(NEXSTAR) — If you spend your days worried about your floofy feline bolting out of an open door — or just hiding from you inside the house — you’re not alone. As cat owners connect on social media, once-odd ideas like walking your cat or training cats to “go” outside are now more accepted. But the outdoors still pose lots of threats to your cats.
A 2018 study published in the academic journal Animals found at least 15% of cat owners lost their pets at least once during a five-year period. According to the researchers, only 61% of the 1,210 cats studied were found within a year.
As more and more people are using software and devices to keep tabs on kids, keys and phones, pets are a natural consideration — and there are many ways to do it.
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Tile, the company behind the popular Tile tracking device, recently released its answer — and it’s specifically made for cat-tracking.
Tile for Cats, according to the Life360-owned company, pairs its small Tile Sticker tracker into a silicone collar accessory. Tile says the Sticker has a 250-feet Bluetooth range and can be used with or without a subscription to Tile. The device costs $39.99.
“Pets play an important role in our lives and we strive to meet the needs of the entire family, or chosen family,” said Life360 co-founder and CEO Chris Hulls. “Our designers saw that users were seeking ways to monitor their cat’s whereabouts and creating makeshift attachments. So it was a no-brainer to develop a much-needed cat accessory for our ecosystem that connects and protects everyone and everything that matters most.”
In March, PC Mag ranked the Best Pet Trackers and GPS Dog Collars for 2023, with reviewers rating trackers based on factors such as durability and best for iPhone-Android users.
The $149 Fi Smart Dog Collar Series earned notes for most durability, while an Apple AirTag ($29) was recommended for iPhone users.
Meanwhile, when it comes to GPS (which is different than Bluetooth location), safety news outlet SafeWise ranked the Jiobit (also by Life360) as the best for cats. This device costs $149 and Safewise’s Safety and Tech Reporter Rebecca Edwards explained that it also has AI features that learn a wearer’s behavior and can help pinpoint oddities.
Researchers in the 2018 Animals-published study say cats that enter shelters in the U.S. and Australia are reclaimed at much smaller percentages than dogs. The shelter reclaim percentage for dogs is between 26% and 40%, while only about 2%-4% of cats are reclaimed once they are sheltered.
Though tracking microchips are very common in pets, some research shows that veterinarians are less likely to recommend microchipping for cats than for dogs.
Where do cats go when they go missing?
A different study of lost pets published in Animals in 2012 found that 59% of lost cats were found in their own neighborhoods, echoing the finding of the 2018 study, which found 75% of cats were found within 500 meters of where they got out. Curiously, it was also found that some cats may even be found in neighbors’ homes after they were able to make their way in.
According to this research, about 30% of cats returned home on their own.