Publisher: Electronic Arts
The Sims 4: Cats & Dogs is the 4th expansion pack in The Sims 4 series. It adds cats and dog (surprise) to The Sims 4 experience with all their fur, claws, and love. While it lacks in content for an expansion pack, it’s a great addition to your simming experience.
Sexual Content: The Sims has sex called “woohoo” in it. You never see anything, only some making out and hearts floating around, but it’s suggested. Cats & Dogs adds pet woohoo (puppies and kitties come from somewhere) but there’s nothing explicit involved. Just some hearts floating around and the pets howling or meowing as one.
Sims 4: Cats and Dogs is the 4th expansion pack in The Sims 4 lineup, coming before long-awaited additions to the game like Seasons, University, and Island Living. This is important to note as I am reviewing it a few years later; part of my expectations stem from Sims 4 expansion packs that weren’t around when Cats and Dogs first released.
After hours of ignoring all of my other favorite expansions and filling my Sim’s home and life with fur, I have come to a few conclusions. First, Cats and Dogs should’ve hands-down been a game pack, not an expansion. Minus the new town of Brindelton Bay, this expansion is dangerously low on new content. Compared to University or City Living which add not just a new town and concept but whole plethoras of possibilities, Cat and Dogs totally falls short.
Sure, you can run a vet. Sure, there’s dogs and cats everywhere. And sure—this is incredibly important guys—there are now pigeons and raccoons (game-altering content here). But that’s…about it. While there is a lot of love and details poured into the cats and dogs, that’s where all of it went. And that’s what saves this expansion: the care put into what is in the expansion.
The sheer amount of customization and life breathed into these pets is astounding. It truly feels like you have a living, breathing cat or dog with their weird quirks, cute animations, and unique bonding moments. You could easily spend days interacting with and caring for your new furry friend.
With over 170 breeds to choose from, every pet is radically different. You can also mix breeds, make custom breeds, and customize already existing breeds to your heart’s content. This doesn’t even begin to touch on all the fur customization (both realistic and not), animal clothing and accessories, and create-a-pet features that exist.
Do you want the spitting image of your real-life pet? I bet it’s possible. Do you want a bright pink cat with its name written on its fur sporting the latest fashions? 100% doable. Have you always wanted a dog wearing a hot dog suit with a taco hat? Go live your weird dream.
And the pet’s personalities live up to their varied breeds, coats, looks, and clothing options. My sim was overrun by animals by the end of my playthrough (like one guy, 7 pets kinda moment) and every single one of them was different. Radically different. Not only in their traits, which are also customizable, but in their little behaviors. Just like with sims themselves, the happy surprises stemming from their quirks and underlying personalities are half the fun.
One of my cat’s obsession with waking me up at 2’oclock every morning was not a happy surprise, but one of my dog’s insistence on following me everywhere was cute. I could clearly see the little (and big) differences between all of my animals, both in their behaviors and their relationship with my sim.
You can find pets not just in create-a-sim, but also out in the world and through adoption. For the classic route, you can adopt a pet. This occurs via the phone or computer, and you can pick, meet, and accept or reject adoptable animals.
For a more wholesome method, you can adopt strays, which you can find pretty much anywhere, and especially in Brindleton Bay. Through treats, pets, and playtimes, you can grow your relationship with a stray and adopt them into your home. This is how my sim got five of his seven animals and all of them became awesome furry friends. They also like to wander around with droopy faces and clear health issues—which often tugs the heartstrings, especially in pet lovers like me and my sim.
You can instill a love of pets in your sims with the new cat or dog lover traits. They can also have pet-related aspirations. Both of these give Sims boosted interactions with animals and make furry friendships all the easier.
Sims can also devote their whole lives to pet love by becoming a vet. Sadly, you can’t become a vet like a normal job or like the careers from Get to Work. You have to buy and run your own vet clinic, which is cool, but again highlights how all the love is in one or two spots instead of several.
Designing, managing, and working in your very own vet clinic is actually pretty fun. Being a vet works much like being a doctor in Get to Work, where you do exams, check symptoms, and treat patients. At the same time, you are also responsible for business-oriented tasks like managing employees, ratings, advertising, sales, supplies, etc. It toes the line between monotonous and interesting as you shift from business owner to veterinarian.
I had fun growing my vet clinic, seeing more patients, and managing employees. It was a nice twist when I merged my home and vet clinic, which meshed all the good stuff into one. I felt like a small town veterinarian with my ocean views, stray dog saving, pets roaming everywhere, and helping out the local sick animals.
You can also breed your animals, making your own mixed breed or purebred puppies or kittens. Puppies and kittens are adorably misbehaved blobs that are absolutely wonderful. Breeding, animal pregnancy, and litters all help make pets feel more realistic and enjoyable.
Other features include pigeons, seagulls, and raccoons. While they aren’t that exciting, what would the beach be without seagulls? What would cities be without pigeons? Clean. They’d be clean. But whatever, they’re here and they’re funny.
Finally, one of my absolute favorite parts of this pack in the new town. It has all those coastal, New England seaside town vibes with a lighthouse, boats, coves, and gorgeous scenery. It almost beats my love for San Myshuno, *almost*.. The town also comes with the usual hang out areas, public spaces, and home lots—many of which are already occupied by potential neighbors—as well as new cat and dog parks where you can meet other pets and pet lovers.
As mentioned above, my biggest gripe with Cats and Dogs is that it just doesn’t feel like enough. This extends beyond a lack of many new activities compared to other expansions. You can’t actually play as your pets; they just kind of exist. Unlike toddlers (which was a free addition to the game) where you can actually play as them, pets are adorable, lively, wonderful…NPCs. You can’t even click on them to see their traits, stats, or moodlets. It seems like such a simple addition that doesn’t make sense to not be there. It feels like half the expansion is missing because all the human-pet interactions are great…but playing as a cat or dog would’ve added so much extra content this pack badly needs.
My final word of advice: pretend that Cats and Dogs is a game pack. Don’t you dare buy it at $39.99 when you could spend the same money on practically any of the other expansion packs that hold so much more content. Nevertheless, Cats and Dogs is still a wonderful, love-filled addition to your Sim families and stories. If adding furry friends and the beautiful Brindleton Bay intrigues you (as it should), wait for a sale where it’s 50% off. You’ll feel a lot better about what you get in the pack.
The Bottom Line
Sims 4: Cats and Dogs is a great addition to your Sims experience but is more of a game pack than an expansion. Pet lovers will enjoy all the thought poured into pet creation and interaction, but wait for a good sale to purchase.