Taking care of a cat is not free or easy. Cats require love, discipline, protection, and high-quality food to thrive. They also need to see the veterinarian regularly to ensure that their health stays strong throughout their life. It is easy to tabulate how much food, bedding, and toys will cost you as time goes on. But how much will it cost to get your cat veterinarian care in the coming years? Here is everything you need to know about the average cost of a vet visit for cats in 2021.
How Much Is a Vet Visit for a Cat?
There is no way to know exactly how much a visit to the vet with your cat will cost because it depends on many things, including the reason for the visit, the types of tests that may be done, and how long the visit takes overall. It also depends on where you live and what type of animal care facility you decide to visit.
A basic checkup, sometimes referred to as a wellness exam, typically consists of an oral “interview,” where your vet will ask questions about things like how well your cat is eating and drinking, the amount of exercise that they get daily, their litterbox habits, whether they have been in any catfights or accidents recently, and their overall behavior.
After the question-and-answer period, your vet will complete a physical examination of your cat, checking their bones and muscles to ensure that no unseen injuries are present. They will also check how alert your cat is, the quality of your cat’s coat, and the condition of their teeth. Ear and nose discharge, eye cloudiness, and abnormal body lumps will also be looked for.
The cost of a basic checkup can cost anywhere between $40 and $150, depending on where you live. You may need to see a veterinarian for reasons other than just a checkup, in which case, the cost of seeing the veterinarian may differ greatly. Here is a chart of a few service examples and the average cost of said services by region.
Standard Vet Procedures by Region
|Procedure||West Coast||Midwest||East Coast|
|Professional Teeth Cleaning||$367.95||$335.95||$353.95|
|Neuter package (6+ months)||$257.95||$241.95||$250.95|
|Neuter package (less than 6 months)||$205.95||$193.95||$200.95|
|Spay package (6+ months)||$347.95||$327.95||$339.95|
|Spay package (less than 6 months)||$295.95||$278.95||$288.95|
In addition to the basic service options, there are other specific services that we can address so you have a ballpark idea of how much each of them may cost when the times for such services come.
One or more of your cat’s teeth may need to be extracted due to problems such as crowding, fractures, or an abnormal bite that affects their ability to eat food. Tooth decay and disease can also result in the need for an extraction. The cost of tooth extraction for cats can cost anywhere from $250 to more than $1,000, depending on the type of extraction and the types of medications and tools that will be utilized during the extraction process.
Cats over the age of 7 should get regular geriatric screenings. This type of examination is more comprehensive than a wellness checkup and typically includes things like full bloodwork, a urinalysis, and if necessary, X-rays. Each geriatric checkup could cost between $75 and $200, depending on the specific services that you choose to include in your cat’s geriatric package.
Allergy treatments involve more than just prescribing medication. Your veterinarian will have to test your cat for allergies to figure out exactly what is causing their allergic reactions. Once a cause is determined, they can figure out the best course of action to help your cat avoid or fight off the cause of their allergies. Therefore, you can expect allergy treatments for your cat to cost somewhere between $300 and $1,000.
Cats are susceptible to becoming infected with intestinal worms, especially if they spend any of their time outdoors. Unfortunately, multiple types of parasites could find a home in your cat’s body. These include roundworms, hookworms, and tapeworms. Luckily, your cat can be treated for worms at the vet’s office. Your vet will first do a fecal test to figure out exactly what type of worms your cat is infested with, which can cost somewhere between $30 and $80. Medication to treat the worms should cost less than $25.
If your cat develops cataracts, develops cherry eye, or has entropion, they may require eye surgery. Unfortunately, no type of eye surgery is inexpensive. For example, it could cost up to $3,000 to remove cataracts and complete similar procedures. The average cost of less invasive and laborious eye surgeries is about $1,400.
What to Expect Financially From an Emergency Vet Visit
You never know when you might need to take your cat in for an emergency visit, whether because they get injured, become ill, or ingest something that they should not. The cost of just walking in the door to see a vet due to an emergency can cost anywhere between $75 and $150. However, costs do not stop there. Depending on the situation, you could face charges for one or more of the following services.
Diagnostic tests can include blood work ($75-$200), an X-ray ($150-$250), and an ultrasound ($300-$600). Overall, you could be looking at anywhere from $75 to $1,000 just for diagnostics alone.
Twenty-four hours of hospitalization for your cat could cost upward of $1,500, not including any treatments or services that are rendered during that time. The longer your cat must stay hospitalized, the less expensive each day or hospitalization becomes. So, if your cat is in the hospital for five days, you could pay about $3,000.
Being hit by a vehicle, developing bloat, or ingesting a foreign body are just a few of the reasons that your cat would need emergency surgery. While there is no way to know exactly how much surgery will cost until you know the reason for the surgery, you can expect to pay between $1,500 and $4,000.
Which Vet Bills Do Pet Insurance Companies Cover?
Many companies sell pet insurance to help cover the costs of some veterinarian services that your cat receives throughout their life. Most pet insurance companies cover a percentage of the bill for the emergency, accident, and sudden illness vet services in exchange for you paying them a monthly premium. For an extra monthly fee, some insurance companies will cover the costs of preventative care, including wellness exams, deworming, and flea treatments, minus a deductible.
Most companies offer reimbursement plans, which means that they will pay you back after you pay for the veterinarian services yourself. However, depending on the insurance company and the vet you are working with, you may be able to score a plan that does not require you to pay for services out of pocket at all.
How Often Should I Take My Cat to the Vet?
Kittens and cats should see a veterinarian once a year for a wellness checkup and to get any vaccinations that are required. Flea and deworming treatments can be done at home and require nothing more than a quick stop to pick medications up from the vet when necessary (usually monthly for regular flea treatments). Once your cat reaches the age of 7, your veterinarian may suggest that you come in for wellness checkups twice a year, as changes in a senior cat’s health can happen quickly.
Veterinarian care for a cat is not cheap, but it is necessary. Your cat cannot experience a happy, healthy, high-quality life without getting regular checkups and proper vaccinations. Even cats that live exclusively indoors need to be vaccinated, as they are not completely protected from a disease that lives outside. We hope that our guide helps prepare you for any veterinarian visits that you make with your cat in the future.
Featured Image Credit: Stock-Asso, Shutterstock
- How Much Is a Vet Visit for a Cat?
- Standard Vet Procedures by Region
- Additional Costs
- What to Expect Financially From an Emergency Vet Visit
- Which Vet Bills Do Pet Insurance Companies Cover?
- How Often Should I Take My Cat to the Vet?