Written by Marjorie Dawson

How To Use The Tabcat Cat Tracker 2022

How To Use The Tabcat Cat Tracker 2022

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Welcome to my complete on the Tabcat Cat Tracker. This review tells you how it works, what it can do, and why you will love this budget priced tracking locator for both indoor and outdoor cats and small dogs.

Dash Kitten received a complimentary Tabcat Tracker cat locator 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 Loc8tor Tabcat!

STOP PRESS Exciting news! A new Tabcat design with increased range and new styling arrives in July 2022. I will update my post when it arrives. See the sneak peek image below! Same Tabcat quality, strength and capabilities.

Tabcat 2022 Release of a new design
Arriving in July 2022

Finding Lost and Missing Cats

Cats need to be identifiable, and locatable, inside and outside, as much as possible. Indoor cats can disappear for what seems like forever and a tracker plus microchipping can play a critical part in locating your cat, especially if they are frightened into running further away from home.

Explore the Tabcat

Check my video for Tabcat Tracker setup and a fun example of how successful cat recovery works.

Technology to Track Missing Pets

Before you spend money on a tracker, you want to know two things. How do trackers work, and what technology do they use? There are 3 types of technologies currently used to help find or identify cats, dogs, and other large pets.

  1. Microchip implants and trackers (RFID)
  2. Radio Frequency 2.4GHZ (Zigbee)
  3. Global Positioning System (GPS) & GSM

What is the Tabcat Cat Locator?

  • Tabcat simple to set up, and super easy to use. A big bonus – Tabcat has no monthly GPS tracker subscription.

The RFID Tabcat location system is sophisticated technology on a very friendly and human scale. It is a lightweight cat tracker you can use with ease. 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. Tabcat is not a substitute for a microchip, it is part of your measures to keep your cats safe, where you can find them. Please, ensure your cat is microchipped.

Each tag is linked to the handset in a simple one-step procedure (see the video above), and there is room for up to four tags (4 cats or 4 items) on one handset.

The basic Tabcat set contains:-

  1. A slimline Handset. The handset is about the size of a credit card – slender and lightweight. We keep ours by the back door.
  2. Two Tags
  3. Showerproof Covers for the tags. These also attach the tags to collars and we have found them really useful.
  4. 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.

Tabcat Cat Locator. 

Portrait of cat wearing tracker.
Toulouse 2021 Check out the Tabcat on his collar. © Dash Kitten

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.

Cat locator collar. Back view of cat wearing the tag
cat locator collar © Dash Kitten

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.]
Cat Locator collar picture
Handheld locator and tabs © Dash Kitten

Supply Issues

If you are unable to purchase the Tabcat tracker until a new model is being released in July 2022 Amazon has a selection of cat trackers you can check out in the meantime.

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!

Tabcat Cat Locator Tracker collar and tag

Are we happy with our Tabcat Cat Locator?

Yes, absolutely!

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!  

Tabcat is one of our most popular cat product reviews ever so check out the video. I am happy to answer questions from the comments, or by email.

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.

Sources quoted:-

  • **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

Marjorie Dawson

Marjorie is a motorbike riding blogger and award winning cat photographer who believes that everyone can shoot and edit wonderful pictures they love regardless of the camera they use.

She is a Professional member of the Cat Writers Association, Kuykendall Image Award winner and published photographer at the Guardian newspaper.

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59 thoughts on “How To Use The Tabcat Cat Tracker 2022”

  1. Marjorie,
    Thanks for taking the time to write this article. Do you have an affiliation with the company or just excited to share your experience with the product?

    There is no date so not sure how old it is or how long term your testing experience has been with the product.
    I have used the product for years. I can say it is not the “best” option but it is the best for the money and the “least worst” option I have found. Interesting the “New” version image you show coming out in July is basically identical to their original 1st version, at least in design. I had the oval version. It was more compact than the round tags and just worked better, longer and further than the current round version. I wrote to them to ask them to bring back that design but they said it was not possible. I guess they changed their mind and possibly made some improvements in there somewhere though it is not specified.
    Wile the original version lasted several years, I am on my 3rd set of the round version.
    My experience with the round version after several years of use is as follows:
    Locator distance to first triggering of the device is nowhere near 400 ft. even in straight line of sight.
    Shrubs and trees definitely DO block the signal either completely, depending upon density, (think worse in the summer with full foliage than in the winter in the woods), for a much shorter range.
    They have never gotten wet but 2 sets have ended up working sporadically and eventually failing.
    The handset receiver, (I have had 3) is glitchy. On random occasions, it may beep but not set off the collar beep. It may set off the collar but not the handset beep, (then the collar tag continually beeps until the battery eventually dies unless you pull it apart to reset it). The handset would randomly reset and I’d end up wasting time walking around thinking it was activated when it was not and have to start that search over.
    I have also found in rocky areas of the woods, the signal can bounce off the surfaces of rock faces and lead you in a false direction! I have literally crawled through the woods following a strong signal, just to have it abruptly stop. (That initially panicked me with visions of a coyote running off with my cat in its mouth!). I’d hike back out just to start getting a new signal 90-180 degrees in a different direction which is quite confusing. Sure enough, the cat would be way out in a field and had never been up in the woods.

