The cost of living crisis is having several knock-on impacts on our day-to-day lives. For many, the cost of pet care is becoming a worry, and for owners that will be caring for a new kitten or rescue cat, the cost of neutering can be too much to manage. But neutering is essential for cats, and in the long run it will be far cheaper than feeding, worming and vaccinating up to 8 kittens. So is it possible to get your cat neutered for free?
Table of contents
- How much does neutering cost and why?
- Why is neutering necessary?
- Can I get my cat neutered for free?
How much does neutering cost and why?
Neutering is a routine procedure which involves removing the testicles of a male cat and the ovaries (and sometimes uterus) of a female cat. The procedure is usually performed on the same day – you will need to drop your cat off at the vets in the morning and pick them up in the afternoon.
On average, the cost of castrating a male cat is £40-£80 and the cost of neutering a female cat is around £50-100.
It’s worth noting that these costs cover:
- The surgical equipment
- The general anaesthesia
- Hospitalisation costs
- The pre and post-operative pain relief
- The time of the veterinary surgeon (who will perform the surgery) and the veterinary nurse (who will monitor the anaesthetic)
- And more!
Why is neutering necessary?
First for the obvious – neutering cats prevents unwanted pregnancies. Female cats can have up to 18 kittens a year and those kittens can go on to have more kittens! There are plenty of cats looking for homes already in this country. Unless you are an experienced breeder who will be able to find homes for the kittens, it’s not really fair to add to this issue.
But it’s not just about stopping unwanted pregnancies
Neutering cats can have several health and behavioural benefits.
For female cats it can:
- reduce the risk of mammary cancer – the majority of mammary cancers diagnosed in cats are malignant, meaning they can spread to other parts of the body
- reduce the risk of womb infection (known as pyometra)
- prevent behaviours exhibited by female cats in heat such as calling (making loud noises), urine spraying and wondering too far
- reduce the risk of uterine and ovarian cancer
In male cats it can:
- reduce urine spraying – believe me, the smell of a Tom cat can be overpowering!
- reduce or prevent roaming behaviour – this occurs when males roam far away to find a female in heat and it can increase the risk of injuries or getting lost
- and reduce fighting behaviour with other males – this in turn reduces the likelihood of picking up infections such as feline immunodeficiency virus
Can I get my cat neutered for free?
You might be able to get your cat neutered for free or at a reduced cost. Check out the options below.
Cats Protection Financial Assistance Scheme
Cats Protection run a financial assistance scheme for neutering. If you meet certain eligibility criteria, you can get your cat neutered and microchipped for just £10. To qualify for this scheme you must meet one or more of the following criteria:
- you are in receipt of any of the following means-tested benefits: universal credit, income support, housing benefit, council tax benefit, pension credit, income-based ESA, income-based JSA, working tax credits and child tax credits
- you have a household annual income of less than £25,000 before tax
- or you are a full-time student living away from home
For neutering under this scheme you must find a participating vet.
Other charities such as the Blue Cross, PDSA and Celia Hammond Animal Trust also offer low cost or free neutering if you meet certain eligibility criteria. In most cases you are required to live within the catchment area of one of their hospitals but it is worth checking with the charities themselves.
Cats Protection and RSPCA Regional Neutering Campaigns
If you do not qualify for the above schemes or are unable to find a participating vet, Cats Protection and the RSPCA run regional neutering campaigns. As part of these campaigns they offer vouchers towards the cost of neutering or neutering at a discounted price. Eligibility criteria varies from branch to branch. Some branches only have a requirement that you live within the area – remember these are charities so only use this if you need to.
Find your local Cats Protection branch here.
Find your local RSPCA branch here.
Have a look at the branch website or give them a call for further information.
Local Authority Schemes
Check your local council’s website to see if they offer any neutering schemes. If you don’t know your local council or can’t find their website, use this tool.
For those living in London (inside the M25), the London Cat Care Consortium offer free neutering for cats whose owners receive certain state benefits, are on a low income or are students. The scheme also includes neutering of stray cats being temporarily fed.
Adopt a neutered cat!
If you adopt a cat or kitten from a rescue charity, then it is very likely that they will have already been neutered, either through the rescue charity’s vet or by the previous owner’s vet. Most rescue centres charge a reasonable adoption fee to cover the cost of neutering, vaccinating, and initial flea and worming treatments. To find out more, have a google or search on social media for local rescue centres or use the Cats Protection and RSPCA links above to search for local branches.
Neutering is essential for most cats’ welfare. If you need any help with the cost, check out the recommendations above.