Most of us in the UK choose to neuter our cats. Cats Protection estimates that 85% of cats in the UK are neutered, but that still leaves 1.4 million who haven’t had this safe procedure that can help prevent unwanted kittens in females and roaming and fighting in males.
In November 2023, we checked the price of neutering and spaying cats at 73 vets around the UK.
If you’re reluctant to spay or neuter your cat because you’re worried about costs, our research will give you some idea of how much you can expect to pay to neuter your cat where you live.
It might actually be a lot less than you think.
What is cat neutering?
Neutering is a very straightforward operation that prevents cats from breeding. The procedure is different for male cats and female cats.
A male cat is neutered by having their testicles removed while under a general anesthetic in a process called castration. It’s a very quick procedure and recovery is normally very rapid and straightforward too.
Female cats are neutered with a procedure known as spaying. The traditional method is ‘ovario-hysterectomy’, which involves removing both the ovaries and the uterus.
It’s a little bit more of an ordeal for a female cat to be spayed than a male cat to be castrated, but recovery is generally still very straightforward. It’s far less risky than becoming pregnant and giving birth to kittens.
Both male and female cats will be able to go home the same day when they’re neutered and will be given some pain relief, either with injections at the vet, tablets to take home, or both.
How much does it cost to neuter a cat?
We found that the average cost in Great Britain to neuter a cat was £117.30. The average cost to get a cat neutered in 2022 was £92, which means the cost of neutering has actually gone up by 28% since then.
But what our research really showed was an enormous variation in cost from vet to vet.
The price you actually pay will depend on:
Your cat’s gender
The area you live in
Your chosen vet practice
The type of procedure
It’s more expensive to neuter female cats
The one thing that makes the biggest difference to neutering costs is your cat’s gender.
It’s 47% more expensive to spay a female cat than to neuter a male. It’s because the surgery is more intrusive for a female, takes longer and more aftercare is needed.
The nationwide average cost to neuter (castrate) a male cat is £95.70 (up 26% from 2022).
The average cost of spaying a female cat is £138.90 (up 29%).
|Neuter male cat
|Spay female cat
The very cheapest cat castration cost we found was just £58 at a practice in Birmingham. The most expensive was £210 in London.
The cheapest cost we found of spaying a female cat was £70 in Kent and the most expensive was £310 at the same London vet offering the most expensive castrations.
How much does neutering cost around the UK?
Where you live in the UK can make a huge difference to how much you’ll pay to have your cat neutered.
The areas in the UK with the highest cost of living tend to also be the areas with the highest neutering costs as veterinary care is more costly in these areas.
That means that cat owners in London and the South East pay the most for neutering, while pet parents in the South West pay the least.
Here are the average costs to castrate or spay a cat by area:
|Castrate male cat
|Spay female cat
Unsurprisingly, London, where the cost of living is highest, has the highest average cost for neutering both male and female cats. The average cost to castrate a male cat in the capital is £117.49, while spaying a female is £160.88.
Wales is the cheapest place to have your cat neutered, with an average cost of £88.62 for males and £121.13 for females.
Types of nat neutering: flank spay versus midline spay
The other factor that affects the cost of neutering is the type of procedure you go for. As our research shows, it'll cost significantly more to spay a female cat than to castrate a male, but did you know there are different types of spaying procedure available too?
Some vets offer a midline spay where the incision is made straight across the cat's tummy. Others offer a flank spay, where they cut open the cat's side.
Most vets favour just one procedure or the other and that's the price you pay, but a few will give you a choice and will have a different price for each. For example, Coastway Vets in East Sussex charges £156 for a flank spay and £188 for a midline spay.
Where vets do quote prices for both, you can expect to pay around £30-50 more for a midline spay.
The jury's still out on which approach is better for your cat according to the British Veterinary Association – it recommends being guided by your vet and which procedure they're most familiar and comfortable with.
What does the cost of neutering a cat include?
If you’re comparing prices at vets near you to find the best neutering costs, make sure you compare like-for-like.
Double check with the vet whether the quoted price includes pre and post-operative check-ups. Most do, but if they’re charged separately they can add around £40-60 per visit, significantly increasing the cost.
You should also ask whether the cost of pain relief and a cone is included in the cost. Again, it usually is, but if it’s extra it can add quite a lot to the neutering price you see on a vet’s website.
But the thing we found really striking about the neutering costs for cats was just how low they actually are. At about £90 for males and £130 for females it’s tremendously good value for a surgical procedure and well worth considering if you don’t plan on becoming a grand-pet parent to kittens.
The benefits of neutering your cat
There are plenty of good reasons to neuter your cat.
For males these are:
Removes risk of testicular cancer
Lower risk prostate cancer
It reduces ‘spraying’, clawing and urine marking
Less risk of roaming in search of a mate and getting lost
Reduced risk of injury from fighting
Removes the risk of unwanted kittens, ferals and strays
The positives of neutering spaying a female cat are:
It prevents unwanted pregnancy and phantom pregnancies
Removes the risk of womb infections known as pyometra
It reduces the risk of mammary cancer
It prevents ovarian tumours
You won’t have to confine her indoors several times a year while in heat
Avoids spraying and yowling while in heat
Reduces the risk of roaming in search of a mate
What age should a cat be neutered?
If you don’t want kittens, you should have both female and male cats neutered before the age of four months.
It’s perfectly safe to neuter them when they’re older, but as female cats can be sexually mature from four months and males from six months you run the risk of an accidental pregnancy.
That also goes for indoor cats – when they’re in season cats are skilled escape artists!
Does pet insurance cover neutering?
Pet insurance doesn't cover routine or preventative procedures like neutering.
You need to budget for preventative costs like neutering, vaccinations, microchipping and flea and worm treatment when you decide a cat will be joining your family.
If your cat’s unfortunate enough to suffer complications during their routine neuter, ManyPets cat insurance can cover the cost of the vet treatment needed to treat the complication.
Help with cat neutering costs
Unwanted, feral and accidental litters of kittens can be a huge strain on animal welfare organisations and tend to have short, miserable lives. Because of this, these organisations often run schemes to encourage neutering and to help with the costs if you’re on a low income or benefits.
Cats Protection runs a means-tested neutering scheme. You can call their dedicated helpline on 03000 12 12 12 to find out if you’re eligible. If you are, you’ll get a voucher for free or reduced-cost neutering.
If you’re struggling to meet the cost of neutering your cat, check with your local animal shelters and rescue centres to find out if you’re eligible for reduced-cost or free neutering where you live.