Winter holidays often mean winter travel. And while it can be fun to be away, one downside is that you might really miss your cat. Even if you have a pet sitter lined up to take care of your cats so they can stay home while you’re gone, you’ll likely still want to check in on them yourself from time to time.
That’s where “cat cams” can come in really handy. Several tech companies have put together some really nice video systems that allow you to keep an eye on your cat while you’re away. Here are some of the best cameras to keep an eye on your cat while you’re gone for the holidays.
First is the Logi Circle by Logitech, which you can buy on Amazon here. I’ve tried this one personally and it’s absolutely perfect. Small and unobtrusive, the camera packs a lot of high-tech in its tiny frame. The camera can be used wirelessly, or you can keep it plugged in if you’re going to be gone for awhile. It stores 24 hours of activity in the cloud, and you can save whatever HD video clips you want. The camera works seamlessly with your phone’s app, so you can check in on your kitties any time.
Here’s why I love this camera: it’s motion sensitive, so it only records video when it senses movement. It will also pop up a notification on my phone immediately, letting me know that my cats are on the camera. I can go right to the app and even zoom in to get a closer look at them.
The circle also has superb night vision, so you can see your cats clearly even when it’s dark. I loved this part, because my cats’ eyes would shine in the dark and I could see them playing. The camera will also put together a 30-second “daily brief” that recaps the highlights of the day. One more bonus – two-way talk. You can talk to your cats and you can hear them meowing back at you!
One note: be careful when you’re first opening the box. The camera can easily fall out of the box when you open it, so put the box on a table and open carefully when it first arrives!
This is definitely the luxury model of cat cams! It was first funded via Kickstarter, but you can buy it on Amazon here. Just keep in mind – the company has a limited number in stock, so sometimes they’ll be temporarily unavailable.
The Petzi Treat works with a phone app that lets you tap one of four choices: see, speak, snap, or treat. You can watch your cat through the video, say hello to her with high-quality audio, snap a picture, and even dispense a treat for her from long distance! That’s pretty neat.
Amazon reviewers absolutely love the Petzi; 83 percent ranked it five stars and only six percent gave it a three-star rating or lower. The only downsides are that the first iteration of the product sometimes loses its signal, and only very small, round treats will fit in the dispenser.
The Petcube is unique in that it not only lets you monitor your cat while you’re away, it also lets you play laser pointer games with her! You can buy it on Amazon here. The camera has a wide-angle lens that captures HD video and you can access it through an app on your smartphone. You can record videos of your cat or take pictures of her. The camera also has a microphone and speaker so you can talk with your cat too.
Another unique aspect to the Petcube is that it connects to a community of pet owners that also have cubes. You can share your videos and photos in this community if you want.
According to Amazon reviewers, you can play laser games by moving your finger around the app’s screen on your phone, which also moves the laser in your room in real time.
The best part of this camera is getting to play with your cat from wherever you are. The downsides, according to reviewers, are that the video quality isn’t always great and the camera sometimes has a tough time connecting. But some reviewers absolutely love the camera, so it could make a fine Christmas gift.
The PetChatz Greet & Treat is the highest tech and most expensive of the bunch. You can pre-order the camera on Amazon here. According to the PetChatz website, these are expected to ship in January. The item is so new that it doesn’t have any reviews online yet, but it’s very unique. The camera has a two-way video screen so you can talk with your pet, and it has a special ringtone to let your pet know when you’re calling. You can dispense treats and scents for your pet. Some versions even come with a special accessory so your pet can call you!
You can login to PetChatz through an app on your phone or through your computer. You can also record videos of your pet with the app.
The iCPooch Treat Dispenser is a less expensive way to dispense treats to your cat while you’re far away. You can buy it on Amazon here. It allows you to video chat with your cat and send her a treat with just a touch of a button. The dispenser has a three-star review, however, because some people had connection issues with their models. Unlike the other products listed above, the iCPooch needs you to attach your own phone or tablet to the dispenser in order for it to work.
One parting word of advice — when you’re looking for a cat cam for the holidays, be sure and read the fine print from Amazon reviewers. Some cameras work similarly to the Logi Circle, but require that you pay a monthly or yearly fee in order to access the recorded videos. Whichever camera you choose, it’ll be sure to provide you a lot of fun times while you’re on vacation and help you and your cat miss each other a little less while you’re gone.
How do you monitor your cats while you’re away? Do you have a video system or a reliable pet sitter to come check on them? Let us know in the comments below!