No one can stop me from neutering all the pets in The Sims 4: Cats & Dogs

OK, everybody, let's move on. No one is happy about the events of this morning, when I moved into my house with several multicolored dogs and one hairless cat wearing a top hat, and the kitchen caught fire, and we all ran out of the house to fret about it except for the hairless cat, which sat on the counter licking itself before walking straight into the blaze and setting its tail on fire and then running in circles as the rest of the kitchen slowly burned down.

We don't need to discuss it or even think about it or point the finger at whoever might have done nothing to prevent the cat from spending a lot of time on fire (except for fast-forwarding time to see just how long it would spend on fire). Let's just move on, okay? We've got a busy day ahead! It's my first day running an animal hospital in The Sims 4 expansion Cats & Dogs. Let's get to work.

Clearly I'm not a great choice to run an animal hospital, but I consider myself qualified because I can afford to buy it. Not wanting to leave six dogs and a singed cat home alone, I take them all to work with me and, curious how the animal hospital functions, I take my burned cat and run him through the neutering machine, then do it again to de-neuter him (I guess it's a magical animal hospital), and then once more to de-deneuter him. If I've kept count properly, my cat currently doesn't have balls, but does have some hope that he may someday have balls again.

By the time I open my the doors for business, my lobby is already a nightmare, covered in dog pee because I've brought all my pets to work. Visiting dogs proceed to roll around in the mess as I greet my first patient, a dog named Ragtime who appears to have radioactive feet.

I begin the exam, picking from a menu of options. I can take the dog's temperature, which in my experience at the vet involves a thermometer in the butt (the animal's butt) but here is done via laser scanner in the ear. I check the dog's breathing, test its hearing, and a perform a few other non-invasive procedures despite the problem being, as I said, quite obviously irradiated paws.

With the exam done, I take Ragtime into the surgery room. Having been a vet for only the past four minutes, I don't know what surgery is appropriate for radioactive feet. I personally would advise cutting the dog's feet off and burying them deep underground in a lead-lined concrete plug, but that's not one of the options.

Instead, I neuter Ragtime. Look, I dunno, it's generally recommended by vets anyway, right? And it's probably best to not let radioactive dogs breed, that's how you wind up with monsters. I try a few other procedures, like vacuuming kibble out of its throat (?), and eventually the dog's glowing paws return to normal. Success! The owner isn't especially happy, possibly because this examination has taken almost the entire day (I took a little break in the middle to play video games to improve my mood), possibly because I used every single surgical option available and charged him for it, and possibly because I cut off his dogs ball's without even consulting him. The point is, the dog's feet are cured and not buried in a glowing radioactive pit.

Next up is a little kitty cat that has some sort of drooling mouth problem. Poor little thing. I'm a bit suspicious of it, based on the fact that my real-life cat has never once willingly climbed onto an exam table without a bunch of crying, complaining, and no small amount of clawing. But okay, if pets can be de-neutered then there's room in the science-fiction of The Sims for a cat who is eager to be poked and prodded at the vet. I examine the kitty's mouth, heart, breathing, then promptly neuter it.

Perhaps this isn't the right course of action, but I'm distracted by impatient pet owners stomping angrily around the office, plus my own cat is crying at my feet for food and a litter box, plus my six dogs have literally turned the lobby into a sea of urine.

I think I need help. After curing the cat by subjecting it to every single test and surgery I've got, I retire to the bathroom for a thoughtful shit and then decide to hire an employee. She arrives the next day and promptly goes to sleep on the lobby couch, possibly because I've opened the office at three in the morning, wanting to get an early jump on the day's neutering. I click on my new assistant, unable to find a 'please clean up all the piss' command. Hopefully she's got some initiative.

This isn't a gif. It won't move, ever.

She does, in fact. After I take a dog with a glowing nose into the examining room (my keen veterinarian senses tell me its nose is sick), she takes another dog into the room next to mine and starts examining it. Frankly, that feels a bit presumptuous.

There's an option to turn off her ability to examine animals so she'll stick to more of a support staff role, but I really shouldn't have to use it, should I? When you show up for your first day of work for a boss with much more experience (it's my second day) and there's puddles urine everywhere, you should know that's your priority, not making sure patients are seen promptly.

I'm so annoyed that when I neuter the dog with the nose infection I hardly even enjoy it. Then I hire another staff member. Thankfully, he gets right down to business with the mop.

Also not a gif.

Things run much more smoothly after that: the lobby is clean, I'm able to spend more time using the bathroom and playing games in the office, and we're seeing patients regularly and being very efficient with all the neutering. It's only when I return home that I feel like a failure as a guardian of pets. My beloved cat, Top Hat Pete (I can't recall his actual name) has run away! I catch a glimpse just as he scampers under a bridge and vanishes.

What did I do wrong? Was it watching him writhe in a house fire? The repeated testicle surgeries? Making him wait all day for a litter basket? Would he have preferred a baseball cap? I'll sit down at the computer to create a Missing Cat flier, right after I play a few games.

Christopher Livingston
Senior Editor

Chris started playing PC games in the 1980s, started writing about them in the early 2000s, and (finally) started getting paid to write about them in the late 2000s. Following a few years as a regular freelancer, PC Gamer hired him in 2014, probably so he'd stop emailing them asking for more work. Chris has a love-hate relationship with survival games and an unhealthy fascination with the inner lives of NPCs. He's also a fan of offbeat simulation games, mods, and ignoring storylines in RPGs so he can make up his own.