Vodafone knocks 20% off the cost of its V-Pet pet tracker
Every animal lover gets a little pang when they see a note taped to a lamp post calling for sightings of a missing cat.
Microchipping is all very well, but it's useless unless your lost pet is actually found and scanned.
And pets are rather more prone to getting lost than you might imagine, with a survey three years ago from microchipped pet database company Petlog finding that there were around 70,000 pets missing in the UK at any one time.
This, according to Vodafone, is where the internet of things comes in. The company's been pushing a series of devices designed to help you monitor everything from your home security to your suitcases - and it's just lopped 20% off Kippy Vita, a GPS tracker and activity monitor for your cat or dog.
The gadget, which weighs just 50g and measures six by two centimetres, lets you know exactly what Fluffy or Fido has been up to all day. Thanks to a GPS tracker, you can check your pet's current location from a phone or tablet, as long as you're in an area with Vodafone coverage.
And if your dog disappears on a long walk, that's no problem: just check its location on the device and you'll be given directions on how to reach it.
You can even set a 'safe zone' that will send you an alert if your pet moves out of a designated area.
Monitor your pet's calorie consumption
"Using Kippy's Safe Zones, you can draw a fence around a specific area on a map in the Kippy Vita App," says Vodafone.
"If they move beyond this zone and are within Vodafone's network coverage and GPS signal, Kippy will send you an alert. So you can be reassured that you know where they are, even when you're not nearby."
And for a real mini-me experience, the device will also act as an activity tracker, allowing you to monitor your pet's walking, running, sleeping, eating and even its calorie consumption.
There's a battery life of 10 days.
And now this peace of mind comes at a lower price. While the SIM in the device remains priced at £4 a month, Vodafone has just cut the price of the Kippy Vita itself from £50 to £40. And Vodafone's promising that the monthly subscription won't ever go up, even if you take your animal to one of most European countries.
At £40, the Kippy Vita is substantially cheaper than, say, the £140 Findster Duo - although the latter has no monthly fees. Nor does Tabcat, based on RF technology rather than GPS, and which costs £69.99. Less sophisticated than some other trackers, it has the advantage of weighing just six grams.
Meanwhile, Tractive, which has recently cut the price of its tracker from £79.99 to £44.99, has a choice of service plans starting at £3.33 a month for a two-year deal. This, too, allows live tracking of your pet and the creation of a safe zone, and weighs only 35g.
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