CatNav: Track Your Cat


Photo by kevin dooley

What do you think about this new device, which is yet to hit shop shelves; the CatNav? It is for indoor/outdoor cats or perhaps cats living in a very large house! I suggest below how it may help to protect cats from abuse.

It is a variation on the CatCam, the video camera attached to a cat’s collar. The CatNav, as you have probably guessed, tracks your cat’s movements using GPS (Global Positioning System), just like the device in your car, that tells how to get to a preset destination.

The ultra-light weight device he invented is worn as a cat collar. The device tracks the cat’s movements. On returning home the CatNav is removed from the cat and plugged into the USB socket of a computer. The information gathered can then be mapped using Google Maps. It will cost about £50.

The information that the CatNav collects on your cat’s travels would probably look somewhat like this when downloaded to Google Maps (this is illustrative and not an actual example).

View CatNav Example Route in a larger map

The product was invented by a Brit, David Evans. Brits are very inventive. His cat “Yollo” routinely goes a-wandering and returns well fed.  This reminds me of some cats I know.

David wanted to know what his Yollo was up to and, perhaps, find out who was feeding him – maybe he wants to reimburse the person for the cost of cat food!

My Conclusions

Any Use?

This is a clever idea but…I am not sure that it will tell you much more than you can already guess at. If your cat goes out and roams, you’ll be able to guess that it will be for up to about 2 miles and he’ll probably have to cross a road or roads, depending on where you are, and he’ll probably jump over or through garden fences and walls to wander around someone else’s garden because cats don’t recognise the concept of boundaries and property rights etc.

You may be able to discover who is feeding your cat other than you. However, do you really want to meet that person? Perhaps he or she is fed up with you and you don’t even know it ;).

Protecting the Cat

The information may help to protect your cat. If a neighbour wanted to harm your cat, let’s say by poisoning him using antifreeze, it may be possible to discover where the person lives. If, for example, five cats in one area wore the device and the owners kept records of their movement you could the compare the maps. If one was poisoned there may be a convergence where the poisoned food was put down and that poison might be on or near the property of the poisoner.

I would place a little note on the collar saying:

“This cat’s movements have been tracked”.

That is likely to be a barrier to a person who wishes to harm the cat. It is also useful to put a phone number on the collar for common sense reasons.

Of course, if a nasty person gets close enough to the cat he could remove the device. However, the notice is written in the past tense so the person would then know that he has already been identified.

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CatNav: Track Your Cat — 15 Comments

  1. Purr-sonally I don’t like the idea, the main reason being that even supposedly safe cat collars can be dangerous, a neighbour’s cat’s collar had her hobbled and helpless as she had somehow got her front legs pinned to her sides through it.
    Our cats have never worn collars, they are microchipped.
    It seems a bit too intrusive to me too, how would we like someone watching where we go, all the time, not one moment of privacy.
    I don’t think neutered cats go very far from home and anyone who doesn’t bother having their cats neutered won’t care where they go anyway.

    • Good point about collars. As you say, collars have a history of being dangerous. There are some sort of safety or quick release collars but I don’t know how good they are or whether this device will be attached to such a collar. I think this device will not be a commercial success. Some cat owners will buy one but not enough to make it profitable.

      • That neighbour’s cat was wearing a safety quick release collar ……only it wasn’t and it didn’t !

  2. If I knew Red went where he did I would have kept him in or been alot more careful. I was shocked at where I found him. I couldn’t believe he went right to the busy road and I never saw him go there myself although I kept a close eye on him.

    • Would you have bought a CatNav if it had been available at the time? You’re quite techy so I expect you would have.

      When my Missie was killed on the road I wasn’t even thinking straight. I was going through a very tough time for various reasons and simply thought about letting her go out. It was actually a fairly quiet road but…say no more. Essentially I was not switched on as I am now about cat welfare. This was about 20 years ago.

    • Marc it could have been a one off trip Red was on that day, he could have followed another cat, maybe chased a mouse so far and became a bit bewildered at where he found himself, having a sat nav couldn’t change fate.
      Cats becomes streetwise, you have to weigh up giving your cat quality of life, some cats like ours at present would just pine away if they had no freedom. Luckily we live in a safe cat friendly place.
      You must not blame yourself, accidents are tragic but they have to people and to children and to dogs, as well as cats.

