Your bags are packed and you've left out money for the pet sitter, but not everyone's really good at goodbyes, especially with their pets. These cameras connect to your iPhone, and can help, even if you're far away from home.
If you vacation often or are pulling long hours at work away from home, a pet cam can help you keep in contact with your pet, track their habits, ensure they are not getting into mischief, and give yourself peace of mind about your pet's wellbeing.
Luckily, you don't need to stretch your wallet far to find a pet cam. Here are our top five pet cam picks under $50.
Kasa Spot Pan Tilt
The Kasa Spot Pan Tilt streams in 2K HD video, has starlight night vision, motion tracking, Cloud and SD card storage, pan and tilt in real-time, patrol mode, and is Alexa and Hey Google compatible.
The most important feature, however, is live view with two-way talk, so that you can redirect Mr. Pickles when he's naughty. Or if you have a super regimented cat, you can check in at his usual bedtime to say goodnight.
The camera offers 24/7 recording with storage and activity alerts. This means if your favorite ornament winds up in pieces on the floor, the cat won't be able to blame the dog.
To pair your device with Kasa Spot Pan Tilt
You can configure push notifications to notify you when your camera detects motion. This is a cool feature, but it can be a little boring if it merely snaps video clips of your cat jumping on and off the couch all day.
It can, however, detect when the cat sitter has visited to feed the cat. This gives peace of mind to worry-wart cat parents who wonder if Sally did indeed stop by.
If you're overseas or in a different time zone, you can check recorded videos on the live view page. The camera also has person detection, discerning people movement from other kinds of motion. If an intruder is in your home, you will know.
Kasa Spot Pan Tilt can pan left and right - almost 360 degrees, helping you to find your cat when he's hiding from the postman. You can also manually toggle the directional arrows to follow your pet's movements, and at a nearly instantaneous reaction time.
You are also able to zoom in on any mischievous behavior by pinching the screen on your target.
While on holiday, the coolest feature is having a two-way conversation with your cat. Merely go to the home page and hit the microphone button to speak to your feline friend.
It is gratifying to see your pet perk up and look at the camera. If you're lucky, you'll get a meow back.
Mostly, because he's a cat, expect him to yawn and fall back to sleep.
Kasa Spot Pan Tilt - Features
The Kasa Spot Pan Tilt is on sale from Amazon for $22.99 with an on-page coupon. If video quality isn't so important to you, click on the equally impressive 1080P camera from the same retailer for $34.99.
The Kasa Smart App is available from the App Store, is a 1.4GB download, and is compatible with iOS 10 or later.
The Blink Mini has reliable 1080p HD live video, responsible motion alerts, two-way talk, and voice command control. It ships with two cameras, which is perfect if your pet has access to multiple rooms.
In addition, the camera has motion-detection zones with customizability, meaning you will be able to block out areas that you have no interest in focusing on. Some of the customizable options include adjusting the length of the recorded clips, the intensity of the infrared LEDs for night vision, and the sensitivity of the motion sensor.
One consideration is live view, which has the tendency to time out after thirty seconds. If you need to view your animal for sustained periods, this can become frustrating to have to wake up your device.
Note that the Blink Mini requires its users, via the Blink app, to purchase a monthly $3 subscription.
Blink Mini - Features
Blink Mini Pan Tilt
The Blink Mini Pan Tilt is the Blink Mini model's superior heir, due to its ability to both pan and tilt. This means that by using the included wall mounts, you are able to tilt the camera up or down if your pet is in a hard-to-see spot.
The app seamlessly follows your pets as they play — and with no lag. The video is crystal-clear, and the setup is pain-free and quick.
While it records in HD, the microphone is overly sensitive; beware when using this device for audio monitoring. In addition, the pan and tilt are both extra sensitive, meaning that you might be trying to pan and find that the camera is taking extra liberties to tilt, too.
This can make it difficult to follow a spunky, playful pet.
If you keep your cat sequestered in one room, this could be the camera for you. Otherwise, we'd suggest the two cameras you'd get with the original Blink Mini.
Blink Mini Pan Tilt - Features
One of the coolest features that sets this camera apart from all others on the market is its ability to chat one-on-one with a vet through the Petcube app. The veterinarian consultation feature is available 24/7.
This means if you are on holiday or stuck at work and recognize odd behavior in your pet, you will be able to chat with a professional if something goes awry. This service is available only with a subscription, but Petcube offers a 30-day free trial.
You can easily connect the camera to your device by scanning the QR code on the device. While this product's night vision, sound, and video match those of the others, the main issue is that motion-tracking only records short snippets of the goings-on inside the house.
For example, if your cat is getting into mischief, you might not have evidential video proof of what happened to your favorite vase — only the lead-up to the destructive moment.
Petcube's set-up is a lightning-fast, thirty-second process.
Note that you cannot save any videos to your device without paying for the subscription service. The subscription is $14.99 per month after a free, 14-day trial.
Petcube - Features
Ebitcam Pet Camera
Like the Petcam, this Pet Camera by Ebitcam runs on a subscription service for $5 per month. If you are not looking to save video and merely want to check up on your pet in real-time, this is a great camera option for you.
The app offers crisp, clear video and sound, and two-way talk does not induce a lag or echo, like some of the other cameras. You are able to link multiple cameras and move the directional arrows to follow your pets.
One cool feature that stands out from the other apps is that you can take pictures and videos. Since the recording and photographic quality is fantastic, the app's snapshots are superior enough to be used as iPhone wallpapers.