Whether you're following advice from your veterinarian or the late Bob Barker, your decision to neuter your cat is the right one. It's good for his long-term health and helps control the pet population. The surgery typically costs $50 to $100, although some animal shelters and nonprofits offer discounts.
Cash in Your Chips
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It'll probably cost you $50 to $100 to get your male cat neutered as of September 2012. If that seems like a lot, you can take solace in the fact that it usually costs double that to spay a female cat.
Other costs are sometimes added—many cats, especially kittens, get vaccinations during the same visit—so make sure you and your veterinarian are on the same page about what services you're in the market for.
A Clinical Approach
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If you take advantage of waivers, special offers or low-cost clinics, your neutering bill can drop to well below the typical range. It might even be free.
If you're going to shop around for a better deal, call local veterinarians and animal shelters for a baseline price first. Then ask about discounts or upcoming specials.
Regional adopt-a-thons often include reduced-cost options to have your new pet fixed. Some areas offer lower prices in the spring, when many people let their inside-outside pets back outside.
Many groups, including the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, have online resources to help you track down clinics.
Nuts About Neutering
Unless you're planning on breeding your cat—and you've got plans for that endless supply of kittens—get him neutered.
It may seem cruel, but you're actually helping keep him healthy. Neutering reduces or eliminates health issues like an enlarged prostate and testicular cancer, among many others.
The younger your cat is when the surgery is completed, the more extensive the benefits. Some veterinarians recommend the procedure for kittens as young as 6 months. Most agree the surgery has maximum benefit before the cat hits puberty, which begins as early as when he's 5 months old.
Unless you've ever been around adult intact male cats, you might not recognize neutering's behavioral benefits, including decreased aggression, roaming and spraying to mark territory.
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Kitten often eat and eat (and eat), but you may want to curb the calories following neutering. Yes, kittens need more food than adult cats—which is why kitten food has more calories than food for adult cats—but neutered cats need less food than intact cats as adults, regardless of age.
As a general rule, fixed adult cats need 20 to 25 percent fewer calories than their intact brethren. Castrated cats are twice as likely to be overweight as intact males. (The risk is double for spayed female cats, largely because estrogen is an appetite suppressant.)
Risks aside, almost all veterinarians recommend fixing your cat. If you're in a pinch for cash, ask about other options. You'll never know what's available if you don't ask.
- CostHelper: Cat Spay or Neuter Cost
- UC Davis Veterinary Medicine: Low-Cost Spay/Neuter Options
- Texas A&M Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences: Frequently Asked Questions
- Cornell University Cornell Feline Health Center: Spaying and Neutering
- University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign College of Veterinary Medicine: Early Spay/Neuter -- An Overview
- Cats.org.uk: Neutering [PDF]
- American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: Low-Cost Spay/Neuter Programs
- NeuterSpay.org: US & Worldwide Low Cost or Free Neuter & Spay Resources
- Cornell University Maddie's Shelter Medicine Program: Spay/Neuter Information
- Love That Cat Store: Low-Cost or Free Spay/Neuter Programs in the United States
- VetInfo: At What Age Should You Neuter a Cat?
- Animal Rescue and Care: Healthcare and Neutering for Your New Cat or Kitten
- VetValue.co.uk: Neutering Prices
- USA Today: Bob Barker is "Delighted" That Spay-Neuter Phrase Will Stay