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This article is about an older version of DF.

A stray is a tame animal which neither has a master (i.e., is not a pet or a work dog) and also is not assigned to a cage or restraint. All tame animals can be made "available" as pets via the Animals submenu of the Overall Status screen (z). If a dwarf likes a particular type of animal and a stray one is available, the dwarf may adopt the creature. This is limited by the dwarf's account if the dwarven economy is active. Cats and kittens will "adopt" a dwarf instead of the other way around; they are the only creatures in the game that behave this way.

A large number of wild creatures can be tamed (turning them into strays) via the Animal training labor if they are first captured in a cage trap. Certain exotic animals can be tamed after the Dungeon master shows up at your fortress.

Stray young animals will follow around one of their parents, if alive. Young stray animals without parents and adult strays will tend to cluster around meeting halls or statue gardens, if there are any. Animals which arrive with new immigrants will start out as pets of one of the migrants.

When an animal becomes a pet, it is given a name if it doesn't already have one. Stray animals with names have either killed another creature or had their owner die.

Named animals will be buried in coffins or placed in a graveyard. Unnamed strays which die will be treated as ordinary refuse, and their corpses cannot be butchered, so it is best to slaughter them before they die of old age.