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Home > Cats > How Much Does It Cost to Surrender My Cat? Facts & FAQ

How Much Does It Cost to Surrender My Cat? Facts & FAQ

cat surrendered to a shelter volunteer

Cat owners worldwide understand the responsibility of owning a cat. Some pet parents can take the heat, while others feel it’s more than they can handle. If you find yourself in a situation where you think surrendering your cat is your last resort, look at all the factors that come into play and how much this service actually costs.

The price can significantly differ from coast to coast, with the average on the coasts being $100, while in the Midwest, prices are lower, ranging around $40 to $90, read on below.


Why You Should Surrender Your Cat

There are a few reasons why a pet owner might consider surrendering their cat. Most pet owners will think through this decision carefully before committing to it, although sometimes there are no alternatives, and it is best to surrender a cat to a shelter.

An unexpected or accidental litter is the most common reason for surrendering cats and kittens. If a cat is unspayed, it will indeed have a litter at one point or another, which is something most owners cannot anticipate. Your cat may come home pregnant without you even realizing it, so you decide to surrender the litter to a shelter, where it might get adopted at some point.

Some cats are surrendered to the same shelter where they have been adopted because the owner doesn’t feel they’re suitable. The cat may exhibit destructive or aggressive behavior, which can be especially tricky for families with children.

A lack of money is another common reason for surrendering a cat. Pet owners need to realize the commitment and sacrifice required to care for an animal. A cat owner might feel like they need more funds to take care of a cat properly and provide all the regular maintenance it needs, so surrendering might be the best option for them.

cat at an animal shelter
Image By: JW Design, Shutterstock

How Much Does Surrendering Your Cat Cost?

The cost of surrendering your cat varies, mainly depending on your location. The price can significantly differ from coast to coast, with the average on the coasts being $100, while in the Midwest, prices are lower, ranging around $40 to $90.

However, some organizations do not request surrendering fees and depend on donations only—these organizations would take your cat without any charge.

West Coast Midwest East Coast
$100–$150 $0–$90 $50–$150

Additional Costs to Anticipate

The shelter will consider the number of kittens you are aiming to surrender. Depending on the size of the litter, the average price is around $90 for the entire litter, although some shelters may charge individually.

If you are surrendering your cat or kitten, shelters will also consider any medical treatments needed, such as an additional $10 for microchipping. The shelter may also reduce the original price by a few dollars if your cat has been spayed or neutered already. If surrendering a cat in your state costs $50, the shelter might consider lowering the price to $40 if your cat is already spayed.


How to Choose the Right Time to Surrender a Cat?

When you decide to surrender your cat, you also need to think about the ideal timing to do so. One thing to always keep in mind is that the government does not fund most shelters, so they’ll need to take care of all the expenses. Be considerate, and don’t surrender your cat while it’s ill. This would be quite unfair to the staff, who would do all it takes to care for a sick animal.

Another thing to remember is when most kittens come into this world, which is either spring or summer. Shelters are usually packed during these times of the year, so consider waiting until the shelters clear up a bit.

Avoid surrendering an elderly cat if possible because their age significantly lowers their chances of ever getting adopted.

Close up of female volunteer holds on hands cat in shelter
Image By: Evgeny Bakhchev, Shutterstock

Does Pet Insurance Cover Surrendering a Cat?

Since pet insurance is mainly focused on covering any medical bills or unexpected situations concerning your cat, surrendering is not one of these situations. Your pet insurance will usually cover all the costs regarding your cat’s treatment and rehoming is not a part of the coverage.

What to Do to Avoid Surrendering Your Cat

Before you decide to surrender your cat for good, we advise you to think your decision through and see if there are any alternatives to it. If there are any ways around this scenario where you can avoid surrendering your pet, try your best for it to work. Firstly, try bonding with your cat more, if possible. We understand some adopted cats are aggressive, and bonding with them might be difficult.

If you want to surrender your cat due to a lack of funds, you can always look for ways to save money while caring for your cat. You can lower your expenses on medical bills by getting customized pet insurance that will take care of most of your vet bills.

If the reason you are surrendering your cat is a lack of time to take care of it, you can search for daycare options that can take care of your cat while you are at work. If you are moving to a place where you can’t bring your cat, you can ask around if any friends, family, or colleagues are willing to look after your pet while you’re gone.



Deciding on surrendering your cat is not easy, and we are sure you have strong reasons to do so. However, before you take this leap, use our article to guide you on the fees you can expect and some ways to avoid surrendering altogether.

Featured Image Credit: V2505, Shutterstock

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