The cost of neutering a cat in the UK

Abbie Laughton-Coles
Abbie Laughton-Coles
Updated 5 October 2022  | 4 mins read

As many as 1.3 million cats in the UK aren’t neutered, according to a survey conducted by Cats Protection in 2021.

And with females having the potential to give birth to three litters of kittens per year from the age of just four months, that can result in a huge number of strays and cats needing to be rehomed, or worse, left abandoned.

Find out everything you need to know about neutering your furry friend.

Key points

  • Neutering your cat will not be covered by your pet insurance
  • It costs more to neuter a female cat than a male cat
  • Cats should be neutered right after their primary vaccinations at four months old

What is cat neutering?

Neutering is a surgical operation which stops a cat from reproducing.

For male cats, it’s done by castration, which is removal of the testicles.

In females, the uterus is removed as well as both ovaries, so they’re unable to fall pregnant.

How long will recovery take?

Neutering takes place under general anaesthetic, so it will take a while for your cat to come around fully.

They’ll be given drugs to minimise any pain or discomfort after surgery and if the operation went smoothly, it should take around a week for a male cat to recover.

Female cats will need to recoup and rest for a while longer as they’ve had abdominal surgery. Generally, this takes up to two weeks.

After your cat has been neutered, make sure to:

  • Keep them inside to rest up until they’re fighting fit again
  • Create a quiet and comfy place for them to recuperate, ideally on the ground so they don’t need to jump or stretch excessively
  • Check on the incision daily. If it’s inflamed, swollen or there’s discharge after the initial 48 hours post-surgery, contact your vet
  • Allow them to sleep and avoid picking them up more than required
  • Provide them with fresh water and a small amount of their favourite food. They may not be interested in eating straight away
  • Give them a cat litter tray, but fill it with shredded paper (not newspaper or cat litter), so they don’t get dust in their incision
  • Use an Elizabethan collar if they’re constantly licking their incision

If you’re concerned that your cat isn’t recovering well, contact your vet who can advise on whether you need to bring them in or not.

How much does it cost to neuter a cat?

In May 2022, the average cost of neutering a male cat was £76.06 and it was £107.95 for a female to be spayed, according to ManyPets.

Is there a difference between neutering male and female cats?

Yes, spaying a female cat is a more complicated process which involves abdominal surgery, whereas castrating a male is less intrusive and can even take less than 10 minutes to perform. Because of this, you’ll pay more for neutering a female.

Also, female cats will need to rest for longer after their surgery than male cats, who may not even realise anything has changed, which can make keeping them inside for recovery a hard task.

Is there a difference in cost depending where I live in the UK?

Yes, where you live can make a difference to the cost of neutering for both male and female cats.

ManyPets found that the South East was the most expensive for male castration (£90.67) and the South West was the cheapest (£58.27).

For females, London was the most expensive (£120.58) and the South West was again the cheapest (£93.06).

Here’s a full breakdown of the average cost of neutering by region

Region Average cost of castrating male Average cost of spaying female
London £90.25 £120.58
South East £90.67 £105.97
South West £58.27 £93.06
Central Region £74.13 £104.25
North £71.78 £110.15
Scotland £78.83 £118.75
Wales £69.57 £98.96

Types of neutering

When a male cat is neutered, two small incisions are made, one over each testicle, which are then removed and tied off. They may not even require stitches as the cuts are so small.

For a female, the incision is made on the abdomen to access the ovaries and womb which are removed and tied off. The cut on the tummy can be done through their side (known as the flank) or on their midline (straight across the abdomen). This will then be stitched up layer by layer.

Your vet may prefer one method over the other, or they may offer both and you can decide.

What’s included?

The cost of neutering your cat will likely include:

  • Pre and post-operation check ups
  • Anaesthesia and surgery
  • Pain relief
  • Elizabethan collar (if required)

It will depend on your vet though, so it’s always best to check before committing.

If your cat has complications after neutering and requires medical treatment, this won’t be included in the cost.

Benefits of neutering

There are other advantages to getting your cat neutered as soon as possible, apart from the obvious lack of surprise kittens.

In males:

  • Reduce the cat’s urge to roam and fight while looking for a mate
  • Lower their chance of catching feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), which can be spread in the saliva of cats while fighting
  • Less inclination to spray and urine mark
  • Lowers the chance of being diagnosed with prostate cancer
  • No risk of testicular cancer

In females:

  • Risk of breast cancer reduced
  • Much lower chance of being diagnosed with a potentially fatal infection of the womb called pyometra
  • Pregnancy and birth can result in health complications
  • Keeping a cat that’s in heat inside can be distressing for the animal and you
  • Less likely to roam trying to find a mate
  • There won’t be any unneutered male cats paying your home a visit when your female is in season, which can be multiple times a year

Apart from the benefits to your pet, neutering your cat means you won’t have to care for and rehome a litter of kittens up to three times a year. Remember that indoor cats can still escape and run riot in the neighbourhood, so it’s best to get them neutered, too.

Plus, it can help reduce the significant number of abandoned and stray cats in the UK.

What age should cats be neutered?

It’s recommended that cats are neutered immediately after they’ve had their primary vaccinations, which is around four months old.

This is because female cats reach sexual maturity at this age and it’s six months for male cats. Getting it done before they reach puberty will eliminate the chance of your kitten getting pregnant or sowing their wild oats in the local area.

It’s possible to neuter a cat at any age though.

Does pet insurance cover neutering?

No, pet insurance will not cover the cost of routine procedures including:

  • Neutering
  • Vaccinations, including boosters
  • Microchipping
  • Flea and worm treatment

If you’re struggling to cover the cost of neutering your cat, you may be eligible for help from a charity like Blue Cross or Cats Protection.