DISCLOSURE: I was sent an early access review copy of The Sims 4 Cats & Dogs; However all thoughts and opinions are my own.
Back in August the pack we Simmers had all been desperately waiting for was finally announced; The Sims 4 Cats & Dogs! Even before TS4 officially released there was speculation about Pets, and that speculation only grew over the last 3 years. When Get To Work released there were “hints” to pets in the object descriptions, with Parenthood the same “hints” were given, AND in the holiday pack update last year AND there were “hints” to pets through clothes in other packs, but here we are – three years later and Cats and Dogs have finally arrived!
Pets has always been one of the most anticipated packs of every iteration so it was no shock that Cats & Dogs became the most anticipated pack for The Sims 4 with 2.1 Million views on its announce trailer in just *two months*!
Before we even get into this review I can tell you the pack lives up to the excitement and hype. In fact it surpassed my expectations and they were set pretty high! The pets are adorable, unique and leave you saying “awwww” at every moment. Create a Pet is addictive and extremely versatile, the new painting tools, click and drag abilities and multitudes of breeds had me in CAP for at least 2 or 3 hours and, when paired with the latest update, Build/Buy mode will also have you trapped for hours on end. There’s so many new doors, windows, wall paints, floor paints, buy items and more that are extremely different to anything we’ve had in The Sims 4 before.
Brindleton Bay is the new world coming in The Sims 4 Cats and Dogs. From the looks of it it’s inspired by a few places – I could see a bit of San Francisco mixed with New England just from my first time exploring the world. It’s a quaint coastal town filled with pet loving families. The world comes with 4 new neighbourhoods; Whiskerman’s Wharf, Sable Square, Cavalier Cove and the mysterious island of Deadgrass Isle. Each neighbourhood has its own charm and is different from the next. They’re also all super different to anything we’ve seen in The Sims 4 before.
The world has 16 lots all together, 5 community lots and 11 residential. You can obviously customise these as you wish. Something I loved about this world when playing is that it was truly made to suit pets – there’s so much stuff for them to climb on such as fences, benches, crates, scaffolding and more. There are flocks of birds that can be chased away, patches of dirt and sand for dogs and cats to dig at, piles of fish for pets to eat and roll around in and even new market stalls *similar to City Living* that sell pet treats and new seaside themed foods/drinks.
There are a few new collectables; feathers (gained through chasing birds) and present boxes (from digging) are found around the world as well as a few other plants,
Collectables aren’t the only thing to find around Brindleton Bay, there are a few hidden spots around the world for you to find on a long dog walk. One of these special areas is the pets graveyard – hang around after sundown and you might catch a ghost pet relaxing on the tomb stones. Also on Deadgrass Isle is the new Lighthouse ‘lot’, It’s not actually a lot you can go inside; however you can interact with it and travel to the top. Propose to your Sims partner, Get eloped or even have a cheeky Woohoo – If you wait until night time there’s even a special “light show”.
Create A Pet
Create a Pet is just one of the many amazing parts of this Expansion Pack, there’s so much customisation to it! One of the awesome features in Create a Pet is the all new ‘paint mode’. Its similar to the paint tool from TS3 Pets; however it’s been revamped and it’s a LOT more user friendly.
It introduces a colour wheel to TS4, but it is only available to Pets – the colour wheel allows any colour with any opacity. From here you can select a brush and free hand a pattern on your pet or use the new stamp tools and stencils to create a funky pattern. There are a few ‘normal’ stencils like stripes and patches or you can paint stitches and special robot-like lines – it’s SO easy to make your pets with this simplified paint tool!
Need to paint your pets belly? Click to change the position of your pet to reach those hidden patches.
Another great feature of Create a Pet is that it borrows the same functionality of Create a Sim. The click and drag feature has been implemented to pets, again this makes making your own pet so much easier. A specific breed of pet not available in CAP? Click and drag any point on your pet; its ears, eyes, nose, head shape, tail or body and adjust it to your liking.
You can even select different ears, noses, nose colours, eye colours *including Heterochromia*, fur length, tails and more to make your real life pets. If there’s one thing for certain about Create a Pet – it’s that it’s all about being versatile and allowing you to make not just your own pets but the pets of your wildest imaginations.
As well as being able to paint and customise your pets looks, you can also customise their personalities through several different traits and voices. Traits for pets really impact how your pets act in Cats and Dogs, for example – lazy pets are more likely to sleep and lounge around the house, hunter pets are more likely to chase birds and collect feathers, fluffy pets are more likely to leave fur around the house. There are even a few hidden traits such as ‘be obsessed with, or terrified by, the TV’.
