Best Cat Tracking Devices

Cat trackers come in a variety of options including GPS (satellite or cellular), radio-trackers (or RFID), and Bluetooth trackers.  Contrary to popular belief, microchips do not have any remote tracking capabilities (learn more here).  Being involved in lost pet recovery work for over 10 years, I definitely recommend cat trackers for both indoor and outdoor-access cats.  

All of the cat trackers described here must be attached to either a collar or harness.  Several research studies have found that the risk of cats getting injured or killed by a collar is highly exaggerated.  In my opinion, this is worth the risk given the number of cats that are lost.  To reduce the risk of accidental strangulation, you can attach most trackers to a breakaway collar.  

I am currently working on updating this article for 2024.  

GPS versus Radio-Trackers

First it can be helpful to determine if a GPS or a radio-tracking device makes more sense.   In general, a GPS tracker is more appropriate for an outdoor-access cat, especially one that tends to wander through multiple yards or into the woods.  A GPS can also be very useful if you move to a new home with an outdoor-access cat since they are at a higher risk of going missing or even attempting to travel back to their old home.  

A radio-tracker is usually best for indoor-only cats, since they don't usually travel far from their point of escape and they tend to hide really well.  Radio-trackers are also useful for traveling with your cat since a displaced cat (e.g. one lost away from home) is more likely to hide nearby though a small percentage of lost outdoor-access cats may attempt to travel back home.  If you are on a budget or your outdoor-access cat tends to stay close to home, a radio-tracker is also a good option.  

On the other hand, if you want to be extra safe, some people choose to use both a GPS and radio-tracker.  This improves your ability to locate your cat and provides a back-up if the battery on one device fails.  

How GPS Pet Trackers Work

GPS (Global Positioning System) trackers work by using satellites and/or cellular networks to locate your cat.  Most GPS pet trackers work with an app on a smart phone.  When you ask to "locate" your pet, the app will find your cat using GPS and/or cell phone coverage and indicate their location on a map along with an address (if they are near a home).  

GPS locations are not always exact, so you may need to search within 100 feet or more of the indicated location to find your cat.  This may be difficult if your cat is moving around while you are searching.  Most GPS trackers do offer a tracking feature that provides repeated map locations of your cat, but this can really drain the battery.  In some situations, the GPS may not be able to get a location on your cat.

Overall, low battery life is the biggest drawback of a GPS tracker.  Many GPS trackers only have a battery life of a few days.  If your cat stays near the house, the battery may last for a week or longer (on a good tracker), but once outside the home base (usually determined by your WiFi range), the battery will quickly drain in as little as a day.  Many escaped indoor-only cats are too frightened to come out of hiding even for their owner and need to be humanely trapped.  If you are not able to locate and catch your cat within a few days, their GPS battery will likely go dead.   

GPS Pros

  • Can locate your cat even if they have traveled far from home.
  • Provides a mapped location of your cat.
  • Sends a notification when your cat travels outside a set "safe zone" around your home.
  • Sends a notification when the battery level is low so that you know to recharge it in time.

GPS Cons

  • Device is larger and heavier than a radio-tag.  Generally not suitable for small cats.
  • Most require a monthly subscription plan and home WiFi.
  • Battery needs to be recharged often.  If your cat stays near the house, the battery may last for a week or longer (on some trackers), but once outside the home base (usually determined by your WiFi range), the battery will quickly drain in a few days.  
  • May not be able to get a signal depending on GPS and/or cell coverage in the area.  Also may not work if your cat is trapped in a basement or hiding underground.

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Best GPS Cat Trackers

At this time, I don't have a single favorite GPS tracker for cats.  The biggest drawback on all GPS trackers is their short battery life.  Based on my research and experience, these are some of the better GPS trackers, but they all have pros and cons.  Most trackers offer trial periods and free returns so your best options is to try a tracker or two and see what works best in your area and situation.

