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How Much Does An Overnight Stay At The Vet Cost For A Cat? (Updated in 2023)

As you go through life with your furry feline friend by your side, your idea of a vet visit may be an annual exam that only takes an hour or two out of your day. However, what happens when your vet tells you your cat needs to stay overnight? It can be an unexpected turn of events that costs you emotionally—as well as financially.

Find out why your cat may need to stay overnight, how much it can cost, and ways to prepare for it. The more informed you are, the better you can navigate a situation that can change rapidly.

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The Importance of Leaving Your Cat Overnight At The Vet

When it comes to our beloved pets, we don’t like to leave them for long, especially in a strange environment. You may feel that no one can care for your special kitty as well as you can. However, there are certain cases where a professional touch is required. If your cat needs IV fluids or special medications, they will need to stay at the clinic. If they are undergoing testing and need constant supervision, it is wise to have professional monitoring of your cat to detect any adverse symptoms. What if there is a sudden change of condition in your cat that calls for quick action and special equipment? It’s best for your pet to be onsite should any of these situations arise. It could make the difference between life and death.

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Reasons for An Overnight Vet Visit

Wondering when you would have to leave your cat overnight? Below are some situations where a quick day visit isn’t enough.

Emergency Care

One of the most common reasons for leaving your cat at the vet’s office overnight, emergency care is the nightmare that cat owners try to prepare for but don’t want to imagine. Whether it’s a traumatic accident or food poisoning, there may come a day when your cat needs immediate treatment that goes beyond a simple prescription.

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If your cat needs a surgical procedure that opens up a body cavity, they should stay at least one night for proper care and supervision. Depending on their age, overall health, and the type of surgery, they may have to stay even longer.

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Post-operative care

After surgery, your cat is vulnerable to complications and infections, so round-the-clock monitoring is sometimes required. They may also need medications that you can’t administer. In that case, they should stay with the vet until they can safely return home.

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Minimize travel stress

If your cat needs to visit the vet multiple days in a row, it may be easier for them to stay there and avoid the stress of traveling back and forth every day. You know your cat best and how they will handle changes to their lifestyle and the added travel. Staying in a new environment may just outweigh the stress and anxiety of constantly being on the move.

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Does your cat have a procedure scheduled early the next morning? Instead of dragging yourself (and your cat) out of the house at a ridiculous hour, it can be much easier to take them to the office the night before. That gives them time to acclimatize to their surroundings and the people who will be taking care of them. Hopefully, they will be in a more relaxed state when it comes time to be treated.

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In the unfortunate case that your cat isn’t vaccinated for rabies and got bitten by a rabid animal, the choices are euthanasia or quarantine. This is a more severe, long-term situation where your pet would need to be quarantined and monitored for four months. Fortunately, this is not a common occurrence due to most cat owners getting their pets vaccinated.

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How Much Does Leaving Your Cat Overnight at The Vet Cost?

The cost to keep your cat overnight at the vet’s office can vary greatly depending on what needs to be done during their stay. For example, if your cat is getting emergency care, they may need blood work, x-rays, wound treatment, or even emergency surgery. In other cases, they may need IV fluids all night to combat severe dehydration or testing to reach a diagnosis.

Because of all the variables, there is no one concrete answer to how much it will cost, and you will need to talk to your vet to find out exactly what they charge and why. But be aware, the bill can add up very quickly and end up costing more than you anticipated.

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Price Range of Overnight Vet Care

Prices vary greatly when it comes to overnight vet care. Location plays a big part. Veterinarians in cities usually charge more than a small, rural practice. However, the larger vet hospitals found in urban areas will also have the necessary resources to handle all kinds of emergencies.

Below, we will look at prices by region to give you a better idea of what you may encounter.

East Coast

Artemis Veterinary Emergency & Specialty Services Gainesville, Virginia

  • 24-hour hospitalization with IV fluids and meds: $1,200
  • Diagnostics (bloodwork, radiographs, etc.): $20–$250 each
  • Emergency visit: $90–$120
  • Anesthesia and surgery: $3000–$4000
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Animal Care Center Cincinnati, Ohio

  • Overnight stay with testing and treatment: $2,200
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Image Credit: Maria Sbytova, Shutterstock
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West Coast

Affordable Animal Hospital Los Angeles, California

  • Radiographs: $135–$150 for two views
  • Pre-op blood test: $80
  • Anesthesia: $45–$85
  • Exploratory surgery: $900 and up
  • Mass removal: $150 and up

Additional Costs to Anticipate

When it comes to vet visits, whether planned or not, you never know what can happen. Simple X-rays can turn into emergency surgery. Odd symptoms can lead to a night of tests.

During a routine exam, the vet may want to do bloodwork, which could cost anywhere from $80 to $150. Your cat may need medication while there and more after returning home. If you know that diagnostics will be necessary, plan on spending at least $150–$200. The unfortunate truth is that you won’t know how much everything will cost until your vet tells you exactly what your cat needs.

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How Often Should I Expect My Cat to Stay Overnight at the Vet?

Ideally, an overnight vet stay will be a rare occurrence for your cat. If they are healthy and receive regular veterinary care, you most likely won’t have to deal with this situation. However, unforeseen conditions and accidents do happen, so it’s good to be prepared for anything—even if it has never happened to your furry friend.

As your cat ages, you may be dealing with health issues that didn’t exist in their younger years. Does your cat go outdoors? Is he susceptible to certain diseases? Your cat’s age, breed, and lifestyle can affect their likelihood of long stays at the vet.

Does Pet Insurance Cover Overnight Vet Costs for Your Cat?

Yes, pet insurance covers many of the costs associated with an overnight stay at the vet’s office. Embrace Pet Insurance covers emergency and surgical procedures, dental treatment, and hospitalization. They don’t cover preexisting conditions, though.

Another popular insurance company, Healthy Paws Pet Insurance, reimburses up to 90% of vet costs and covers routine care, emergency care, alternative treatment, and hereditary conditions. They also don’t cover preexisting conditions.

An important thing to know about pet insurance: companies don’t pay upfront and only reimburse after the fact. That means that you are still responsible to fork over the full amount before your cat receives treatment.

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What To Do To Prevent Or Prepare For Overnight Vet Costs

As pet owners, we hate being caught by surprise by the unexpected, but we can make a game plan beforehand. Regular vet visits will make sure your cat is healthy and catch any issues. Good food and care go a long way to preventing serious health conditions.

Find a vet that you trust, so that if the time comes for an extended stay, both you and your cat are as comfortable as possible. Finally, make sure your finances are in order and you have the resources necessary. Pet insurance may be a good option for you, or you can discuss payment plans with your vet. You may not be able to control everything that happens in life, but you can have the peace of mind that comes from good preparation.

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An overnight stay at the vet doesn’t usually happen often, but some circumstances call for it. Emergency care, surgery, post-operative care, and travel stress are all valid reasons to leave your precious kitty in the hands of professionals. Unfortunately, the treatments and care will determine the cost of his stay, and the bill can add up quickly.

You may want to consider pet insurance, discuss payment plans with your vet, and set aside some money for any kitty emergencies. There is no way to predict the future, but you can prepare for it as much as possible.

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Featured Image: Kzenon, Shutterstock