Last Updated: February 13, 2024
If you’re a cat owner or plan on adopting one, you should be aware of all the responsibilities that accompany owning a cat. For example, besides daily care, you need to know when the best time is to spay or neuter your pet. But what’s the difference between spaying and neutering? When is the best time for neutering, and how much does it cost to neuter a cat? This guide addresses these questions and more.
Spaying vs Neutering
When you bring a cat into your home, you’re obligated to take care of its health and well-being. You need to arrange a safe living environment and naturally provide proper food (possibly senior cat food) and general maintenance, such as nail clipping, grooming, etc. You could even opt for one of the best pet insurance companies.
Moreover, veterinary care is one of the critical components of keeping your beloved cat healthy. Spaying and neutering are two of the most common surgical procedures that prevent pets from reproducing. But how much does it cost to get a cat fixed, and what’s the difference between these two?
The difference between neutering and spaying your cat regards its gender. Both procedures refer to surgical sterilization, but spaying is the removal of the female’s reproductive organs; whereas, neutering refers to the same measures for the male.
|DID YOU KNOW? Approximately 80% of the 75 to 80 million pet cats in the US have been neutered or spayed.
What Does Spaying Look Like?
Spaying is the surgical removal of a female cat’s internal reproductive structure, including ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterine horns, and a section of the uterus. This sterilization procedure is done under general anesthesia, which helps with sedation and keeps your cat fully asleep. The cost of spaying a cat may vary, depending on the cat’s overall health and the complexity of the surgery.
Before the general anesthesia, a shot of medication is given to put the cat asleep and help with the pain. The heart rate and oxygen level of the cat are monitored during anesthesia. During the surgery, female cats are kept under a heating blanket. After the organs are removed, the incision is closed with stitches. In most cases, cat owners can take their pet home 48 hours after the surgery.
What Does Neutering Look like?
Neutering is a brief surgery to remove the reproductive organs of male cats. The cost of neutering a cat can depend on the place you choose for this process. Before beginning the procedure, general anesthesia is given to the male cat. Moreover, if there’s an additional need for reducing pain, the cat may receive a testicular lidocaine block.
The surgeon makes small incisions on the cat’s scrotum, and the testicles are exteriorized through these incisions. Then, each testicle is removed with a laser or scalpel, and the incisions are either glued shut or left open.
After the surgery, the cat receives an injection of pain medication. In most cases, you can take your cat home on the same day of surgery. But, sometimes, the vet can decide to observe your cat and keep it to recover overnight, which can add to the cat neutering cost.
|DID YOU KNOW? Even though 90% of cats are neutered or spayed each year in the US, around 10 million cats can reproduce yearly.
|Spaying and neutering are two of the most common surgical procedures that prevent pets from reproducing.
|Neutering and spaying refer to surgical sterilization, but the difference between the two regards the gender of the cat.
|Spaying is the surgical removal of a female cat’s internal reproductive tract structure, including ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterine horns, and a section of her uterus.
|In most cases, you can take your cat home on the same day of surgery, or your vet can keep your cat overnight to observe it, adding to a cat neutering cost.
|Neutering is a quick surgery to remove a male cat’s reproductive organs.
How Much Does It Cost to Neuter a Cat?
The cost of neutering your cat depends on its size, age, overall health, and especially the surgery’s location. Compare the following services that accommodate such surgeries.
Taking your cat to a private veterinarian is the most reliable option but will likely be the most pricey as well. With a private vet, you’re able to discuss the advantages and risks of the procedure, and they can also keep your cat overnight to observe it. Personal vet costs for neutering range between $200 and $400.
You can take your cat to a low-cost clinic, where the price to neuter a cat is considerably lower than private ones. Generally, these clinics are run by nonprofits, and licensed veterinarians do the surgeries. And you’d typically be able to take your pet home the same day of the treatment. These clinics generally charge less than $100 for such procedures.
Another option includes a mobile clinic, where a group of licensed veterinarians and vet assistants travels from place to place to perform surgeries. Mobile clinics tend to be inexpensive, efficient, and straightforward options to traditional clinics. Typically, mobile clinics charge between $40 and $60 for neutering.
