The Cost to Spay a Cat Can Be Pricey, But It's Worth It

Preventing overpopulation is important, and it's important to know how much spaying a cat costs before bringing one home.

Pet owners know that proper care of their cats includes keeping their vaccinations current and ensuring that their feline friend is spayed or neutered. This prevents a host of behavior problems as well as overpopulation in the animal community. Unfortunately, many pet owners find it easier to skip this surgery altogether, given the time and effort it takes to sign their pet up, take them to the vet or clinic, and keep them quiet and still while they recover. There are many spay and neuter surgery options through clinics and other non-profits, or you can go directly to your vet. But, how much does it cost to spay a cat? The answer depends on a variety of factors, but the overall benefits far outweigh any price of this necessary procedure to have a healthy, affectionate house cat.

Benefits of Spaying and Neutering Cats

cat sits on vets table

Female cats can produce many litters over their lifespan, while male cats can produce infinite litters leading to overpopulation and additional stray cats at animal shelters around the world. According to PETA, an unaltered female cat and her kittens can produce a whopping 370,000 kittens over seven years, which is why overpopulation can happen so easily. In contrast, over six years, a female dog and her puppies can have around 67,000 offspring.

In addition to preventing pet overpopulation, altering is beneficial for your cat's overall wellness. When cats and dogs are altered, they, and you, do not have to deal with issues related their heat cycles like spraying or territorial behaviors. In addition, a spayed cat will no longer be at risk for uterine cancer, pyometra, and will have a lower risk of getting mammary cancer.

Cats who are spayed or neutered are also at lower risk for diseases such as feline AIDS and feline leukemia. They also will have fewer uterine infections. In addition, male cats will no longer be at risk for testicular cancer. Overall, getting your cat's reproductive organs removed before their first heat is better for their welfare.

Kittens can be spayed at eight weeks old, though if they come from an animal shelter, the procedure has likely already been completed. If you do not want to spay your cat that young, you should do it at least before they hit five months of age.

Here's How Much It Costs to Spay and Neuter a Cat

cat is examined by vet and vet tech

Spay and neuter services can vary in pricing depending on the area and availability of services. Most cities have low-cost spay and neuter programs available. However, most require you to fill out an application, and approval for these programs is based on need and availability. Some programs focus on spaying and neutering kittens, while others will also cater to healthy adult cats.

If you go through a veterinary clinic, the cost will be higher than going through your local ASPCA or another low-cost spay/neuter clinic. The ASPCA has many resources for finding spay/neuter services in your area. You can always check with your local humane society or other shelters to see what they have to offer.

For an idea of pricing, the Sacramento SPCA charges $65 for a cat spay and $65 for cat neuter. However, they do have discounts available if you meet specific requirements, making the cost of spaying fairly affordable. There may be an additional cost if your male cat is a cryptorchid, meaning one or both testicles are undescended. It is usually an additional $15-$80 depending on the specific cat.

If you do not have a spay/neuter program in your area, you can always go through your local veterinary practice. However, going this route may be a bit more expensive. In general, it can cost anywhere from $300-$500 for a female cat and around $200 for a male cat. Veterinarians will generally do bloodwork before fixing your cat, whereas clinics will not. Of course, this tends to drive up the price. To help, most veterinary offices do offer financial assistance and payment plans. However, you still will have to pay the full amount, possibly with interest.

If your cat is not current on their vaccinations, you will want to have that completed before their procedure, which of course, adds to the cost. Some clinics require that your cat has their rabies vaccine, but that can be administered the day of the procedure.

Altering Feral Cats

cat sits on table with vet and vet supplies

Many low-cost clinics and rescue groups also offer TNR programs for feral cats. These groups focus on overall animal welfare and get the cats in and back out as quickly as possible. Check with clinics in your local area for availability before beginning the trapping process. Community cats are captured, examined, and sterilized by a veterinarian. They are also given their rabies and distemper vaccines before they go back to their homes. The cat's ears are also tipped, so rescues know who has been spayed or neutered.

How much did it cost to spay or neuter your cat? Tell us on our Wide Open Pets Facebook page. 

This article was originally published February 15, 2022.

READ MORE: Tips for Spay And Neuter Care Before & After Surgery