For Pet Lovers with Low Income: Cat Spay Resources
The average cost to neuter a cat at a private vet’s office is around $200. Cat spaying costs even more. Your vet bill will likely be anywhere from $300 up to $800 to spay a cat.
But here’s the good news: there are many low-income cat spay resources and charities designed to help you afford this essential procedure.
Whether you need zero cost or low-cost cat spay surgery services, we have you covered with this guide. Keep reading for everything you need to know about getting your cat spayed or neutered when you’re on a budget.
Why Should You Spay Your Cat?
In a poll of pet owners, 18% avoid getting their cat fixed because they can’t afford the surgery. Yet, an even more common response was that cat owners just couldn’t be bothered to make the appointment for the surgery.
This is no surprise since many pet owners don’t know the risks and benefits of neutering. Are you one of them? Then check out these top reasons you should stop delaying and make an appointment today.
Lower Long-Term Vet Bills
Paying to spay your cat may seem like a less critical investment than, say, buying good cat food. But when you choose a free or low-cost spay and neuter service, you can reduce the cost of future vet bills, too.
That’s because spayed and neutered cats have a reduced risk for certain diseases. Diseases like testicular cancer, mammary cancer, and pyometra only affect cats that are still intact.
Avoid Costly Legal Fines
Many jurisdictions across the US have mandatory spay and neuter laws. Pet owners must get their pets sterilized or else face legal fines. Worse, the city could confiscate your cat for failing to get her spayed.
Avoid these unnecessary costs by taking advantage of an affordable cat spay program.
Decrease Undesirable Cat Behaviors
Pets may be domesticated, but they still have many of the same instincts as their wild ancestors.
For example, un-neutered male cats can be aggressive and spray urine when upset. And intact females exhibit unpleasant behaviors while in heat.
Getting your cat fixed helps reduce these undesirable behaviors. That means less mess for you and more time to enjoy the company of your cat.
Give Your Cat a Long, Healthy Life
Statistics show that spayed and neutered cats live longer than their intact peers. This is due, in part, to the fact that getting a cat fixed reduces its chance of developing hormonal diseases.
In fact, one study found a 62% increase in neutered male cats’ lifespan. Meanwhile, spayed females live at least 39% longer than their unspayed peers.
Reduce Cat Overpopulation
Each year, US animal shelters euthanize thousands of pets who don’t have homes. This is due to pet overpopulation.
One of the top contributing factors to cat overpopulation is the birth of new litters. When these litters don’t have homes, they go to shelters instead.
Getting your cat spayed or neutered can help reduce the risk of reproduction. That way, you won’t contribute to pet overpopulation.
When Is the Best Time to Spay a Cat?
In general, a vet can neuter a male cat at any time. But it’s best to get a female cat spayed sooner rather than later. Vets recommend that owners get their female cats spayed before their first heat.
When your cat experiences heat will depend on her specific breed and lifestyle (i.e., indoor vs. outdoor). But, in general, female cats have their first heat around five or six months old.
Low-Income Cat Spay and Neuter Resources
Have you decided that getting your cat spayed or neutered is the best choice for your feline and the community? Then you may be wondering: how can I access low-income cat neutering and spaying?
We’ve rounded up some of the best affordable pet neutering and spaying services below. These services will run you around $50 for a female cat to $35 for a male cat. Some of these services are completely free.
Keep in mind that organizations like these may provide additional services for low-income families and individuals. Get in touch with the following organizations to learn about low-cost microchipping and vaccination services.
The ASPCA offers low-cost cat spay surgery to low-income residents of New York City. The Mobile Spay/Neuter Clinic conveniently serves all five boroughs of NYC. The mobile clinic spays an average of 20–25 pets per day.
The ASPCA of South Los Angeles also offers free spaying and neutering for cats. You must bring a spay/neuter certificate from the South LA Animal Services Care Center to qualify. Also, you must be a resident of one of these zip codes:
- 90001, 90002, and 90003
- 90043 and 90044
- 90058 and 90059
- 90061 and 90062
If you live in another zip code not listed here, you may still qualify for low-income pet neutering based on your yearly earnings.
The ASCPA of Asheville, North Carolina, offers low-cost spaying to residents of Western North Carolina. This includes Buncombe County and 18 surrounding counties in western North Carolina.
Petsmart’s Charities Database
The ASPCA and Petsmart offer a joint database for low-cost spay and neuter services. You can search for participating stores and clinics in your area using your location.
All participating services offer high-quality services for your pet. Some of these locations are inside Petsmart stores for added convenience.
Your Local Humane Society
Depending on where you live, you may have access to low-cost spay and neuter surgery from your local humane society.
These charitable organizations usually charge as little as $30–$40 to get your cat spayed or neutered. Call your local humane society to find out exactly how much you’ll have to pay for the services you need.
Residents of some low-income or underserved communities can even get spay/neuter surgery for free.
For example, the Humane Society of North Texas has a Spay and Neuter It For Free (SNIFF) program. If you live in one of the following North Texas zip codes, you can qualify for free cat spay surgery:
- 76102, 76103, 76104, 76105, 276106
- 76110, 76111, 76112
- 76114, 76115
The SNIFF program also offers free rabies vaccinations, one dose of flea medicine, and microchipping services. You can also get pain medication for spaying cat aftercare.
A Vet School
Vet schools tend to offer lower-cost services than your local vet’s office. Students have less training but are supervised by highly skilled and experienced vets.
Make sure you choose an accredited vet school to ensure your cat gets the most high-quality care. Check out the American Veterinary Medical Association’s list of accredited vet schools at this link.
Your Local Vet’s Office
Believe it or not, you can access low-income-friendly services at your local vet’s office.
Many vets work with the American Veterinary Medical Foundation (AVMF) to provide low and no-cost services. The AVMF specifically reserves its services for pet owners facing hardships due to the pandemic of domestic violence.
Ask your local vet if they’re an AVMF Charitable Care partner. If so, ask how you and your cat can qualify for low or no-cost spay/neuter services.
The Veterinary Care Foundation (VCF) is another charity that supports free and low-cost services. Qualifying vets can receive VCF donations to help them offer more discounted and no-charge services to low-income pet owners like you.
Call local vets’ offices near you to find a VCF member clinic. These clinics can provide spay/neuter services to cat owners experiencing financial or personal crises.
Even if your vet isn’t an AVMF Charitable Care partner or a VCF member, some practices offer low or zero-interest payment plans for more expensive services like spay/neuter surgeries. That way, you can pay for the service over time.
Vets may also offer discounts to loyal customers. If you’ve ever taken a pet to a vet’s office, get in touch to find out how they can help you afford the cost of care for your cat.
Other Charitable Organizations
The Friends and Vets Helping Pets charitable organization offers assistance to low-income pet owners.
Your household income must be less than 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines to qualify. This organization will cover a portion of your cat’s cost of care, ensuring that you will pay a low price for high-quality vet services.
The Brown Dog Foundation is a small charity organization. It provides financial aid to pet owners in need. However, as a small charity, the foundation has limited funds and prioritizes dogs and cats in life-threatening situations.
More Low-Income Resources for You
Getting your cat fixed is essential to your wallet, your community, and your pet’s health. These low-income cat spay and neuter resources and help you afford the services your pet really needs.
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