Sunday, 24 May 2009

Whant to Know the Whereabout of Your Pet? - Track it!


The topic of animal tracking has featured on the blog already a few times, starting with a joke for April first. It was a story about tracking frogs in my backyard and it sparkled a number of responses ranging from oh, how are they supposed to mate with this large tracking device, to uh, actually we don’t even know how many of these amphibians live in our back gardens.
So here is an other one, not a joke, but an animal tracking project, tracking your cat! It makes of an interesting combination. Cats are known very loyal and loving animals; they like routine, show up when you feed them and will lie on your computer keyboard when you try to work. There is another side to this cuddly animal. It is a hunter and predator, kills and eats a large variety of small animal and enjoys strolling around. This second side we, as pet holder know very little about. How far do they stroll, where do they hunt and where do they sleep, are some of the questions we might find ourselves thinking about while on the bus to work. Is Spotty maybe enjoying herself at the neighbors, or does the old lady down the road feed her? The cat wouldn’t tell us and we will never know, which is probably good, but there you go here comes the solution. Why not tracking your cat with GPS? (Found through csendsedesign blog)
The solution is Mr. Lee’s CatTracker. A simple GPS tracker that you can put on your cat let it collect some data and then download to the computer put it on Google Earth and most likely you will get some lines around your house, in your back yard and down the street, great!

Image from mr-lee-catcam.de

This is it the tin y device that can be attached via a harness or collar to the cat and of it goes. It is a small pack, containing receiver, battery and antenna. It connects via USB 1.1 runs for approximately 30 hours while saving location points every 30 seconds and has storage capacity for 64000 points. That makes for around 530 hours of tracking... while charging of course. Anyway, would be fun to test the device.


Image from mr-lee-catcam.de

Of course the company does have some more great ideas for pet owners. There is also the catCam. Put a cam on your cat and you can even see what the cat saw. A clip can be seen here.
The page has also lots of tips and trick, including manuals if you are planning to build your own tracking equipment to follow your pet. Bits and peaces are available from their web store.

Having said that, there are scientific pet tracking project. One of them featured not long a go in an article in the Guardian and is looking at cat as predators. Scientist believe that cats “are responsible for the deaths of millions of small wild animals each year” (Guardian from Monday 16th of February) Research is undertaken at the University of Reading and the project including the GPS receivers seems not to have started yet.

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