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Kitties Gone Missing!

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Since we live way out in the country and have a decent amount of land around us, I feel safe letting the kitties go outside during the day. Of course, we have scary large creatures in the area - owls, cougars, foxes, bobcats, coyotes.... but as long as the kids stay in the yard, they're pretty safe and I always bring everyone inside when it starts getting dark.

Of course, some of the kitties are not interested in staying in the yard and they go wandering outside the fence to see what else is in this neighborhood. It only took a couple of times of going out in a panic, not being able to find someone and then scouring the neighborhood in increasing tears, imaging the worst, for me to decide that I had to have a way to know where they were so I could at least have a reasonable shot at finding them.

I tried a number of blinking, beeping collars that were farely useless - the tags were so huge the cats wouldn't wear them, or the tag would beep on the cat, driving them crazy or the range was a silly 50 feet or less. None of these would help in the least if one kitty went outside of the yard and onto the next or further property. We currently have two wanderers: Larry

Larry, Maine Coon Cat

Larry, our gorgeous wandering Maine Coon

And Blinky:

Our gorgeous Bengal kitty, Blinky

Blinky, our wandering Bengal

Then I tried the LoCATor collar by Com-Spec. There are a few things I wish were different, but for the most part, these collars and the tracker have saved me countless hours (seriously!!) of hiking up and down the road calling out aimlessly, and have saved me so much emotion. I would get so worked up, imagining that the kitty was lost, gone, eaten, never coming home, never snuggling, afraid, hungry.... I would devolve into tears and be an emotional wreck for the rest of the day/night until said kitty showed up (usually looking quite smug....).

Here's how it works: Each kitty has a collar that has a quarter sized, 1/2 inch thick button on it. The button contains a watch battery and has the radio frequency electronic transmitter inside. It doesn't make any noise, no light, and it weighs nearly nothing, so the cats are fine with wearing it. They're a little pricey, so we only have two, but we only have the two wanderers, so as long as everyone else stays good, we're fine.

So in the morning, these two put on their collars and I tighten up the battery compartments and check to make sure they're working, and off they go into the outdoors, being wild Serengeti hunters. When I need to check on them, I take out a (rather large) directional receiver. Each kitty has a different RF code (mine are 60 and 65), so I turn the receiver to 65 (Larry), turn it on and go out on the deck. I start it on "Medium" range and if it beeps loud, I know he's right around the deck, somewhere, safe and fine. If it beeps quietly, I turn it up to "High". I slowly do a full turn on the deck and the receiver will beep louder in the direction of the collar, so I can narrow down quickly which direction he is and start heading that way. As I walk closer to him, the beeping will get louder until I get within visual range and can find him and bring him back home.

The best part is that the "High" setting is really quite long range. I can hear a very faint beep when he's a good half mile or more away, and it goes through hills, trees, buildings... This area is very hilly, with a ton of trees, but I can track him extremely successfully even when he's so far away, over several hills, down the ravine, etc. Most times, when he hears the beeping as I get closer, he comes out and runs to me!

I have found Blinky way too far away many times with her tracking collar as well. One time she was trapped inside a neighbor's garage. As long as the tracker says she's in the yard, I let her stay out and have fun, but when the tracker indicates she's gone outside of the fence, I track her down and bring her back home.

I'm hoping (silly, I know) that it's training her to stay in the yard. So far, I haven't noticed that part working, but at least I can continue to go get her when she strays too far and bring her back. And really, in mountainous country like this, if I didn't have the tracker to at least get me started in the right direction, there would be no way in the world to know where she had gone.

As it turns out, Larry found a horse about a half mile from here and seems to have fallen in love with her. He goes to visit her nearly every time he goes out. The only way I know about this is that I have tracked him numerous times to that property's horse shanty, so now when he isn't close by, I immediately turn the tracker to "High" and point it in the direction of his horsie, and usually, sure enough, the thing gives me a faint beep. I smile and head off down the road to retrieve my little boy from his horsie love.

Unfortunately, I don't have photos of Larry with his horsie. The property is posted so, if it weren't for the LoCATor, we'd never know he was in there.

The name of the collar is the LoCATor, and you can get it from their website: http://www.com-spec.com/thecatlocator/ It has saved me hours of hunting and worrying and I truly love my LoCATor!

Peace, Joy

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