How Much Do Vet Services Cost for Cats?

by Team eLocal
Kitten and veterinarian.Examining a kitten with a veterinarian. Scottish fold tabby kitten in the hands of a veterinarian in blue medical gloves on a white table. Baby kitten.

Veterinary Costs for Cats at a Glance

  • Average per-year costs: $1,200, first year; $500-$600, after that
  • Annual check-up: $45-$100
  • Spay/neuter: $200-$500
  • Annual vaccines: $50-$120
  • Flea and tick control: $40-$200
  • Dental care: $100-$400
  • Heartworm test: $45-$50

Whether racing through the house, nuzzling against your leg or sleeping stubbornly on your computer keyboard, cats make a wonderful addition to any household. Taking care of them is a joy but a responsibility, and it's good to know how much vet services will cost for your furry friend.

How Much Do Common Vet Services Typically Cost for Cats?

In the first year of ownership, costs are a little higher with the addition of procedures like neutering and spaying. Pet parents can expect vet services to cost about $1,200 in this first year, and an average of $500 to 600 per year after that.

Of course, these are approximate costs, as there are several factors to consider, including the type of cat and their lifestyle. In general, cats are healthy pets. However, more accident-prone cats, or those in need of specialist medical attention, will run up higher bills.

How Much Does a Cat Check-Up Cost?

According to Care Credit, routine checks are typically between $45 and $55. These examinations can catch something before it makes your pet really sick. A vet check-up cost for a cat can vary depending on where you live but should be under $100. Arrange an appointment at least once a year so that your cat's veterinarian can discuss your cat's health with you, including changes you may not have noticed.

How Much Does It Cost to Spay or Neuter a Cat?

Neutering and spaying cost between $200 and $500, according to Pet MD. Spaying and neutering prevent cat overpopulation, help protect against certain diseases and improve your cat’s behavior. Although many owners know that this is the responsible option, it's sometimes overlooked by new pet owners to save money. However, the problems it can cause will cost you more in the long run. It’s also worth mentioning that if you adopt a cat from a shelter, they are often already spayed or neutered.

How Much Is Vaccination for Cats?

Annual vaccines cost between $50 and $120. The basic vaccines required are the rabies vaccine, feline neutropenia vaccine, and feline viral rhinotracheitis and flavivirus vaccine. There are other vaccines to consider if you own an outdoor cat. Discuss these options with your cat’s vet. It's essential to budget for these shots and keep your cat's vaccines up to date. This will prevent contagious and fatal diseases in your cat and help improve the health of the overall cat population.

How Much Is Flea and Tick Control for Cats?

Flea and tick control treatment for cats costs between $40 and $200 annually. This is essential to keep both your cat and your home healthy. Your pet's annual exam will include a check for fleas. If your pet catches fleas or has a tick, they will require further care. This is usually a medication you can administer yourself.

How Much Is Dental Care for Cats?

This is an extra cost many pet owners do not consider, but dental care is very important and can be one of the most costly aspects of good health. The cost ranges from $100 to $400. A regular professional cleaning will get those hard-to-reach spots you can’t clean at home and reduce the chances of dental diseases later in life.

How Much Is Heartworm Prevention for Cats?

It is especially important to carry out preventative measures against heartworm in cats, as there are no cures available, only treatments to manage the disease. The earlier it's detected, the better, so it's recommended to have your pet tested every 12 months. Heartworm tests cost $45 to $50.

How Much Do Emergency Services Cost?

Of course, your kitty may need some extra care if they get sick or injured. Although cats are generally healthy animals, they can still get ill or have an accident. This can lead to many extra stages of care. The cost can vary depending on the treatment needed, ranging up to thousands.

Here is an overview of the cost of common emergency medical vet services for your cat, according to data from Emergency Vets USA.

  • Emergency visit: $90 to $120
  • X-rays $150 to $250
  • Blood work: $80 $200 per test
  • Ultrasound: $300 to $600
  • Wound treatment and stitching: $800 to $1,500
  • Emergency surgery: $1,500 to $3,000
  • Hospitalization: $600 to $1,500 for a short stay and up to $3,000 for a longer stay

Do Prices Vary Between Indoor and Outdoor Cats?

Outdoor cats will have more opportunities for exercise and exploration. However, there are also more risks for outdoor cats, including the potential for getting hit by a vehicle, encountering various diseases and possible attacks from other animals. On average, the veterinary costs of an outdoor cat are higher, as there are more vaccinations required and an increased risk of injury.

Do Prices Vary by Breed or Animal Size?

While animal size doesn't tend to make a big difference, some cat breeds are more prone to certain hereditary conditions, which can result in expensive medical bills. These six breeds are at higher risk:

  • Siamese
  • Bengal
  • Sphinx
  • Persian
  • Ragdoll
  • Exotic Shorthair
  • Scottish Fold

If you own one of these breeds, it's a good idea to have a chat with your cat’s veterinarian to know what illnesses you should be aware of.

How to Save on Vet Services

Pet Insurance

Most pet insurance is designed to cover the costs of a serious accident or illness. It's worth giving some serious thought to taking out a policy for your cat, as costs for procedures in this scenario can run extremely high.

The excesses on most policies mean that you're still covering the basic routine costs for your pet. But you can have peace of mind that the funds will be there to cover a larger expense, such as an X-ray or a hospital visit.

Payment Plans

If you end up with an expensive bill to pay, discuss different payment options with your cat's vet. There are often options to subscribe to a payment plan for vet services, which will make your pet's bills much more manageable.

Pet Care

One of the other ways to reduce the costs of your cat's bills is to ensure you're taking the best care of your pet as possible, such as ensuring your cat has a good diet. Make sure your cat stays at a healthy weight by buying vet-recommended cat food and following strict diets for your pet.

This, combined with the regular medical check-ups outlined above, is the best way to ensure a healthy and happy life. If you're unsure about anything, ask questions at your pet's next check-up.

With good financial management, a cat can be an easy addition to your home without maxing out your credit cards. Ensuring you have the finances and budget to properly care for a pet is essential to responsible pet ownership — and having a happy and healthy pet in your home.

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