Veterinary care is one of the most costly aspects of owning a cat. Spaying is a one-time investment that will keep your cat safe and healthy. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), the average cost of spaying a cat is £94. Unexpected things happen, such as failing health or the loss of a job, that can make it hard to pay for this surgical procedure. Finding an alternative method to fund your cat's spay can ease the financial burden of owning a pet during tough times.
Call your local humane society. Many regional, county or state humane societies allocate funds to help low-income families spay and neuter their pets.
Speak to your local animal shelter. Some shelters have agreements with local veterinarians who are willing to work at a reduced rate. Some shelters also issue vouchers for animals that were adopted through them.
Visit the American Animal Hospital Association's (AAHA) website (see Resources for a link). Seek out information on the "Helping Pets Fund". This funding is provided to clients of accredited AAHA hospitals for the purpose of affording medical care.
Call your veterinarian. Some veterinarians will offer a reduced rate for outstanding clients. Many veterinarians offer payment plans or billing schedules so that the entire cost of the spaying procedure is not incurred at once. Your vet may also be able to point you in the direction of a low-cost or free spay/neuter clinic.
Search for a local veterinary school. Many veterinary schools offer low-income clinic programs to provide lower-cost procedures for their animals. The American Veterinary Medical Association is the accrediting body of veterinary schools. Visit their website (see Resources for a link) or call their headquarters to find a school in your area.
Do not be discouraged if you cannot get a voucher immediately. Animal aid organisations are funded primarily by donations and staffed by volunteers. There may be a waiting list for spay/neuter vouchers or services. Be prepared to show proof of a significant financial hardship in order to receive aid. Receiving public assistance, the loss of a job or a tax return showing income below 150 per cent of the federal poverty guidelines are all generally accepted as proof.
If you cannot keep your cat from becoming pregnant while waiting for a voucher or low-cost services to become available, take her to a veterinarian and pay the costs up front. The cost of one spay surgery is far less than the cost of caring for or re-homing kittens and paying for any complications that may arise as the result of a pregnancy.