“Where does my cat go when she’s outside?”
This is my biggest question when it comes to our 2-year-old adventure cat Lucy – and most humans who have indoor/outdoor cats must feel the same way.
The kind of cat camera you get depends on what your needs are. I’m sure the smaller the better. I found the easiest and smallest to use was the GoPro Hero < you can check out the reviews and videos over at Amazon.
From cat camera collars to live cat cams that dispense your cat’s favorite treats – let’s dive into the world of cats!
A cat camera collar is a perfect way to see the world from your pet’s point of view – so we’ll start here.
Let’s Talk Cat Camera Collars!
Before we get to picking which camera is best for shooting your “Life of Cat” documentary, let’s talk about the gear you will be needing!
The easiest way to shoot pet footage is to have them wear their cat-cam.
This can be done one of two ways:
- With a harness
- With a clip attaching the cam to their collar
GoPro is likely one of the biggest and most well-known in the industry and perhaps one of the first names that come to mind when you think of on-the-go cameras.
But did you know they makes products that could be perfect for your pet!?
These cameras can be mounted to just about anything and most are even small and lightweight enough to be attached to your pet’s collar!
First, you’ll need a mount that fits your pet, and GoPro has you covered!
* the link above will take you over to Amazon for more info.
With a skill level of beginner, this harness is very simple to put on your pet and working like any other harness.
But with a camera on it!
The Fetch Dog Harness from GoPro isn’t just for dogs (more on that below), and can be one great way to capture the life of your pets!
Some need to know info:
- Two mounting locations (backplate and chest plate).
- Includes mounting hardware and tethered mounting loop for stability.
- Works on small, large and medium dogs (or in this case, cats).
- As mentioned above, the weight specifications read from 15-120 lbs (7-54kg).
For smaller animals, you can remove the chest plate to have a better fit.
- Padded to ensure your pet’s comfort.
- Quick release base for easy attachment and removal of the camera.
The video below explains how to use a Fetch Harness to truly see life through your pet’s eyes.
Can I use the Fetch Harness on a cat instead of a dog?
It’s possible if you have a cat that’s within the weight range of this product.
How to use a Fetch Harness on a cat:
- Be aware of the weight restrictions.
The weight specifications for this harness are between 7 and 120 lbs.
So if you have a cat that is within this range, it may be possible to use the Fetch harness on them without a problem.
- Keep in mind that your cat might not like this at first, and you may need to do some altering as this product was built with dogs in mind.
- Your cat may also need some time to get used to the harness if they are not used to wearing one (so be patient with your furry friend!)
- You may need to remove the chest plate (as they suggest for small dogs) and it’s likely that a front mount (with the camera hanging from the chest) will give you the best looking angles.
Check out the video below to see this done on a 20 lb. (very well behaved) cat.
Check out some of the reviews here and see why people are really liking this harness!
What We Love About The GoPro Fetch Harness:
It’s super adjustable!
This is really great to hear, considering that we are primarily interested in using this product for cats who are usually smaller than most dogs.
It’s nice to know that this product is easily adjustable and give us the possibility to use it for our adventurous felines!
According to one Review, over on Amazon, it was really easy to cinch the straps all the way, and the harness was able to fit nicely on a dachshund.
After hearing about the perfect fit for larger dogs, this reviewer (and myself) were a bit skeptical about it fitting onto smaller dogs (and in our case, cats) – but it turns out, that isn’t such a problem.
I like that it’s a harness that you can even use it as an everyday walking harness or a harness that clips into your pet stroller.
What We Don’t Love About the GoPro Fetch Harness
It may be able to come loose with rough play.
While this isn’t as big of an issue for cats as it may be for dogs, if your cat is a hunter – just keep an eye on it and make sure your cam is still attached when your cat comes back from her latest conquest.
According to another Review, while at the dog park with her large breed dog, this person had to stop and make quite a few adjustments (as her dog was playing and running, the camera was knocked around a few times).
This could be an issue for some outdoor cats as they hunt and stalk around the yard.
* the link above will take you over to Amazon for more info.
Potentially turning any GoPro into a Cat Cam?
This GoPro accessory (a head strap and a Quick Clip) come together – but it’s the quick clip we’re interested in for our cat-cam.
A clip that can attach to any object between 3mm – 10mm could potentially be what you’re looking for to attach a camera to your cat’s harness or collar.
The clip can open up and the teeth in there can grip onto practically anything (including cat collars and harnesses).
While they don’t recommend doing any strenuous activity, I dug a little deeper and figured out some interesting things about the GoPro Quick Clip that could make it perfect for use with a pet camera.
