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What’s the Price of Spaying or Neutering a Cat in Australia (Costs in 2023)

Many Australian cat owners are required to have their cats spayed or neutered by a certain age due to mandatory desexing legislation in certain states or territories. Even if you don’t live in one of those areas, it’s still a good idea to have your cat spayed or neutered. Not only does it help reduce the number of feral and homeless cats, but it also has numerous health benefits for your pet.

As a surgical procedure, however, desexing a cat can be one of the pricier items on the veterinary bill.

So how much does it cost to spay or neuter your feline friend in Australia? We checked sample prices from clinics across Australia to give you a better idea of how much your budget should be.

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The Importance of Spaying or Neutering a Cat

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Spaying or neutering a cat involves surgically removing the reproductive organs of a female or male cat so it can no longer reproduce. The benefits of desexing cats are well-documented, and this includes:

1. Reducing the number of unwanted cats

Cats can reproduce as early as 5 months old, and females can get pregnant up to 3 times a year. A litter can have anywhere from 2 to 10 kittens, leading to a rapid population increase if left unchecked.

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2. Protecting Australia’s ecosystem

Cats—mostly feral ones—kill 2 billion animals in Australia every year. They do the most damage in the bush, where native wildlife is struggling to survive. In fact, feral cats have driven over 12 species to extinction and even to the brink of dying out.

Even in urban areas, stray cats hunt down birds, reptiles, and other small animals. Spaying and neutering cats, including pets, are one of the simplest and most effective ways to reduce their population and, consequently, the damage to Australia’s fragile ecosystems.

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3. Improving cat health and behaviour

Desexing cats can help pets live healthier, safer, and happier lives. For instance, spaying eliminates the risk of uterine and ovarian cancer in female cats. Meanwhile, neutering eliminates the risk of testicular cancer in male cats.

Neutered male cats are also less likely to roam and get into fights with other cats. Finally, spaying or neutering can help reduce the amount of yowling, marking, and other behaviours that can be associated with an unaltered cat.

How Much Does Spaying or Neutering a Cat Cost?

neutering cat on a vet's operating table
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The price of desexing your cat can vary wildly depending on factors like your cat’s age, health, sex, location, and the vet clinic you choose.

To give you a clearer picture of the cost of desexing your cat in Australia, here’s a sample price list from select vet clinics across the country. All prices are in Australian dollars:

Victoria South Australia Sydney New South Wales
Spay (Female Cats) AU$245.00 AU$302.60 AU$329.00 from AU$785.00
Neuter (Male Cats) AU$162.00 AU$133.25 AU$183.00 from AU$380.00

As you can see, spaying a cat is always more expensive than neutering one. That’s because spaying involves abdominal surgery, during which the vet removes the uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes.

Meanwhile, neutering is a much simpler procedure since it just involves removing the testicles, and in most cases, this can be done without making any complex incisions.

Depending on where you live, you may be able to qualify for low-cost spaying or neutering services. For instance, Australians in Sydney with a health care card or pension concession are eligible for discounted desexing. Melbourne also offers a desexing voucher scheme.

If you don’t qualify, try messaging the RSPCA or contacting the National Desexing Network for references to low-cost desexing services in your area.

Additional Costs to Anticipate

Apart from the surgery itself, spaying or neutering your cat comes with other costs. Generally, you’ll also need to budget for the following:

  • Preoperative Blood Tests: To make sure your cat is healthy enough to undergo the procedure, the vet will do a few blood tests to check your pet’s organ functions.
  • Anaesthesia: This is a mandatory part of having your cat spayed or neutered. It keeps them safe, comfortable, and still during the procedure.
  • Painkillers: To reduce post-operative discomfort, the vet may recommend a course of painkillers.
  • Antibiotics: To ward off infections, the vet may also prescribe a course of antibiotics.
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Optional expenses:

  • Vet Boarding Costs: Spaying and neutering are usually outpatient procedures, and you’ll be able to take your cat home within the day. In case of complications, however, they may need to stay with the vet for a few days.
  • Pet Sitting Costs: Your cat will need to be watched closely after the procedure, especially if you have a female kitty. If you can’t be around, you may need to hire a pet sitter to help with your cat’s recovery.

Keep in mind that these costs vary from clinic to clinic and aren’t always included in the desexing fees. Make sure to ask your vet for a complete list of fees and services so you won’t be surprised come payment time.

What’s the Best Time to Spay or Neuter a Cat?

The best time to spay or neuter your cat is around 5 to 6 months before they reach sexual maturity. It also depends on where you live in Australia:

Remember to check your local council’s regulations for any other desexing laws in your area.

Does Pet Insurance Cover Spaying or Neutering a Cat?

Most pet insurance companies consider spaying or neutering as a routine expense and won’t cover it.

However, some pet insurance plans do specifically choose to cover these expenses, while others have optional wellness plans that might cover the procedure. But it’s best to view these policies as the exception, not the rule.

If you plan on spaying or neutering your cat, the costs typically fall on you, and pet insurance won’t be of much help in this department.

pet insurance coverage
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How to Prepare for Your Cat’s Spay or Neuter Procedure

The thought of your beloved cat undergoing surgery may be daunting, but it’s actually a very safe and straightforward process. Most healthy cats recover in a few days with no lasting negative effects.

To make the experience less stressful for you and your cat, keep these tips in mind:

  • Prepare a quiet and comfortable space for your cat to recover in. It should be away from other pets and children, with no access to stairs or any areas that may involve jumping.
  • Talk to your vet about preoperative fasting. Some clinics require cats to be fasted for 12 hours before the procedure, while others may be okay with a few hours of fasting.
  • Make sure to bring a carrier when you take your cat to the vet, as it’s the safest way to transport them.
  • Buy an Elizabethan collar, or “cone of shame“, before the procedure. This will help prevent your cat from licking or biting the area while it’s healing. As an alternative, you can also find post-surgical shirts or wraps.
  • Consider taking a few days off work to help your cat during the recovery process.
  • Some cats lose their appetite after the procedure, so consider buying a can or two of special recovery food to help them get back to their normal eating routine.

Once the procedure is done, ask your vet for advice on how to care for your cat at home. Follow all instructions to the letter, especially when it comes to medication. Cats can be notoriously finicky, so make sure to keep a close eye on your furry friend.

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Having your cat spayed or neutered can significantly enhance both their quality of life and your relationship with each other. While it does come at a cost, it’s ultimately worth it.

We recommend comparing prices around before deciding on a clinic to ensure you get the best and most affordable service. Additionally, explore local resources to see whether you qualify for any discounts or special offers.

Overall, spaying or neutering your cat is an important step toward keeping them healthy and happy. With a bit of preparation and some TLC after the procedure, you can look forward to many years of joy and companionship with your beloved cat.

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