The Sims 4 Cats and Dogs
Adopting, Training, and Caring for Pets
Owning a cat or dog in the Sims 4 Cats and Dogs Expansion doesn't add major gameplay changes mechanics-wise, they're just a great household addition. I say that as a pure gameplay guide writer, because it's not exactly easy to write about how owning pets works in terms of gameplay. This should help newer players to understand how to take care of a pet and the realities of owning one. Sims can have fun with pets, build relationships with them, and enjoy socializing with their companion animals. Caring for them is not much different than in reality - feed them, go to the vet, provide them love and make sure they're happy. Despite the differences between the two species and their behaviors in reality, a lot of what goes into caring for them is the same when it comes to owning pets in The Sims 4.
Getting a Pet
Adopting a Cat or Dog
Adopting a Ghost Cat from the Brindleton Bay Pet Cemetery (see bottom of guide)
You'll find the option to adopt a cat or dog under the 'services' menu on your Sim's phone. There you can opt to pay $200 to have an animal care worker visit your home and show off up to three animals. You can use 'get to know' on them, learn their traits, and decide which of them you'd like to keep. You don't have to befriend them, and it seems you can adopt more than one. You may not want a stubborn dog, for they're hard to housebreak. Most breeds seem to have a trait they all come with, such as German Shepherds being smart. When you're done, talk to the animal welfare worker and select, 'end adoption evaluation'.
Adopting a Stray
When you meet a stray animal while out and about in the neighborhood, you can also adopt them that way - which is free. Get to know them a bit and befriend them, and once you're at 'good friends', you can invite them into the household under the friendly menu. A few treats and pets go a long way to securing an animal's friendship. There's a stray named Mayor Whiskers - including tophat - that wanders the town of Brindleton Bay whom you can adopt.
Each pet can have up to 3 separate pet traits, all of which will impact their autonomous choices and behaviors. Some of them are useful for Sims, too, such as having a dog capable of searching. While a guide to what these do is forthcoming, it's worth noting in a basics-of-pets guide. You can learn a pet's traits by using the Get to Know social on them, found under the friendly menu. Interaction with Pets doesn't increase Charisma, because they don't know whether you're being a dork or not.
Caring for Pets
Pets have all the same needs that Sims do. Or seem to. You won't see them directly, but the pet will tell you very plainly what's wrong if you pay attention to the social cues that appear over its head. You also have the option of clicking the pet, selecting 'pet care' and 'what's wrong'. A box will appear in the notification panel that tells you exactly what the pet needs.
Pets seem to need to eat about once a day. Fill a bowl with food for $5 (found under the kitchen tab in buy mode) and they'll eat when they're hungry. If you have multiple animals, you can buy an automatic food dispenser and set it to refill every x hours. This can save your Sim a lot of time if they're single. Try to make sure enough meals are dispensed each day.
Housebreaking Dogs & Litter Boxes for Cats
Housebreaking a dog is as simple as asking it to go outside. Thankfully you don't have to wait hours for them to do it.
When the pet needs to go, this is where the two species diverge. Dogs should prefer to go outdoors, and are gradually housebroken (potty trained) while cats will want a litter box. Litter boxes can be found in the bathroom in buy mode, and will naturally prefer this option. Again you can save time with a self-cleaning litter box, though they're more expensive. Cats who go on the carpet can be scolded, though stubborn animals are harder to train. You can eventually get a cat that goes 100% in the litter box. A small tip: make sure the arrow on the litter box in buy mode is facing a blank tile. Naturally, there are pathing requirements for pets despite the fact that cats can climb on top of the fridge.
Be mindful of litter box placement. This won't work, due to pathing mechanics in the game.
Neither adult nor juvenile dogs start knowing how to pee or poop outside, at least when they're made in CAS. Puppies will need help to go outside, so pick them up under the pet care menu. Walk your Sim outside and select 'put down'. Now you can find the option to ask it to go potty. Do this several times, and you'll get a notice that the dog has learned to pee outside. You can also reinforce this by scolding (mean) or lecturing (friendly) them after they have gone indoors. It is as yet unknown if treats reinforce good behavior, but they're only $5 so give it a shot. I've not yet successfully taught a puppy to go outside. I think they learn when grown up.
