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Tabcat review: an accurate pet locator with no need for a smartphone app

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Written by Eileen Brown, Contributor on
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9.5/10

Tabcat cat locator

Spectacular
Pros
  • Accurate to within one inch
  • Audio and visual cues
  • Tracks up to four cats
Cons
  • Reduced range if not in line of sight

I was really keen to test the Tabcat locator. I have used its predecessor, Loc8tor for several years to successfully find my cats whilst they were out on the prowl. Tabcat is a locator that does not rely on GPS or Bluetooth to find your pet.

It uses radio frequency based technology which the brand says will give you a greater range and performance than Bluetooth cat locators.

It also claims that it has much greater accuracy than GPS cat trackers. Once you are in range of the Tabcat, the finder will direct you with audio and visual cues to the pet's exact location.

The makers claim that the Tabcat will locate your cat up to 122m (400ft). I find that when out in the field, behind hedges, trees etc., the maximum range of both the Tabcat and the Loc8tor is about 250ft. This is more than enough range for my cats.

Setting up the Tabcat to monitor your pet is simple. Turn on the handset locator, which beeps. Place the tag you want to register next to the locator. Choose one of the four buttons on the locator and press it for three seconds. The locator will beep as it pairs with the tag.

Once pairing has completed, the tag will beep and an LED will flash on the tag. Slip the tag into its cover and onto the pet collar and that is it.

When you need to find the animal, turn on the locator device and press the appropriate button. After a few seconds the locator will beep and flash, with lights that indicate the direction of the animal.

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If they are hiding, or have lost their collar, you will see the light flashing on the tag and hear it beeping.

The locating beep intensifies as you get closer to the tag. More lights appear on the locator as you move towards the pet. It is very accurate.

Tabcat review- an accurate pet locator with no need for a smartphone app ZDNet

Tabcat handset and Loc8tor handset

Steve Brown

Both the Loc8tor and the Tabcat handsets look exactly the same. It looks like the device has had a simple rebrand as opposed to a technology upgrade.

My loc8tor batteries last about a year, less if I use the tag more than once per day to locate the missing cat. I have not changed the battery in the Loc8tor handset for over five years.

The tags sit in a soft silicone cover to protect from the rain. One of my cats lost their collar and I searched for it for so long that the battery went flat on the Loc8tor tag. When I found the collar over a year later, I changed the battery in the tag and it worked immediately.

My only concern with the new Tabcat tag is that the cover does not seem so sturdy or robust as the Loc8tor tag covers. I wonder if rough and tumble between cats might pull the tag off the collar. I have not tested the new tags for long enough to see this happen.

Tabcat review- an accurate pet locator with no need for a smartphone app ZDNet

Tabcat and Loc8tor tags

Steve Brown

Two of my cats return on their own if I connect the Tabcat locator to the tag - even when they are out of range of the locator handset. Both the Loc8tor and the Tabcat handset show similar signal strength when the tags are in range.

This is a fabulous device which works really well. If you do not already own a Loc8tor, and want to know where your cats are - and get them to return on command, then the Tabcat is certainly for you. It is much simpler to use than a locator that uses a smartphone app. It is more reliable and accurate too.

I will certainly continue to use this device for all of my pets. It gives me the peace of mind I need to know exactly where each cat is at any time.

This is a must buy for any cat owner who want to locate their pet - without an app.

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