    Like I said, I have gone through 1 oval set , (the original and now soon to be “New” design again) and 3 oval sets. (One set and receiver I sent back to the manufacturer. They said they could not find an issue but sent me new ones anyway.) The current collar tag has begun randomly beeping. Just one beep at a time at any random hour of the day or night. But it is still working, so no idea what that indicates for the near future.

    This all sounds quite negative but it is my honest real-world experience. I do not mean to imply I do not like this product. On the contrary, I very much like it. I just wish there was still something better & more reliable & true longer range in this category. Still it is smaller and lighter than the competing products I have seen. No phone app requirement is a BIG PLUS in my opinion and keeps it simple w fewer things to manage or to go wrong.
    This device, when it is working properly, has definitely saved me a lot of time searching for my cats at night. If nothing else, I can point it to the open field areas to determine where they are NOT at and save time skipping that search area. But when it chooses not to work correctly it can be physically as well as mentally exhausting and stressful.

    I will definitely buy the new oval version again when it comes out with high hopes it performs better and lasts longer than the current round version.

    Reply
    • I did but this was a few years ago. At the moment the Tabcat is being updated for launch in July and, like you, I probably will be buying the new upgraded version myself. There are better and worse but I like the Tabcat.

      Reply
  2. Our kitten is scheduled to be microchipped when she is spayed, but I think a Tabcat locator is a better way to keep track of her because we’ll be able to find her instead of hoping that someone else finds her and scans her chip!

    Reply
    • I know a friend nearly lost her cat because he got out in a house fire they had. Chips are very important.

      Reply
    • Definitely do the chip as well if you haven’t already. These are not either\or choices. You need both an identifier and some type of locator.

      Reply
  3. I enjoyed your video retrieval with Natasha. Whew! I’m glad you were able to locate the tracker fairly quickly considering the location. I’m glad you had an overall good experience using the Tabcat tracker.

    Reply
  4. This tracker looks great! I love that it is so light weight and small. This would be really helpful to people who have larger houses, allow their cats outdoors, or cats with special needs. Your video was very helpful in understanding how the tracker works.

    Reply
  5. This is a great review and the Tabcat tracker looks great on Toulouse. I can appreciate that it’s lightweight too. I never want to make my cats feel uncomfortable or weighed down. This is a great practical gift idea for the upcoming holidays! Thanks for sharing your update and insight on this great product.

    Reply
    • I was not convinced when I got them for review but after trialling them and including them in family life I can say they work. Sort distances only but for this they are great.

      Reply
  6. What a fabulous product! I love that it’s waterproof and lightweight. I know I spent many nights looking for lost kitties. This would be very helpful. I think it would even help dogs on large properties. I tend to lose my pup in sagebrush if I turn my back for a minute. Thankfully I only have a couple acres so he can’t get too distracted. It would also be helpful if you were on an off leash hike with your pup. It would be great too now for all the natural disasters in my area. Currently there are lots of wildfires here. I see posts everyday for missing dogs and cats. I think this would be very helpful. Thanks for testing and reviewing the Tabcat Cat Tracker. This was very useful information!

    Reply
  7. First of all, both your videos are amazing! I really enjoyed watching them. What a great product, I would love something like this for my dogs. It looks easy to use and can save a cat parent a log of heartache. Excellent review. Twitted & Pinned.
    Love & Biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

    Reply
  8. The first thing I thought of when reading about this locator was how useful it would be for a kitty owner trying to find their cats while evacuating their home due to a fire.

