How Much Does a Vet Visit Cost for Cats?

Four Minutes
Sep 25, 2023

Vet visits are an inevitable part of life for all cat owners. The price of annual checkups and potential emergencies should be included when tallying up the total of being a pet parent. So how much does a vet visit cost for a cat? Let’s take a closer look at the most common expenses involved in keeping your kitty healthy.

Cat Vet Visits: The Basics

Not every cat will have the same health requirements, but there are some veterinary basics you should expect to pay for:3

  • Vaccinations: Your cat will need regular vaccinations. This includes core vaccinations, like rabies, feline herpes, feline leukemia, and more.4 Some of these, such as rabies, are required by law. You can expect to pay $80 – $160 for their first year of vaccinations.
  • Wellness exams: Just like dogs (and people), your cat will need an annual checkup to make sure everything is on-track. Your average wellness exam includes a dental check and blood work, which can vary in price depending on what your vet recommends. An average visit can run between $100 – $200, at least.
  • Dental cleaning: Cats are especially prone to dental diseases, including gingivitis, periodontal disease, and tooth resorption.5 So it’s especially important to keep your kitty’s chompers clean. This includes an annual dental cleaning by a professional who can get to those hard-to-reach places. Depending on where you live, expect to pay $350 – $400 to maintain your kitty’s pearly whites.6
    • If your cat needs teeth removed, you can expect to pay another $50 – $130 per tooth.
  • Spaying/Neutering: Spaying/neutering your cat is another important part of responsible pet ownership, especially if you have an outdoor cat. Most animal shelters will do it at no cost or roll it into your adoption fees. Otherwise, spay and neuter clinics can charge as little as $50. It’s a small price for a procedure that will bring your cat countless benefits.3

How often should my cat go to the vet?

Most cats only require 1 – 2 vet visits per year, which can help spread out the total cost.6 Of course, this can change depending on the age and overall health of your cat. Kittens, for instance, should visit the vet monthly for the first 4 months of their life. During that time, they’ll get all the required core vaccines.

Once your cat reaches adulthood (1 year old), they should see the vet every 6 months to 1 year. Mature cats (7 years and older) need two annual visits, so the vet can catch any developing health issues as early as possible. Your vet will recommend a comprehensive geriatric screening to look for specific biomarkers, including:7

  • Urinalysis: This provides information about your cat’s kidney functions and can help identify inflammation and infection.
  • Complete blood count (CBC): A CBC gathers information about your cat’s blood cells, including platelets, white blood cells, and red blood cells.
  • Thyroid hormone testing: This tests hormone levels for thyroid disease, which can damage your cat’s heart, liver, and kidneys.
  • Biochemistry profile: A battery of tests provides information about your cat’s organs and tissues to detect diabetes, kidney disease, and other disorders.
  • Blood pressure test: This tests your cat for signs of hypertension.

In total, this screening process averages $200 – $250 per visit.

Emergency Vet Visit Costs for Cats

When it comes to our cats’ health, there’s only so much we can plan for. That’s why it’s important to be aware of what you could need to pay for down the line:6

  • Diagnosis: If you suspect something is wrong with your kitty, your vet will likely have to run a number of tests and examinations to identify the problem. Some of the most common diagnostic expenses include:
    • X-rays ($150 – $250): X-ray imaging is a noninvasive way to examine bones for internal injuries.
    • Ultrasound ($300 – $600): An ultrasound uses sound waves to examine internal tissues, organs, and pregnancies. Ultrasound is usually an elective procedure.
    • Blood work ($80 – $200): Your vet may require blood work if they suspect your cat has a disease, parasite, allergy, or cancer.
    • Fecal exam ($25 – $40): Fecal exams help your vet determine if your cat has a digestive problem, a parasite, or is malnourished.
  • Treatment: Once the issue has been identified, your vet will recommend treatment. Depending on the problem, this could include surgery, medication, hospitalization, and more:
    • Short-term hospitalization ($600 – $1,500): Depending on the procedure, your vet may require your cat to spend 1 – 2 days in the clinic for observation and extended treatment.
    • Long-term hospitalization ($1,500 – $3,000): More serious issues, like kidney failure, may require a stay of 3 – 5 days.
    • Wound treatment ($800 – $1,500): If your cat got into a fight or was injured by a vehicle, wound treatment will include the cost of anesthesia, cleaning, and stitches.
    • Emergency surgery ($1,500 – $3,000): More extreme injuries may require invasive surgery, the cost of which can increase based on the severity of the wound.

Does Pet Insurance Cover the Vet Visit Cost for Cats?

Regular vet visits are an essential step in keeping your cat healthy, but the costs can add up. Many pet parents are forced to choose between their furry friend’s health and their own bank accounts, especially when faced with unexpected emergencies.

Fortunately, cat insurance can help cover many of these expenses.2 Accident and illness policies typically cover some or all of the cost of emergency tests and treatments. And with MetLife’s wellness add-on, you can be reimbursed for the cost of routine check-ups and screenings, including vaccinations.1, 8

Ready to see how much your and your kitty could save? Get started today with a free quote from MetLife Pet Insurance.

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1 Pet Insurance offered by MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 485 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10022, and Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MetGen”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886, in those states where MetGen’s policies are available. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is the policy administrator authorized by IAIC and MetGen to offer and administer pet insurance policies. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC was previously known as PetFirst Healthcare, LLC and in some states continues to operate under that name pending approval of its application for a name change. The entity may operate under an alternate, assumed, and/or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions as approved, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota), MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois), and such other alternate, assumed, or fictitious names approved by certain jurisdictions.

2 Provided all terms of the policy are met. Application is subject to underwriting review and approval. Like most insurance policies, insurance policies issued by IAIC and MetGen contain certain deductibles, co-insurance, exclusions, exceptions, reductions, limitations, and terms for keeping them in force. For costs, complete details of coverage and exclusions, and a listing of approved states, please contact MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC.

3 “The Costs of Responsible Cat Ownerships,” The Spruce Pets

4 “Core Vaccines for Pet Cats,” AAHA

5 “Dental Disease in Cats,” VCA Animal Hospital

6 “Vet Visits for Cats: How Much Will it Cost (2022 Price Guide),” Pet Keen

7 “Wellness Testing for Senior Cats,” VCA Animal Hospital

8 Can be purchased at an additional cost.

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