Whistle GPS Pet Trackers

I used Whistle pet trackers on my search dog Dante for most his life.  For my cats, I  use radio-trackers, but this is also a decent GPS for cats.  As of 2024, Whistle has two GPS styles: Whistle Go Explore 2.0 and Whistle Switch.  Whistle recommends the Switch for small dogs and Go Explore for dogs 25 lbs and up.  However, the Switch is built into a non-breakaway collar so I wouldn't recommend this one for cats.  The Go Explore is actually lighter than than the Switch.  It is just more bulky, but it can be attached to a breakaway collar.  Whistle used to advertise that this size tracker was suitable for pets 8 lbs and up.

For a GPS, the Go Explore has a relatively long battery life of up to 15 days if your pet stays within wifi range.  However, the battery only lasts 2-3 days in areas with poor cell service.  You will also receive a notification when the battery is low and it quickly charges in less than 2 hours.  

Last update on 2024-06-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

I will add photos of cats wearing the Whistle GPS as soon as I get my cats to cooperate.

Where to Buy Whistle Go

Whistle Go is available from, but if you buy directly from Whistle, you get a 90-day money back guarantee.  They also offer FREE 2-day shipping.  Just click the ad below to learn more.

Whistle Health & GPS Features

  • Light and durable.  Weighs only 0.96 ounces (27 g) and is suitable for cats weighing 8 lbs or more.  Shock resistant and waterproof (IPX8).
  • Uses advanced GPS and cellular technology to pinpoint your cat's location anywhere in the U.S. using America's largest cell phone network, AT&T.
  • Set up "Safe Places" to receive text, app, or email notifications when your cat leaves their safe place and before they travel too far away.
  • Use the Trip Monitor feature to learn where your cat goes.  Records locations over the past 24 hours whenever your cat leaves their "Safe Place."
  • Not too expensive and has one of the lowest cost GPS subscription plans.
  • Has one of the longest-lasting batteries of its kind and can last up to 15 days.  Receive a notification when the battery gets low; recharges in only 2 hours.

Pawtrack GPS Cat Collar

Pawtrack is the only GPS tacking collar designed specifically for cats, and it works in multiple countries.  Compared to Whistle 3, it has a better, more streamlined fit for your cat.  In addition to using the smartphone app, you can also view your cat tracks and manage collar settings via computer. The biggest drawback to this GPS is the very short battery life.  The battery only lasts 2 days, but it comes with a second battery pack so that you can easily switch them out.  The Pawtrack collar costs almost twice as much as the Whistle 3, but it comes with one free year of tracking followed by a much lower annual subscription fee.  

Unlike other GPS pet trackers, Pawtrack also has a Beacon mode.  This feature makes the collar emit a signal that is picked up by your smartphone and helps you pinpoint the location of your cat.  Since GPS locations are often not exact and cats sometimes move around or hide, this is a great extra feature for a GPS collar. 

Where to Buy Pawtrack

Pawtrack is only available on  You have 14 days from the time you receive the collar to let them know if you want to return it for a refund, but they may be able to arrange extra time to evaluate the collar if needed.  

Pawtrack GPS Features

  • Only GPS collar designed specifically for cats - GPS is integrated into the collar which has a breakaway design for safety. 
  • Collar weighs 1.23 ounces (35 g), which is suitable for most adult cats, and comes in three collar sizes.  Splash proof design is okay in the rain, but is not waterproof.
  • Uses Gallileo, Glonass, GPS, and WiFi to track your cat almost anywhere in the world.
  • Advanced app features:  Set up geo-fence boundaries around your home to get notifications when your cat leaves this area.  View your cat's travels over the past 24 hours and you can even download the data as a CSV (Excel compatible) file. 
  • Has one of the lowest cost annual subscription plans for a GPS.
  • Battery only lasts 2 days on average, but includes a second battery pack so you can easily switch them out.  You will also receive a notification when the battery is low.

