How Much Do Vet Visits Cost for Cats?

There are many reasons why you have to take your cat to the veterinarian. Your feline can be sick and you will have to take it to a vet for medical attention. But how much does a vet visit cost for a sick cat?

How much does a vet visit cost for a sick cat

How much is a vet visit for a cat?

The price of a vet visit for a sick cat can vary depending on the type of illness, the veterinarian you choose, and where you live.

A routine, non-emergency visit costs an average of $50, while emergency care starts at $300 and extends upwards to several thousand dollars.

Some cats are prescribed oral antibiotics, but others require injections. If that is the case, the bill could easily exceed $100 per vet visit depending on the medication needed. If your cat has a more serious condition, then you’ll be looking at $100-$200 or more.

If your cat needs surgery, then you won’t even want to think about how much it will cost! I would highly recommend getting pet insurance. It can be a lifesaver and help to keep your pet healthy and happy!

Here are some costs of surgeries (these are all in addition to the cost of the vet visit):

  • $500 – $700 for spay or neuter
  • $1000 – $1500 for bladder stone removal (depending on severity)
  • $800 – $2000 for hip dysplasia (depending on severity)
  • $1000 – $5000 for cancer treatment (depending on the type of cancer and length of treatment)

An emergency or urgent care vet visit (in which your cat is experiencing an emergency situation) tends to be more expensive than a routine or preventative care vet visit. The most expensive emergency room vet visits are those in which your cat needs to be hospitalized.

Cats that need to stay overnight for treatment or observation will be charged for each night they stay there.

If your cat is experiencing an emergency, as soon as you notice the warning signs, call your veterinarian or closest animal hospital. If it’s after hours, call them anyway and ask if there is an after-hours emergency number you can call. If not, check online for the nearest 24-hour animal hospital.

How often should a cat go to the vet?

The American Veterinary Medical Association recommends that cats visit the vet at least once per year for an annual exam. If your cat is over age 12, the AVMA recommends that she visit the vet twice per year. The first visit should be for a general exam and the second to focus on dental health.

According to the American Association of Feline Practitioners, which represents more than 5,000 veterinarians who specialize in treating cats, you should bring your cat to the veterinarian at least once every six months to ensure your pet is healthy and receives preventive care.

Some cats need more frequent visits. Kittens, for example, should be seen every three to four weeks until they are about four months old, then every two to three months until they are six months old. After that, they should come in at least once a year.

Pregnant cats, who have special dietary and health needs, should be seen every two to three weeks during the first half of their pregnancy and every week during the second half. A cat that is ill or has an injury may need to be seen more frequently as well.

When it comes to caring for your cat’s teeth, it’s helpful to have a daily routine at home that includes tooth brushing or providing oral care gels and treats that are specifically formulated for cats.

It’s important to note that these are just general guidelines. Every cat is different and some may require more or less frequent vet visits than others.

What happens if you don’t take your cat to the vet?

If you don’t take your cat in for regular checkups, problems that could otherwise have been treated may go undetected until it’s too late. Some diseases can progress very quickly, so it’s best to see a vet if you suspect there’s something wrong with your cat.

Here are some of the more common issues that could affect your cat if you don’t take them to the vet regularly:

  • Fleas: Fleas are small wingless insects that feed on blood, causing itching and flea allergic dermatitis in many cats. Cats become infected with fleas from other cats and dogs — and from people too!
  • Cat flu: Cat flu is an upper respiratory tract disease caused by either feline herpes virus or feline calicivirus. These viruses cause inflammation of the nose and throat, which makes breathing difficult and stops cats from eating properly. Cat flu can cause eye ulcers and oral disease too. Cat flu is highly contagious and can spread rapidly among unvaccinated cats.
  • Feline diabetes: Diabetes is a serious condition for cats, and it can be fatal if it isn’t treated. The only way to know if your cat is suffering from this disease is to have her tested by a veterinarian.
  • Dental diseases: Cats can get dental diseases as they age and this can cause infections in the mouth and other parts of the body which may require surgery or hospitalization.
  • Kidney or heart problems: If they do not get regular veterinary care, cats can develop kidney or heart problems which may become life-threatening without treatment.
  • Ear infections: Ear infections may not be obvious to the untrained eye, but if left untreated they can cause discomfort and pain to your pet, and possibly permanent damage to their hearing.
  • Hyperthyroidism: One of the most common diseases seen in cats is hyperthyroidism and although this is largely treatable with daily medication, it is important that it is picked up early to prevent complications from developing.

Your veterinarian is trained to detect health problems in cats. You may think you know your cat better than anyone, but medical professionals have years of experience diagnosing and treating cats. In addition to detecting problems early on, your vet will also be able to provide you with tips for preventing future illness, such as dietary changes and vaccinations.

Conclusion of vet checkup for a sick cat

Pet owners should know how much a vet visit costs for a sick cat so they can budget accordingly.

The cost of veterinary care can vary considerably depending on what’s needed and how involved the treatment is. Some cats may need simple blood work or medication while others require a complex procedure or surgery.

The average cost for a basic veterinary visit is between $50 and $300 depending on whether you take your cat to an emergency clinic or not. If you take your cat in during regular business hours, it will likely be less expensive than if you take her in after-hours or on the weekend.

Emergency cat clinic visits can cost anywhere between $300 and $1,000 or more, depending on how ill your cat is. If she needs emergency surgery or another procedure, it will be more expensive than if she just needs medication and monitoring.

Hopefully, your cat will never fall ill and you won’t have to worry about the cost of vet visits. While some cats do seem to be more accident-prone than others and seem to get sick more frequently, I think that most cat owners will only have to see their vet once or twice a year at most. But it’s always worth having a plan in place in case something does go wrong.

If you aren’t able to pay for the costs of treating your cat yourself, then it may be worth considering pet insurance. This can be a controversial issue, and many people disagree over whether pet insurance is worth the money, but if you feel that it would give you peace of mind, then it may be worth looking into.

I also think it’s wise to start saving for your cat’s future vet bills before they get sick – after all, an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure!


Hannah Elizabeth is an English animal behavior author, having written for several online publications. With a degree in Animal Behaviour and over a decade of practical animal husbandry experience, Hannah's articles cover everything from pet care to wildlife conservation. When she isn't creating content for blog posts, Hannah enjoys long walks with her Rottweiler cross Senna, reading fantasy novels and breeding aquarium shrimp.

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