MarcoPolo is Not Just a Pool Game

[NOT a sponsored post! We saved up and bought this ourselves!]

We are so done with Tab Cat’s Loc8tor pet tracking system. When it worked it was the pawsome-est. But inevitably, the transponder and/or the collar tabs went on the fritz after six months or so, despite new batteries and much futzing around with it. The company, located in London, has what turns out to be such an onerous return policy* that we just end up sputtering a bunch of words from the bad words list and search for an alternative.

The challenge we have is that GPS-driven devices won’t work in our area. We’re at the top of a canyon where cell service is extremely spotty. At the foot of our property there’s no service at all. The Tab Cat device used RF tracking technology which was perfect for us, and worked even when PGE turned off our section of the power grid. This was an important element of our emergency preparedness wildfire evac plan, since we need to be able to locate all of the cats inside the house when the power and lights are out, and that includes our black cat Homer, who is invisible in the dark.

So, we recently gave theMarcoPolo pet tracking systema try. If you’re a Star Trek fan, you’ll appreciate the tricorder-like device used to track the pet. There’s a tag for the collar, and the tricorder maps out the direction and proximity of the cat, pointing an arrow in the direction and beeping with increased frequency as you get closer.

If you’re familiar with TabCat Loc8tor, it’s similar, but new-and-improved technology. The only downside is that the MarcoPolo collar tag does not beep back…with the Loc8tor, the collar beeping expedited the end of a successful search operation. (It would seem that they should have the collar tag respond “polo” every time it gets pinged. Maybe they’re working on that.)

In recent weeks, it’s been extremely helpful in locating Tripper throughout the house. Tripp is heading down that final trail toward his sunset, and has taken to hiding in closets. Any cat owner knows how unnerving that can be when an ailing cat seeks solitude in an inaccessible hidey hole. The MarcoPolo tracker comes to the rescue every time.

Here’s the laundry list of features:

  • Works anywhere, totally self-contained, no GPS or cell network required, no monthly service contracts, ideal for traveling with your pets
  • Simple to setup and use, single button-push to begin searching for lost pets with real-time distance and direction feedback
  • Includes everything needed for 1-pet, may be expanded to handle up to three pets with purchase of additional tracking tags (sold separately)
  • Tracking Tags are designed for prolonged swimming, are light enough for cats and rugged enough for the most active dogs
  • Rechargeable battery on pet’s collar lasts up to 6 weeks while being continuously monitored

The battery life on the MarcoPolo pet tracker is amazing–it lasts over a month with each charge. (We had one GPS-powered unit whose battery lasted less than 8 hours at a time, so the battery life is the first thing you need to check for before purchase.) At first, you’ll think the collar tag looks big, but it is extremely light, and cats ignore it, no problem. There are no monthly charges or contracts, and cell phone service is not required. 

And now the bad news: it’s pricey. Currently, theMarcoPolo pet tracker is about $235 on Amazon for the system that includes only one collar tag. Additional MarcoPolo collar tags will set you back one Ben Franklin each. 

If you have the money to spend on the system, it’s well worth the peace of mind, even if your cats never venture outside.

*With TabCat, there were many emails back and forth (with many in responses) to get to the point where they deign to give approval for a RMA. Then you have to pay to send the package back to the UK AND send it with return receipt, customs and other stuff that requires a very long form-filling-out session at the post office, AND then you have to wait and if they determine that the malfunction is their problem and not yours, they’ll send a replacement, but if it’s not their malfunction, you have to pay to have the broken unit returned to you. 

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Category: Cat Products, Featured, Health & Wellness, Lifestyle

About the Author ()

Mousebreath Magazine is an award-winning online magazine that celebrates cats and the cat-centric lifestyle. Editor Karen Nichols is a popular conference speaker and award-winning writer and illustrator, both skills demonstrated in her tour de force "Cat Scout Handbook."

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