Woof. I know of a family that has seven cats and two dogs. They were perplexed as to which pet was leaving his mark daily in the living room. And the dining room. And the kitchen. Well, you get the story. One of their four legged buddies was causing a problem while they were out making dog and cat food money.
Since we’re a home security camera review site, let’s say we have cameras laying around in a closet. So donating a home security camera for pet surveillance wasn’t a problem. They gladly took us up on the offer to become stealth pet detectives.
The camera they were given was a bullet camera. These are typically used for outdoor surveillance and have a fairly narrow field of view. A bullet camera is stationary. Unlike a Pan and Tilt Camera, a bullet camera stays in one spot. In spite of the shortcomings of the bullet camera, he caught the culprit. It was one of their seven cats.
Well, the family was so impressed with the capabilities of the camera, they branched out and purchased four cameras. This time, they read some of the articles on our site and decided on The YI Home Camera Wireless IP Security Surveillance System. This is an excellent camera for watching a pet (or pets in their case). The 111 degree wide angle lens coupled with motion alerts and on-board micro SD card capability enables this family to track each pet throughout the day. Today, they spend part of their lunch hours watching their extended family with these low priced, but feature packed cameras. The Yi Home Camera is excellent for watching an entire room within your home. We have a detailed review of the Yi Home Camera on our site.
We all know that cats tend to go places where a dog can’t (or simply won’t) go. Places like the top of a refrigerator, shelf or cabinet, while off limits to a dog, is fair game for almost any cat. Sometimes even a wide angle stationary lens won’t do it. That’s where Pan and Tilt Cameras come in handy. Consider the Samsung SmartCam PT HD Home Security Camera. Here’s a camera that spins 350 degrees. That’s practically a complete circle. The camera also tilts 100 degrees. This all translates to a camera that can see above and behind it. No cat can escape a good Pan and Tilt Camera. We have a detailed review of the Samsung SmartCam PT HD Home Security Camera on our site.
There are also cameras marketed specifically for the purpose of monitoring pets such as the Petcube Interactive Wi-Fi Pet Camera. This camera throws in the ability to entertain your pets with a user controlled laser which we suspect is more for cats than dogs. It has a 720p lens and a very wide 138 degree lens. There’s an integrated microphone and speaker for two-way conversations with your furry buddy. We reviewed the Petcube awhile back on our site.
So back to this family with lots of pets. They (well actually just the wife) lays claim to an additional ten feral cats living outside their home. They live in the woods and there’s lots of strays. They feed the cats and even put heated water bowls out in the winter. Real animal lovers.
Well they wanted to keep an eye on these cats as well. Do they need an outdoor camera? Nope. The Yi Home Camera works just fine pointed through a window. In fact, be sure to read our article for using a Yi Home Camera through a window. We give tips for using the camera day and night.
If the window option isn’t right for you, consider adding an outdoor camera. Consider the Nest Cam Outdoor Security Camera. Feauring a 130 degree wide angle lens and some of the best motion detection features available, this well made camera is a good candidate for watching the action outdoors. Nest is owned by Google. You can do some excellent integration with Nest and various integration tools such as IFTTT. For example, you can receive an SMS message when there’s action in front of the Nest Cam Outdoor Camera.
So there you have three nice options for watching a pet indoors or outdoors. We like the Yi Home Camera the best for the price and features. Try to avoid stationary cameras with a narrow field of view. Be sure to get a camera with at least 720p video and motion sensors. Ideally, the camera should provide device alerts as well as email.
All of these articles are written by someone (me) that figured out how to do this stuff the hard way. I have owned and tested dozens of cameras. Manufacturer support varies. There are a few good companies that provide timely answers when you have questions. There are several that sell you the camera and seem to have little interest in post sales support (which leads me to finding out stuff the hard way).