While my cat doesn't stray far from my yard, I often wonder what he does when he goes prowling about.
About a month ago, I read an article in the New York Times about other cat owners who have strapped cameras to their feline companions, so I decided to do the same.
I happened to have an Insta360 Go 2 laying around from when I reviewed the camera. Turns out it's just the right size for Mervin, who has appeared in a few other Tom's Guide stories over the years. (He's reviewed the PetCube Bites and the Petzi Treat Cam for us in the past.)
Ed. note: Updated on June 27 with footage from the new Insta360 Go 3 camera.
One of the advantages of the Insta360 Go 2 compared to some of the best action cameras is that it's really small — it's smaller than my thumb. Yet, it takes pretty extraordinary video for its size, has built-in motion stabilization, and the Insta360 app allows for some neat tricks, like some fancy editing.
The cats in the other videos I've seen have a pretty active social life, chirping and purring near other cats and frolicking around their yard. Does my cat have a similar joie de vivre? I was about to find out.
Included with the Insta360 Go 2 is a small clip for attaching the camera to an article of clothing. Turns out it also fits perfectly well around a pet collar, too. The clip has a very strong magnet that holds the camera in place.
In fact, I was more worried that Mervin would try and remove his entire collar more than I was worried that the camera would pop out of its case. (He has a habit of shucking his collar on occasion.) It's not a great feeling if a $300 piece of equipment goes missing.
So, what did I see when I put the camera on my cat? A whole lot of sitting around. Turns out he's as every bit as lazy as I thought.
The most exciting clip was when he climbed a tree to hop over our fence, but paused for a minute or two to chirp at a nearby bird. Still, it was cute to see his whiskers flowing down from the top of the camera, and his little paws popping out in front.
One limitation of the Go 2 is that its max recording time is 15 minutes per clip, and the camera doesn't automatically start recording a second clip after the first one ends. (You can change a setting on the Go 2 to let it record for up to 30 minutes at a stretch, but the company only advises using this setting if the camera is going to be used where there's a lot of airflow, like on a bike or ski helmet. Otherwise, the camera is at risk of overheating.)
To get around this limitation, I used the timelapse feature on the Go 2; while you don't get the benefit of audio, you do get a chance to see what happens over a greater stretch of time. Again, all I saw from my cat was a lot of sitting around.
New adventures with the Insta360 Go 3
Since Mervin's first trips around the yard, Insta360 came out with the Insta360 Go 3 (read our full Insta360 Go 3 review), which removes the previous recording limitations of the Go 2. Now, when the camera starts recording, it will keep going until the battery runs out. However, instead of one long video, you'll get a succession of 30-minute videos.
Like the Go 2, the Go 3 also gets warm to the touch, but the collar clip kept the camera far enough away from Mervin that I wasn't concerned he'd get injured.
The Insta360 Go 3 also comes with a new detachable "Action Pod" case that has a flip-up touchscreen, turning the camera into something that more closely resembles a GoPro.
I plan to send him out again a few times with the new camera to see if I manage to capture anything else of interest. But if you have a dog or a cat who wanders outside — and don't mind risking the camera — it's something that's fun to try.
Put the tiny camera Insta360 go on cats! Wanna see the world from cats’ view?♬ original sound - insta360_official