Welcome to my complete and up-to-date report on the Tabcat Cat Tracker. My review tells you how it works, what it can do, and why you will love this budget priced cat locator.
Dash Kitten received a complimentary Tabcat Tracker cat locator collar set for review. The opinions here are 100% my own and I am responsible for the content of this post. I only share news and products I feel are relevant to our readers and believe me, you will want to hear about the Tabcat!
Explore the Tabcat with this short demo video.
Finding Lost and Missing Cats
Cats need to be identifiable, and locatable, inside and outside, as much as possible.
Yes, indoor cats can disappear for what seems like forever too, plus, a tracker and also microchipping can play a critical part in locating your pet, especially if they stray or are frightened into running further away from home.
Technology to Track Missing Pets
How do trackers work? What technology do they use? There are 3 types of technologies currently used to help find or identify cats, dogs, and other large pets.
- Microchip implants and trackers (RFID)
- Radio Frequency 2.4GHZ (Zigbee)
- Global Positioning System (GPS) & GSM
What is the Tabcat Cat Locator?
The RFID Tabcat location system is sophisticated technology on a very friendly and human scale. This is most definitely not an interactive cat toy, it is a serious piece of safety equipment every pet parent will be interested in for cats who love their gardens, or who go missing within your home.
This is not a substitute for a microchip, it is another defence for cat parents against missing cats or theft. Please, ensure your cat is microchipped. I am still looking for a good cat chip tracker to report on for readers.
- Tabcat simple to set up, and super easy to use. A big bonus with this pet tracker is no monthly fee.
Each tag is linked to the handset in a simple one-step procedure, and there is room for up to four tags (4 cats or 4 items) on one handset.’
For an idea of the dimensions, and a fun sample of how a successful cat recovery works, check our video here!
The basic Tabcat set contains:-
- A slimline Handset. The handset is about the size of a credit card – slender and lightweight. We keep ours by the back door.
- Two Tags
- Showerproof Covers for the tags. These also attach the tags to collars and we have found them really useful.
- An illustrated User Guide that is easy to use, with an online pdf on Tabcat Cat Locator website (see sources below).
Note:- Spare tags, and a Tabcat replacement case or two are available for a modest extra cost.
- Extra questions? I am only an email away.
How the Tabcat Cat Locator Can Help You
Here’s a story of how a Tabcat could have saved the Dash Kitten family a lot of concern. This is our own experience with our much-loved senior cat Peanut, a couple of years ago:-
- Peanut, (18) went out into the garden and took a wrong turn. Thankfully the weather was warm BUT when we realised she had gone, we were frantic with worry. Disorientated, Peanut was discovered behind the garage safe and well! BUT With a Tabcat locator, we would have discovered Peanut in less than a minute!
I also want to include a fellow cat lover’s missing cat experience from July 2021:
- Runaway cat Sawyer disappeared (without a tracker) for 24 long days. Yes, Sawyer now has a tracker. If he runs away again he will not cause his parents as much worry!
A similar scenario might play out in a multi-level house, or an apartment with several rooms and plenty of hiding places. This lightweight radio frequency tracker is worth its weight in pure top-grade catnip for your own peace of mind.
Isn’t the homing tag big for a cat?
This was our first question when fitting the tags to Silver, Jack (ginger) and Natasha (tuxedo) who appear in the video.
Each has a tag on their collar, and none of them shows any sign of irritation, or even acknowledging the tag is there. It’s business as usual for them because there is no heavy weight around their necks.
This quote from MyTabCat gives you an idea of how much a cat tracking device should weigh:-
“A study** carried out in New Zealand and published in 2015, looked at the impact of collar-mounted track devices on domestic cats. They recorded cats wearing GPS tracking devices weighing between 30g and 130g and looked to understand the devices impact behaviour and movement. They concluded that GPS collars on cats; “should be no more than 2% of body mass”. For an average cat weighing 4kg, this equates to 8g.“ – Tabcat **
- A Tabcat Cat Tracker tag is only 6 grams, so a GPS Cat Tracking device at 30g is approximately five times the weight of the Tabcat Tag. [US weight conversion 4kg – 8.8 pounds approx.]
How Does the Tabcat Finder work?
The handset is an RF Tracker. This means ‘Radio Frequency’ (2.4ghz).