Honorable Mention GPS Trackers

At some point, I plan to add reviews for Jiobit and Tractive as well.  Jiobit looks like a decent tracker with good battery life.  I haven't used it but some of my clients have. 

I have used Tractive and it is a decent and affordable tracker.  I especially like that you can export the GPS data to Google Earth with the premium plan.  BUT it has relatively low battery life. I wouldn't recommend it unless you are okay with recharging the tracker every few days.

Tractive GPS Tracker & Health Monitoring for Cats (6.5 lbs+) - Market Leading...
  • SUBSCRIPTION PLAN NEEDED - Monthly, 1 year, 2 year and 5 year plans available starting at $5 per...
  • LIVE TRACKING & LOCATION HISTORY - Follow your furry friend's every step in real-time on your phone....
  • VIRTUAL FENCE - Mark safe zones, like your garden, and know the moment your cat leaves one - and...

Last update on 2024-06-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

How Radio-Tracking Devices Work

Radio-trackers use radio frequency signals and require a transmitter (radio-tag) to send the signal and a receiver (handheld device) to receive the signal.  Basically, your cat wears a small radio-tag on their collar, and you have to walk around with a handheld receiver to try and locate your cat.  The receiver will beep louder the closer you get to your cat.  Radio-trackers can transmit signals through buildings, so you can still locate your cat if they are trapped in a shed or basement.  

The main drawback to radio-trackers is that they usually have a limited range, generally anywhere from 100 feet up to 2 miles depending on the strength of the signal and the terrain you are searching.  The signal will travel much farther in open areas compared to wooded areas or through buildings.   In order to easily find your cat with a radio-tracking device, you will need to practice.  The signal can be difficult to follow depending on the terrain and where your cat is located.  

Radio-Tracker Pros

  • Generally smaller and lighter than a GPS, so can be used by even small cats and kittens.
  • Batteries last much longer than a GPS.  May last for six weeks to several months depending on the radio-tracker.
  • One time payment.  Does not require a monthly subscription plan.
  • Works anywhere!  Does not require internet, GPS or cell coverage.
  • Once your cat's signal is picked up, the receiver allows you to follow it right up to their exact hiding spot.  Some radio-tags will even flash or beep to make finding them easier once you are close.  

Radio-Tracker Cons

  • Your cat needs to be within range of the receiver in order for the signal to be picked up.  Depending on the device this may be anywhere from 100 feet up to 2 miles.  
  • The signal can sometimes be difficult to follow and requires practice to use it easily.  
  • Does not give you any notification that the battery needs to be recharged or replaced.

Best Cat Radio-Tracking Devices

There aren't nearly as many radio-tracking devices available on the market as there are GPS trackers.  However, in general, they are smaller and more suitable for most cats.  You may be tempted to try the cheaper option of a Bluetooth tracker such as Tile, but these generally aren't as reliable as a radio-tracker.  Bluetooth trackers are designed to find lost things and aren't designed to safely stay on a cat collar.  Before making any purchase, be sure to check out reviews on their site and a trusted third-party site like Amazon or Ebay.  Based on my research and experience, these are the radio-trackers that I recommend.

TabCat Pet Tracker (a.k.a. Loc8tor Pet)

TabCat (also called Loc8tor Pet) is one of the smallest, affordable cat radio-tracking devices.  The tracker comes with two transmitter tags and one receiver, and you can buy up to two additional tags.  Easy to use; just turn on the small handheld receiver, select the missing cat's tag, and start searching.  Once the radio-tag's signal is picked up, the receiver will begin to beep and flash, and the closer you get to your cat, the louder and brighter it will get.  Once you are quite close, you can turn off the volume, and listen for the beeping of the radio-tag attached to your cat's collar.  

