With 2 dogs, 1 cat, and 2 lionhead rabbits, I’ve got a full house of animals over here. Although we’ve had Cleo our Boston Terrier for almost 4 years now, we recently adopted Polly, a rescue from a high-kill shelter in California. The Boston is a lap dog who is not insanely active unless there’s a lot of people around, while the rescue dog is a Doxie (Dachshund/Chihuahua cross) who only recently discovered she has a name she’s supposed to respond to. She loves to bound out the door in a fit of joy, chasing whoever is near the house and disappearing down the road.

Since we adopted our new dog, my cat Belle has rage issues. She’s not a fan of Polly, and she’s taken to sprinting out the door whenever we leave it open a crack. Because she’s always been an indoor cat and we live near a busy road, this new love for the outdoors worries me to the point where I shake the bushes at night before I go to bed, looking for her because she’s escaped again.

So with a cat who loves to sprint out the door and a dog in the learning phases of obedience training, I was definitely up to the task of testing out the Tractive GPS Pet Tracking Device. It’s a small, plastic tag that hangs on your cat or dogs collar and it lets you track them via the Tractive website or using an app on your smartphone.

Does it work? As I found out after a week of testing it, it works like a charm. But first, here are the features of the Tractive GPS Pet Tracking Device:

  • Gives you real time location updates on your pet
  • Tracks your pets via GPS using a compass so you’ll be directed to their location
  • Stores all of your pet’s data including weight, description, and vet information
  • Built in light and sound alerts
  • Recommended for any pets over 9 pounds, and lets you track cats, dogs, horses, and any other pet you have
  • Battery lasts for 2 – 5 days and charges in 2 hours
  • Lightweight so it’s hardly noticeable on your pet

Setting up the Tractive MOTION Pet Tracking Device

Once you unpack the Tractive from the box, you’ll need to charge it for 2 hours before using. It comes with two clips to attach to collars of different sizes.

Once it’s charged and turned on, you need to register the device. Upon registration you’ll be asked to sign up for a subscription plan. To activate the device you have to pay $7.99 per month, and that’s a good thing to know if you didn’t realize there would be extra costs incurred. I signed up via Paypal and my Tractive was ready to go.

Locate your pet in real time

If you’ve ever spent an hour or two looking for your pet after they’ve run away, you know how frustrating it can be. I find it especially hard to find my cat, because she can literally squeeze through any railing or jump up on any fence.

By attaching the Tractive GPS Pet Tracking Device to my cat, I completely eliminated that stress. I clipped it on her collar after it had charged for 2 hours, and then I downloaded the apps.

Because there are two Tractive devices to choose from – the Tractive GPS Pet Tracking Device I tried out and Tractive MOTION, a device that monitors your pet’s activity 24 hours per day, there are a few apps you can choose from including Tractive Light, Tractive Pro, and Tractive MOTION Activity Tracker. Tractive Light and Tractive MOTION are free, while Tractive Pro will cost you $4.99. For the purpose of tracking my cat I used Tractive Light.

Cats really get around

Although I completely understand a cat’s instinct to get outside and chase birds or whatever they do, I don’t want my cat to get hit by a car. But with kids comes doors always left open, and she likes to sneak out, leaving me with no idea of what she was up to when she managed to get outside. I optimistically didn’t think she ever left the yard, but I was wrong on that front. After tracking her for one evening using Tractive Light, I was amazed at what she was doing.

Tractive Light lets you check in on your pet in real time, so although it will send you periodic updates on his or her location, you can also choose ‘LIVE’ mode and find out where they are. I let my cat stay outside for 2 hours before I checked on her in Live mode.

The device shows you the path she took and where she ultimately ended up, so I was pretty blown away to see how far she’d gone. It looked like she was walking fence lines all the way to the neighborhood school and back, then jumping around in the neighbors yard for a while, completely avoiding my yard and moving at what seemed to be the speed of sound.

The Tractive Light app lets you set a safe zone for your pet to stay within, and if they leave the safe zone you’ll get a notification via the app. Belle didn’t leave the safe zone I set of my immediate neighborhood, although it did look like she did when Live Mode was on.

Get led straight to your pet

One of the coolest things about the Tractive is that you can search for your pet using the built-in compass. It will actually point you in the right direction with a huge arrow, and tell you how many feet away your pet is. When I felt like I had given her enough time running wild, I tapped the compass and went in search of her. The Tractive told me she was 10 feet away and to turn left, which I did. She was directly in front of me, right where it said she was, and I couldn’t have been happier with any piece of technology at that moment. No more beating the bushes!


When the dog doesn’t know her name

One thing to note about the Tractive GPS Pet Tracking Device – although the app will let you sign up multiple pets and create a profile with their weight, temperament, and other valuable information, it will also prompt you to purchase another device for the addition pet. That means you can’t switch one Tractive between both pets unless you just use one pet profile. I was fine doing that, and I attached it to my dog Polly for a day.

Although we’re really watching the doors, Polly still managed to sneak out, and that’s where Tractive really came in handy. There are any number of yards she can turn into when she’s running down the street, so I used the built-in compass to track her to a neighbor’s yard where she was happily jumping up and down on a nice lady. The second time she sprinted off, I found her around the corner sniffing someone’s garden gnome. Needless to say, I love the compass feature.

The Tractive GPS Pet Tracking Device also lets you keep track of any walks you take, and it will store that information on the app.

Track daily activity with Tractive MOTION

Some pets are just couch potatoes, and although you might want to get them up and out the door, they aren’t really that willing. Tractive MOTION is another GPS Pet tracking device from Tractive, but this one keeps track of your pet’s daily activity. In much the same way our fitness watches help us track our steps and daily exercise, you can set a daily goal of Pet-Points to track your pet’s daily activity.

Although you may already have an idea, the Tractive MOTION will let you know if your pet falls in the lazy range or if they’re considered highly active. It will also give you insights into their monthly activity so you can keep on top of their health and fitness, and you can check how your pet ranks against other pet owners on the Tractive network. Plus, Tractive MOTION will keep track of average temperature and daylight so you’ll know whether those types of things influence your pet’s activity.

Overall rating for Tractive GPS Pet Tracking Device

If you’re like me and you have pets that routinely like to do their own thing, the Tractive GPS Pet Tracking Device will be your new best friend. I loved how it makes keeping track of your pets easy, and how simple it is to keep an ‘eye’ on them whenever they decide to take off. It works fast, it’s highly accurate, and it keeps it simple with easy to use apps.

Get ready to track your pets – the Tractive GPS Pet Tracking Device and Tractive MOTION are coming soon to Best Buy.

Best Buy is constantly expanding its selection of dog supplies and will soon have all of the things you need for your cat too.  

Shelly Wutke
Editor TV & Home Theatre
I'm a Vancouver freelancer and tech enthusiast. When I'm not writing you'll find me on my farm with my alpacas, chickens, and honeybees. Visit my website Survivemag