Life Like?

The Tractive GPS Cat Tracker has decent battery life. Tractive claims that the average user gets 8 days of battery life per charge.

This cat tracker offers a Power Saving Feature which can extend your battery life by up to 40%. The tracker reports fewer positions when your cat is still, and you can set up a Power Saving Zone in which the tracker will report fewer positions as well.

How Much Does The Tractive GPS Cat Tracker Cost?

On the Tractive store, the Tractive GPS tracking device costs $49.99. If you don’t already have a good collar, you can also purchase it bundled with a Rogz Alleycat breakaway collar, which brings your price up to $57.99.

In order to activate your device and start tracking, you’ll also have to purchase a subscription plan.

Subscription plan pricing varies depending on which level of coverage you choose and how you choose to pay. If you want to pay monthly, you can purchase the Basic plan for $12 a month. You’ll get the best pricing if you pay upfront for a full year or more.

For five years of Premium plan coverage, you’ll pay $300 flat, which breaks down to $5 per month. You’ll pay $120 for two years on the Basic plan or $144 for two years on the Premium plan which averages to $5 or $6 a month, respectively. A single year will cost you $84 or $96, which is $7 or $8 a month.

The Basic plan includes GPS tracking and unlimited live tracking. If you opt for the Premium plan, you’ll get worldwide coverage, 365 days location history, and public or family sharing. You also receive access to premium customer service and will be able to export your GPS data if desired.

Overall, Is The Tractive GPS Cat Tracker Worth It?

On top of having the basic features and consistent performance we look for in any GPS tracker, this unit is thoughtfully designed to make finding your cat as easy as possible.

A Bluetooth-powered Find Mode allows you to find your cat regardless of the environment, while a light and noise function makes it easy to pinpoint your cat’s location and a user-friendly virtual fence system ensures that you get alerts any time your cat leaves home.

Overall, we were impressed by this tracker’s cat-friendly design and consistent, reliable performance.

For outdoor cats, cats who live both indoors and outside, and those who tend to door dash, the Tractive GPS Cat Tracker has everything you need to monitor your cat’s movements and activity.

Buy On Tractive.com

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About Kate Barrington

Kate Barrington is a writer with over twelve years of experience in the pet industry. She is an NAVC-certified Pet Nutrition Coach and has completed coursework in therapeutic nutrition, raw feeding, and the formulation of homemade diets for pets at an accredited university. Kate enjoys cooking, reading, and doing DIY projects around the house. She has three cats, Bagel, Munchkin, and Biscuit.

5 thoughts on “Tractive GPS Cat Tracker Review (We Tested It)”

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  1. Denise

    Very well presented. thank you. I am considering the Apple Air tag, despite it not being totally awesomely reviewed by cat lovers. Did you have a look at this tracker? thanks.

    1. small mallory photoMallory Crusta

      Hey Denise, no, I didn’t try the Apple AirTag myself, as I only have an Android device for testing. It sounds like it would be a good option for those whose cats stay indoors all the time and live in more urban areas and can connect to the network of other AirTag users, but it’s certainly not the most reliable option. Not sure if you’ve seen it, but KittyCatGo did a nice review.

  2. Jessie

    Hi Denise, my cat has an airtag. You can see his location (it updates every 60 seconds), but it works only if the tracker is within a range of bluetooth (of any device). If he’s somewhere in the field, and I’m not nearby, I can only see his last location. Airtag does make a sound when you play it, like an iPhone, but again-you need to be in range. You can click “find nearby” function, and it will quite precisely lead you to the cat, but only when you’re in the bluetooth range, and it usually doesn’t work at night (keeps asking for providing more light). There’s no tracking history, so there’s no way to tell where your cat were and where’s he going. If the airtag is out of range, you can turn the “notify when found” function, which will send you a pop-up notification saying that the airtag has been seen. No subscription necessary, you just pay fir an airtag. Now the cons: when someone finds your airtag, they won’t be able to see your contact details, unless you’ve put the airtag in the “lost mode”, which (just in case) for my cat is constantly on. That’s basically it, no more pros, nor cons. To be honest, I’ve just bought a tracktive, cause I wanted to know where my cat was going, and I was tired and worried of the device being constantly out of range.

  3. Jessie

    Forgot to add: on the plus side, the battery lasts about a year. There used to be a battery level icon in the “find my” app, but it disappeared. I’ll still keep using the airtag, but for the better results I’ll have the tracktive, cause the bluetooth range is not that great and cats usually roam
    Further, which makes the airtag bit useless (unless you have a lot of neighbors surrounding you, then fine, I have mostly fields and forest)

  4. Paul M Marcia

    1- Make damn sure your battery on your phone is charged full as you can get, going LIVE eats your battery power like Pac-Man 2- Wear sunglasses and a cap if you can when tracking outside as the sun makes reading your phone track damn near impossible