How Much Does It Cost to Spay or Neuter a Cat? (2023 Price Guide)
By Ashley Bates
When you bring your kitten home, it’s hard to anticipate just how fast the time will fly. You’ll find yourself getting to know your veterinarian very well the first year. By now, your cat probably has been through their first few rounds of vaccines and they have clean bills of health.
But if they’re rapidly reaching the age of sexual maturity, it’s best to get the facts about the best time to fix your cats. We all know any vet procedure costs money. So, exactly how much is it to get your cat spayed or neutered—and why does the price vary? Let’s find out.
Why Is It Important to Spay and Neuter Cats?
Spaying and neutering cats prevent unwanted pregnancies and homelessness. According to the ASPCA, 6.5 million domesticated pets are surrendered or found homeless every year. Cats suffer tremendously in this equation.
Cats breed heavily, which is why having strays around can quickly lead to unwanted pregnancies. Indoor cats aren’t exempt, either, particularly if you have multiple cats living in the same home without being fixed. Cats reach sexual maturity around 6 months old, so you might wind up with a litter if you don’t act early.
Spaying or neutering your cats is a responsible action taken by loving pet owners. Unless you’re a breeder, you’re risking putting kittens out into an unforgiving world. Many people want a cute kitten until it starts to grow up and become a burden.
Luckily, in recent years, more information and affordable options have been given to owners everywhere. So, instead of worrying about financial implications associated with this surgery, owners can find options that work best for them.
Spaying and neutering is an important part of pet care, but it's not the only health expense your pet is likely to incur. A personalized pet insurance plan from a company like Lemonade can help you manage costs and care for your pet at the same time.
What Happens During the Surgery?
The surgical process for males and females is a little different. First, both cats will receive sedation to fall into a deep sleep—they won’t feel a thing.
In males, there is no need to go internally. They will be given a general anesthetic beforehand. Vets make a small incision in the scrotum and remove each testicle.
In females, vets have to make an incision and work inside of the body to remove the ovaries, uterus, and reproductive tract. So, the process is a bit more extensive, and the recovery is a bit longer for female felines.
Cost of Spay and Neuter Surgeries
When you opt to have your cat spayed or neutered, the total price is ultimately determined by your chosen method. Of course, you can take your cat to your trusted veterinarian for the procedure. But there are plenty of low-cost options for you if you can’t afford high fees.
Private veterinary facilities can range quite a bit in price.
Veterinarians can charge a range of prices depending on a few things. It will generally depend on the area you live in, the facility itself, and local rate competition.
The cost to spay a female cat is around $300 to $500 as a nationwide average. Neutering a male is slightly cheaper, falling somewhere around the $200 threshold.
Shelters or Rescues
Shelter and rescue spay and neuter services usually pale in comparison to traditional vets. They offer low-cost options to families who need financial assistance, so this is affordable to virtually everyone.
Many shelters differ in the price for these services, but in most areas, you’ll spend between $50 to $150 to spay a female or $35 to $100 to neuter a male.
Mobile clinics are groups of licensed vets and vet assistants who travel from place to place to perform spay and neuter surgeries. These clinics tend to be quick, efficient, and inexpensive options to traditional vetting.
Generally, you’re looking at costs between $60 to $80 for females and $40 to $60 for males.
Additional Costs to Consider
If your cat is fully up to date on shots and healthy, you might only have to pay for the surgery—and possibly a sitting fee if you go to a vet.
However, if your cat isn’t up to date on shots, all places will generally want you to receive boosters at that time. Booster shots for cats can range quite a bit, depending on the ones they need. Your cat should be up to date once every 3 years.
- Rabies – $15 to $20
- Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis – $30 to $60
- Feline Calicivirus – $15 to $20
- Distemper – $20 to $30
If your cat is already fully vaccinated, it won’t be an issue for the surgery. However, you can accrue up to $130 in additional charges just for vaccine boosters.
So, to wrap up all of the information—traditional vets cost somewhere between $200 to $500, shelters and rescues cost between $35 and $150, and mobile clinics are generally between $40 to $80 for spay and neuter services.
If you add in any additional costs, you are looking at spending somewhere on the spectrum of $35 to $630. Always explore other avenues of care if money is tight and you need the service. Professionals at any facility you choose can go over any costs beforehand, so you aren’t slapped with an unpayable bill.
Featured Image Credit: Andrii Medvednikov, Shutterstock