Here’s what I dug up:
- Attaches to virtually anything that is between 3-10mm.
This means it could clip to your cat’s collar or harness if you purchase one within that range.
- Comes with head strap (so this isn’t just a purchase for your cat, but could also be used for yourself!)
- Low profile mounting, super compact.
It’s less likely to be bothersome to your pet when it’s compact and slim.
- Compatible with all GoPro Cameras
So, now what?
Once you’ve got your gear in mind, you’ll need to pick a camera that works well with that gear and with your cat.
What is the Best Cat Camera for Outdoor Use?
Once you’ve decided on a mounting system (whether it be the Fetch Harness or one you’ve made yourself), you need to decide which product is best for capturing a day in the life of a cat.
Let me break down some of the best cameras that can be used specifically for your pets…
* the link above will take you over to Amazon for more info.
Of course, we start with one of the big guys…
I’ve done some digging, and it turns out that the best GoPro cam for pets might just be the original GoPro Hero (or any in the Hero line).
Today I’ll talk about the GoPro Hero Session 5 <check it out over at Amazon
I picked this one because when researching a bit further, I realized this was kind of the “starter” GoPro…
You’ll get great quality footage (because GoPro doesn’t do anything less than great footage), but it’s not too difficult to figure out.
I’ll get further into why I like this choice for a pet cam below.
- Waterproof and durable.
Love this feature for your cat’s prowling days and hunting nights.
- Voice control to start recording/stop recording.
Because who wants to try to turn on a camera while it’s attached to your cat who likely just wants to get away from you.
- Wi-Fi and Bluetooth enabled.
I like this because you can check out your cat’s day while the GoPro is still on her (with the GoPro app and wireless connection between the two.)
What I Love About the GoPro HERO for A Cat Camera:
By far my favorite feature when reading about this has to be the voice control to start and stop recording.
Once you get the camera situated properly on your cat, chances are they will want to go explore (away from the human who just stuck this on them).
I can just picture shouting “GoPro start recording!” as my cat is barreling down the drive.
What I Don’t Love About the GoPro HERO for a Cat Camera:
The 2-inch touch screen is likely one of my least favorite things about this product (which is strange, because us humans love a big touchscreen).
However, chances are your cat won’t need to be adjusting the shot or swiping left.
While this is easily fixed with a case (which you will likely need anyways to protect your camera), it’s just a feature that isn’t quite needed when you’re using the GoPro for a pet camera.
* the link above will take you over to Amazon for more info.
This cat camera may be the perfect solution for someone who isn’t really interested in spending a ton of time or money on this but still is curious about what their cat gets up to when they aren’t around.
The reason I say this is because it’s fairly easy to use (comes with a clip that attaches to a pet collar).
The clip actually reminds me of the QuickClip from GoPro, but this is easy because it’s all one piece – there’s no removing the camera from the clip.
- 2 recording modes, one of which is motion detection.
This is great because your camera doesn’t have to be recording if your cat is having a little nap, but will turn on once they start going.
This is beneficial, as the rechargeable lithium-ion battery only lasts for about 2.5 hours after a full charge.
- Autofocus sensor with night vision up to 7 feet away.
Seeing what my cat does after she pleads with us to let her out at 11 pm – that’s what I’d like most about this!
Why I Love the Eyenimal Pet Camera:
I really like that this is one piece.
I like that there are no extra clips, it’s lightweight and it’s just an attach-and-go kind of thing.
This is the kind I would likely start with, and if I enjoyed doing this with my cats – that’s when I would move up to a better quality, more expensive version.
Why I Don’t Love the Eyenimal Pet Camera:
The battery life is the biggest downer for me.
2.5 hours can capture a lot of footage, or it can capture your cat just wandering around your yard looking at trees and chasing leaves.
If your cat isn’t in an adventurous mood, you may get just a few hours of rather boring footage.
As opposed to a different camera that could potentially record for most of their day or night.
You’ll likely get more action.
According to one Review (from Amazon) another con about this product may be that it’s not waterproof/the seals of the case aren’t extremely tight for closing.
This could mean that over time (with the adventures your cat goes on and/or if they are interested in water) the case could become damaged.
While scanning reviews for this product, it does seem that the overall review of the product is it’s “really great while it lasts”.
What this means is…
It may not have a great lifespan, but the use you get out of it makes the product worth it.
Check out the video below to see an unboxing, brief description and some of the other key features of the Eyenimal Cat Camera.
Do Cat Camera Collar Systems Have GPS?
Most of them don’t have a GPS function, actually.
