How to Breed Cats and Dogs in Sims 4

How to Breed Cats and Dogs in Sims 4

I’ve recently been playing a Sim who I want to make the neighborhood pet breeder. But I couldn’t find a good, concise guide on the topic. So, I decided to create one myself! In this post, I’ll show you how to breed cats and dogs in Sims 4.

How Many Puppies or Kittens Can You Have?

Both dogs and cats can have litters of 1 – 3 puppies or kittens, depending on space in the household. In The Sims 4, a household can only consist of eight members – including Sims and Pets. If you have a full household, you won’t be able to breed your animals. 

The maximum number of pets you can have in a household is seven – since you need at least one Sim to be a caretaker for the animals. 

Sims 4 Maximum Number of Pets
You can have up to seven pets in a single household, with one caretaker Sim.

There’s also a random component to how many offspring your pets can have. If you have space for three more household members (five or less total), there is a chance your pet will have 1, 2, or 3 babies. It’s always a fun surprise to see how you get!

Adopting Pets to Breed

For the best chance of breeding success, have your Sim adopt strays or two pets of the same species (and opposite sex) from the adoption center. To adopt a pet, use your Sim’s phone to “Hire a Service” and choose to either “Adopt a Cat or “Adopt a Dog.”

You can also adopt pets on the computer in The Sims 4. Go to Household > Adopt and then choose if you want a cat or a dog. Make sure the animal you adopt is not spayed/neutered or you won’t be able to breed them!

Sims 4 Pet Dog Adoption Pool
Check the pet adoption pool for un-spayed or un-neutered pets to breed.

In some cases, all the pets in the adoption pool may be spayed or neutered. Or they may not be the correct age (or both). You have a few options here:

  1. Adopt a spayed or neutered animal and take it to the vet clinic to have the operation reversed. Click on the check-in kiosk at the vet when you travel there with a spayed or neutered pet, and choose “Sign in for Unspay/Unneuter.”
  2. Adopt a non-spayed or non-neutered puppy and wait for them to age up (or cheat to age them up). 
  3. Adopt a spayed or neutered pet, then check the adoption pool again to see if a better option spawned in their place. (You can then make the pet you adopted first a stray by kicking it out if you want.)
  4. Befriend and adopt a stray animal of the same species and opposite sex as your pet. Strays are not spayed or neutered, so you can breed them right away (if all other conditions are met).

Make sure to adopt adult animals for breeding purposes – or at least adult females. Only adult female dogs and cats may become pregnant, and only adult and elder males may impregnate females.

The Easiest Way to Breed Pets

The absolute easiest way to breed pets in The Sims 4 is to create a new household with at least one Sim and two pets of the same species and opposite gender. All pets and the Sim start out as friends this way, which means you can breed them right away.

I know this doesn’t work if you want to breed cats or dogs in a household you’re already playing. But if you want to start a new game to focus on pet breeding, it’s faster and easier to create your own little starter family than to make friends with the pets in-game. 

Sims 4 Pet Breeding Household
It’s easier to breed pets when you create your own family.

How to Breed Cats & Dogs in Sims 4

First of all, your Sim must be friends with at least one of the animals you want to breed. Sims with the Animal Lover trait become friends with animals faster than other Sims, so you might want to consider this trait if you are serious about breeding pets. 

In addition, the two animals need to be friendly or else they will refuse to mate. This makes it difficult to breed your pet with a stray animal (although it can be done).

Tip: We can’t see our animal’s relationships, so you just have to guess if they are friendly enough with another animal to breed. If they refuse, allow more time for their relationship to build and try again.

Once your Sim is friends with the animal, click on them and choose “Encourage to Mate With…” Now, choose another animal to breed your pet with in the box that appears.

You can choose a household pet or another animal that you don’t own – such as a stray or a neighbor’s pet. But the same requirements still apply – your pet must be friendly with the other animal (and the other animal must be on YOUR home lot).

After encouraging them to mate, the animals will stand across from each other and hearts will circle around them. If your Sim has the Animal Lover trait, they will get a positive moodlet called “Pet Connection” when the encouragement works.

Sims 4 Pet Connection Moodlet
Animal Lover Sims get a positive moodlet from encouraging pets to mate.

In order for your pet to become pregnant, the female must be in heat (see below for more information). 

Female Pets in Heat

In The Sims 4, female pets go in “heat,” however they can mate any time – not just when they’re in heat. When I was testing this, I found it a little confusing. What’s the point of going in heat if they can mate any time?

In my tests, it appeared the chances of a female dog or cat becoming pregnant was greatly increased (almost certain) when the female was in heat. When my female pets were not in heat, they never got pregnant (after numerous tries).

Accidental pregnancies are also a possibility. If your female cat or dog isn’t spayed, she might run away when she goes in heat to mate. If this happens, there’s a chance she’ll return home pregnant. Get her spayed if you don’t want surprise babies!

