One of the major early points of Stardew Valley after moving to your Grandfather’s old farm is the ability to adopt a pet. Whether this is a cat or a dog (and which of the three types of each you get) is something you pick out in the beginning during setup. But it’s so easy to get distracted in Stardew doing endless chores or getting caught up foraging, mining, fishing, that you forget to take care of other things. This brings up the question: can your pets die in Stardew Valley?
Unlike your farm animals, which can die in very specific rare circumstances, your pet cat or pet dog cannot die in Stardew Valley. As a whole it’s very hard to get even a farm animal death, while a pet death is impossible with an unmodded game.
So that’s good news. Case in point: I played over 800 hours of Stardew Valley over the years and didn’t realize that there was a water dish you could fill with your water can until I saw a YouTube Let’s Play series where the player did this.
Oops. That’s years of in-game time of not giving water to my cat and/or dog.
And yet the pets loved me anyway (eventually). So the good news is that if you have a particularly annoying dog breed that always gets in the way in the worst time and disappears in the uncleared part of the farm
So the good news is that if you don’t have to worry about missing the watering bowl or a pet here or there. On the negative side, if you have a particularly annoying dog breed that always gets in the way in the worst time and disappears in the uncleared part of the farm when you’re trying to take a screenshot…
There’s not a lot to be done but grumble.
And passively aggressively name him/her Cujo in the future.
Can My Dog Die in Stardew Valley?
As a general rule the dogs can’t die or be killed in Stardew Valley in the original game. You would need custom programming to make this a problem/issue.
There might be mods that change the game’s programming and allows this, but in the base game there’s no reason to have pets die and so that’s not a feature. Your dog is as immortal as you are and can go 300 years if you play a game file that long.
Although (and I don’t know if this is programmed in or just my infuriating luck with the game) that little super furry dog with the brown ears is a little bastard whom you may want dead.
Just hypothetically speaking.
Whether your dog is a good boy/good girl or a bad boy/bad girl, once on the farm you are stuck with them for the long haul because they’re not going away.
And one last time…who’s a good boy?
Not him. Definitely not him.
Not the dog who frequently blocked me from my bed or from going off the farm, and for some reason I couldn’t run through? You can run through people blocking your way but for some reason Not That Dog.
Can My Cat Die in Stardew Valley?
Your cat cannot die in Stardew Valley. Just like the dog, there’s no reason for your pets to die in this video game so they do not. You don’t even need to feed or pet them.
While cats are said to have nine lives, your cat in Stardew Valley only needs the one. You can’t lose your cat in Stardew Valley.
Very occasionally you might lose livestock if you mess up but the pets never die so you should be alright. The cat will love you more if you actually do fill its water bowl and pet it but once again, technically not necessary.
Although I do have one complaint: why can’t we have like a true black cat? I love black cats. Just saying.
Why Can’t Animals Die in Stardew Valley (Most of the Time)?
The only exception to this is livestock, which can die in very specific and unlikely circumstances. Your pets are good to go.
The answer why is simple: ConcernedApe doesn’t see it as in line with the aesthetic and intended gameplay of the game.
There Was Going to Be a Butcher…Maybe
There’s been chatter that at one point the original game was going to have a butcher where you could convert the animals into meat and then sell that as an item or use it in the kitchen. Many people consider this just rumor, but this Tweet from ConcernedApe, the creator of Stardew Valley, from back in 2016 suggests otherwise:
Pieced together from other interviews was the idea that a butcher just wasn’t in the aesthetic. You could already sell the animals so getting them to love you then going to the cutting board just – it clashed with the rest of the game’s aesthetics.
This was about creating the joy and love of a Harvest Moon game not being a perfect farm simulator, and it feels like the right decision seeing how the game has grown and thrived over years.
Wait, How Does Livestock Die in Stardew Valley?
I wrote a detailed article on can animals die in Stardew Valley that goes over every detail and reported variance. So if you want the literal step by step process of how you have to really mess up to make it happen then you can read it there.
The long story short version: your livestock animals are outside, you shut the barn or coop door behind them (and possibly may need a gate to block it off – there’s debate on this) so they’re left outside at night.
This gives the “random occurrence” chance of wild animals showing up (indicated by the sound of wolf howls and coyote yips) and that animal just disappearing.
If you have any other animals and you pet them the next day you get a message about the animals being shocked and something bad must have happened.
It’s hard to imagine a situation where a calm laid back game meant to be relaxing would have a mechanic for killing off your pets. So the good news here is that there is no way for your dog or cat to die in Stardew Valley.
Even if after multiple days of being blocked from your bed and passing out on the floor you really, really want to.
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Proud to embrace the locally created moniker of “Corrupt Overlord” from one of the all time great Lords of Waterdeep runs, Shane is one member of the Assorted Meeples crew and will be hard at work creating awesome content for the website. He is a long-time player of board games, one time semi-professional poker player, and tends to run to the quirky or RPG side of things when it comes to playing video games. He loves tabletop roleplaying systems like Dungeons & Dragons, Pathfinder, Werewolf, Fate, and others, and not only has been a player but has run games as DM for years. You can find his other work in publications like Level Skip or Hobby Lark.