Every year, millions of unwanted cats and kittens are euthanized due to overpopulation. Our society and our beloved animals must rely on responsible pet owners who can make a difference. Having your cat sterilized has so many wonderful benefits.
Not only do spaying and neutering prevent unwanted litters, but it can also help protect against some health problems, and may reduce many potential behavioral problems.
The cost of these procedures can vary depending on several factors, including region, type of clinic, and any medical testing performed before surgery. We’ve taken a closer look at what it costs to spay or neuter a cat in 2021.
What’s the Difference Between Spaying and Neutering?
Spaying and neutering are the surgical procedures performed by veterinarians to sterilize animals. Spaying is the removal of the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and uterus of a female animal. Neutering is the surgical removal of the male’s testicles.
Both of these procedures are commonly referred to as “fixing” or “desexing.” Anesthesia is required for both the spay and neuter procedures. Spaying is a more complex surgery, it takes more time and typically costs more than neutering.
Are There Benefits of Getting Your Female Cat Spayed?
Getting your cat spayed before her first heat cycle is ideal. This will help prevent uterine infections and breast cancer, which can be fatal in cats. Female cats tend to be quite obnoxious when longing for a male companion.
They can spray, be overly affectionate, and rub against people and objects in the home. It’s in your female cat’s best interest to be spayed at an early age, especially for the sake of her overall health.
Are There Benefits of Getting Your Male Cat Neutered?
Neutering before sexual maturity will lessen the likelihood that your male cat will begin spraying. Male cats like to mark their territory by spraying foul-smelling urine. He will start by spraying in his home, and as he matures, he will try to expand his territory further.
Eventually, an unaltered male cat will begin roaming in search of female cats. This will result in fighting amongst other males and will likely result in injuries. Unaltered male cats are more likely to get diseases through cat bites, so neutering early is important to prevent behaviors and keep them healthy.
What’s the Average Cost to Spay or Neuter a Cat?
Private Veterinary Practice – $100-$400
Having the procedure done at a private veterinary clinic will likely be the most expensive option but they will be the most thorough and reliable as well.
At a private practice, the veterinarian and their staff will be able to discuss the risks and benefits with you. Most private clinics will ensure your cat is up to date on all vaccinations, has a health exam, and gets bloodwork done before the procedure.
The health exam and bloodwork are performed to ensure your cat is healthy enough to endure anesthesia and a surgical procedure. In most cases, your cat will stay overnight at the clinic and be cared for by staff while they recover. With exams and bloodwork factored in, you can expect to pay $100 to $300 for a neuter and $200 to $400 for a spay. Location will play a large role in the cost, as getting your cat fixed in New York City will run a higher bill than in rural Kansas.
Low-Cost Clinic – $20-$100
Low-cost clinics are a great option for owners on a budget. These clinics are typically run by nonprofit organizations and all surgeries are performed by licensed veterinarians. A lot of local animal shelters and humane societies offer these services to prevent unwanted litters from pouring into their shelters.
With low-cost clinics, you’ll likely be taking your animal home the same day and no additional veterinary examinations are required. You can expect to pay approximately $20 to $60 for a neuter and $50 to $100 for a spay.
Rescue Organization – Adoption Fee
If you have not yet brought a cat home and are simply eyeing the costs if you were to get a cat, a great option would be to contact a local rescue organization. Rescues and shelters will ensure your cat is either spayed or neutered before going home and the only cost to you will be the adoption fee.
Though the prices of spaying and neutering a cat can vary, there are a lot of organizations working together to help prevent the overpopulation of unwanted animals and the overcrowding of shelters around the country. Prices are typically a bit higher on the West Coast and East Coast of the United States compared to the Midwest and the South.
Private veterinary clinics will be the most expensive and most thorough option, they will also allow more time to recover with veterinary staff. Low-cost clinics offered by non-profit organizations and humane societies are a great option if you’re looking to have the procedure done on a budget. These places are working tirelessly to prevent the devastating number of pets euthanized each year.
You also have the option to visit a local shelter or rescue organization if you’re looking to adopt a cat. When adopting, the cat will come to you already spayed or neutered and you will be opening up a spot for another homeless animal to be rescued.
Featured Image Credit: Big Ben in Japan, Flickr CC SA 2.0 Generic (Teto does not like the cone of shame)