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How Much Does a Vet Visit Cost for a Cat (2023 Update)

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By Nicole Cosgrove

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Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Tabitha Henson

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The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Even though vet visits can be expensive, routine vet visits are a must for any cat. Even if your cat seems healthy, you need to take it to the vet at least once a year to ensure your cat is in peak condition.

The good news is that vet visits probably aren’t as expensive as you might think, and pet insurance can help you out. Scroll down to learn how much it costs to take your cat to the vet.

The Importance of Regular Vet Visits

Regular vet visits will help your cat live a long and happy life. The vet visit will be sure that your cat is aging healthily and is of healthy weight. It will also help to catch any diseases early on so that your cat has the best chances of recovery.

As your cat gets older, regular visits become even more important. With age, cats will start developing more illnesses and diseases.

More so, taking your cat to the vet regularly will make it easier to diagnose your cat if something is wrong. After all, it can be difficult to know if a cat is sick if they’ve never been examined before. Routine examination just ensures that your cat is being looked at by a professional to prevent and catch any diseases as early as possible.

cat at vet with owner and veternarian
Image Credit: 4 PM production, Shutterstock

How Much Do Vet Visits Cost?

Whenever you go to the vet, there are many factors to consider when determining the cost. A physical exam will cost between $45–$55 for a cat. If your cat needs medication or vaccines, most shots cost an additional $15–$28. For most people, a single trip to the vet will end up costing between $90–$200 for cats, which is nearly half that of a dog.

Keep in mind that these prices are for routine, annual vet visits. If your cat becomes sick or gets injured with unanticipated ailments, the visit may cost a lot more in order for the cat to get the treatment and medication it needs.

For example, emergency treatments can quickly increase to over $1,000, especially if hospitalization is necessary. Emergency treatments are expensive because the cat needs to be seen, diagnosed, and treated, which starts racking up the price dramatically.

Something else to consider is your cat’s age. Young, healthy cats will likely only need to go to the vet once a year, and they won’t need much treatment either. Older cats, however, will need more preventative measures and medications, as well as more frequent vet visits.

As a result, taking your geriatric cat to the vet is normally twice as expensive, if not more than taking your young cat to the vet.

Additional Costs to Anticipate

There are certain costs you can anticipate when taking your cat to the vet. First, the vet will do an exam of your cat, which involves evaluating its ears, eyes, mouth, skin, heart and lungs, abdomen, muscles, joints, and bones. This exam is called the physical exam. This is the base price for the visit.

From there, the vet may decide to do routine testing that requires different tools and resources. Depending on your cat’s needs or age, the vet may call for blood work, heartworm test, urinalysis, or a fecal examination. Each one of these tests will increase the cost.

If your cat is in an emergency situation, the cat may need to be X-rayed as well. This is not a normal cost to anticipate, but it may be needed if your cat is limping or finds itself in an emergency situation.

Here’s a look at some standard prices for different services:

Office Visit/Physical Exam $45–$55
Vaccine Boosters $18–$25
Fecal Exam $25–$45
Heartworm Test $45–$50
Dental Cleaning $675–$2,500
Allergy Testing (Blood Test) $200–$300
Allergy Testing (Intradermal Test) $195–$250
Blood work panel $85–$275

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How Often Should I Take My Cat to the Vet?

Whenever your cat is young and healthy, you should take it to the vet at least once a year, though twice a year would be more ideal. This ensures that your cat is up to date on all its needed vaccines and medications. As your cat gets older, it’s a good idea to begin taking it to the vet twice a year for biannual checkups.

Of course, take your cat to the vet anytime it is sick or acting strange. These vet visits will be sporadic and only as needed, but they will make a huge difference in the happiness of your cat.

Does Pet Insurance Cover Vet Visits?

If you cannot afford to pay for your cat’s vet visits, you might want to consider investing in a pet insurance policy that includes wellness. Wellness plans will normally cover routine veterinary visits, including exams and other preventative care.

Of course, not all pet insurance will cover vet visits. It ultimately depends on your insurance plan. So, it’s critical to thoroughly read your pet insurance coverage to find out if it covers vet visits. In many cases, it does.

That being said, most pet insurance is reimbursement-based. In other words, you will pay for the vet visit upfront, but the insurance plan will reimburse you.

If you are looking for a pet insurance plan that offers great value, Spot's customized plans can be adjusted to suit your pet and your budget. You may be able to cover your pet at a cost that suits you.

a female veterinarian with cat
Image Credit: Tom Wang, Shutterstock

What to Do for Your Cat’s Health Between Vet Visits

Between visits, it’s important to pay attention to your cat and monitor its behavior so that it remains healthy and happy. That way, you will know when you should take your cat to the veterinarian if it is acting strangely.

For example, select a high-quality cat food diet and feed your cat water and food on a consistent schedule. If the cat stops eating, you know that’s a sign something is wrong. More so, try to play with your cat as frequently as possible so you can monitor its weight and health. Depending on the coat type, you will also need to brush the coat routinely.

Don’t forget about your cat’s teeth. Most people fail to brush their cat’s teeth, which results in pricey dental bills down the road. Brushing your cat’s teeth weekly will help to prevent extensive dental care in the future.

If you notice your cat is acting strangely, call the vet and set up an appointment immediately. Even if it’s not time for your routine visit yet, seeing the vet will make sure your cat is healthy and happy.


On average, cat owners spend between $90–$200 on the cat’s routine vet visits. These visits include physical exams, vaccines, routine blood work and preventative measures. As the cat gets older, you can expect the price tag to go up as your cat will need more care.

At the very minimum, take your cat to the vet once a year for a routine checkup. If you can’t afford your cat’s checkups, consider investing in cat insurance so that you can get reimbursed for the vet bills.

Featured Image Credit: bmf-foto.de, Shutterstock

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