How to Know Your Pet is In Heat

When your female goes in heat, she will appear to howl or sing red hearts. (This reminds me of how Sims in The Sims 2 “fart hearts” at each other.) A sparkle sound effect also plays. It’s hard to miss! 

Sims 4 Female Cat in Heat
Female pets howl and red hearts appear when they are in heat.

She will have a red flaming heart in her thought bubbles – the same one used as the woohoo symbol in The Sims 4 (that also appears in Sims’ thought bubbles when they flirt). This thought bubble usually appears just before she begins yowling.

Now is the best time to use the “Encourage to Mate With…” interaction if you’re hoping for a successful pet pregnancy. 

Pet Pregnancy

After you successfully breed two animals, a notification appears telling you that your cat or dog is pregnant. When my cat became pregnant, I got the notification about an hour after she mated.

Sims 4 Cat is Expecting Kittens Notification
When you get this notification, you know breeding was successful.

Your female pet will also appear visibly pregnant, but this may be difficult to notice if you have a chonky pet. (Yes, I said chonky.)

Tip: Pregnant pets are supposed to have the same need penalties as pregnant Sims, but a coding error prevents this from actually happening. If that bothers you,  this mod is supposed to fix the problem. It’s old, but appears to still work.

In The Sims 4, pet pregnancy is shorter than human pregnancy, taking only about a day to complete. Your new puppies or kittens will be here very soon, so get ready!

Labor and Delivery

After about 24 hours, a notification appears telling you that your pet has gone into labor. You don’t have to take your pet to the vet to give birth. Eventually, they will lay down on the ground and give birth on their own. 

During the labor process, your pet will be uncomfortable. Just like a Sim who’s gone into labor, they will show their discomfort through animations. Pets in labor typically pant and pace around the room, looking distressed. 

Sims 4 Litter of Kittens Born
My cat gave birth to three kittens outside in the front yard in the middle of the night.

After your pet gives birth, you’ll have the opportunity to name the puppies or kittens – just as you do when Sims are born. If you have triplets (like I did), you will get the “Triple Play” achievement, just as if triplet Sims were born.

Accidental Pregnancy

If your female cat or dog isn’t spayed, she might run away when she goes in heat to mate. If this happens, there’s a chance she’ll return home pregnant. 

This is the only way you’ll have an “accidental” pet pregnancy in your game without mods. If you don’t want this to happen, make sure you get your pet spayed or adopt a mate for her. 

Breeding with a Stray

Although it’s much easier to breed your pet with another animal living in your household, you can breed with a stray if you put in the effort. You’ll need to ensure your pet has plenty of time with the stray so they become friendly enough to mate. 

This can be a long, arduous process that requires taking finding the stray and directing your pet to interact with them until their relationship is high enough. I recommend just adopting the stray you want to breed with to make things easier.

You can always kick them out of the household and make them a stray again after the breeding is successful (you heartless bastard). 

Sims 4 Be Friendly to Stray
Ask your pet to be friendly to a stray to start a relationship.

If you insist on breeding your pet with a stray, click on your pet and choose “Be Nice To…” or “Be Friendly To…” under the “Friendly” category. Then, choose the stray in the box that appears. Your pet will approach the stray and attempt to interact with them.

This may or may not be successful, depending on the animals’ traits and temperaments. 

Once they’ve developed a positive relationship, you can breed with the stray – but only if the animal is currently on YOUR home lot. Try using the cat hangout or dog hangout lot trait to lure strays to your lot.

Sims 4 Dog Hangout Lot Trait
Use the dog hangout trait to lure stray dogs to your lot.

Keep in mind the female animal must be part of your household or you will not get to keep the puppies/kittens. If you want to go this route, I recommend owning the female dog or cat, and having her breed with a male stray.

Breeding Related Questions

Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions (according to Google) on breeding cats and dogs in The Sims 4.

  • Will cats or dogs breed on their own? No. Cats and dogs will only breed if you command them to using the “Encourage to Mate With…” interaction. If left alone, they will never try to mate by themselves. The only exception is an accidental pregnancy when a pet runs away while in heat.
  • Can cats get pregnant with dogs? No. There is no inter-species breeding in The Sims 4. Cats can only breed with cats, and dogs can only breed with dogs. 
  • Why won’t my pets breed? If you’re doing everything else right, they probably don’t have a high enough relationship with each other. Continue having them interact to raise their relationship score, and then try again.
  • Why won’t my pet get pregnant? If you are breeding them when the female animal is not in heat, there is only a very low chance of pregnancy (I have never had it happen). Wait until the female pet goes in heat for higher chances. Also, make sure you have seven or less household members.
  • Can you control your pets in The Sims 4? No. But that would make it so much easier to breed them. However, you can download a playable pets mod that allows you to control your pets. Then, you can direct them to interact to increase their relationship faster. (Note: This mod has not been updated for many years.)