CatChannel.com posed that very same question. You can give them your own response here. (Look on the left-hand side of the site for the poll; at this writing it was still this one.) These were the results when I took the poll:
- 70.17% said "Not in my budget"
- 12.88% said "Fear of the cat carrier"
- 10.25% said "Do I need to go? I'm an indoor cat."
- 6.70% said "Utter loathing of vet/vet's office"
Costopedia, a site that gives average costs for pretty much anything, gave these figures for cat procedures at the vet:
- Spaying: $100-$200
- Neutering: $50-$100
- Urinary tract reconstruction, including bladder, urethra & kidney: $1,399
- Rectal cancer treatment (for malignant tumors within the large intestine): $1,011
- Mast cell tumor removal: $497
- Intestinal cancer treatment: $942
- Hyperthyroidism radiation treatment: $920
- Removal of ingested foreign items from stomach: $1,391
- Fibrosarcoma (skin cancer) treatment: $780
- Bladder stones removal: $989
- Acute renal failure treatment: $565
Catching many of these conditions in a regular well-cat checkup at the vet is far preferable to allowing your cat to develop full-blown symptoms and enduring the full cost of treatment. If money is truly a problem the Humane Society of the United States offers a list of financial aid organizations for pet care. Every state has organizations offering free or reduced-cost spay and neuter surgeries, and usually vaccinations, as well.
Now, if you can just overcome that fear of the cat carrier, you'll be set!