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Could GPS Keep Tabs On Your Pets? 218

An anonymous reader writes "Google Latitude has already made headlines for allowing phone users to locate their friends, and there are countless other iPhone and Android phone apps already designed to transmit your location — but could pets be the next big thing in GPS tracking? A number of device manufacturers are marketing GPS technology as a futuristic tool for tracking your cat or dog, and even discovering exactly where they've been. These devices are sold under a number of names and brands, including Sportdog, LoCATor, RoamEO, Petcell, Zoombak and Pettrack."


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Could GPS Keep Tabs On Your Pets?

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  • What's next? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rnturn ( 11092 ) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @03:01AM (#29974646)

    Tracking our goldfish?

    Getting a little desperate in the Marketing Dept. for ideas on what to use GPS for?

    Personally, I can't see the benefit for our household. The cats are either in the cat box, under a bed sleeping, or eating, or staring out a window at leaves rustle or at birds. If we had outdoor cats (unlikely seeing as how coyotes have moved into the area) it might make some sense if we had extra money laying around and we couldn't think of anything better to use it on. For most people, though, I think this a laughable idea.

    Now if I were a cattle rancher, I could see maybe spending some money in order to track the cattle but I have a feeling it might be cheaper to just have the cowhands track 'em. They'd have to be around anyway to round the critters up in the event they were to go astray.

    I'd guess that this will wind up getting sold in some high-end catalog. I could easily see J. R. Bigbucks buying one of these in order to brag to his friends at the country club that they know where little Fluffy is to within 3 meters.

  • Re:Get a leash! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bemymonkey ( 1244086 ) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @03:21AM (#29974758)

    I'm not a pet owner, but I thought cats were _supposed_ to be let out on their own (at least that's what cat owners tell me), because otherwise they go crazy and tear up furniture or start eating the children...

    Maybe it'd just be easier not to have pets in densely populated areas...

  • Re:Get a leash! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rolfwind ( 528248 ) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @03:42AM (#29974894)

    If you love your dog or cat, keep it on a leash outdoors. Being able to track it down when it's road kill, or frozen to death and chewed up by a snowblower, isn't being a good owner.

    Just because bad things can and do happen, doesn't mean we should keep animals on a leash. I have had plenty of cats, I did get them shots and neutered/spade, but besides not declawing them (for defense purposes), I let them have free run outdoors. Yes, I was on the main road and some got run over, but the vast majority were okay. I never had one freeze to death, but I did provide a small, waterproof dog house for them to stay in if the weather got bad and no one was there to let them in. They weren't stupid creatures although they often did stupid things. I figured the few losses were worth their freedom - they weren't bored animals tethered against their will to a small radius. (And yes, I had to shoot one with my .22 because of injuries sustained against a bigger animal it fought -- something the leash doesn't prevent -- but consider it a similiar to having to do that because it was hit by a car and not killed. Wasn't happy about it, but it had a decent life otherwise).

    Although I would refuse to adopt cats from other places, the insiders always got into trouble and did stupid things.

    Putting a cat on a leash is no less practical than putting a dog on a leash;

    The cats I have had would first fight against the leash and try to pull it off any which way, then try to choke themselves going around corners or through underbrush getting it off, or run in circles entangling themselves and the leash. They'd be thouroughly neurotic within a week, and if ever let loose, probably choose to adopt a different household to cohabit.

    But then I had only outdoor cats (housebroken, would sleep the cold nights inside, but the rest of the time outside).

  • Re:Get a leash! (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @04:03AM (#29974998)
    I am not big on pets, but I know a good number of people who have cats and keep them inside without any problems. Cats will hunt if let outside, but they do not need to be let outside.
  • Re:Get a leash! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Trepidity ( 597 ) <> on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @04:38AM (#29975248)

    It seems like a subjective judgment. Which is better: keeping cats indoors their whole lives, except for periodic walks outdoors on leashes, and therefore keeping them safer but quite constrained; or allowing them to wander about outdoors as they wish, but with significantly more risk to their safety? Even in humans, the tradeoff between safety and quality of life is subjective, and people do plenty of things that are quite dangerous, like riding motorcycles, skiing, and surfing.

  • Re:Get a leash! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MichaelSmith ( 789609 ) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @04:50AM (#29975318) Homepage Journal

    In Malaysia there are monkeys pretty much anywhere there is a bit of bush and the ability to scavenge food. In Singapore cats are all over the place. They aren't huge and overfed like our cat. They are slimmed down killing machines.

    It makes me wonder what happened to the monkeys? Do the cats kill them? I wouldn't be surprised.

  • by aepervius ( 535155 ) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @04:54AM (#29975348)
    The animal pound usually do not pick up cat with a tatoo in the ear, or when they do they contact the person to which it is registered. Lately they even have programs with those chips, but I prefer a visible tatoo. What you have at the pound are most probably either stray cat, or abandoned animals, and that happen all too often with cats and dogs (neat and nice while small, and once they reach 1 year old or the next summer holiday, left over the side of the road, I wish I could have a few word with people doing that type of shit). Most people which have cat I know of, try to get their cat to come back home in the evening. So again yowling cat outside are most probably not a home cat. As for killing birds, well you realize that cats in the wild DO eat birds, rodent and various small animals, right ?
  • by tomhudson ( 43916 ) <barbara.hudson@[ ... m ['bar' in gap]> on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @07:48AM (#29976318) Journal

    All the municipalities here have contracts with vrious animal shelters. It doesn't matter whether the dog or cat is chipped, tattooed, or has a tag - they're picked up when someone complains, and the owner is fined $300 plus costs.

