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Pet Insurance 101

Here’s how much it costs to spay a cat

Learn how spaying benefits cats’ overall health.

If you're a pet parent to a kitten, there'll likely come a time when you have to decide whether or not to spay your cat. It can be a big decision, especially if you're unfamiliar with the process. If you're scratching your head and wondering what spaying even entails, don't worry, we've got you covered. 

Why do cats get spayed?

"A spay is the removal of the ovaries and uterus, and in some cases, just the ovaries are removed," Dr. Aliya McCullough, Fetch's on-staff veterinarian, says. 

Cats are usually spayed around 6 months old, but it sometimes happens much earlier, she adds. The procedure prevents unplanned pregnancies (especially for outdoor cats), but it also can prevent mammary cancer and prevent behaviors associated with cats' heat cycles like vocalizing, urine spraying, rolling and attention-seeking attitudes. 

How much does it cost to spay a cat?

The cost of the surgery depends on your cat's size, age, health status, geographic location and veterinary hospital and can range from $100 to over $1,000, Dr. McCullough explains. 

"For example, if the cat is spayed at a low-cost clinic or a rescue, it will generally cost less than at a private veterinary hospital," she adds. 

Fetch Wellness, an optional add-on to Fetch Pet Insurance, offers coverage for routine and preventive care such as spaying and neutering.

Like most pet insurance providers, Fetch’s standard injury and illness insurance doesn't cover the cost of spaying a cat. The procedure is standard, but there is always a risk of complications, like pain, swelling, bleeding, infection or incision opening. If your cat experiences complications, they'll likely be up for coverage (as long as the procedure happened within the effective start date of your policy and after the waiting period).

RELATED: How to help your cat live a long, healthy life

How can I prepare my cat to be spayed?

Your veterinarian can tell you the best way to prepare your cat for the procedure. For example, some veterinarians recommend an examination and blood work before the surgery to lessen the chance of complications. Other times, they may recommend withholding food or water before the surgery.

Ensure your cat is familiar with their carrier before surgery as they'll travel to and from the hospital in it. 

Will my cat change after being spayed? 

Don't worry about your best friend's personality changing after being spayed, Dr. McCullough says. Usually, they'll remain entirely the same. Cats' behavior only changes when they're in heat (they become pushy), and spaying will stop this pattern. 

Before spaying a cat, their estrogen levels work to suppress their appetite. That may change after the procedure, Dr. McCullough says. Don't be surprised if your cat gains a little weight after the surgery with their increased appetite and a slower metabolism. 

How can I make my cat comfortable after being spayed?

Cats usually recover from the procedure within 10 to 14 days, Dr. McCullough says. However, it can take longer depending on your cat. We know you can’t wait until your best friend feels better, but here are some vet-approved ways to make them feel comfortable during their recovery:

  • Follow your veterinarian's instructions, including medication distribution, incision care and follow-up appointments. 
  • Ensure your cat has access to quiet areas where they can rest (away from other pets and children).
  • Bring their water and food bowls and litter boxes near them for easy access. 
  • Monitor your cat’s incision and any changes in their behavior. If something is off, call your veterinarian.

Now, armed with these tips, you'll be able to confidently decide to spay your cat and know how to help them after their recovery. 

The Dig, Fetch's expert-backed editorial, answers all of the questions you forget to ask your vet or are too embarrassed to ask at the dog park. We help make sure you and your best friend have more good days, but we’re there on bad days, too.

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