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Pets are like family—family that pees on the carpet and likes to eat out of the trash. And one of the questions we get most (even from Wirecutter colleagues) is, “What’s the best way to keep tabs on Bailey, Bella, and Simba when we’re away from home?” You can find a variety of so-called pet cams that can toss treats or even keep furry friends occupied with automatic laser pointers while you’re away, but we don’t recommend them for everyone: They run about $200, more than our top picks for security cameras, and we think they’re absurdly overpriced for the job they do. Depending on your needs, we recommend one of the following more affordable, more flexible options. Not all are our top picks for stopping crime, but they may help stop pets from eating (or pooping in) your shoes.
I spy—and command
Our top indoor security camera is a good one for pet owners, too. The Eufy 2K Indoor Cam captures sharp images, four options for storage, and only costs $40. It can also distinguish between people, pets, and general motion, so you’ll know who is getting comfy on the couch. If that happens to be something you'd want to discourage, there’s a Pet Command feature that allows you to use the app to label an activity zone (say the back of the couch) and play an automated or customized response whenever someone or something crosses the line. It also allows you to record for free to a microSD card or NAS (and offers the option of continuous recording locally), use your iCloud storage with Apple HomeKit Secure Video, or you can pay a monthly fee for Eufy Cloud Service ($3 per month or $30 per year for 30 days of storage for one camera, and $10 per month or $100 per year for up to 10 cameras).
Compact and cheap
Sometimes you just want to peek at what your pet is doing. Is the cat on the sofa? Is the dog drinking out of the toilet? If that’s the case for you, the Wyze Cam could be the best $25 you’ll ever spend. It’s the cheapest security camera we’ve reviewed, but it still provides impressive live video and short recordings, which is all you really need from a pet camera. Consider signing up for a Cam Plus subscription, which records events up to 5 minutes for only $2 per month (or $15 per year) per camera. Otherwise, it's only capable of recording 12-second clips (which are sent directly to the cloud) before needing a five-minute break. You can also opt for longer recordings saved to a microSD card, but the user interface for that feature can be frustrating. In other words, if your pet does something truly funny, expect to put in some effort to capture it.
Furry friend or foe?
All Arlo cameras have a feature that’s especially useful for pet owners: They can distinguish between animals and people, so you’ll know when it’s your dog begging at the door and not the UPS driver knocking. That ability comes with Arlo Smart, a subscription service that also gives you up to 30 days of recording storage along with the ability to filter alerts by animals, people, and other motion. I currently have the Arlo Pro 2 sitting at the bottom of my back stairs, where it keeps tabs on the neighbor’s dogs, but has also caught coyotes, bunnies, and neighborhood cats in its lens. This outdoor camera is the most expensive model on our list (and it’s one of our recommended picks for security cameras), but the cost could pay off in convenience for some people since the cordless, weatherproof design makes the camera easy to move around indoors and outside as needed.
Source: The NY Times
Keyword: Don’t Buy a Pet Camera. These Security Cameras Are the Best Way to Spy on Your Dog or Cat.