May 19, 2023
Can I Use an Apple AirTag to Track My Cat?
Wearing a cat collar fitted with a safety breakaway clip and an I.D. tag, along with a microchip will all contribute towards keeping your cat safe and easily identifiable each time they head outside for fun. But for additional peace of mind, many pet owners choose to fit their adventurous kitty with a cat tracker.
While Apple does not recommend the use of their Apple AirTag to track living things, we know that lots of cat parents, our customers included, choose AirTags as a solution to keep tabs on their tabby. In this article, we take a bite into the Apple AirTag to explore its credentials for tracking cats.
What is an Apple AirTag and how does it work?
An Apple AirTag is a small, round device that you can fix to personal objects to help track and locate their whereabouts. For anyone who is forever losing their house keys this should be sounding off alarms in your head!
Using the Find My app and Precision Finding¹ (like a compass), the AirTag sends out a secure Bluetooth signal that can be detected by nearby devices in the Find My network including your own Apple gadget. These devices send the location of your AirTag to iCloud, then the Find My app showcases its location and gives you directions to find it. While a cat may not be a personal object, it’s easy to see why some pet owners choose them as a way to trail their cat.
How does an AirTag work with cats?
In the first instance, the AirTag needs to be appropriately fixed to your cat via a fit-for-purpose accessory. Our lightweight Reflective AirTag Collar Case is our latest pet safety innovation featuring an anti-slip pocket to keep the tag secure. Designed to match our Lumino Lux collars, but suitable for use with our entire collar range, our AirTag case is easy to clean and is both tear and water-resistant, making it perfect for withstanding a cat’s daily use whilst protecting the device.
Cheshire & Wain's Apple AirTag Case comes in four reflective colours
If you purchase your AirTag directly from Apple you can opt to personalise it with an emoji or your cat's initials. A cat face icon is available which is a nice touch if you're using the device to track your kitty.
Once your cat is appropriately attired, head to the Find My app on your iPhone to select and pair with the AirTag – and therefore your furry friend. How the AirTag then works is very much according to the range but note that you can set up special notifications in the Find My app, so if your cat breaks your boundaries, you will receive an alert. If your cat is nearby, Find My’s Play Sound function will allow you to follow the sound and/or the on-screen arrows pointing you in the direction to find them. The app also displays the distance you are from your tag – and kitty!
If not close by, Not Nearby will be shown in Find My, but it does allow you to see the last known location of your cat, so you have a more precise parameter to work from.
Should you not be within Bluetooth range of the AirTag, then the tag sends out a Bluetooth signal that can be picked up by someone else’s device. If this happens, your cat and their AirTag’s location will pop up on the map in the app. Similarly activate Lost Mode and the same thing happens. The other benefit of Lost Mode is that you can add both your contact details and a custom message, so if someone finds your cat, they can tap the AirTag with NFC capable smartphone (the same tech that lets people pay for things with their phone) and get the info they need to reach you.
As Apple does not recommend using AirTags to locate pets, it's important that you weigh up whether you feel they are the right tracking solution for your cat’s desire for adventure and your nerves! Hopefully, our pros and cons list will help inform the right decision for you.
AirTags for Cats Benefits and Pros
- At approx. £29 for a single device or around £100 for a pack of four, AirTags are a relatively low-cost gadget and unlike lots of the pet trackers, there are no additional fees or on-going subscription costs
- AirTags are compatible with iPhones, iPads and Apple Watches – and like all Apple products they are super easy to set up
- AirTags are small and lightweight, so providing they are in a safe case fixed to a safe collar, the average sized cat won’t be bothered by it
- The AirTag is water resistant, so if it's encased in a Cheshire & Wain AirTag Case it's doubly protected
- The associated Find My app allows you to create safe zones for the AirTag, so if your cat exceeds your boundaries, you’ll get an alert
- AirTags are most effective inside the home (great for when your cat may be hiding), back gardens and urban areas where Apple device usage is dense
- Long-lasting! The AirTag is designed to last for more than a year on a standard battery and your iPhone will alert you when it's time for a battery switch
- It's all private and secure, as your location data and history are never stored on the AirTag itself. Devices that relay the location of your AirTag also stay anonymous, and that location data is encrypted, so not even Apple knows the location of your AirTag or the identity of the device that helps find it
- Should you decide you no longer want to track your cat with an AirTag, you are left with a device that can protect something else important
AirTags for Cats Limitations and Cons
- AirTags are not officially pet trackers
- They are not compatible with Android phones
- You need an iPhone 11 and up for compatibility with Precision Finding¹
- The Bluetooth range maxes out at around 30 feet (just over 9m) but Lost Mode ‘should’ over-ride it to help pinpoint a cat’s whereabouts or at least their last known location
- While AirTags can locate an item working off other devices in the Find My network, they are less likely to work in rural areas, woodlands and the like due to a much smaller pool of devices nearby. GPS trackers on the other hand, work anywhere there is a satellite signal
- AirTags update their location every couple of minutes compared to GPS trackers, which update every few seconds, so there will always be a delay on tracking your cat’s exact location when using an AirTag
- In theory Find My’s sound function sounds great when it comes to locating a missing item, but the noise could scare your cat.
When it comes to your cat’s happiness, lifestyle, health and safety, we appreciate it’s very much down to your personal choice. However, we hope this post has helped you decide if an AirTag is the right option for you and your kitty.We’re always interested to hear about the products you need for your cats which is why we developed our Reflective Apple AirTag Collar Case after to so many of you asks us to design a slick and lightweight holder that would be compatible with our cat collars. If you ever have suggestions for new products you would like to see on Cheshireandwain.com, we’d love to hear from you. Just drop us a line via our contact form.