Cat Tracker: Do-It-Yourself Instructions

Download and print these DIY instructions (PDF version)

Equipment:

  • i-gotU USB GPS Travel & Sports Logger – GT-120 (available through Amazon)
  • H-Style Cat Harness (available through Amazon)
  • PC computer or partitioned Mac (a method of splitting your computer to run two different operating systems)
  • Optional:
    -Needle and thread
    -Sturdy tape (Gorilla Tape, Duct Tape)

How To Video

Before Beginning

  • Charge the GPS for four hours using any computer.
  • Place the GPS bumper case on the middle strap of the harness as shown. Consider securing the case to the strap with a few stitches and/or wrapping the entire unit (GPS and case) in sturdy tape after the GPS has been programed.
    harness
  • Install the igot-U software.
  • Place the case and harness system onto your cat following the harness’s instructions.  Allow him/her two days to acclimate to the equipment. The actual GPS unit does not need to be in the case at this time.

Syncing GPS

  • Connect the GPS to the computer. (Software should open automatically)
  • Do not download any data.
  • Select hardware settings from the top menu. (Hammer icon)
  • On the hardware settings “Welcome!” screen select “Configuration.”
  • Under “Choose Startup Method” select “Manual Control” and click “Next.”
  • Under “Set Tracking Interval,” change the “Tracking Interval” settings to 0 min. and 1 sec. before selecting “Next.”
  • Select “Finish” and when the configurations are complete unplug the GPS.
  • Go outside to an area that is away from tall buildings and where you can see the sky above you.
  • Press and hold the button until a blue light appears, showing that the unit is trying to connect to a satellite.
  • Wait for a red light to blink together with the blue light, to indicate that a satellite connection has been made.

Programming to Track Your Cat

  • Connect the GPS to the computer. (Software should open automatically)
  • Do not download any data.
  • Select hardware settings from the top menu. (Hammer icon)
  • On the hardware settings “Welcome!” screen select “Configuration.”
  • Under “Choose Startup Method” select “Scheduled Control” and click “Next.”
  • Input the date you would like to begin the week of tracking.
  • Select you time zone.
  • If your area participates in Daylight Saving Time and it is between March 9, 2014 and November 2, 2014 leave the “Daylight Saving” box checked.  If not, uncheck the box.
  • Uncheck the box next to “Enable LED Indicator.” The GPS’s flashing lights may attract unnecessary attention while your cat is outside.
  • Estimate the time that your cat is normally outside.
  • Program the GPS to turn on and off with your cat’s outside schedule by inputting the times in the calendar on the right side of the window. (If your cat does not stick to a regular schedule you may have the entire week highlighted for 24/7 tracking.)  Click “Next.”
  • Set the “Tracking Interval” to 3 min. and 0 sec.
  • Make sure that the “Power Saving” box is checked.
  • Under “Smart Tracking Mode,” check “Enable” and set the velocity to 10 km/hr and “Change Time Interval” to 10 sec.
  • Uncheck “Enable Button Control.”
  • Click “Next” and “Finish” to configure the device.
  • Unplug the GPS and place it in the case that is strapped to your cat.  (There is no need to remove the harness or GPS during the week that you are tracking your cat.)

Downloading the Track Data

  • When the week of tracking is complete, connect the GPS to your computer. (Software should open automatically)
  • Download your data by clicking “Yes.”
  • After track data is done downloading click “Next.”
  • Under “Create Trip” select “Create a trip.”
  • On the “Start A Trip” page, your cat’s file should be at the bottom of the list. Select it and click “Next”
  • Name your file and verify that the selected style is “Classic Style” before clicking “Next.”
  • On the “Add Photo to Map” page simply click “Next.”
  • “Finish.”
  • A map will appear that displays your cat’s trip.

Note:  This GPS system is susceptible to error over short distances.  Therefore, small, starburst patterns around your yard may not accurately reflect your cat’s movements close to your home. The longer branches of your cat’s outdoor treks will probably give a more accurate idea of where you cat goes when he wanders away from home.

Sharing Your Data

  • Right click on your cat’s trip in the menu on the left of the screen.
  • Select “Attributes.”
  • Verify that “Optimize Track” is checked. Click “OK.”
  • Again, right click on your cat’s trip and select “Export to CSV.”
  • Name your file something informative, for instance your cat’s name and the dates that he/she was tracked.
  • Visit cats.yourwildlife.org for details on how to send in our cat’s data.
  • Once your feline’s track has been uploaded, it can be viewed at www.movebank.org.
  • Select “Tracking Data Map” from the top menu and look for “Pet Cats” under the animal identifier.

Note: Please be aware that the nature of the data may reveal the location of your home.