How Much Does a Cat Leg Amputation Cost?


A cat leg amputation is performed when a cat either has a disease or a significant leg injury that prevents your cat from walking.

After a leg amputation, cats will surprisingly revert back to their old ways,  sometimes not even knowing a leg is missing since they don’t need to perform fine motor skills.  Most cats will not suffer mentally.

An amputation can be performed on all breeds, no matter what the age is, and the cost of this type of amputation will vary depending on the severity of the issue, the veterinarian performing it, geographical location and if any other tests are required.

THE STORY OF OUR THREE LEG FEMALE CAT PE by KNOW MALTA by Peter Grima, on Flickr
THE STORY OF OUR THREE LEG FEMALE CAT PE” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by KNOW MALTA by Peter Grima

How much does a cat leg amputation cost?

On average, expect to pay about $800 to $2,500.  This is generally going to include the initial visit, the x-rays performed to diagnose the problem, tests and the surgery.  If the disease or fracture can be resolved via a simple surgery and no amputation is required, this can cost anywhere from $300 to $1,200.

Someone posted their exact bill on tripawds.com and said, all in all, it cost them a total of $2,200.  This included the exam, x-rays, medicine and surgery.

Cat leg amputation overview

An amputation will be recommended for three reasons:  to remove a tumor, if severe trauma is present or if another repair option is too costly.  If a larger tumor is present, it may be hard for the veterinarian to create an incision; therefore, he or she may have no option but to remove the entire limb.  If trauma is noted, which can include multiple fractures or trauma to the tendons, ligaments or muscles, then this surgical procedure may be recommended as well.  Lastly, some vets may recommend an amputation is the traumatized limbs would be too costly if they were to perform a surgical procedure.

Before the amputation is even considered, a vet will want to take a routine blood work and take x-rays to determine if there’s a fracture or any tumors present.   This will help them find the out the underlying problem and help confirm the diagnosis.  If a larger tumor is present and it can’t be removed via surgery, then an amputation will be performed to remove the limb as well as the tumor to make sure it does not grow back and spread.

A doctor will recommend that a cat’s leg is completely amputated when trauma is noted or cancer is present.  With a tumor, the only way to have it not spread would be through a surgery such as this.

Prior to the surgery, a painkiller or analgesic will be injected into the affected site to help block the pain receptors before the surgery even begins.  With most amputations, the amount the oncologist cuts will depend on where the lesion is located.  The most common area will be near the upper part of the thigh bone, and if this is the case, the muscle will be cut at the site and will be brought over the bone to create a smooth stump appearance.  If it’s above or even around the knee, the amputation will be made closer to the hip joint.  Tumors higher up on the leg may require removing the pelvis.

Following the procedure, most cats will be back to their daily routine within 48 hours.

What are the extra costs?

If cancer is suspected, the vet will want to complete additional tests such as a biopsy, x-rays as well as additional blood work.  This would then be sent off to a lab for further testing, which could take up to a few weeks and could, of course, cost extra.

In addition to the surgery, radiation therapy may be needed for certain limb tumors.

An Elizabethan collar, which is designed to prevent your cat from licking themselves, will be recommended or required to help the wound site heal.

A few follow-up visits will be required to make sure the cat is healing properly.  An office visit fee will generally apply.  10 to 15 days after the surgery, the vet will want to remove the stitches and closely examine the site to make sure it healed properly.

Some veterinarian offices will not include the x-ray fees or lab work that needs to be done.  It’s important to ask to see what’s going to be included in the surgery bill.

Painkillers will be prescribed after the amputation has been performed and will need to be given orally for a few weeks, depending on how the cat heals.

How can I save money?

Explore your options with more than two vets to ensure that you receive the best quote and advice.  Amputation will always be the last resort.

Most clinics can work on a payment plan or recommend a company that may be able to help finance your bill.


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Average Reported Cost: $150.5

50 %
50 %
Less Expensive $1 $1.5K $3K $5K $6.5K More Expensive $8k

How much did you spend?

Was it worth it?  

  1. Melissa (Torrance,  Ca) paid $1,500 and said:

    I have no money and no idea how I am going to pay this…
    They had no payment options but agreed to let me pay 100/2 weeks
    It’s not worth paying so much to still see your cat struggle to get around..
    They did a horrible job, I regret ever taking him, I’m sorry my cat..

    Was it worth it? No

  2. HM (Hodgenville,  Kentucky) paid $300 and said:

    Vet said he would do it for $300 but try to save us some money.(I forget the exact dollar amount after sax and such). He did not do some sort of blood work, only tested for feline-leukemia since the surgery would be pointless if the kitten was only going to die not long after that. The kitten had to stay over the week end at the vet for recovery and because they were closed on weekends. It was a rushed decision because his bandaging would not come off and it would only get worse due to that. Kittens have a higher risk since they are small and could go into shock or lose too much blood.

    Being a kitten, he was kinda forced to adapt but had time. He has a permanent limp but gets around fine and will still move the leg on occasion(really there is only shoulder left due to keeping just a bit for the ribs to be protected).

    Was it worth it? Yes

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