During my research…
I realized that cat trackers are one section a bit separate from camera collars.
However, looking into GPS tracking with cats was really interesting!
It’s one thing to microchip your cat and make sure they can be returned home if they get lost, but it’s a whole other thing to track your cat’s movements!
I will save more on this topic for another post (stay tuned!)
But for now…
Check out this video below to see more on cat GPS trackers and how shocked people tend to be at where their cats have been.
(In fact, if you skip to the 2-minute mark in the video, you’ll see that one families cat actually ventures about 7 miles back to the house they used to live in while her owners were away for the weekend!)
What are the benefits of having a GPS tracker instead of a cat camera?
- You can see just where your cat is going.
This is beneficial if you’re concerned about your cat’s activities outdoors – it can also come in very handy if your cat has come home injured, you can see exactly where she was and perhaps find out how it happened.
- You don’t have to sift through hours of footage to see where your cat is going, it’s available for you most of the time on a map from the app or tracker itself.
- In the video above, cat tracking is also used to see how the cat population is affecting other wildlife in that area.
- It’s fun! In this video, they also talk about how almost every pet owner who thinks they may know where their cat goes is usually fairly shocked when the GPS tracker results come back! Our cats are much bolder and adventurous than you’d think!
Are there any downsides to having a GPS tracker camera?
- The biggest downfall of purchasing a GPS tracker for your cat is that it’s not a cat camera.
The thing people like most about the cat camera is that it really feels like you’re living a day in the life of your cat (especially when it’s from your cat’s eye view.)
- If somehow, your cat gets your GPS tracker off, it could get lost. This is a bit of a downer if you’ve just purchased the product!
- There are sometimes more fees attached.
There are live tracker GPS products for your cat, but sometimes these things come with a registration fee and/or a service charge for using it interactively.
With just an ordinary cat camera, you would just have the initial cost of buying the product.
You can even track your cat going the speed of light, like this guy below:
What About In-Home Cat Cams & Cat Camera Apps?
What about in-home cat cameras?
Are there apps that make it possible for me to watch my cats while I’m at work?
In fact, a few years ago my husband got me an in-home pet cam system so I could watch my cat’s while I was at work and it’s one of the best gifts I’ve ever gotten.
What’s the best kind of in-home pet camera?
Of course, that can vary depending on your needs, but let me lay out a few of the best kinds.
THE TWO WAY AUDIO Camera
The idea of this camera is that it’s not just a camera, but also a communication system.
Pet cameras that have two-way audio allow you to verbally re-assure your pet or talk to them through the camera – you can hear them, they can hear you.
While this feature is a bit debated on with dog owners (because the dog gets overly excited and starts looking for their owner), with cats – it may be an interesting thing to try!
I think my cats personally would be really curious and yes, they may start looking for me, but I think if they heard my voice over a camera system they would be more interested, confused and intrigued (opposite a dog who would be relentless in finding the source of their owner’s voice).
One of the best two-way audio pet camera (it just kept popping up in my research) was the FURBO DOG CAMERA – check it out here.
THE ONE WAY AUDIO Camera
Another option for an in-home pet cam is to have a one-way audio camera – you can hear them, but they can’t hear you.
This is ideal if you have pets that are easily excited by the sound of your voice and/or don’t really feel the need to interact with them while you’re away.
This is the type of camera we chose for our cats.
The reason being that my husband is home when I’m not and I’m home when my husband is not.
Our cats are very seldom actually alone – one of us is usually always here and we didn’t feel the need for a two-way audio system.
But I absolutely loved the idea of being able to “check in” on them while I was at work or out running errands – so we went with a one-way audio pet camera called DLink EyeOn Pet Camera. < this is available on the Amazon UK.
I could find this useful if your cats were home alone for long periods or every day while you and your spouse are out of the house at work.
You never know what these guys are doing while at home, like stealing sausages out of the fridge!
What’s the Best Live (Interactive) Cat Camera?
Live cat cameras are great for watching over the day to day cat activities in your home. And, I think I may have just stumbled upon the best live cat cam!
Let’s talk about the Petzi Treat Cam – because it’s exactly what it sounds like (and it sounds amazing).
This WiFi pet camera is also a treat dispenser! (And no, those aren’t just for dogs!)
What I love about the Petzi Treat Cam:
It can be interactive.
You can see your cat(s) and give them treats while you’re away.
I love that it makes a little notification noise when it’s about to dispense the treats – you can see from videos that pets become accustomed to that notification meaning treats.
You can speak to your cats through this machine – which is another of the features that I really like.
