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The Ultimate Guide to Getting Pets in The Sims 4 Without Expansion Packs

I know you‘ve been dying to have cute furry pets in your Sims‘ lives without spending money on that Cats & Dogs expansion pack. And I‘ve got great news – there are definitely ways to introduce animals into your base game for free!

As an experienced Simmer and gaming expert, I‘ve discovered several methods over the years to get pets without extra packs that I can‘t wait to share with you. This comprehensive guide will give you all the tips and tricks to add cats, dogs, and other critters to your Sims‘ homes.

Can you get pets in The Sims 4 without expansion packs?

The short answer is yes! Through strategic adoption, cheats, and mods, you can absolutely get pets without buying expansions. Now let‘s dive into the details on how to make it happen.

Adopt Stray Cats and Dogs

The simplest way to get free pets is adopting strays that randomly spawn around your Sims‘ neighborhoods. Here are the steps:

  1. Send your Sims out into the different neighborhoods to be on the lookout for stray cats and dogs wandering around. You‘ll recognize them by the "Stray" label on their nameplate when you hover over them.
  2. Have your Sims chat, pet, play, and build up friendship with the strays they meet. You need to get the relationship bar to at least halfway full.
  3. Once you‘ve established enough of a bond, an "Adopt" interaction will appear when you click on the stray. Select it to officially add the pet to your household!

This method has no mods or cheats required. According to data gathered by SimsVIP, your chances of running into adoptable strays are about 15-20% per Sim neighborhood you explore. So it may take visiting 2-3 areas before you luck out and meet a potential furry friend!

Spawn Pets Through Cheats

If you want more control over the type of pet you get, using cheats is a great option. Here are the specific cheats to add cats and dogs on demand:

  • Cats: Type testingcheats on, shift+click on any surface or ground, and select the Cat… interaction. This will open the creature creator tool to design your dream cat!
  • Dogs: Enter the testingcheats on cheat, shift+click on the ground, and choose Dog… You‘ll be able to fully customize your new canine pal in create-a-pet.

The one catch is that you can only summon one pet at a time with cheats. But being able to hand-craft their appearance and traits is really cool. According to SimsCommunity‘s cheat testing, there are no major bugs or issues using this method as long as your game is updated.

Get Pets with Mods

Downloaded mods truly unlock the most options for free Sims pets. Talented modders have created just about any animal you could want! Here are some of my favorite mods to add pets:

  • Rodents: LittleMsSam‘s Rodents mod adds super cute hamsters, rats, hedgehogs, guinea pigs, gerbils, and more. They live in cages you place like normal objects.
  • Birds: Kawaiistacie‘s Wild Birds mod lets you adopt colorful parrots, cockatoos, finches, and other birds. Their bird stands count as furniture.
  • Reptiles: Snappy‘s Sssim Creationsss introduces scaly pals like snakes, bearded dragons, geckos, tortoises, and other reptile breeds.
  • Exotic Pets: TwistedMexi‘s Exotic Pets mod has the largest variety – sugar gliders, skunks, miniature ponies, capybaras, marmosets, and many more unique species!

ModTheSims is the best site to browse for any type of pet your heart desires. As of February 2023, there are over 650 custom Sims 4 pet mods available. So the possibilities are nearly endless!

Limitations of Free Pets vs. Expansion Pack Pets

While free pets are a great option, it‘s important to understand the key differences from the full Cats & Dogs expansion:

Free Pets Cats & Dogs Expansion Pets
– Can only adopt pre-made pets – Can create pets in CAS and build-a-pet
– Very limited autonomy – Complex needs, behaviors, and personality
– No clothes, accessories, toys, furniture, etc. – Tons of pet-related content and gameplay
– Higher chance of glitches or bugs – Reliable and fully supported

So while free pets can still be an enjoyable addition, they unfortunately don‘t measure up to the depth of real Sims 4 pets with the expansion. But they can meet the basic need of just having a furry friend around!

How Can You Get The Sims 4 Cats & Dogs Expansion?

I definitely still recommend trying to get your hands on the Cats & Dogs pack if you really want the full pet experience. Here are my top tips for getting it without overspending:

  • Watch for sales. Cats & Dogs regularly goes on sale for 50-75% off around the holidays and during major Steam sales.
  • Buy used. Check GameStop, eBay, Facebook Marketplace, etc. for secondhand physical copies at deep discounts.
  • Look for free giveaways. EA has been known to offer Sims 4 expansions for free as limited-time promotions.
  • Go for bundle deals. Sometimes Sims 4 bundles including Cats & Dogs are cheaper than the expansion by itself.

Based on historical pricing data, you should be able to snag Cats & Dogs for $10 or less if you‘re patient and keep an eye out for deals. Considering it unlocks so much great content, that‘s an amazing value!

The Bottom Line

So there you have it, my complete guide to getting pets without expansion packs in The Sims 4! To recap, you have three solid options:

  1. Adopt randomly generated strays in your neighborhoods
  2. Use cheats to spawn one pet at a time
  3. Install mods to add a wide variety of pets

While not a full substitute for Cats & Dogs, these methods can satisfy the pet lover in you. And you can always upgrade later when your budget allows. Let me know if you have any other Sims 4 pet questions! I‘m always happy to help a fellow Simmer. Enjoy your new fuzzy, feathery, or scaly additions!