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How to track a cat?
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RobStevens
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Joined: Jul 10, 2004
Posts: 32
Location: Bruton, Somerset

PostPosted: Mon Feb 28, 2005 1:45 pm    Post subject: How to track a cat? Reply with quote

OK, here's the problem:

We moved house back in June, and our cat pushed and clawed his way out through a blocked and taped-up catflap to escape from our new home on the first night.

He was living rough for 4 months before somebody caught him and took him to a vet, who scanned his chip (implanted a week before we moved, just in case he escaped) and contacted us. In that time, he'd lost about half his body weight. He was picked up only a few hundred yards from our house. He's been a prisoner in the house ever since (another 4 months). The catflap has been boarded shut.

Yesterday I took him out into the back garden, leaving the back door open. I assumed he'd either retreat into the now-familiar territory of the house, or cautiously start to explore the garden. Instead he immediately tried to escape, and I barely caught him before he'd jumped over the fence and fled into the road.

Now it looks like he'll have to remain a housecat, even though he spent most of his time outdoors at our old home (we lived in a converted farm building in a very rural area, we now live in a small town). He doesn't particulary like being indoors now, as we have a toddler who frequently chases him: as a result, he spends most of the day in the kitchen, which is off-limits for the kid, and creeps into the lounge or our bedroom after the kid has been put to bed.

The situation is likely to become worse as spring and summer arrive and the cat is still imprisoned in the house with all the windows closed. But I don't want to give him another chance to escape. Other than taking him out on a lead occasionally, is there any technological solution? Some sort of tracker small enough to be attached to a cat collar?

What sort of equipment do wildlife biologists use to track animals, and is it generally available?
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Skippy
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 28, 2005 3:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You could use a GPS/GSM system but the equipment is expensive and fairly bulky (more suitable for tracking cars than cats) so your cat wouldn't get too far anyway. Maybe a tag on the cat's collar with your phone number/address on it might be a better solution.

Dunno how to solve the running away problem - you might be better off keeping your cat on a leash. Confused
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nej
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Joined: Jun 16, 2004
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Location: London, Ingerlund

PostPosted: Mon Feb 28, 2005 6:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Check out the Wheels Of Zeus (WOZ) - strange name, but founded by Steve Wozniak (Woz - geddit?), who co-founded Apple Computer.

http://www.woz.com

They do some kind of animal tracking, from memory. Probably US-Only.
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Pocketgps
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Joined: Nov 16, 2004
Posts: 2145
Location: Midlands, UK

PostPosted: Mon Feb 28, 2005 6:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Rob

I live next to a lady who took in rescue cats, since seeing your post earlier on today I have spoken to her about cats that go to new owners and loosing them because of the move.

She says that in 90% of cases, that if you buy a small dog harness and lead (maybe available for cats as well), then take them out several time a day around the garden and then give them food or a treat when you come back into the house this usually works, but needs to be done for a few weeks before letting them go on there own, she said you must not get embarrassed about walking them down the road with the harness and lead.

Male cats can take longer she said.

Hope you can get him/her sorted.
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Multiplex
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Joined: Feb 20, 2005
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 01, 2005 2:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We just moved into a new house and took our cat with us.

The trick is the smear butter all over her paws and on the fur on her legs! This stopped our cat running off as she couldn't walk two feet without stopping to lick the butter off...it made her sit in the garden for ten minutes which helped her get used to her surroundings. Make a hole in your fence and deal with the fact that your cat wants to go exploring...but get her used to the garden first! Around here all the houses look the same so you'll have to do something to let her know where her home is.

Simon.
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RobStevens
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Joined: Jul 10, 2004
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Location: Bruton, Somerset

PostPosted: Wed Mar 02, 2005 12:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the advice, folks!

I haven't yet found any indication that "Wheels of Zeus" is commercially available: apparently the intention is to licence the technology to other companies (Motorola was mentioned), but if those companies have actually started selling products based on it, I haven't found out where.