    When I was in the veterinary hospital we had a client with seven cats, and a fire broke out behind her home at 2am in the morning (welcome to southern California), the police woke her up and helped her get her cats into their carriers to leave. But unfortunately in the commotion, they could not find one of her cats. They forced her to leave without him, and the fireman went back in to try to find the kitty.

    Thankfully they did – but it would have been so much easier if they had a GPS tracker to just know what part of the house he was in to look. So I can definitely see this being useful, even if you aren’t taking your cats outside of your home.

    Reply
  9. This looks like a great option for cat parents! I agree with you about the size of GPS trackers for cats. We have some for the dogs and I would love to get one for our adventure cat, but she’s super petite and they are WAY too big for her. Hopefully, I can find a smaller one eventually, but until that point, this looks like a great alternative.

    Reply
  10. What a cool product! As an owner of small dogs, I love how small it is. A lot of the trackers made for dogs are so big, and my dogs are little! I only wish it had a larger range. My dogs are so high energy, if they wanted to bolt they could be over 400 ft away in no time. I could totally see how this would be awesome for helping to find a cat hiding somewhere in the house or garden, though!

    Reply
  11. I think we may need to consider one of these for our new kitten. It will give me a lot of peace of mind to be able to figure out where she is at any time.

    Reply
  12. I love the pet tracking products and I am happy to see how they evolve and new ones show up on the market all the time.

    What we used with our dog was bigger and more elaborate but we wanted something that functions well in rural terrain. The little tag is definitely easier for the pet.

    Reply
  13. Growing up, I lived in a big old house with three stories and a basement and all kinds of nooks and crannies where the cats loved to hide. Every once in a while, Buttercup would disappear for an extra long time, which was always a little unnerving. While we typically would find her on the top shelf of the linen closet or snoozing in a laundry basket, there were a few times when she found a way into the wall of the attic and this would have been a great gadget for finding her before the panic set in. Great review of a really cool product!

    Reply
  14. I know a lot of people in our neighborhood who could use this! There are quite a few indoor/outdoor cats around here despite having coyotes, trains, a truck route and birds of prey about.

    Reply
  15. We are not in favor of kitties being outdoors unsupervised…that said…this collar can be a great help for feline guardians should they find their cat gone missing. Unfortunately, as indoor cats, we have never worn collars and are unwilling to allow them to be placed on us. Your review is thorough and well done

    Reply
  16. This is amazing! Our hearts break every time we hear about a cat lost in our neighborhood, where our cats are indoor cats. But, sometimes they get out and you see their posters on telephone poles. This product could help find those lost cats and I’ll do all I can to share this. Thanks! Love Dolly

    Reply
  17. Interesting product … I assumed it worked on GPS. I like the idea, though my cat doesn’t wear a collar and doesn’t go outside (yet – she is getting more and more curious). My first step is to get a microchip but if she does start bolting outside, I’ll need a more clear identifier like this.

    Reply
  18. That’s a great safety device if a cat sneaks out of the house. I had to laugh at it saying showerproof cover. I know what they mean, but just visualized a kitty in the shower. Glad it’s easy to set up.

    Reply
  19. As you know we’re against letting cats out, especially in the city. Someone poisoned some of the cats in one of our colonies recently. This would be good during a move IF the at in question would wear a collar. I won’t have it.

    Reply
  20. This sounds like a great product. I’ve seen a lot of these tracker types, but so many have monthly or yearly fees associated with them, so it’s nice that this one doesn’t! I guess the trade off is that it might not reach as far, but I’m sure it is still beneficial.

    Reply
  21. Interesting item, however I don’t believe in letting cats roam free outside. It’s simple not safe for them.

    Reply
  22. I have a lot of friends who have cats and am a cat lover, too. This looks like something that every cat parent should consider purchasing. It would be beneficial to give the pet parent peace of mind and keep cats safe. Well done!

    Reply
  23. The TabCat sounds pretty great! I think we could really use this for Rosie. She doesn’t go outside, but she sadly is losing her hearing. Sometimes I call her for dinner and she doesn’t hear me and I go searching around the house for her. I worry that I might not be able to find her in an emergency – this would certainly help.

    Reply
    • I believe that some people use the Tabcat to call their cats home when they have been out in the garden!

      Reply
  24. I saw this video clip before and think this is a great product. Imagine how helpful this would be in an emergency where people need to evacuate and get out of the house (ie:fire drill) Now you never have to worry “where is fluffy!”

