Want to check in on your cat and see how she's doing? You used to have to wait for your awesome pet sitter to send you a picture so you could feel some relief. But things have changed!
Now we can watch and play with our cats from our phones. Some of the best cat cameras even enable you to talk to your cat, dispense treats and play with a laser pointer!
I've broken it down into two core types of cameras: interactive and monitoring. Interactive will let you engage with your cat. Monitoring cameras are to look in on your cat.
Table of Contents
The Best Cat Cameras 2020
Top 3 Cat Camera Comparison
--Interactive Cat Cameras--
Skymee's Cat Cam & Treat Dispenser
Skymee is a newer entrant to the cat monitoring space, but they have done an excellent job in bringing a top of the line pet camera to the market! It has all the features you could ask for as a cat owner.
It has the ability to throw treats, it functions at night and it even has two way audio so you can both see and hear your kitty cat while you're away from home.
A few other key features worth noting:
"This is a great option for a cat owner looking for a camera that has no monthly fees associated to it! Not only was it easy to setup, but it is super easy to use from my phone too."
It is worth noting the following before purchasing the buy button:
Furbo's Treat Tossing Camera
If you're looking for one of the most highly sought after pet cameras on the market then the Furbo is probably the best bet for you. Not only does it have all of the features and functions you could ask for, it has also been featured numerous times as an excellent product on TV!
The Furbo has many basic functions that are included with your purchase, but some of the more advanced functions will require you to consider an ongoing subscription fee. Read below for more details about this great pet camera:
"The customer service is absolutely great. I had an initial issue getting it setup becaues of a problem with my cellular network. A quick call to Furbo and they told me exactly what I had to say T-Mobile to get things going!"
It is worth noting the following before purchasing the Furbo:
Pawbo's Pet Treat Cam
Pawbo is an excellent option if you're looking for a camera that you can use to play with your cat from afar. On top of this Pawbo also features an interactive treat dispenser so you can reward your kitty for a good play session or for coming to your call!
You should definitely consider this model is your primary goal is to play with your cat from a remote location. Not only does it dispense treats and have a built in laser, but you can accessorize by adding additional Pawbo toys to your arsenal and control them remotely as well!
A few other key items worth noting:
"The picture quality has been great so far and it was a breeze to set it up even though I'm not a techhie at all."
A few other items worth noting before you make a purchase from Pawbo
PetCube Bites Pet Camera
Petcube has been around for years in the pet monitoring space. Their original Petcube is also listed below as a more affordable and less feature rich version, but I wanted to share this option because of the amazing built in treat dispenser!
The Petcube Bites model not only enables you to drop treats to your kitty at home, but it also comes fully equipped with excellent video quality and the ability to look at up to 4 solid hours of playback at anytime.
A few other key items worth noting:
"I love this thing. Not only does it work as a motion sensor security camera, it gives me peace of mind that my pets are doing well at home too. It is an added benefit that I can launch treats to my cats whenever I want!"
It is worth noting the following before completing your purchase:
Petzi Wifi Cam & Treat Dispenser
Petzi definitely differentiates on being a basic model that for more price sensitive owners when it comes to the cat camera market. But in my opinion that's a good thing. It doesn't that take anything away from the quality of the product they produce!
This camera will get the job done in almost any case and it'll do it on a budget. The Petzi Treat Cam is designed to handle all of the traditional features and functions of a more expensive version, but to do so without running up high subscription fees or a huge investment up front. Key features worth noting:
"This is an excellent first iteration of a new pet camera on the market. I love it and can't wait for the next release to come out!"
A few things worth noting on this more budget friendly model:
PetChatz HD Digital Daycare
PetChatz HD was designed by top pet experts to be much more than a simple treat camera to launch treats at your kitty from work. The PetChatz Digital Daycare System can be controlled from anywhere using an iOS/Android app or desktop computer and has tons of cool features and functions.