I'll have to try taking the cat out on a leash.
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Madkitty
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Joined: Jan 19, 2005
Posts: 40
Location: Milton Keynes

PostPosted: Wed Mar 02, 2005 12:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I tried the leash thing once - believe me you have never seen a cat dig his claws into concrete quite as hard as he did Laughing
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baywatch
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Joined: Apr 25, 2005
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 25, 2005 7:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Try this site.

http://www.jeross-telemetry.co.uk/

Les
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SimonCatlin
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Location: London

PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2005 10:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

baywatch wrote:
Try this site.

http://www.jeross-telemetry.co.uk/

Les


I have just pi$$ed myself laughing at this!
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MickyFinn
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Joined: 05/10/2002 18:27:17
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Location: United Kingdom

PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2005 1:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Why not buy a second hand nokia 8210 or similar small phone and use the mobile phone triangulation software on the internet to track the cat this would be cheap and effective. Someone does this on ebay to track your phone and charges you a fortune for it! Phil
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rich2606
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Joined: May 24, 2005
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Location: cambridgeshire

PostPosted: Tue May 31, 2005 10:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

the butter trick is a sure fire thing. cover his feet in butter before you let him out, and when he goes he will come home again. i know loads of people who try this method and all report a 100%!
let us know if you try it....and if it works Laughing Out Loud
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RobStevens
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Joined: Jul 10, 2004
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Location: Bruton, Somerset

PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2005 3:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Update:

I tried taking him out on a lead. Unfortunately he's not accustomed to wearing even a collar, let alone a harness and lead: he cowered on the floor in terror. When I took him outside, he cowered on the patio for a few seconds, then freaked out and tried to run off, nearly strangling himself as he hurtled in all directions with me clinging firmly to the lead. When I opened the back door, he shot inside and under the furniture: getting the lead off wasn't easy, but my wife managed it after I dragged him out.

After that, I tried just unblocking the catflap and letting him do his own thing. Surprisingly, this worked. He was very cautious at first (maybe the episode on the patio had given him a new fear of being outdoors), and he's always been somewhat afraid of strangers: with strangers walking about outside in the summer weather, he seems reluctant to leave the garden in a direction that would take him towards people (he does go up onto the overgrown railway embankment behind the house though, and he's already managed to put a fresh rip in his ear on a thorn or something).

He'll probably be OK now, unless he starts straying far enough to lose track of the way home (which might happen if he finds the area where he was living rough before and sets off to explore it).
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Big-Ed
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Joined: Sep 21, 2005
Posts: 12

PostPosted: Wed Sep 21, 2005 11:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

MickyFinn wrote:
Why not buy a second hand nokia 8210 or similar small phone and use the mobile phone triangulation software on the internet to track the cat this would be cheap and effective. Someone does this on ebay to track your phone and charges you a fortune for it! Phil

Depends on where you live, poor cat could end up being mugged! Wink
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gumpry
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Joined: Feb 04, 2006
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 04, 2006 2:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have the same problem, I have two male cats and one of them in particular can disapear for entire days at a time. It would be good to find out where they spend all their time!
I have been looking for a solution and found this post, other solutions I have found include:-

http://www.elpet.com/pr02.htm
http://www.wildlifetracking.co.uk/tx.htm
http://mysite.wanadoo-members.co.uk/hawkworks/felixfinder.htm

The Felixfinder is the cheapest and the one I'll probably get as the system can also deal with two cats. The system is still a bit bulky/crude (handmade) though and the battery life on the collar is the shortest. But the collar is still probably the slimest I've seen.

The neighbours will think I'm checking for TV license evasion with the size of the receiver!
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Corkonian
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Joined: Apr 11, 2006
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Tue Apr 18, 2006 4:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.nitehunters.com/rats6c.htm

Might be too big for a cat - but much better range (never used one myself though) than other available.
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