Having your cat spayed or neutered is essential to owning a cat, and it’s doubly important if you have an outdoor cat. It not only helps stop frustrating behaviours but also prevents pregnancies that can contribute to the homeless cat problem. But how much will this procedure cost you?
This depends on what part of Canada you live in, your vet, and the sex of your cat. Generally, spaying or neutering your cat in Canada can cost approximately from $75 to $400. Here, we go over more information about these procedures and give you a better idea of the average cost of spaying and neutering a cat.
How Much Does Spaying or Neutering a Cat in Canada Cost?
How much the surgery costs depend on several factors, but you can expect to pay an average of $200 in Canada. The price range is from $75 to $400 or more. Also, since spaying a female cat is a more complex surgery, it will cost at least $10 to $50 more than neutering.
Prices can vary from province to province too, with Ontario typically having higher prices than the others.
Free and Low-Cost Spaying or Neutering Programs
You can typically find low-cost clinics through your local SPCA5 or Humane Society6. You usually need to show proof of low income and find out when and where they are holding spay/neuter procedures. Be forewarned that appointments get booked up quickly!
Free procedures aren’t common, however, so you’ll need to contact clinics in your city to figure out your options, but Calgary offers a No Cost Spay & Neuter Program for cats7.
Talk to your vet to see if they ever offer discounts for spaying or neutering services. You can also check with animal welfare groups for any financial assistant programs.
Additional Costs to Anticipate
There are a few things that can affect the cost of spaying or neutering your cat. The vet will discuss the procedure with you beforehand and follow up with post-operative care instructions.
If the vet encounters any problems during or after the surgery, this could potentially add to the cost. After the surgery, you’ll be given pain medication to help keep your cat comfortable.
The Importance of Spaying or Neutering a Cat
In 2019, 78,000 cats were taken into Canadian animal shelters1, though this number is likely much higher, as only half of the shelters participated in the survey. In 2015, 15,341 cats were euthanized2; the most common reason that cats are put to sleep is overpopulation in the shelters.
These numbers highlight the importance of spaying and neutering cats3, as the last thing that we want is cats suffering and dying in the streets or shelters. While breeders don’t spay or neuter their cats, breeding cats is usually done responsibly.
Spaying and neutering can contribute to the cat’s safety and health. Female cats will have a lower risk of breast cancer and won’t develop pyometra4, which can be a fatal infection.
Males are less likely to spray, and any aggressive behaviour will be toned down. Also, males and females are less likely to roam for long periods, get injured, and come into contact with diseases.
All these reasons stress how essential the procedure is, so now let’s get into the costs.
When Should I Spay or Neuter My Cat?
It is recommended that a cat should be spayed or neutered by the time they are 5 to 6 months of age. Some vets may instruct you to wait until your female cat has had her first heat, so the procedure might be between 8 and 12 months of age. But the general recommended time is 5 months old, before she goes into heat.
Neutering of a male cat is recommended before 10 months of age, as this should help prevent spraying and inappropriate urinating from becoming an ingrained habit.
Does Pet Insurance Cover Spay or Neuter Surgery in Canada?
Most pet insurance providers do not cover spaying and neutering. They only cover accidents and illnesses, and having a cat spayed or neutered doesn’t fall under these categories.
The only way that you can get these procedures covered is by opting into a wellness plan. Not every insurance company has this add-on, though, and those that do only offer it for an additional fee.
Wellness plans can also help pay for routine services, including vaccinations, lab work, and clinic visits.
How to Care for Your Cat After Spay or Neuter Surgery
More aftercare is required for a cat that has been spayed than for one that has been neutered.
Aftercare for Spayed Cats
The most common procedure for spaying is an ovariohysterectomy, which includes the removal of the ovaries and uterus.
Aftercare for a cat that has been spayed includes:
- Don’t let your cat lick the incision. Your cat may wear an e-collar or bodysuit to prevent this.
- Prevent your cat from doing too much activity, as this can potentially cause the incision to open. Use a crate or small room in which to confine your cat to avoid too much running and jumping.
- Don’t leave your cat alone for 12 to 24 hours after surgery in order to watch for any potential issues.
Check the incision every day, and contact your vet if you see any of the following signs:
- Bad odour
- Open incision
Redness or a small amount of blood-tinged discharge at the site of the incision is normal.
Additionally, if any of the following signs occur, bring your cat immediately to your vet or an emergency clinic:
- Lethargy and weakness
- Not eating for more than 12 hours after the surgery
- Swelling of the belly
- Pale gums
- Rapid or low breathing
- Attempts to urinate without any results
- Repeated diarrhea and vomiting
- No urination for 12–24 hours after surgery
These signs could indicate that there’s been a severe complication from the surgery, such as damage to the urinary tract or an internal hemorrhage.
Aftercare for Neutered Cats
Neutering is usually a simple procedure, but you’ll want to follow most of the same advice for aftercare for a spayed cat.
It gets more complicated if your cat has one or both testicles that have not descended. This means they are retained in the cat’s abdomen and must be surgically removed.
It should take about 5–7 days to recover from the common neutering procedure and 10–14 days for the surgical removal of retained testicles.
The average cost to neuter or spay a cat in Canada is usually around $200 but can range anywhere from $75 to $400 or even more. It all depends on where you live, the clinic, and your cat.
Spaying or neutering your cat is beneficial for many reasons, everything from overall improved health and longer lifespan to preventing pregnancies that might contribute to the feral cat population.
If you’re still unsure about the procedure, your vet can walk you through the process and help answer any questions that you may have. It might seem scary putting your beloved cat through this ordeal, but it will make you both happier in the long run!