Sims 2 Runaway Pet? Here’s How to Get it Back!

Sims 2 Pet Has Run Away
The runaway icon shows your pet is lost.

If you frequently play with pets in The Sims 2, you’ll most likely experience a runaway pet at some point. In this guide, I’ll cover why this happens and what you can do to get your runaway pet back as soon as possible.

Runaway pets are still part of your household, but the game considers them “lost.” Their portrait will show a little runaway (bindle/bag on a stick) icon.

The Importance of Collars

It’s always a good idea to buy collars for your pets. If your pet does not have a collar and you don’t report it lost, it will never be returned. It will join the stray pool in the neighborhood instead.

If it does have a collar, your Sim might get a phone call asking if you want your pet returned. Every day your pet is lost, there’s a random chance that you’ll receive the call. The chance declines each day, and after a while no call will come.

Sims on other lots can also return pets with collars. I always try to collar my pets – just in case something happens!

You can purchase a collar for your pet at any pet store in the game. Look in your lots and houses bin for a Maxis-made pet store you can plop down, or build your own and make sure to put a collar display out somewhere.

Sims 2 Collar Display Pet Store
A collar display in Pepe’s Pets – a Maxis premade pet shop from the lots & houses bin.

Click on a collar display like the one shown above to buy a collar. Your pet does not have to be with you. They come in a variety of colors and styles, and they only cost $49 each.

When you return home, click on a mirror and choose “Change your Pet’s Appearance” to put the collar on them. Make sure you purchased a collar for the correct type of pet (small dog, large dog, or cat) or it won’t show up!

Tip: Another household under your control can adopt a runaway pet. If you direct a family in the neighborhood to adopt a runaway pet from a different household, the original owner will never get it back.

How to Get Your Runaway Pet Back

If your pet didn’t have a collar or you’re just tired of waiting, there are two more ways to get your runaway pet back. Report them lost using the telephone or return them using another playable household in the neighborhood.

Reporting Your Pet Lost

Send a Sim to the phone and choose the “Report Lost Pet” interaction. This interaction is only available when a pet in the household has run away.

Sims 2 Report Pet Lost
Click on the telephone to report your pet as lost.

Now, regardless of whether or not your pet has a collar, your household will eventually receive a phone call asking if you want the pet returned.

If you choose “Yes,” a police officer brings your pet home and it’s returned to your household safe and sound. If you choose “No,” your pet is permanently removed from the household and added to the neighborhood’s pet adoption pool.

Return Your Pet with Another Household

If a pet runs away from one lot and appears as a stray when you’re playing a different lot, Sims in the current household can return the pet. But this only works if the pet has a collar OR a Sim in the current household has a daily relationship with the pet above 0.

Send a Sim to the phone and choose the “Call Pet’s Owner” interaction. This interaction is only available when there’s a runaway stray from another household on the lot.

Sims 2 Call Runaway Pet Owner
Call the owner if you see a runaway pet on another lot.

The owner will visit shortly after the call to pick up the lost pet. They will also thank the Sim who called, resulting in a daily relationship increase. In some cases, the pet owner may be so happy that they offer a cash award for the Sim’s help.

Tip: If you move a household to a new lot while one of its pets is lost, the pet is automatically removed from the household and placed in the adoption pool. Make sure to get your pet back before moving!

Preventing Runaway Pets

In The Sims 2, pets may run away for a variety of reasons. It’s not always the player’s fault. Here are some things that might make a pet run away:

  • They’re chased by other pets. (This is more likely if the pet is Cowardly.)
  • They’re chased by a wolf.
  • They lose a fight with another pet.
  • They become enemies with four or more pets and/or Sims in the household.
  • A fire breaks out on the lot.
  • The Sim with whom the pet has a Master Relationship dies.
  • The last Sim with whom a cat has a Mine Relationship dies.
  • A Master or Mine Relationship is lost due to a damaged relationship.
  • Their social need drops below -85.

If you make sure none of these things ever happen, your pet will not run away. However, some of these can be impossible to prevent. You can’t always control when a fire breaks out or a wolf chases your pet, for example.

There is one way to prevent your pet from ever running away, though. Surround your lot with an uninterrupted fence and place a gate. Set the gate to disallow pet use. Now your pet can’t get out no matter what!

9 thoughts on “Sims 2 Runaway Pet? Here’s How to Get it Back!”

  1. I started playing Sims 2 recently again since I used to play it all the time 15 years ago and I didn’t even remember the collar thing! I knew that pets could run away but I completely forgot how important collars are and that they actually have a meaning! Thank you so much for your hard work that you put for these guides!

  2. I didn’t know other playable families can return a pet! I love the idea that they recognize a pet that doesn’t have a collar and still know where they belong to!

  3. Wow, I’ve played The Sims 2 for YEARS and had no idea that another household could return a lost pet! I also didn’t know they could become a stray. It’s amazing that I’m still learning new things about this game after so many years.

  4. Wow, thanks for this! I only had teens run away before (I’m looking at you Lilith), I never knew half this stuff. I love reading your blog posts Cindy, thank you for the time and effort you put into them. <3 Glad to have you back.


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