The biggest drawback of TabCat is its relatively short range of only 400 feet in open terrain.  If your cat is outside of this range, then you need to search around until you pick up a signal.  Realistically it will pick up a signal within 200-300 feet if your cat is in the woods or only 50 feet if your cat is stuck in a basement.  However, even with the short range, it often works well for escaped indoor-only cats since they usually hide nearby.  I have had a few cases where it helped locate lost outdoor-access cats.  First the general location of the cat was determined with posters, and then they were able to go to that location and quickly track down their cat with the locator.  My own cats Lily and Violet are still wearing their Loc8tor Pet trackers, which I purchased in 2015.  

Where to Buy TabCat

Tabcat is available from or directly from Tabcat.

Tabcat v2 Cat Tracker - Includes 2 Tags, No Subscription Needed - Lightweight...
  • NO SUBSCRIPTION; Upgrade to this advanced pet tracker from Tabcat; our cat collar tag operates on...
  • QUICKLY FIND YOUR CAT; Our cat tracker allows you to quickly find your cat using directional audio...
  • INCREDIBLY ACCURATE; Our technology works where GPS won’t and with significantly lower emissions;...

Last update on 2024-06-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

TabCat Features

  • One time payment.  Unlike GPS trackers, a radio-tracker does not require a subscription plan.
  • Small enough for cats and kittens.  Tag  weighs only 0.25 ounces.  Attaches to your cat's existing collar and can be used with breakaway collars.
  • Maximum range of up to 400 feet in open area.  Works anywhere!  Does not require internet, GPS or cellular networks.  
  • Splash-proof cover protects tags from the elements.
  • Easy to use with just a little practice.  Simply push the ON button, then select the tag for the missing cat and start searching.
  • Batteries usually last several months.  Uses replaceable CR2032 button cell batteries. 

Marco Polo Pet Tracker

If you want a radio-tracker with longer range and more reliability, then you should check out the Marco Polo.  Easy to set up and use; just press a single button to start searching, and Marco Polo will scan up to 2-miles (in open terrain).  As soon as your cat is located, you will receive real-time distance and direction feedback to help track down your cat.  Marco Polo is the highest rated radio-tracker pet locator on

Where to Buy Marco Polo

Marco Polo is available on and often includes free 2-day shipping with Amazon Prime.  

Marco Polo Advanced Pet Monitoring, Tracking and Locating System (for Dogs and...
  • Works anywhere, totally self-contained, no GPS or cell network required, no monthly service...
  • Simple to setup and use, single button-push to begin searching for lost pets with real-time distance...
  • Includes everything needed for 1-pet, may be expanded to handle up to three pets with purchase of...

Last update on 2024-06-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Marco Polo Features

  • Search range up to 2-miles in open terrain.  Works anywhere!  Does not require internet, GPS or cellular networks.  
  • Small enough for cats weighing at least 5 lbs.  Just attach to your cat's existing collar.
  • One time payment.  Unlike GPS trackers, a radio-tracker does not require a subscription plan.
  • Includes a rechargeable battery that lasts up to six weeks on a single charge.
  • Tracking tags are waterproof and can even handle prolonged swimming.
  • Package comes with equipment for a single pet, but it will handle up to three pets with the purchase of additional tracking tags.

Best Radio-Tracking Device for Multiple Cats

I am working on adding this review.  The LoCATor is probably the best tracker for multiple cats.  It is only available from their website.

3 thoughts on “Best Cat Tracking Devices”

  1. Hello! You show here a wide range of GPS cat locators. Would you mind to share your opinion regarding microchips? Are they a better option than a GPS or not? And also, why?

    1. Personally, I recommend both a microchip and a tracker of some sort (either GPS or radio-tag). A GPS and radio-tag can help you track down your missing cat within a short time. For a microchip to help, your lost cat must be caught and then be brought somewhere to be scanned for their chip. Since lost cats may be loose for days, weeks or months before being caught, a tracking device will help you find them much quicker. However, trackers can have problems – most commonly the battery may not be properly charged or they can come off the collar. For this reason, I would also recommend a microchip as back-up. When all else fails in your search, a microchip may still bring your cat home. But it could be a very long time. You can learn more about microchips here:

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