Cats can bring companionship and unconditional love to your life. Not only do they offer incredible health benefits such as stress relief, but they are also curious, loyal, fiercely independent, and low maintenance. However, owning a feline friend does come with some costs, particularly when it comes to taking your cat to the vet.
Felines can be prone to a variety of common health issues that could lead to various veterinary expenses. Understanding these costs and building some room in your budget can help you in the case of an emergency vet visit. Read on to learn more about these conditions and the associated costs.
Annual vaccines are necessary for your pet because they help protect it from diseases such as rabies. In fact, vaccines are one of the most common ways to receive medical care from your vet.
Prices for vaccines can vary depending on the type that is needed. For example, vaccinations for cats can cost about $40 to $80 overall for the first year, then about $20 to $50 for each booster shot afterward.
Spaying or neutering
Spaying is the surgical removal of a female cat’s ovaries and uterus. On the other hand, neutering is the removal of a male’s testicles. Owners choose to have their pets spayed or neutered for many reasons, the main one being that they do not want their pet to produce offspring. There are other benefits, too: Some cats can have medical conditions where pregnancy can be dangerous, and spaying also eliminates the risk of uterine and ovarian cancers.
The price for these procedures is around $200 to $500. The overall cost depends on your vet, as well as the pet’s age and size. Shelters and rescues usually offer more cost-effective prices.
Urinary tract infections
Just like humans, cats can get urinary tract infections. This can occur when there is a bacterial infection in the feline’s bladder or urethra. Urinary tract infections in cats are a common condition, however, they can become serious if not treated.
Symptoms can include blood in the pet’s urine, pain in the abdomen and lethargy. Your vet will need to take a urine sample to diagnose this condition. Treatment typically involves antibiotics and costs about $50 to $100 on average. If hospitalization is needed, it could cost upwards of $1,000.
Stomach issues can be common in cats. In fact, hairballs in the stomach can make them vomit. Hairballs can form when hair gathers in the digestive tract, which can slow digestion. They can also occur if a feline has allergies or an ailment such as diabetes. Symptoms of hairballs may include gagging and regurgitation. Your vet may recommend diet changes, which can include giving your furry friend a low level of protein, pumpkin puree, and more water.
Vet visits for hairballs can cost around $50 to $150. In some cases, emergency surgery may be needed if there’s a hairball blockage. This can cost upwards of $400 but does not include bloodwork or other care.
Did you know that your pet’s oral care is an important part of its health? It’s a good idea to take your cat for dental checkups annually. Maintaining a good dental routine for your cat can help prevent ailments such as gingivitis and periodontal disease. The latter affects the teeth and structures around them. Felines over two years old are usually more susceptible to this condition.
You can maintain good dental care for your pet by brushing its teeth regularly. Dental kits can be purchased from your vet. Brush your feline’s teeth with a finger brush designed for cats or sterile gauze strips. Good dental maintenance can also help keep your pet’s breath fresh.
It's essential to check your pet’s teeth periodically yourself. Look for any lesions or sores on its gums, which should be pink and healthy with no swelling, bleeding, or redness. Be sure to check the back of your pet’s mouth, too, for ulcers, foreign bumps, lesions and swelling. Additionally, bad breath could be a sign of an infection. Inform your vet if you find anything that seems abnormal.
Treatment for periodontal disease can cost between $300 and $1,300. It may include x-rays, pain medicine, hospitalization, and anesthesia. It’s imperative to get medical care for this condition because if left untreated, it can cause heart, liver, or kidney disease.
Emergency vet visits can cost between $800 to $1,500 on average. The overall cost can vary depending on the procedures and tests that may be needed. These could include an x-ray, ultrasound, biopsy, or surgery. Keeping up with preventive care can reduce the chances of a pet emergency. Be sure to take your feline for annual vet checkups, which may include body exams, vaccinations, parasite prevention and dental care.
If you find that your pet bills are costly, you can ask if there are any discounts available. Many clinics offer discounts to owners with multiple pets and to senior citizens. In some cases, a clinic may even offer a discount if you refer your friends and family to their services.
How pet insurance can help with these expenses
Applying for pet insurance can be extremely helpful if you own a cat. In fact, this should be one of the first things you do when you acquire your pet. It can help cover some or most of the cost of veterinary treatment and ensure that your furry friend receives the best care. Additionally, it gives you peace of mind, especially in the case of an emergency.
Be sure to shop around and compare plans. Before choosing a policy, consider its annual maximum payout, the reimbursement rate for covered services and its deductible.
Vet visits can be pricey but having pet insurance can save you money in the long run. If your feline friend is dealing with any of the conditions mentioned above, one way to boost its spirits is by giving it a get well soon greeting card. Remember, though, that providing your pet with routine care can prevent potential health problems in the future.
Author bio: Lizz Caputo is Content Strategist at Figo Pet Insurance — provider of the industry’s best pet insurance plans. She is an animal enthusiast and owner of a rescued senior American bully.