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Forget Petting the
Dog, Don't Touch These
Animals
 

As popularised by the Can You Pet the Dog Twitter account, many video games offer endearing and supportive animal relationships. However, not every video game critter is helpful, loving or safe to pet.

In this list, we pull together games where you decidedly don't want to pet these animals. Sometimes it's mild irritation caused by the animals, like Untitled Goose Game. Other times the creatures are downright dangerous like the farm dogs in Inside or the creature in Carrion. Or maybe the animals are just being a bit of a dick, like Donut County. Finally, we include a few games, like Frog Detective where the animals are basically a confused mess.
 
This list includes 31 games from the last 33 years, with 1,118 likes. They come from a range of different genres and play-styles and are all good games if you want to deal with troublesome critters. We break them down into the following areas:

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Squirrel with a Gun

Squirrel with a Gun is an open-world simulation game where you play, as the title suggests, as a squirrel with a gun. It sounds like a joke, but actually offers a surprisingly entertaining tongue in cheek challenge as you fight using precise moves and...

Albert Wilde: Quantum P.I.

Albert Wilde: Quantum P.I. is a mystery adventure where you play a detective cat in a fictional 1930's New York. It combines point-and click adventuring with e first person perspective. Solve murders, flirt badly, maybe discover a wormhole to another...

Animals Being Animals

Stray

Stray is an adventure traversal game about a cat lost in a futuristic city where robots live. You guide your feline friend in and out of buildings, across roads and generally poke your nose in to see what is going on.

Zoo Tycoon

Zoo Tycoon is a zoo simulator series where you take charge of a zoo business, build the park, care for animals and attract visitors. You can build, expand, and upgrade the zoo by purchasing animals, creating suitable animal habitats, and allocate staff...

Donut County

Donut County offers a simple style of play. You drag a hole around the screen; the more things you can make fall in, the bigger the hole gets. You start with bricks, road cones and bushes, but eventually you’re swallowing whole houses.

Viva Pinata

Viva Pinata is a strategy garden simulation where you tend and care for 60 different piñata animals. Play involves interacting with the Pinata themselves, but also creating the right environment to attract new creatures and helping them thrive. It...

Break Human Stuff

Untitled Goose Game

Untitled Goose game is a tongue-in-cheek puzzle game where you play a dastardly goose intent on ruining the day of the inhabitants of a sleepy English village. Play involves working out the right order of interactions and distractions to let you steal...

Catlateral Damage: Remeowstered

Catlateral Damage: Remeowstered is a running, jumping and knocking-things-over game where you play a mischievous cat who wants to knock its owner's belongings onto the floor. "Bother that cat," as one children's book puts it.

Little Kitty, Big City

Little Kitty, Big City is a traversal puzzle game where you help a curious kitten find their way home in an overwhelmingly big city. You play by exploring the city, meeting and making friends with other animals and hiding to not get caught.

Confused Messes

Bugsnax

Bugsnax is a whimsical adventure where you track, trick, catch and eat anthropomorphic food in all shapes and sizes. But as you do, you literally become what you eat. It's silly puzzling fun from the creators of [link to game/Octodad+Dadliest+Catch...

Slime Rancher 2

Slime Rancher 2 is a farming simulation game where rather than chickens, sheep or cows, you farm slimes. You explore the oceanic world to find slimes to use on your farm to generate income and steadily upgrade your land. It stands out for whimsical...

Don't Pet

New Super Lucky's Tale

New Super Lucky's Tale is a running and jumping game where you play a fox on a quest to recover pages from a magical book that will save his world. Play is action-oriented but the islands and characters are full of quirky characters and treasures. It...

Smalland

Smalland: Survive the Wilds is a survival adventure where you are a tiny character in an overgrown wilderness. You work with other players to make your way in the living breathing world full of hazards and opportunities. It stands out for the openness...

Cuphead

Cuphead is a running, jumping and shooting game that looks like an old Mickey Mouse cartoon. You play on your own or with someone else and work across the screen, jumping gaps, shooting enemies and avoiding projectiles.

