Every once in a while, my pudgy indoor cat goes through a phase where he thinks it would be cool to be outside. When he’s in this adventurous mindset, he does everything possible to slip out the door under my feet. Most of the time, I can catch him before he gets out, but last week, he managed to wiggle away and make it into the great outdoors.
Luckily for me, his daring attitude is generally short lived, as he’s the walking definition of a scaredy cat. I sat down on the porch, and within five minutes, he came running back, ready to be reunited with his favorite nap spot on the sofa.
However, it got me thinking: What do pet owners do when their furry friends are prone to wandering? Is there a better way to keep tabs on your cat or dog using technology?
Sure enough, there are several options for pet parents who want to monitor the coming and going of their pets using smart home products. You can even use some of these gadgets to find your pet if they, like my dear kitty, manage to wiggle their way out the door.
Invest in a smart collar
Perhaps the most straightforward way to keep tabs on your furry friend is to purchase a smart collar. For many pet owners, real-time GPS tracking via your smartphone might be worth the cost of the collar, but to sweeten the deal, most products come equipped with other cool features as well.
For instance, the Whistle GPS Pet Tacker also lets you set up a “safe area” for your pet and recieve notifications if they stray outside it. The device, which attaches to your pet’s collar, can also serve as an activity tracker. The downside of Whistle is that it’s recommended for pets over 15lbs., so it’s not the best choice for cats and small dogs.
There are several options for smaller pets, including the Pod 2 Pet Tracker and the Tractive GPS Pet Tracker. Both of these devices have similar tracking features that will help keep your pet safe.
Live-stream video with indoor and outdoor cams
Another way to keep an eye on mischievous pets is with a team of smart security cameras. Nest’s highly rated indoor and outdoor Cams send a live video feed to your smartphone 24/7, and you can set up alerts when the cameras detect activity—even at night! This way, if your pet gets out, you’ll know if they’re waiting at your door to be let back in.
Get notifications from an arrival sensor
If you already have a SmartThings hub, you can use one of its many sensors to keep tabs on your cat or dog. Simply attach a SmartThings Arrival Sensor to your furry friend’s collar, then set up your notification preferences to alert you if the sensor leaves your property. This way, you’ll get a smartphone alert should your dog leave the yard or your cat get out of the house.
Spy on your pets with a smart food dish
While this gadget won’t necessarily help if your pet runs away, it’s still a cool way to monitor them while you’re not home. The Feed and Go Automatic Pet Feeder will not only feed your pets on a set schedule, but it also includes a built-in camera that lets you see what they’re doing. What sets this smart dish apart from many others on the market is its individual compartments, which can accommodate wet food or even treats.
If your wily pet is always giving you the slip, try out one of these smart devices to monitor and/or locate your four-legged friend. You'll have peace of mind knowing that should Fido or Fluffy escape, you can quickly bring them back to safety.
Credit: Jeremy Stamas and Mike Roorda