Programs in the United States
Below are programs that provide low cost or free spay/neutering, listed by state. Some programs work only with pets of people with low incomes. Some do not consider income but serve only pet cats — or only feral (untame) cats. But other programs serve all kinds of dogs and cats. We believe the listing details below are correct at this writing, but call the program to be sure.
A Free Spay and Neuter program is the only key solution to reduce the number of unwanted animals needlessly killed and born into a society that does not care. We should stop killing and help pass a Free Spay and Neuter program. By offering Free Spay and Neuter assistance to the general public this program can be achieved.
If you know about other low cost or free spay and neuter programs or if you have updates to our listings, please Email us.
If you don’t find a service listed for your area, don’t give up. First, call the offices of Spay/USA and of Friends of Animals (see Nationwide below). They have information about discount spay/neuter services in many towns across the country.
You can probably find other spay/neuter services — maybe some with lower prices — by phoning local humane and cat rescue groups (even groups in nearby towns). Usually such groups keep informed of spay/neuter services in their region. If you have rescued a cat or you caretake ferals, ask local vet clinics whether they offer some kind of good-Samaritan discount.
Prices can vary widely even in the same city. Also, when discussing prices, be sure to ask whether there are any other charges or fees in addition to the price of the spay/neuter. For example, sometimes a clinic will require that a cat receive a rabies vaccination if he has not already had one. (Rabies vaccinations are required by law in many areas of the U.S.)
About vaccinations. Based on recent research about vaccine safety, effectiveness, and duration of effect, most veterinarians are not giving as many vaccinations as in the past. (Rabies vaccinations, however, are required by law in many localities). Decisions about vaccinations should be based on current knowledge about vaccines and the cat’s age, lifestyle, and health status. For the latest recommendations about what vaccinations to give and when and to whom, see the American Association of Feline Practitioners’ Feline Vaccination Guidelines and see DVM Newsmagazine’s summary.
Doesn’t everyone get their cats spayed and neutered? No. There are millions of healthy cats and kittens put to death each year in U.S. animal shelters because of unaltered cats and not enough homes for their offspring. Some people don’t know this, or they don’t recognize this is related to themselves or their cats.
People put off spay/neuter due to issues of money, transportation, or time. Some people believe it’s more fair to allow the cat to mate “just this once” — or they think a female cat’s pregnancy and kittens will be sweet or educational for their human children. Also, some people don’t know that:
- Cats can start mating as early as six months
- Even indoor-only house cats often find ways to get outdoors when the sexual urge hits them. Whether they disappear for good (due to panic, accidents, or enemies) or they return home, kittens are the result.
- An unaltered male cat can father hundreds of kittens a year.
- Statistically speaking, even if a person finds good homes for a litter of kittens, some of the kittens will grow up and produce litters of kittens.
- Spaying a female before her first heat protects her from risks of uterine, ovarian, and mammary cancers.
- Spaying also protects her from the stresses of pregnancy.
- Spaying reduces her frantic interest in the outdoors and reduces the chances that she’ll wander far.
- Spaying reduces the chances she’ll mark your home with urine when she’s in heat.
- Unaltered cats have urges that make them irritable and anxious. They yowl or whine frequently, fight with other cats, and/or destroy objects in the house.
- Neutering a male reduces his risk from numerous health problems.
- Neutering lowers his urge to roam and to fight, and thus lowers chances of disease transmission and woundings.
- Neutering also reduces his tendency to spray in the home.
- And neutering eliminates the powerful odor of adult male cat urine.
Help stop the suffering — Spread the word in your neighborhood
You can help cats and people by distributing flyers in your neighborhood about low cost or free spay/neuter services. Design an attractive flyer highlighting the benefits of spay/neuter plus the names and phone numbers of local services. Post the flyers in supermarkets and other public places where flyers are accepted. Distribute flyers to households in your neighborhood, especially those with new or unaltered pets.
Some people delay spay/neuter for their pet because they’ve heard the animal must be six months or older. Although many older veterinarians were taught that, a number of studies show that cats and dogs as young as eight weeks have no problems later in life due to early- age spay/neuter. Plus, young kittens bounce back faster from the procedures than older kittens or cats. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) endorses early-age spay and neuter.
Due to traditions in some vet schools, some veterinarians are not familiar with the procedure or have no experience performing the surgery on younger kittens. Also, the procedure requires the safer and more expensive inhalant anesthetics such as isoflorane.
Here is some information about the benefits of early-age spay/neuter. For veterinarians and others involved with spay/neuter programs, the American Humane Association (Englewood, CO 800-227-4645 or 303-792-9900) has a 30-page brochure and accompanying video for $14 about early-age spay/neuter, titled “The Case for Early Neutering” by veterinarians Alicia Faggella, Patricia Olson, and Mark Bloomberg, which has been endorsed by the American Veterinary Medical Association, among others.
Veterinarian W. Marvin Mackie produced a video on early-age spay/neuter procedures. To learn more about the video or if you are a veterinarian wishing to discuss it, write Dr. Mackie at 450 Arcadia Drive, San Pedro, CA 90731.