Horizon Zero Dawn

Horizon Zero Dawn is a post-apocalyptic action adventure where you explore an overgrown landscape with now-crumbling remnants of modern life. Play involves exploring the world, learning your new abilities as the story unfolds and using them to defeat...

A Plague Tale: Innocence

A Plague Tale: Innocence follows Amicia and her little brother Hugo as they use stealth to escape soldiers and swarms of rats. Against the stark threat and darkness of the world, the sibling relationship develops as the two learn to trust one another...

Sonic the Hedgehog (Series)

Sonic the Hedgehog is a series of games starring an athletic blue hedgehog who runs, jumps and bounces his way around platform levels. Created as Sega's answer to Mario, Sonic is now on all modern video game platforms.

Cat Quest 2

Cat Quest 2 is an adventure game, the sequel to Cat Quest, about a fantasy realm of cats and dogs. You explore and talk to characters who send you on quests to kill enemies in caves or retrieve hidden items. The addition of two players in the second...

Inside

Inside is from the same developer as Limbo. As such, you play another boy in a dark dream-light and horrific world. Here though, it's more modern-day and realistic.

Carrion

Carrion is a horror game where you play the amorphous alien as well as human protagonists. This reverse-horror scenario puts you in control of an organic tentacled monster to make your way through the facility, stalking and killing humans in your path.

Kill It With Fire

Kill It With Fire is a fighting game where you kill spiders. Lifting objects, looking under things and generally exploring the houses means you find spiders. The challenge is then to kill them with increasingly ridiculous weapons.

Rain World: Downpour

Rain World: Downpour, and Rain World are traversal and survival games where you play a half-cat, half-slug in a living breathing world. You must venture out and brave the other predatory creatures to find food before the rain comes and you have to hide.

A Plague Tale: Requiem

A Plague Tale: Requiem is an action adventure where you play a pair of siblings Hugo and Amicia. The story continues from the first game's discovery of the plague of rats and Hugo's latent abilities. Standing out again for weaving the sibling...

Goat Simulator 3 (Series)

Goat Simulator 3 is the sequel to Goat Simulator, where you cause mayhem and destruction as a goat (or other animal) in a relatively realistic world with exaggerated physics. This game adds several new challenges and ways to play to the game, like...

Frog Detective (Series)

Frog Detective is a comedy adventure game where you play a character, named (unsurprisingly) "Frog Detective". In the first mystery, The Haunted Island, you get a call about a ghost on the island. You set about solving the mystery by collecting the...

Frogue

Frogue is a turn-based traversal fighting game where you play a frog on a mission to retrieve your kidnapped dog. You jump from surface to surface, defeating evil penguins who only move when you move. It stands out for how the turn-based movement and...

I Am Fish

I Am Fish is a physics-based traversal game where you help four fish get back to the ocean from their tanks. You wrestle with the purposefully awkward controls, fighting against your own momentum and the multitude of hazards as you search for paths to...

Another Crab's Treasure

Another Crab's Treasure is a fighting game where you play a crab on a quest to reclaim their shell. As you explore verdant kelp forests, sandy shallows and deep trenches, you fight big crustacean enemies, unlock new abilities, and find new bits of...

Fight Crab

Fight Crab is a fighting game where you battle with weaponised crabs. But rather than pressing buttons to pull off moves, you have to work with the game’s over-the-top physics. This combines with giant crustaceans, insane weapons and claws to create...

Stab Stab Stab

Stab Stab Stab is a frantic fighting game where monster birds try to impale each other with their sharp beaks. You play by running, jumping and grabbing power-ups in a rush to stab your opponents more than they stab you. You can either play the...

Laika: Aged Through Blood

Laika: Aged Through Blood is a fast-paced shooting and traversal game where you ride a bike through a post-apocalyptic world on a path of vengeance. Viewed side-on, you race along the ground and jump through the air, exploring the labyrinthine world and...

Taming Gaming Book Written by parents for parents, the database complements the in-depth discussion about video game addiction, violence, spending and online safety in the Taming Gaming book. We are an editorially independent, free resource without adverts that is supported by partnerships.

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