Cats and Dogs also allows Simmers to make Foxes and Raccoons, you can even add them to your households! They come with their own voices and, much like the other pets, a recommended trait that you can remove. This is the first time we can have these animals live with and play in our households and I must say they’re super cute!
Another new feature to The Sims *PC games* is pet clothing, for the first time we can give our cats and dogs hats, dresses, bow ties and costumes. There’s a huge variety of clothing items for your pets and they’re all super cute.
Create A Sim
No Sims Expansion Pack would be complete without the usual Create a Sim Items and Cats and Dogs is no exception to that. The pack comes with a tonne of new Create a Sim Items *I believe around 100* for all ages, some is spread a little thin (kids and toddlers); however I do appreciate that this time the men were given, what seems to be, a bit more than female Sims this time around. I’ll be covering the entirety of CAS this weekend with final numbers on clothes and hairs – but overall the items were adorable, seasonal and I loved them. 9/10 on CAS for me!
Just like with Create a Sim, no Sims Pack is complete without new Build/Buy objects – Cats and Dogs brings a huge amount of both new build objects AND buy objects! There’s a dozen new windows and doors, a bunch of new floor and wall paints, new bushes, trees, fences and gates, a new foundation and loads of new furniture for our Sims *300+ new items*.
One thing that I really liked about these new items is that they give a super cosy/warm vibe – almost like a ‘grandmas house’ type of feeling. When paired with pets and the seasonal clothing and aesthetic of the world – you just feel so warm and happy inside – the team did a great job designing these objects to match that vibe.
When you pair these new items with the recent roofing update you’re able to make the most amazing houses. Farm-like roofs matched with this style of furniture is the way to go in Brindleton Bay!
The first thing you’ll notice about Cats and Dogs in TS4 is that in a way they’re ‘smoother’ than sims, they act more natural and true to life. It’s something that really makes you love them and obsess over every little thing they do – much like in real life.
They’re also super cute in EVERYTHING they do, and when paired with their hidden emotions; you’ll sometimes see them be happy, sad, scared etc. much like Sims – a reason they fit in with the game so well.
There’s a lot of new interactions and toys for Cats and Dogs that make them so unique, while Dogs may seem to be having all the fun with pools, baths, walks, chasing birds and such. Cats are given a lot to play with too, they can also use the new training items, play with the laser toy, the feather duster and scratching posts/surface climbing. Pets can also be influenced to do so much – attack other sims, try for a baby with another pet, they age from puppy to elder – have a whole ghost life state and interact with a LOT of the world around them. All ages can play with pets and that’s why they fit the game so well!
The veterinarian career was actually one of the last things I checked out for Cats and Dogs, but I can honestly say it’s been done really well. It’s a perfect mix of Active Careers from Get to Work with the owning a restaurant/business side of things – there’s an aspect of freedom in the career, no structured gameplay like we were all worried about. When you combine this with building and running the vets yourself it’s just amazing – you can hire sims to work there and design their uniforms – they’ll do the work for you. Or, if you’re feeling productive, do it all by yourself – the choice is yours!
You’ll need to have certain objects for the career to be functional but other than that you are really free to do whatever and that’s what makes the career so perfect in my opinion. You have a vet skill that levels up as you treat pets – discover their illnesses through tests; both by hand and on machines. Then treat the disease through medication or an operation. At no point are you forced to do this – its all free will, a great decision by the Sims team! Maybe it’s Swamp Mouth, or fleas, or Lava Nose. There’s honestly so much to the career that you can unlock as you level up in the skill – you’ll also find it much easier to diagnose and treat pets as you level up.
So. What do I really think about The Sims 4 Cats & Dogs? Honestly, it’s amazing – it’s everything I was expecting AND more. It delivers on so many levels – the cats and dogs are unique – they’re all different, funny and cute. They suit the style of TS4 extremely well. CAP is amazing too, it’s super versatile and allows you to make realistic pets or creepy alien/rainbow pets. Build/Buy was packed with cute new furniture and items for pets to play with. There’s new training items for pets. There’s a whole vet career/business that is a great mix of GTW careers and Dine Out’s restaurant running system and Live mode as a whole was just a joy to experience.
My only ‘problem’ with the pack, and it’s not even a problem – more of a wish, is that I really wanted smaller pets *birds, fish, snakes, bunnies etc.*; however they did deliver the best (and an extremely well packed) expansion pack of TS4’s cycle so far. Everything was done really well and I haven’t come across anything I don’t like yet.
So for that reason I’m giving The Sims 4 Cats & Dogs a …… 9.5/10. A truly amazing pack, crafted spectacularly!
Once again I’d like to thank the Sims team and SimGuruDrake for my early access code to review the pack, it was honestly amazing and I’m so proud of the team for making such a great Pets pack. I’m also super grateful for this opportunity!