Spaying your female cat or neutering your male cat is the best way to ensure they don’t produce any kittens, which contributes to pet overpopulation. Spaying and neutering offer numerous health benefits, including lowering the risk of certain types of cancer, and eliminating a female cat’s risk of developing uterine infections.
Spaying also provides many behavioral benefits, such as ensuring your female cat never goes into heat, which comes with many stressful side effects for both you and your cat.
Cats in heat often yowl loudly, demand excessive affection, urinate more than usual (sometimes outside the litterbox) and may try to escape your home to get outside and find a mate. Neutering male cats offers similar behavioral benefits, including reducing urine marking, fighting and attempts to escape the house.
But just how much does it cost to spay or neuter a cat? Depending on a few factors, the answer varies, from free to several hundred dollars. Let’s go over some of the factors that determine how much it will cost to spay your cat.
Typical Cost Of Spay And Neuter Surgeries
Spaying (which is known as ovariohysterectomy) is the surgical removal of a female cat’s reproductive organs, including the uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes. Neutering (which is known as castration), is the surgical removal of a male cat’s testicles.
Spaying and neutering can be performed as early as 8 weeks of age, but all cats should be spayed or neutered by the time they are 6 months of age (for females, this is especially important do so the cat doesn’t experience any heat cycles). Spay surgery and neuter surgery are done under general anesthesia, which means your cat is asleep.
The cost of a cat spay surgery or neuter surgery varies based on your geographical location, whether you opt for certain procedures like pre-anesthetic blood screening, an IV catheter with intravenous fluids, and/or special monitoring during the surgery. If the veterinarian discovers that your cat is pregnant or in heat as she is being spayed (something pet owners might not be aware of), you will incur additional cost.
In general, expect to pay anywhere from $200 to $500 dollars for a cat spay, and around $100 to $300 for a cat neuter, unless you choose to have your cat fixed at a low-cost spay/neuter clinic. If your cat requires an e-collar or certain medications, you might pay a little extra.
How Can I Get My Cat Spayed Or Neutered For Free?
If you adopt your kitten or cat from an animal shelter, he or she may already be spayed or neutered. In such cases, the spay or neuter is included a part of your adoption fee, if you paid one. Some private rescue groups also spay and neuter pets before sending them to their new adoptive homes.
Some communities or local humane societies offer free or low-cost spay/neuter services, either to low-income individuals or to the community as a whole. These “no frills” procedures may be done at a shelter veterinary hospital, through a partnering local veterinarian or in a mobile spay and neuter setup like a bus or RV.
Such mobile operations like the non-profit Lucy Pet Foundation’s Spay & Neuter Mobiles use state-of-the-art equipment and licensed veterinarians perform the surgeries. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) provides information about low-cost spay/neuter programs on its website.
Low-cost clinics may offer additional low-cost services, such as vaccines (including feline distemper and rabies vaccine), heartworm testing, placement of a microchip and even nail trims.
Spay-neuter clinics might be free or might be very low cost, with a cat spay ranging anywhere from $50 to $150, and a cat neuter ranging anywhere from $25 to $75. It’s important to note that these affordable spay-neuter procedures don’t entail all of the recommended extras that you would get from your regular veterinarian, such as pre-anesthetic bloodwork and an IV catheter and intravenous fluids.
Also Read: Early-age Spaying/Neutering of Cats
Such low-cost spays and neuters are performed by licensed veterinarians, many of whom are highly skilled at spaying and neutering since they perform a high volume of these surgeries.
Some charitable spay/neuter programs offer free spay and neuters for feral cats that are trapped and brought in before being released back into the community (called trap-neuter-release, or TNR). Such animal welfare programs are intended to restrict pet overpopulation while avoiding the euthanization of free-roaming cats.
Is It Cheaper To Spay Or Neuter A Cat?
It’s usually cheaper to neuter a male cat than to spay female animals. A spay surgery is a major abdominal surgery, which takes more time and effort than a neuter surgery, which can be performed in minutes.
Unlike spays, which require sutures (stitches), cats that are neutered usually don’t need any stitches. There is on instance where neutering is more expensive than spaying. If one or both testicles have not descended into the scrotum (called cryptorchid), the neuter surgery takes more time, requires sutures, and is much more costly.