    If you decide to take the animal to the city instead of having the pound pick it up, the owner can pick it up from the city holding area if it's not more than a few hours, but they still have to pay a fine.

    Responsible pet ownership includes not letting pets run free in an urban environment.

    Most people which have cat I know of, try to get their cat to come back home in the evening

    ... and how do they accomplish this magic trick? Did they give the cat a cell phone so they can consult their GPS? :-) It's hard enough getting kids to come home on time.

    What you have at the pound are most probably either stray cat, or abandoned animals, and that happen all too often with cats and dogs (neat and nice while small, and once they reach 1 year old or the next summer holiday, left over the side of the road, I wish I could have a few word with people doing that type of shit).

    Animals end up at the pound for all sorts of reasons. My St. Bernard and my original Newfie were both pound dogs. My current Newfie is a rescue dog. My wolf's also "sort of rescued dog". Only the last of those was dumped on me as a "pup." A lot of adult dogs get abandoned because people's lives get f*ed up. Divorce, financial setbacks, having to move to a new location that doesn't allow pets, allergies, kids, ...

    Then, as you say, there are the assholes, like the people who chained 2 St. Bernards in a rising river and left them to drown. It was only luck that someone saw them. Or the asshats who breed dogs for a quick buck, and the ones that they can't sell off, they leave outside in unheated barns in 30 below weather with minimal food - if they survive ... but many don't.

    Kennel Clubs are a big part of the problem, creating artificial demand for "pure-breds" of dubious quality that then end up getting dumped. And people who buy these dogs as "status animals."

    The average lifespan of a domestic dog, all things considered, is only 3 years. A *lot* of them never see their second birthday because they've become "inconvenient" before then. Most people could learn a lesson or two about loyalty from their pets.

  • Re:Get a leash! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by tomhudson ( 43916 ) <barbara.hudson@[ ... m ['bar' in gap]> on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @08:59AM (#29976748) Journal

    Kill off all the squirrels and birds, and you end up with more mice and grubs and other pests. There's a natural balance. Feral cats upset it.

    Neighbours' cat used t spray my motorcycle all the time. It eventually ended up dead (not my doing) when a car ran over it. It would have lived longer and been less of a nuisance if the owners had kept it indoors or on a leash.

    Putting an animal on a leash is not wrong. A leash is more than just a physical restraint - it's also a line of communication between the pet and its' master. My dogs get very excited when I go for the leash. It also helps keep them under control when someone else's dog acts stupid and tries to attack. They instinctively understand, when I pull them back, that they are not to fight - and if the other person doesn't quickly get their dog under control by PUTTING IT ON A FUCKING LEASH, I then give them some slack and let them fight back for a few seconds, before pulling them back a second time. The other dog always gets the message, and so does the owner.

    This happens once or twice a decade. Last month, stupid guy thought it was funny to show off how scary his Doberman was to his friends by letting it off its' leash to go after my dogs while I was walking them. Stupid retard. When he was too slow to put the leash back on, I let the dogs have some slack again. He got the message - keep your Doberman under control and properly leashed, or next time I'll let mine defend themselves, and you'll have a dead dog, a nice bill from my vet, probably a big chunk of your own ass missing, AND some explaining to do to the police (all dogs are required to be leashed here, an the owners of unleashed dogs that attack are prosecuted). He's a bully, and like all bullies, when you stand up to them, they turn out to be cowards. He said he was going to put a bullet in my head, but he's made sure he and his dog are now really scarce, so everyone else can walk their dogs in peace again.

    The first time I had to do this sort of thing was almost 20 years ago, when the owners of a Great Dane were literally terrorizing all the other dog owners in the neighborhood. Their dog would lunge after everyone's dogs and try to bite them. First time it went after mine, I pulled him back and told them to keep their dog under control. Second time, a week later, I let him have his slack. Great Danes might be big, but they're not much of a match for a Newfie. After about 15 seconds, I pulled him back again, and told them that if it EVER happened again, I would slip his chain completely off. After that, they took to walking their dog elsewhere, and everyone else was happy.

    The point is, I shouldn't HAVE to do stupid shit like that. I want my dogs as PETS. I want them to be good around other animals, and around people. I shouldn't have to let them defend themselves against other people's out-of-control animals. People should keep their animals under control, for everyone's benefit. If you can't control it, you shouldn't have it. If it's not socialized to be safe around people, then don't bring it where people go. If you don't want it pick up after it (dog or cat), then give it to someone who will, and stop creating a nuisance. If your ego is so weak that you have to have a "tough fighting dog", go get a prescription for Viagra.

    Obviously I don't hate animals. I *do* hate that people can't control theirs, or act irresponsibly with respect to them, creating either a nuisance or a danger for others.

  • Be Careful! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by nmos ( 25822 ) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @03:02PM (#29983056)

    I'm too cheap to buy a dedicated device so when I saw that Verizon had a free demo of their Chaperone app (track your kid's cell phone etc) I was in business. I just taped my cell phone to the cat and let him out. It worked out great and I learned a lot about my cat's habits. Watching him jump when I called him was hilarious! Unfortunately the day came when I had to remove the phone, and more importantly, the tape from the cat. Trust me, you don't EVER want to try to remove duct tape from a long haired cat!

    Just kidding, but I have thought about it a time or two.

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