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"The Sims 4: Cats & Dogs" Expansion Pack Review

Kenzie needed a quick escape from real-life pressures, and found "The Sims 4." She now enjoys playing, writing, and YouTubing the game.

The Sims 4: Cats & Dogs

What pet lover wouldn't want a house full of loving little fur babies? Maybe you can't have as many pets as you would like in real life, or can't have pets at all. Perhaps you have an allergy, or your landlord prohibits animals.

Now you can finally get a little of that satisfaction with The Sims 4: Cats & Dogs. The pets in this expansion pack are surprisingly lifelike and lovable. Not only can your Sim own cats or dogs, but they can also opt to have a raccoon or a fox.

Do you need this expansion pack? Possibly . . . how big of an animal lover are you?

Even Virtual Pets Are Loveable

"The Sims 4: Cats & Dogs" was released in November of 2017. It built upon the concept of pets in previous versions of the Sims.

"The Sims 4: Cats & Dogs" was released in November of 2017. It built upon the concept of pets in previous versions of the Sims.

Sims Pets Are as Lovable as the Real Deal

If you're an animal lover, it'll be hard not to fall in love with your Sims' pets with The Sims 4: Expansion Pack. They are surprisingly lifelike, and the interaction between Sim human and Sim animals is very intricate.

Of course, with the addition of pets comes lots of additions to the Create a Sim (CaS) mode, including the ability to create your pets from scratch. There are also lots of new build mode items, and your Sims will have a new aspiration.

Playful Kitty

It is adorable watching Sim pets play, especially puppies or kittens.

It is adorable watching Sim pets play, especially puppies or kittens.

Being a Sim Pet Owner in a Nutshell

  • Your pet will have a personality of his own, whether you create him from scratch in the Create a Sim (CaS) mode, adopt him from the shelter or adopt a stray found wandering the world.
  • Don't expect a pet to love your Sim just because they share a household. Your Sim will have to work for your pet's love and respect.
  • Sims who take good care of pets can get a lot of aspiration point boosts rather quickly. Use the pet aspirations unique to this pack, or just give your pet lots of cuddling, which will reward you with a point boost.
  • Each pet your Sim owns takes one slot in the household (there is a maximum of eight slots). You can't control the pets in your household, but your Sim can discipline, reward and train the pet to influence its behavior.
  • Along with the privilege of owning a pet comes responsibility as well. Your Sim will be responsible for caring for the pets in his household and will have to pay for things like food and vet care. If your Sim doesn't tend to his pet, disaster can strike.
  • If you don't have your pet fixed, don't be surprised if they come home and are ready to add a few new members to your household! The procedure can be reversed if you ever decide you do want to breed your pet.

Welcome to Brindleton Bay

I love the country/cottage small town coastal vibe of Brindleton Bay.

I love the country/cottage small town coastal vibe of Brindleton Bay.

A Beautiful New Neighborhood for Sims

Pet lovers will want to check out Brindleton Bay, the charming seaside town with a very "New England" vibe. It's got lots of things for animals, and for those who love them.

  • Cavalier Cove is the perfect spot for dog lovers. It's residential with lots of scenic places for leisurely walks.
  • Whiskerman's Wharf has both commercial and residential lots and is particularly welcoming to cats. There is even a couple of lounges where you can bring your cats for a night out on the town.
  • Sable Square is the heart of the town and boasts a pet park, complete with a training course, and the pet "pawspital" for when your pets need medical care.
  • Deadgrass Isle is a scenic island that contains a museum, a lighthouse, and a pet cemetery. It's a nice place for a date, considering your Sims can woohoo in the lighthouse if they are feeling frisky.

Pets Are Playful and Entertaining

This dog is having fun chasing his tail.

This dog is having fun chasing his tail.

Lots of New Lot Traits

There are more new lot traits in Cats & Dogs than you usually find in an expansion pack. All of them have the potential to enrich the lives of families with pets, depending on what you want.

  • Breeding Grounds increases the chance of your pets having larger litters.
  • Cat-Friendly lots are fun places for cat owners to take their pets.
  • Cat Hangout lots are where you may find a lot of stray cats. These lots are a great place to go if you want to adopt a stray.
  • Dog-Friendly lots are an excellent place for dog lovers to hang out with pets.
  • Dog Hangouts are where you'll find a lot of stray dogs, and you may be able to adopt them if you can befriend them.
  • Training Grounds are where Sims will gain Pet Training skills much faster. Training pets will be easier here than anywhere else.

Run Your Own Veterinary Clinic

I think running a veterinary hospital is kind of fun!

I think running a veterinary hospital is kind of fun!

Admittedly, This Is Not My Favorite Expansion Pack

It's okay, don't get me wrong. I have a few Sims that have pets. Overall, though, I feel like it has a lot of problems. Having pets in many of my games is more frustrating than fun. Here are some of my biggest issues:

Pets Consume Too Much Time

  • Even when food bowls are out and full, pets will cry that they are hungry and starve until you direct them to the bowl.
  • A lot of pets will cry about having to go pee or poo until you tell them to do it.
  • It takes well over an hour to take a "short walk" or jog with your dog.
  • You can only walk one pet at a time, so if you have two or three dogs, you can spend much of your Sim's waking hours just walking them.
  • There is no dog walking or pet sitting service to call if your Sim wants to go on vacation or will be out for a long time.

Health Issues

  • Pets get sick a lot, even when you take preventative measures.
  • Pet medical treatments can be expensive, and sometimes they aren't that effective. Pets may get sick again quickly.
  • Most of the strays and may NPC (non-player characters) walk around sick, miserable, and diseased most of the time. It's depressing.

Disruptive

  • Even many pets who are spayed or neutered will go into heat. They'll howl to mate and be quite miserable much of the time.
  • Pets will frequently wake up your Sims, especially when they're new or young.
  • Pets will randomly run away, making your Sim depressed until the pet returns home. If you needed your Sim in good spirits that day, such as if you were planning a wedding, you are out of luck.

Design Issues

  • Pets take up a slot in your household. It might not be worth it to you if you wanted a large or extended family living on one lot.
  • Despite taking up a slot in the household, you can't play them as characters. Pets live autonomously.
  • Almost all pets have a quirk in which they're afraid of some common household items—televisions, computers, refrigerators, etc.—so they will freak out over these things on a daily basis.

Pose With Your Pets

If you have "The Sims 4: Moschino Stuff" pack you can get a tripod that allows you to pose for photos with your pet.

If you have "The Sims 4: Moschino Stuff" pack you can get a tripod that allows you to pose for photos with your pet.

Is It Worth It?

While every real-life pet owner will tell you that taking care of pets is a time-consuming and costly commitment, in this game, I feel it goes over the top for me. My Sims spend too many hours per day having to cater to pets to keep them happy and healthy. I feel it gets challenging to pursue other goals like working on skills, aspirations, relationships, or having children.

For these reasons, I rarely play households with pets. If I do, they're usually single Sims who have the time to let their lives revolve around the pets.

That said, I can't say it's not fun at all. I had a real blast playing a couple who ran a vet hospital. Pets can also be very entertaining when your Sim does have the time to keep them happy and helpful. Plus, the love of a happy pet will give your Sim a lot of aspiration points that you can use to purchase traits and potions.

There are some things that the game creators could do to improve pets in The Sims 4 that would make it more fun for me, but that doesn't mean you won't find it fun. If you're an animal lover, I think it's worth a try!

Get Yours

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2019 Kenzie Cartwright