It is worth noting that the because the PetChatz system is designed as a premium product it also comes in with a premium price tag associated to it. Let's discuss some of the differentiating features and functions you might find useful:
"We have three dogs and two cats that love sitting in front of the screen every time we turn it on! We were skeptical that the cats would use it at all, but so far we've been super impressed with how much they love it!"
A few key items worth noting about the PetChatz before you make a purchase:
The Original PetCube
This is the original PetCube and the claim to fame with this model is the built in laser pointer that you can play with directly from your smart phone! If you are worried that your cats are getting too much sleep and might need some exercise you can login from your phone at any time and do a play session!
On top of this it has many of the core features other cat cameras have too including HD video, two way audio, sound and motion alerts and more! Let's take a look at the key features and functions:
"The laser pointer is the key reason I love this model. Being able to hop on at lunch for a few minutes and get King Odin some exercise is a huge perk. It helps ensure he sleeps at night instead of playing with my hair ties all night."
It is worth noting the following before pushing that buy and ship button:
--Cat Monitoring Cameras & Systems--
Kamtron Pet Camera
If you don't want any interactive features to play with your cat and you just want to see what is going on then you'll want to look at Kamtron. Kamtron is a top of the line camera that gives you comprehensive coverage and tons of features at a budget cost.
As an added benefit, this option is really economical as you can substitute micro SD cards for storage purposes instead of having to use a subscription based cloud service like many options. A few other things worth noting:
"Spying on your feline friends is a breeze with the Kamtron. We have two in the house, one in the living room and one in the office. Our cats spend 90% of their time in those rooms so it makes life easy!"
It is worth noting that Kamtron does make outdoor cat cameras as well, but this model is specifically designed for indoor use only.
The Canary All In One
If you're looking for a security driven camera that will also help you keep an eye on your cats then the Canary is one of the best options on the market. It gets its name from the old 'canary in the coal mine' phrase.
This system is designed to keep an eye on all sorts of important things in your house and let you know if there's an issue. It will alert you if the air quality changes, if motion is detected and even if the temperature dips or rises into a dangerous level.
And of course it will let you keep an eye on your cats while you're away. The Canary really is an all in one security system. A few other items worth noting:
You'll definitely want to consider the following before purchasing Canary:
The Amazon Cloud Cam
Amazon is breaking into many markets and anything that requires cloud data storage or can take advantage of cloud computing has their name all over it. Security cameras are no different. The Amazon Cloud Cam is an excellent option for both indoor and outdoor monitoring of your home.
Amazon is also constantly evolving the features and capabilities available on their equipment where many other companies are unable to invest as heavily. This means you'll get a product that is constantly innovating which is always nice! A few other key items worth mentioning:
"Super easy to use these cameras to keep an eye on my cat while I'm away during short business trips!"
You should definitely consider the following if you're looking to use Cloud Cam for whole home coverage:
--Cat Collar Cameras--
Eyenimal Cat Collar Camera
If you're looking for a pet surveillance camera that will actually go with your cat wherever he or she goes, then you want a cat collar camera. While these are far more common in the UK right now than they are in the US, they are growing in popularity.
The general idea is that you can charge it up and attach it right to your cat's collar. Then as your cat goes out and about you can watch what they've been up to all day from their perspective. If you don't care about seeing what your cat sees you can instead consider a tracking device for cats.
There are a few things you'll definitely want to note before purchasing:
"I was skeptical if this would work at first, but I've actually really gotten to know my cat and his routines after strapping this onto his collar and letting him roam!"
You should definitely consider the following if you're looking to purchase:
Why Would I Need A Cat Camera?
There are a couple of key reasons people generally consider buying a cat camera, interactive or not. We'll dig into each of these in a bit more detail to help you make a decision on if you need one.
Working Long Hours
Stuck in the office late or waiting out traffic before jumping in the car? Wake your cat up with the 2 way audio on all of the interactive models and throw a treat her way. Or let her chase the laser pointer around the bed in the dark if you're stuck out late and won't be home for a while!
If you go on vacation for extended periods of time then you can easily start to miss your cats. Usually you end up waiting for your cat sitter to send you a picture or two every day or every other day. This can be so frustrating!