Dogs get absolutely filthy over time, and must be bathed.
Animals like to have fun, just like humans do. They may end up in a bad mood if they're not provided with toys, unless your Sim plays with them directly. Cats and dogs also like affection, so interaction with other animals and their owners will satisfy that need. Dogs need bathed, though cats can and do take care of themselves. In order to bathe a dog, you'll need to have a bathtub. They can get rather dirty after rolling in their own 'puddles'.
Illness - Animal Sick? Take it to the Vet
A cat gets a preventative shot from the vet, which will protect it from illness for two full weeks.
Pets can get sick, and when they do it's possible the illness will cure itself. However, some sicknesses are pretty bad. To take your pet to the vet, load up the map and select to travel to the Veterinarian clinic in Brindleton Bay. You can select your sick pet under 'travel with. Once you're there, use the terminal in the lobby to sign up for an appointment, then wait. It'll be in the $200 range to get a sick pet treated. You can also elect to get a preventative shot, like a vaccine, which lasts two full weeks and prevents illness altogether.
Sure, let's do this right here in the living room, Lucy! A Sim can practice veterinary medicine on their pets at home.
Your Sim doesn't have to require the services of a Vet long-term. You can use the veterinary table and lab found under the Pets tab of build mode (under objects by function) to learn to practice veterinary medicine! Do not try this at home. Your Sim will unlock new treatments and treats that may help your animal in a number of ways, though they're unlikely to discover the mystery illness at an extremely low level. It's worth taking up for animal lovers - some of the items are very handy for pets at home though the equipment is rather expensive if you want the good stuff.
Pet Life Spans
Pet lifespans are modified by the game's global settings. They will not age if you've turned household aging off in the game menu.
|Short||1.5 Days||12 Days||Varies|
|Normal||3 Days||24 Days||Varies|
|Long||12 Days||96 Days||Varies|
Training and Misbehaviors
Cats will absolutely shred the furniture and jump on counters. Teach them not to do those things.
Pets will eat poop, drink from the toilet or other animals' puddles, and cats will scratch the couch. In all, there are about a dozen misbehaviors you'll need to work out which depend on if it's a cat or dog. When you see the animal do this, you can use 'lecture' under the friendly menu or 'scold' under mean, in order to discipline that behavior. It's up to you what you allow your pet to get away with. Give cats a scratching post to help protect the furniture - they need it. Over time, as you discipline the pet, they'll gradually learn what not to do. You'll see a notice they've stopped doing that behavior, similar to housebreaking a dog.
A dog drinking from a puddle. They also eat poop, which should be picked up and saved as great fertilizer.
This is a separate issue from training a dog. Dogs learn tricks, facilitated by the Pet Training skill, which is mostly focused on canines. It's a minor skill, in that it only features 5 levels. You'll learn a number of tricks and get better at teaching these tricks faster. It is possible to join a dog-training group (using Get Together's Clubs function) and gain bonus experience at teaching pets, while making friends with other Sims and helping your buddy to do the same.
Death & Pet Neglect
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Neglected Animals are Taken by the Animal Welfare Worker
Pets can only die of old age. Fail to feed your pet, and a social worker will come. You'll see an exclamation point above the pet's portrait in the bottom left just before this is going to happen. It takes a very long time to get to this point, so most players should have no trouble unless they're deliberately neglectful or extremely distracted.
Brindleton Bay Pet Cemetery
When old pets die, they DO become ghosts just like Sims. There is also a Pet Cemetery in Brindleton Bay, although you cannot edit it. You may see ghost cats and dogs there if you visit at night. Find the cemetery by traveling to the island with the lighthouse and museum. It's in a rocky, forested area to the north.
Should you visit and build a relationship, which takes 1/4 the time it does to build a friendship with Sims, you can actually invite a ghost animal to join your household just like a stray.
Veterinarian: Making Pets Immortal
Players who pursue the Veterinarian Skill will find that high levels offer them the ability to craft age up and age down potions. What is more, players can also resurrect a ghost pet using the veterinarian form of ambrosia, craftable at max level. This is the only way to bring your pet back from the dead.
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