With pets, treat-dispensing machines have been a bit of a debate because some owners don’t want their pets having treats without having done something to earn them.
But with this system (or others like it), you can easily give your pet commands through the machine and then reward them for listening.
(If you have one of those cats obeys you instead of ruling over your home with iron fur fist, you’re a lucky one.)
Watch how these two kitties wait for their owner to give them the treats through the Petzi Treat Cam…
How to Make a DIY Cat Cam
This is where I thrive!
DIY stuff is my cat-nip.
Putting aside that ridiculous cat pun (because I had to put at least one of those in here)…
My first DIY pet cam idea is fairly simple if you own something similar to a GoPro Hero (or a knockoff of a GoPro – basically any small camera).
Make your own cat cam!
This may take some trial and error, but there may be a way you can create your own cat camera by securing your camera to a harness or collar your cat already wears.
My next DIY pet cam idea is more for if you’re interested in watching over your cats with a stationary camera…
Using A Baby Monitor For A Cat Camera
This could be put near your front door (to see when your cats come and go) or it could be stationed in your living room to watch them play while you’re at work.
If you’d like to save the money and don’t feel the need for a camera that’s branded as a pet cam, you can always use a baby monitor cam as a cat cam!
Setting up your baby monitor camera in a place that your cats frequent is a great way to repurpose that baby camera into a pet cam.
While this doesn’t necessarily allow you to see the “life of cat” style that attachable cat cams do, it’s still a great way to see what your cats are up to when you leave the house.
Using 2 Wireless Cell Phones
Another fantastic idea is to set up two old cell phones on the same wireless connection, using the same app (such as Alfred) – and you have yourself an in-home pet cam (or an in-home security camera!)
Let me explain…
Alfred is this cool app where you can set the device as either a camera or a viewer.
Meaning, if you have two devices, you can set one up as the camera (using this as the cat camera and placing it in your cats’ favorite spot).
Then you can set up the other device as a viewer of that camera.
How Alfred works:
- Set up two smartphones. One as the “camera” and one as the “viewer”. It’s that simple.
- You can talk through the camera by holding down the speaker icon.
- Allows night vision – meaning you can put it anywhere, even in a dark room they tend to sleep in while you’re away.
- Allows you to record snippets (if you catch your cat climbing over the baby gate when your husband swears it’s not possible – you can record that and show him that you may be a cat lady, but you’re not crazy!)
Watch this cheeky little video by TechCrunch to see how the Alfred Camera app works!
Cat Cam FAQ
⚙ What is the best camera for getting the true “cat’s eye view”?
I would suggest the GoPro Fetch Harness with the any of the GoPro Hero series. GoPro Hero cameras are known for being super user-friendly and easy to use – and the Fetch Harness (although meant for dogs) has worked for many cat owners in the past.
Using a chest plated cat camera system (whether it be the GoPro Fetch Harness or a collar/harness you make yourself to fit a cam onto) will give you the best “cat’s vision” shots because it’s at their line of sight.
Most back plated cat cameras (cameras that sit on the cat’s back instead of on their chest) will give you an over-the-head kind of shot.
These are nice too, but to really see through your cat’s eyes, having a chest plate camera or a camera that attaches to their collar at the front is best.
⚙ What’s the longest shooting time that’s available on pet cameras?
If you go a little higher budget (with something like the GoPro Hero that I recommended), your shooting time could potentially be all day or all night as these cameras are specifically meant for longer shooting time.
If you’re looking into something non-committal and want to go with something a bit cheaper, I found that the brands I was looking into (such as the Eyenimal Cam, for example) – most other cameras have a shooting or battery life of about 2.5 to 4 hours.
⚙ Will my cat be uncomfortable with the pet camera attached?
Like anything, this will be a trial and error situation and will take some getting used to for your cat.
However, if you find the right equipment (and over time), your cat will be leaping and stalking around without even noticing it anymore!
Most products you would find (like the GoPro Fetch Harness or the Eyenimal) are made specifically with your pet’s comfort in mind.
⚙ Won’t my camera get damaged easily if it’s just hanging from my cat’s neck?
Most GoPro options come with a case.
The Eyenimal also has a case.
Most cameras you will find that can be used for this purpose come with a case of some kind – just be sure to read up on how great the case is.
If you have a cat that likes swimming or pouncing in puddles, making sure your case is waterproof is a must.
Whether you decide to use GoPro equipment, knockoff cameras or DIY models…a pet cam can really bring you into your cat’s world.
Whichever pet camera you choose, your cat will be pouncing, leaping and hunting – and you’ll be along for the ride!