If you can just login to your cat camera and say hi to your kitty from across the world it is a huge bonus! Not only do you have additional peace of mind, but you also get to play with your cat too!
Interactive cameras enable you to help build your bond with your cat even if you're not around. This is great for people who travel for work constantly or those that work long hours.
Not only will it keep your voice top of mind, but if you play with your cat or dispense a few treats too it'll make your cat associate with you positively. Big win for when you're stuck at the office late or waiting for a bus or something.
If your cat happens to have any unique medical conditions you may want to get yourself a camera so you can check in on your feline friend throughout the day from pretty much anywhere.
This is especially helpful for cats that have issues like diabetes where a spike or a dip in their blood sugar can prove fatal if it isn't addressed quickly. A camera check in might be all you need to see your kitty is acting odd.
Cat cameras are not specifically designed for security purposes, but they can bring an additional layer of security by letting you check in on the house from time to time! If you notice anything out of place or odd you can easily make a call to a neighbor or to the police if you're unable to get home.
Some of the models shown above are also designed as security systems and will come with things like days of video backup as well as monitors for changes in air quality. While this isn't the goal of most pet cameras it is certainly a nice perk!
Key Features To Consider
These days most of us are pretty turned off when a video doesn't render in at least HD. There are two core types of HD that most Pet Cameras film in: 720p and 1080p. If you're not terribly familiar with the differences, no big deal. The short of it is that 1080p is higher quality than 720p.
If you really want to see your cat in super high precision detail then you'll want to go for a 1080p pet camera. If you're ok with a little less quality 720p is going to get the job done fine.
It is worth noting that traditionally 720p is going to be cheaper and it is also going to take up less data to send the video to your phone. This might matter if you're often in low coverage zones or you don't want to chew up your data plan.
Swivel and Tilt
Traditional security type cameras and web cameras were static. They basically showed you whatever you pointed them at and that was that.
Many of the newer cameras through allow you to swivel the camera (spin it around on a base) so that you can see different parts of the room more easily. The best ones even allow you to tilt the camera up and down so you can do things like look up on top of the cabinets and see if your cat is roaming the counters.
Swivel and tilt are usually measured in degrees, the more degrees they have the more versatility you are getting!
Optical zoom is the ideal method for zooming in. If you have large rooms or you just have a need to see fluffy up close then this is definitely what you want. Optical zoom uses the lenses built into the camera to bring the image closer and maintain appropriate quality as you zoom in.
If you have really large rooms or if you feel the need to be able to zoom in across the room and see exactly what your kitty is up to then you might want to consider a camera with digital zoom.
Note that if you're going for digital zoom you'll probably want to go for a 1080p camera. Digital zoom is completely dependent upon the original image taken, it isn't actually using lenses to zoom in and out. This means the better the quality of the original the more you can zoom in without muddying up the image.
Pretty straight forward, this is a feature that enables you to drop treats out of the pet camera while you're talking to your cat or playing with her. Most of the pet cameras have a limited treat capacity so if you're leaving for a long period of time they might not solve your problem.
There are a few dispensers that hold nearly 100 treats, but they are the rarity and not the norm.
A simple laser pointer is the the core built in toy for any pet camera. They are cheap and easy to build and they are also very easily controlled on the touch screen of a mobile phone application.
Laser pointers obviously tend to work better when it is dark out so placing the camera in a place where you don't get a ton of direct sunlight might be worth considering. You'll also want to ensure your camera has night vision if you're bothering with a laser pointer!
During the day most cameras film in full color to provide a vibrant experience for you to check out. Once it gets dark though your camera has a tough time gathering any light and can't display much.
Many pet cameras feature a night vision mode that will send you the video in a black & white type format that is optimized so you can see what's going on easily even in a very dark room. This is ideal during those winter months or if you're somewhere with a significant time change from your home.
Two Way Audio
Want to talk to your cat while you're away? Two way audio ensures that you can send your voice right on through to a speaker built into the cat camera. This means your fluffy friend can hear you from across the world!