    Reply
  25. This seems like a great device, cats can be so hard to find, even when they are just in the next room! I know of a cat who was accidentally locked in the garage while the owner was away. The pet sitter couldn’t find the cat. He never meowed or scratched, but thankfully, the owner returned home the next day. The cat was fine, but it was scary for all involved.

    Reply
  26. This sounds really cool for anyone who lets their cats outdoors–personally I keep mine in the house, and it’s a small house. I wonder if they have this for dogs–while ours are also house dogs, my Dachshund likes to slip out the door if we ever give him a chance. Price seems very reasonable for what you are getting.

    Reply
  27. This is a great safety device. Cats often don’t have enough identification or any tracking so this is kind of a game changer. Thanks for sharing.
    Love & Biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

    Reply
  28. This sounds like a great product. We are actually just starting to let our girl outside because she screams at the backdoor when we are out playing with the dog. She is about 8 years old and we never liked the idea of letting her outside — but with something like this our fears of her getting away are put aside! Great review…..and thank you for sharing so much information!

    Reply
  29. Very cool product! I can think of an instance when it would have been super handy to have this! When we moved into our house about a year and a half ago, we put all of the cats down in the basement as we were moving furniture and boxes in and out. That was the safest place for them, as no one would accidentally let them outside, and it was a big open room with nothing for them to get into. Or so I thought. Sampson managed to somehow climb the cement brick wall and hide up on top of the AC duct work. When I went down to check on them, I couldn’t find him anywhere. I called him, tried to lure him with treats, nothing worked. I thought he had magically gotten out or had squirmed inside the duct work or something. I was pretty frantic. Finally after about 30 minutes of looking for him, my mom spotted two eyes up near the ceiling atop the duct work. What a relief. The TabCat could have saved me a lot of heartache! Thanks for the great review, guys. Your video was awesome too!

    Reply
  30. If my cats went outside I would definitely get one of these. I’m hoping to move to the suburbs within the next year, and maybe I’ll be able to take them out on a leash. I’ll be investing in one then for sure.

    Reply
  31. What a fantastic product! Both my cats are indoor cats, but you never know when they can slip outside, especially if you have workers in your house that are not used to keeping doors closed! Thank you for sharing 🙂

    Reply
  32. Bear spends 99.99% of his time indoors so I haven’t given him a collar. It seems that the general consensus in the cat blogging community is that even indoor cats should have collars just in case. So when I got the chance to try out the TabCat, I finally had the kick in the behind to buy Bear a collar. You are right … the collar disk is lightweight. I’m truly impressed so far! Even better? Bear doesn’t seem to mind the collar much after I took the bell it came with off 🙂

    Reply
  33. Pawsum posty. We’re still tryin’ to figger out how to get them on our harnesses. We really need a collar. Big hugs

    Luv ya’

    Dezi and Raena

    Reply
    • You should be able to unbuckle part of the harness and slip the tag, in its rainproof coat, onto the bit you unbuckle. The cover is quite flexible.

      Reply
  34. Oh my mouses! If I’m not careful, the peeps’ll be puttin’ one of these trackin’ devices on me. I believe Peep #1 threatened to do somethin’ like that last year, right after the incident with that spider and… Um… I’m gonna have to be on my best behaviour, for sure. MOUSES!

    Purrs,
    Seville

    PS. I tried to share this post on FB but the link was showin’ up as just a general link to your blog and not this post. That’s not normal, is it? purrs

    Reply
  35. Condolences are not just an expression of sympathy, they are not just words – they are expression of true feelings. Thank you for sharing my pain.
    With Much Love
    Barb (Nellie’s Mommy)

    Reply
  36. That does look interesting but we have never gotten used to wearing collars. Great review and lots to think about!

    Reply
  37. I love this! Everything is so easy, small and compact! From the review alone I’d say this was ticking all the boxes when it comes to the best pet tracker! Great Review, and thanks for bringing this to our attention.
    Purrs, Erin

    Reply
  38. That looks like a great product, the gps collars for dogs are huge. Price is good too. Plus no subscription costs.

    Reply
  39. This would also be good for me on trips – my human always worries when she leaves me in my hotel room that something might happen and I’ll get out while she’s gone. This way, if anything did happen, I would be easy to find!

    Reply
  40. This sounds great! Going to check it out for sure. Thanks for sharing. Happy Easter all 🙂
    Luvs
    Marty, Mom and the Gang

    Reply

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