Figures show that a qualified veterinary surgeon charges an average of £680 for lifting a cat onto a table while making the sort of cooing, clicking noises that animals supposedly find reassuring.
But it is an expense that is driving many pet owners, often armed with little more than a corkscrew and a copy of the Haynes Manual for Medium Sized Dogs Born Between 1985-1991, to work on their animals themselves.
Cat lover Tom Logan said: "I've successfully changed the alternator on my Y reg Golf, which is easily more complicated than a kitten. And I am quite good at the board game Operation.
"So when Sparkles hit breeding age I felt amply qualified to tie her tubes."
He added: "In retrospect, it wasn't a complete success, and we are now in the market for a new cat. Next time I will probably use an anaesthetic."
But animal welfare expert Roy Hobbs warned: "Under no circumstances should anyone not fully qualified administer any sort of medical treatment to any pet. They have as much right to proper healthcare as humans, despite not having souls."
Meanwhile mother-of-two Emma Bradford revealed how she saved money when the time came to have her tortoise humanely destroyed.
"We couldn't afford to fork out for a lethal injection, but we wanted Maximillian to go with the dignity that such a wise and ancient creature deserves.
"My husband carefully glued the aged amphibian into the seat of a remote control car, so that he looked exactly like Yoshi from Mario Kart. After a few farewell stunts involving makeshift ramps, we drove him off a cliff Thelma and Louise-style.
"It's what he would have wanted."