Shelters and Rescues
For those who need financial assistance, shelter and rescues offer low costs to neuter a cat. Shelters can differ in prices for these services; however, it will cost around $35 to $100 to neuter your cat in most areas.
|DID YOU KNOW? A Virginia shelter saw a 58% decrease in cats entering their foster care system after establishing a Trap, Neuter, Return (TNR) program.
How Much Does It Cost to Spay a Cat?
The cost of spaying female cats not only depends on location but also if she’s in heat or pregnant. Consider the following options to help decide which to use.
As with neutering, the same applies to spaying. Again, taking your cat to a private vet is the best option, as they provide the best care and conditions, but it’s also the most expensive, costing around $300 to $400.
How much does spaying a cat cost at low-cost clinics? Even though spaying is a bit more expensive than neutering, if you take your female cat to a low-cost clinic, it will cost you around $100. At these clinics, licensed veterinarians will take care of your cat, and you’ll be able to take her home immediately after surgery.
Mobile clinics are the quickest and cheapest option for spaying your cat, costing between $60 and $80. And the spaying is provided by a licensed vet and vet assistants.
Shelters and Rescues
Local animal shelters and rescues may provide spaying services for a much-reduced price or via charity if the cat owner needs financial help. Even though shelters vary in price, the cost of spaying a cat is no more than $50 to $150 in most areas.
Benefits of Spaying and Neutering
Consider the following benefits of spaying and neutering your cat.
- Spaying your cat prevents overpopulation and provides a healthier and longer life for them.
- Spaying a cat prevents uterine infections and breast cancer or tumors—malignant or cancerous in about 90% of cats.
- Spaying your cat before her first heat provides the best protection from the aforementioned diseases.
- Spaying or neutering your cat is cost-effective. The average cost of neutering a cat is far less than the cost of caring for a litter.
- Neutering your male cat prevents testicular cancer and other prostate problems.
- Neutering your male cat can prevent him from wandering away from home, searching for a female companion.
- Spaying and neutering might help reduce particular behavior and unwanted pregnancies.
Even though the heat cycles of a female cat can vary, they typically go into heat for four to five days every three weeks during the breeding season. While searching for a mate, they may also urinate in inappropriate locations and incessantly meow. But if you spay your cat, she won’t go into heat.
When to Spay/Neuter Your Cat
Healthy kitties as young as six weeks of age can be neutered or spayed safely. In addition, studies have shown that pets doctored at less than six months of age don’t have an increased risk of behavioral or physical problems compared to those that undergo surgery later.
Early-age neutering and spaying can prevent problem behavior. Regardless of age, neutering/spaying needs to be considered for cats with behavior problems. Surgery can reduce particular behaviors, even with older cats. You should, however, always consult your veterinarian for further information and advice.
Risk or Complications
How much is it to get a kitten fixed? This question is just as essential as the cat’s health because healthy kitties have the slightest chance of risks and are less likely to experience serious complications. On the other hand, young and active cats are much harder to keep calm during their recovery period—a possible sign of post-surgical complications.
With older cats—or those in heat or have health issues—the risk for complications is higher. If your cat takes medication for a condition, you need to inform the veterinary staff ahead of time so that they can treat your cat accurately—which may also add to the average cost to neuter a cat.
The most common complications are post-surgical, including the opening, bleeding, and inflammation or infection of the incision, which can be caused by the anxious behavior of the cat as it chews or licks the incision’s sutures.
The cost to spay and neuter a cat can run from free to over $500. So before you take your pet to the vet, carefully consider the best option that fits your budget. And be mindful to ask about additional costs, thereby giving you a better understanding of what to expect and what’s best for your pet.
PetSmart has partnered with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) to offer lower prices—typically $60 for a male cat and $70 for a female.
Vets recommend neutering cats at around four months after their primary vaccination. But in some cases, it’s safe to neuter older cats.
How much does it cost to neuter a cat may sometimes be asked when deciding to get a male or female cat. Even though costs for neutering a male cat can vary, typically, they are a little less than spaying a female one.