It is very accurate and sends a direct signal between you and the tag when you operate the handset which is the size and shape of a credit card. This close transmission signal keeps battery use low, so the tag battery lasts a lot longer.
The increased accuracy of radiofrequency tracking to within 2.5cms/1 inch means you will locate a cat trapped in a cupboard or small space quickly.
By contrast, GPS devices need charging more often as the device triangulates with at least three satellites 12,000 miles, or 19,000 km away.
What Range Does The Tabcat Cat Locator Have?
The tracker signal reaches about 120 mts/400 feet, and, unlike many GPS units, it can scan through a house or a wall.
We have been able to successfully locate our two cats Silver and Natasha by standing still, switching on the tracker handset, and then turning in a slow circle until we contact their tag signal. This works inside and outside our home.
The tracker reaches across neighbouring gardens, through trees and bush. It will not reach through a hill – this is too solid, which seems reasonable to us!
Are we happy with our Tabcat Cat Locator?
The technology is human-friendly and easy to use, yet it is amazingly sophisticated. We are so happy we have the Tabcat. We could not be more impressed, and reassured!
The Tabcat is everything you need, for an economical, low maintenance price. The Tabcat packaging is also amongst the best we have come across, robust and secure. The box will keep your tags super safe until they reach your home.
Most importantly for us as cat owners, Tabcat allows our garden-loving cats to be located with ease and speed. On a dark night, standing in the garden we can’t see much, but with the Tabcat tracker, the cats become easier to locate. We no longer have to scrabble through flower beds to find a missing fur family member who does not want to come indoors!
January 2021 Our Tabcat Trackers are still going strong with no issues. Toulouse, our latest adoption, wears his tracker and it is proving durable and robust. I would love to try a cat GPS tracker but at the moment they are still too big for most cats and I continue to look for a lightweight one.
Bonus Cat Tracking Movie
I am including our bonus report on the Tabcat in action. I actually needed to use it to find a missing collar, although thankfully Natasha is fine.
A collar went missing, no big deal you say, except it was outdoors girl Natasha. She was wearing a collar from our friends the Cool Cat Collar Company with a Tabcat tag attached!
So, of course, I had to go into the garden and find it! It turned out to be a useful learning experience, and I thought we would share what I learned while searching for the Tabcat tag.
On the trail with the Tabcat Tracker!
I knew from our original assessment of the Tabcat, that it is great to help find a missing feline, but could we find the smaller tag on its own? Our garden backs onto the tree-filled bush and stream.
This was not the easiest of places to find a collar and tag, as you can see in the video of Natasha’s playground!
Tips For When You Are Locating a Tag
My experience hunting for Natasha’s tag, and finding it, has allowed me to note tips you might find helpful. While these refer to my cat, they can also be applied to any inanimate item you have attached a Tag too.
- The key is to start calmly and quietly. Take a breath. Scan around you carefully, until you get a signal.
- Be patient, be quiet, and listen to your handset.
- When you start getting a signal, walk in that direction. Stop and correct if your signal begins to fade.
- When you reach a full set of lights on the handset, stop and look carefully around. The object of your search is nearby.
- It took a few attempts to locate the cat tag on its own. Why? Because it was not attached to a larger object, Natasha!
- With patient searching, the tag and collar were found.
There is a difference between doing a well-staged ‘demo’ as we did this genuine ‘in the field’ example.
You are not looking for camera angles to make sure readers get a clear message, you are searching in real time for a real object. This is why we took the decision to do a second ‘update’ post on our Tabcat.
We hope you enjoy Natasha’s video, we had a lot of fun making it.
The Cost of the Best Tracker for Pets?
- Basic and Expanded Handset with tags and waterproof cases with both USA and British ordering options. This is our affiliate link for Loc8tor Amazon.
We hope you have enjoyed our Tabcat review, and find the whole concept as exciting as we do. This is the best cat tracker ever and a worthwhile investment for every cat parent.
- **Weighed down by science: do collar-mounted devices affect domestic cat behaviour and movement? Cayley E. Coughlin and Yolanda van Heezik Department of Zoology, University of Otago, PO Box 56, Dunedin, New Zealand. Published in Wildlife Research 20/03/15.
- NOTE: New Zealand is including facial recognition technology to locate and reunite missing pets.
- TABCAT USER GUIDE