This is a great way to build your bond with your cat. Every time you drop a treat you can call out to your kitty and say hello so they know it is you at work behind the scenes!
Cloud Video Storage
If you're interested in keeping track of what your feline friends have been up to for the past few days or past few hours you can always rely on a model that has cloud video storage. This will ensure you have playback capabilities as opposed to only the live image.
Do note that some models with cloud video storage require a monthly subscription fee to ensure you have access to the recordings.
Many cameras have an ability to interact with smart home systems like Alexa. This means you can basically provide voice commands to have Alexa do things like drop a treat for your cat.
So far capabilities with these integrations are significantly limited and I personally wouldn't consider this a huge factor for purchase unless you just like to use new technology.
Cat Calls for Treat Time
Several of the treat dispensing models allow you to add the equivalent of meal time calls to each treat dispensed. This basically allows you to use either included or recorded voice messages that let your cat know that a treat is being dropped.
Most cats will quickly catch on to the sound of the cat camera dispensing a treat so these aren't a necessity, but they are nice if you want to help develop your bond with your kitty by using your own voice!
Can I Use It As An Automatic Feeder?
Even cat cameras with treat dispensers shouldn't be treated as an automatic cat feeder. They don't have the capacity to hold enough food and nor are they designed for this specific purpose.
If you need a full on automatic cat feeder you can find my favorite automatic cat feeders in this article. I've provided extensive details on all of the core functions and the types of problems you might be solving with an auto feeder!
Do They Store Historic Footage?
Cat cameras are designed to allow you to login and monitor what your cat is doing at any time during the day. This means you traditionally have a live feed directly from the camera and you're able to login and see your cat in action.
But we all know that cats don't necessary move when we want them to and they might not be right in front of the camera when we decide to login! If you want history most cameras do keep a few hours of history available for you to scan through.
There are also cloud based subscription options with many of the cameras that will let you store anywhere from 7 to 30 days of comprehensive video history. The more you decide to store or keep available the more you'll end up paying in ongoing fees. Some of these subscriptions also do enable certain features and functions on the pet cameras like social sharing etc.
Be sure to read the product descriptions and choose carefully based on how much history you may want to maintain!
Will These Cameras Work Outside?
With the exception of the model from Eyenimal none of these cameras is specifically designed to work outdoors. There are indeed monitoring cameras that are designed for outdoor use, but they are not designed to be interactive or allow you to play with your cat.
If you're looking for high quality outdoor monitoring cameras you can simply click through on the Kamtron links and then switch over to the available outdoor models.
How Easy Are They to Setup?
Setup with most cameras is a breeze. They come with detailed instructions and typically require only a couple of simple steps to get them going.
The steps are usually as simple as:
- Plug the wireless camera in
- Download the associated app
- Connect the app to the camera using Bluetooth on your phone
- Configure the camera to access your Wifi
- Watch and interact with your cat(s)
Will They Work In The Dark?
The short answer is that most pet cameras are designed to work quite well even in dark rooms. Obviously the image won't come across in full color. You can read more details about this in the features and functions section above.
There are some monitors out there that will not work in the dark, this is usually noted in the product description quite clearly. Note I haven't included any options that don't have night vision.
Do They Require Batteries?
No batteries are required for any of the pet cameras noted in this article.
Most pet cameras do not require batteries because they require a direct connection to a wall outlet for ongoing use. Batteries would quickly die on a video recording device that is on all day.
Wrap Up On The Best Cat Cameras
There are clearly a lot of different factors to take into account when you're looking into selecting a cat camera for your home. The biggest and most obvious is whether or not you want an interactive camera or simply a camera that will allow you to monitor your fluffy friend from afar.
After that it mostly comes down to the amount of money you're willing to spend as well as the specific features and functions you find important. If your cat isn't food motivated then a built in treat dispenser probably isn't going to be much use to you!
If you've got experience with monitoring your pet from afar then please do let us know! Tell us all about the model you use as well as any other models you've used and like (or hate!).
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