How to Adopt Strays in The Sims 2: Pets

How to Adopt Strays Sims 2

Strays are back in The Sims 2: Pets expansion. The game generates the same set of stray dogs and cats for each neighborhood. But unlike in The Sims: Unleashed, new random strays are generated to take their place when they’re adopted.

Every neighborhood always has at least 15 stray animals. Here’s a list of the original strays generated for every ‘hood:

Stray Dogs

  • Alegra – Adult Greyhound
  • Sheba – Adult Jack Russell Terrier
  • Tucker – Adult Long-Haired Chihuahua
  • Pepper – Adult Basenji
  • Grace – Elder Schipperke
  • Webster – Adult Kerry Blue Terrier
  • Boots – Adult Smooth-Haired Chihuahua
  • Dakota – Adult Beagle
  • Brandy – Adult Pug

Stray Cats

My favorite is Moonshine, the Tuxedo Cat. I’m not sure why there are more dogs than cats. Maybe the developers liked dogs better? There are also no puppy or kitten strays. They’re all adults or elders. If you want a puppy or kitten, you can adopt over the phone.

Strays appear randomly on residential lots similarly to townies. When Pets was released, strays would also appear on community lots. But the game was patched so that strays will not appear on community lots unless your Sim is also visiting with a pet.

Types of Strays

There are two types of strays in The Sims 2 – unowned strays and owned runaway strays.

Unowned strays have no last names, so they’re easy to spot. They may have behaviors or collars, and may even know some commands. When unowned strays are adopted, they’re replaced in the stray pool by a new randomly generated stray.

Owned runaway strays are pets that have runaway from a playable household. After three days, they become part of the stray pool. These strays can be adopted into another household or returned to their original owners.

When owned runaway pets are adopted or returned to their owners, they are not replaced in the stray pool.

Tip: If an owned runaway stray is wearing a collar, your Sim can return it to its owner by calling them on the phone. Owned strays without a collar can only be returned when playing the original owner’s lot. So it’s a good idea to always get your pet a collar in case they run away!

Stray Visits

Strays don’t appear on lots as often as they did in The Sims: Unleashed. And they usually appear one at a time unlike the original game where you might have three or four strays on your lot at once.

The frequency and length of stray visits on residential lots depends on the animal’s relationship with household members. The higher a stray’s lifetime relationship with a Sim on the lot, the more often it will visit and the longer it will stay. 

A stray will also be more likely to visit again if it was fed on its previous visit – so put out some food bowls if you’re trying to attract an animal!

A stray will leave the lot if:

  • Its visit time expires
  • It loses too many collective daily relationship points with all Sims and pets in a household
  • Its needs drop too low
  • It’s chased by another pet on the lot (especially if the stray is cowardly)
  • It’s chased by a wolf
  • It loses a fight with another pet
  • A fire breaks out

Do not fence in a stray in on the lot to keep it there and build up relationship. If a stray can’t leave the lot, its daily relationship toward every Sim and pet in the household drops by -2 every time it tries to depart.

Unlike townies, stray animals can interact with objects outside without being greeted. If you place food or toys outside, they can use them. However, they won’t enter your Sim’s home, scratch or chew anything unless greeted by a Sim first.

How to Adopt Strays

To adopt a stray, a Sim must cultivate a high enough daily and lifetime relationship with the animal. The stray must have a 60 daily or 60 lifetime relationship toward one Sim on a lot. Then, that Sim can adopt the stray via the “Adopt” interaction.

First, wait for a stray to appear on your Sim’s lot. Greet the animal and start interacting with it as much as you can. In my test game, it took about eight hours for the first stray to appear.

Sims 2 Interact with Stray Dog
Darren pets a stray dog in his front yard.
Tip: A stray will stay about two hours on a lot before it leaves if it doesn’t know any of the household members and there are no objects to interact with. Make sure someone greets the animal if you want to keep it around longer.

Place a food bowl on the ground outside and fill it with food. A stray will remember that there’s food available on your lot and return more often.

Sims 2 Feed Stray Dog
Darren entices a stray dog with food.

The “Give Love” and “Play” interactions work best for establishing a relationship. In the beginning, alternate between “Stroke,” “Feed Treat,” “Razzle,” and “Fetch” until you unlock more. If the stray knows commands, you can also use those to build relationship.

You can teach a stray commands, too, but it’s time consuming. If you want to adopt, I recommend doing the easier interactions until you can adopt. Once the pet is part of your household, then start training them.

Sims 2 Stray Dog Shake
Darren’s stray dog knows how to “shake.”

The option to adopt appears when your Sim reaches 60 daily relationship with the stray. This didn’t take my Sim (Darren Dreamer) long to accomplish. He reached the relationship milestone the first day of meeting his stray.

But his new friend left the lot just before he could adopt! Fortunately, he returned a few days later, and Darren finally became a dog daddy!

Sims 2 Adopt Stray Dog
The “Adopt” option is available with a daily relationship of 60.

When you adopt a stray, your Sim will pull out a treat and offer it to the animal. You’ll get a message asking you to confirm the adoption. The stray will then be added to your household.

Congratulations! Your Sim is now the proud owner of a new pet!

NOTES: If the “Adopt” interaction is available, the pet will always accept. You can’t be turned down. Also, if an adopted stray is a runaway, it’s removed from the previous owner’s household and can’t be returned.

How to Adopt a Stray with Mods

If you don’t want to wait to make friends with a stray, you can use the Sim Blender to add it to the household immediately.

After you install it, you’ll find the Sim Blender in Misc > Misc. It looks like a ficus tree. Place it down anywhere on your lot.

When you see a stray on your lot, click on the Sim Blender and choose:

Family > Move In > Stray Name

Sims 2 Adopt Stray Sim Blender
Use the Sim Blender to immediately adopt a stray.

The stray is now part of your household – just like it would be if you adopted normally. The only difference is you won’t have a relationship with your new pet. So, you better get started making him feel at home!

Stray Pet Mods

Here are some mods I can recommend to help you with stray adoption in The Sims 2:

  • Allow Strays on Community Lots – Re-enables allowing stray pets to appear on all community lots, even if your Sim does not have a pet with them.
  • No Stray Respawn – Prevents the game from generating new random strays when the originals are adopted.
  • Sim Blender – Allows you to summon and/or add a stray to your household immediately.

4 thoughts on “How to Adopt Strays in The Sims 2: Pets”

    • Yes, you can adopt wolves! They require a higher relationship (85 Lifetime), but you adopt them exactly the same way as other strays. Good question!

  1. This is a really useful post – I have been playing Sims 2 for years and I think I have adopted a stray once and now I very much want to try again! Thank you Cindy!


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