A SMALL price to pay for HUGE peace of mind!
March 8, 2016
This review is from: Amazon Dog and Cat Wifi GPS Pet Tracker Collar Attachment
My cat wanders into my neighbor's backyard. Where we live there is wildlife that eats meat... foxes, raccoons, skunks, and yes... the chipmunks, groundhogs and mice eat meat too, not to mention the cats that stray onto our property and allegedly one of them has been having lunch under my neighbor's porch and leaving critter bones behind. While I have seen these other animals under his porch, my neighbor has found it easiest to blame my cat and without a word of prelude, he steps up to our property line and simply starts YELLING AT ME full blast like a man who has lost his entire mind.
I found this kitty (a pretty blue-eyed Siamese tabby mix) as a stray on the city streets and though I have tried, I have not reformed her. She cannot be made to stay at home or in my yard. The PetSafe collars that keep my other pets at home do not keep this sweet lady cat in. While I have seen the shock of the PetSafe make my small dogs and my cats fall to the ground twitching like they were having an epileptic seizure, this cat is willing to take the shock and wander off anyway. Either that... or she has figured out that after sitting near the fence line, the collar after many warnings turns off. At any rate when the PetSafe collar did not make her stay home, I called PetSafe. They suggested I use the stronger dog collar on her. When that did not work, I put two collars on her and then THREE. With all THREE working collars on (as well as an embroidered soft collar with her phone number), I got a call from a different neighbor that she was in their yard two blocks away.
Three collars did not work and anything more would be animal cruelty. Clearly a shock collar was not going to work for her at all... so I kept her at home until I found a new solution. She was so small when I took her off the street that I thought she was a kitten. The vet told me that she actually was 2 years old. Staying at home made her change. She became fat and being that fat was unhealthy. Whenever she could, she would pry the sliding patio door open and escape anyway. So between her weight gain and escaping, I had to do something, but my neighbor had threatened to take her to the pound 20 miles away if he found her in his yard again. So I took a chance on the PetStrip Tracker.
While it is true that people who do not speak English as a first language do not always write English well, I was able to figure out how to use the tracker. When I had more questions, the Candyshop folks who sold the tracker to me on Amazon were eager to help. I wrote to them and they sent me a FAQ sheet. They also helped me figure out which way to put the SIM card in. I use T-Mobile and have an unlimited data plan. In recent years, T-Mobile switched using a mini SIM card which is too small for the tracker. So I went to the T-Mobile stand at my local mall and had them make an 'old fashioned" larger SIM card for me. They programmed a new card then used a SIM CARD shaped hole puncher to punch out the larger old card shape. It took two seconds to make the right size card. I put the card in with tweezers, charged the tracker, clipped it on my cat's collar and let her go.
While it may seem like a lot to pay for charges for a cellphone for your pet, all I can say is that each of us has to determine what our pet means to us. For me, the peace of mind I get from knowing where my cat is makes the collar and the charges entirely worth it... and in my case, I had the extra phone line already anyway.
The device comes nicely packaged and is actually quite pretty. I got the golden one. My cat is small, but the device is not uncomfortable for her to wear. You press and hold the button on the paw to start it up. You press the button three times to shut it down. When it comes on, lights flash on the little paw toes to let you know it's working. The lights also can be made to flash once the sun goes down so you can see where your pet is in the dark. The collar that came with it was too big for my cat. So I just open the clasp and clip it onto her embroidered cat collar. Her collar is a typical breakaway cat collar with her name and phone number on it: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008PFOIW8 but she lost so many of them that I superglued it together. The GPS tracker works just fine like this on my small cat. The clasp looks like it would break in a minute, but it surprised me. It stays on even when she climbs trees and runs through the woods chasing birds and chipmunks. With all respect to the prior reviews I read on this tracker, one about using it on a counter and the other where apparently the buyer never used it at all after finding it needs a SIM card... THIS review is about the collar in actual use outdoors on a real animal. I am happy to report that the collar has been on my cat all winter. I put the tracker on my cat... she roams then comes home, when she does, I put the tracker on the charger and the next clear sky day, we do it again.
What I learned from the FAQ is that your location is determined by the number of cellphone towers in your area. If you live in a sparsely serviced area like mine, it is sometimes inaccurate in terms of the cellphone app locating YOU. The app sometimes shows that I am standing across the street from my actual location and sometimes two blocks away. HOWEVER the GPS always seems to more accurately know where my cat is.
The app shows where your pet is in two views. REAL TIME shows the spot where your pet is. HISTORICAL shows where your pet has been. You can run the app in HISTORICAL mode like a video. It's so cool. It's like watching my cat's day go by when I had no idea otherwise where she was. I learned that while I previously had thought that she was just GONE FOR THE DAY some days, she was actually going back and forth between home and various places within half a block of home. It surprised me to learn that she was coming back home many times during the day. While she would always return at night, I also knew that if I did not know when she was back and bring her in, she would stay out all night long. With the tracker, I know when she is back and now can always bring her in for the night,
The tracker is so accurate in fact that I can always find her by looking at the app's REAL TIME feature --- go to where it says she is and call her. Although she is generally in the woods and I can't see her, because I faced in the right direction when I called her... guess what... she comes to me.
Best of all, I know if she is in the area or if my neighbor actually took her 20 miles away to the pound. While on occasion the tracker does show strange inaccuracies, such as that my cat is in the middle of the large lake nearby, this is the exception, but it does happen.
I learned from the FAQ sheet that (and this makes sense) the satellites that make the GPS signals possible work better on CLEAR SKY DAYS. For that reason, I let my cat go out with her collar on mostly on clear days when I know the tracker will work better.
I gave the collar four stars, because it's pretty, it works and the app that you use on your phone is cool and useful. (I did not mention you can see where your pet is in Google map view or in satellite view.) I was tempted to give the tracker 4 stars because the app sometimes shows me two blocks away or the app shows my cat in the middle of a nearby lake, but I will give the system a pass as this is due to the lack of cell towers in my area and/or less than clear skies interfering with satellite signals. So there you have it... I love it... my cat is safe and we are both happy.
As for my neighbor... since he likes to come to my property line and YELL at me about my cat, I reported him to the police. They told him that if he has any further problems with my cat, he should contact the Animal Control Officer. While I have met with the ACO many times to discuss how I am trying to solve the problem (and called the pound and the Humane Society once he started throwing large branches at her), my neighbor has not called the Animal Control Officer even once. So clearly, he is simply YELLING at me because he has other issues and only using my cat as a way to vent at SOMEONE. From the looks of it, everyone in his life has left him, leaving nothing behind but a screaming man with a need to vent. Regardless of what is bugging this guy, I feel that I am protecting my cat by using this GPS tracker. While she still passes through his yard, at least now I know where she is and if he takes her to the pound (between her microchip, her tracker and the fact I have already alerted the police, the pound and the Humane Society about my hateful neighbor) I will always have a good idea where she is and be able to bring her home.
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