      • Ruth, I know, and I always knew that even a street smart cat can be distracted at any moment. I also know I could never have kept him inside. You are so lucky living somewhere ‘relatively’ safe. I am getting the worst side of both, first Red and now having 3 indoor only cats who I think about letting out almost every day but can’t seem to do it. I am too near a busy road. I personally think Red crossed the road at night when it was quiet. Easy enough in total silience at night. But he was hit on a friday night/saturday morning – probably by a lone car driving fast late at night. Maybe he got spooked by the extra weekend late night traffic. Until I move I must build a catio on my tiny balcony. I specifically didn’t mention I will do it at the house meeting so no neighbour could object and I can just do it without warning. It will help, maybe alot or maybe not a lot. They will still only be able to look at the birds through the cage. But I will put cat trees and loads of plants and ivy so its full of life and smells and I would even welcome the insects for the cats to chase. They can sleep out there all day and night and I will be able to sit out there with them. They will still want to get to the other side though. I just can’t move so quickly. My long term goal is to move to cat paradise but it will take at least a few years to be ready and it might take time to find such a place.

        Like you I agree about quality of life. The one thing I can say is Red was the happiest most satisfied and free cat you ever met. He was purring when he was eating sounding like a gremlin and he was sleeping all stretched out without a care in the world. I gave him a great deal of happiness and took good care of him on his terms – he got what he wanted and needed and he was very healthy and active and curious. I loved him so very much and felt so proud of him for generally being a good cat, careful and curious yet cautious and unassuming. Total freedom had a price. It’s hard for me, not for him. That’s the main thing. I knew he couldn’t survive being inside so I didn’t push it on him. He had everything he wanted and asked for and I took care of him and made sure to get the sticky plants out of his fur so it wouldn’t knot and I made sure he was eating and pooping healthy. I don’t blame myself or have guilt. If anything I blame him for not being careful and letting our little family fall apart. Silly boy. He was young and he was cautious but it wasn’t enough to survive where I live.

        • Marc you are still grieving for Red, I’m sure you don’t really blame him, accidents happen and that’s why they are called accidents. Your happy little world came crashing down because of fate, not because of what you did or what Red did.
          Fate happens in a split second.
          You did your very best for him and he had a happy life because of that, a short life of happiness has to be better than a long life of frustration.
          My late mother used to say we can’t change fate, it’s all mapped out for us and we may think we have choices but we don’t.
          I don’t know if that’s true or not but I do know life is very unfair to some people and animals.
          Take care x

          • But, if life were about fate, why do anything at all? Ever?

            Free will is a powerful and wonderful thing. That is why we live in such a colorful world. That is why we have differences. That is why we feel we have to fight against this, fight against that. Because we believe we can make a difference. Marc chose to let Red live the glorious life of a free cat. He has precious vivd memories of their time together. Red stays close to Marc’s heart because that is where Red is, in spirit. Love doesn’t go away. It stays forever.

            • I don’t know Dorothy, it was what my late mother believed and she was the kindest most loving and generous lady you could ever meet. She died horribly of cancer, she didn’t choose it nor deserve it, so fate decreed it happened to her.

              • I hope her belief gave her a life with fewer than normal worries. She raised two good people that I know of. Whatever it takes to feel safe in the universe, I say go for it. But we really do have the choice of what to focus on and how to feel.

                I’m sorry she suffered at the end.

              • Thanks Dorothy, no sadly our mam had a hard life, when she was only 9 her own mother died, her father was old and ill. It’s a long story but even though men treated her badly and she struggled to bring us up she was always cheerful and kind and generous, even after she was ill and became disabled.
                So yes you are right, she focused on us and how to feel and her motto was to make the best of things.
                She loved her cats too, they always brought her much love and comfort.

  3. If I thought it was safe, I’d strap one on Marvin in a minute. Nosy or not, it would be fun and interesting to see how far he goes. I would bet money on it NOT being a two mile radius. But I agree with Ruth on the dangers of collars. Even the quick release collars can be dangerous, and you’d probably lose the GPS anyway.

    But if the question is ” would you” I’d have to say yes indeed. But I never will. I doubt a safe collar could ever be invented for a cat. They can ‘will’ it off!

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