Refined, elegant and possibly plotting a world takeover — when it comes to dogs versus cats, there’s only one pet that can be described this way. And as befitting their regal manner, adopting a cat — unless you go to your local animal shelter — can get pretty pricey.
While dog-lovers might think of all cats as the same, any cat owner knows there’s a big difference between your common house cat and a purebred breed that boasts a rich lineage, and the latter comes with the price tag to match. Fees for some cats can get up into the thousands of dollars.
The 18 Expensive Cat Breeds
Whether you’re shopping for a flashy feline or you just want to marvel at how much money some folks spend on their pets, you’ll want to check out the 18 most expensive cat breeds in the world.
The Ashera: $125,000
Often considered the most expensive breed of cat in the world, the Ashera is a mix of several wild cats, including Asian leopards and African Servals, as well as domestic house cats. This lively cat takes many of the desirable traits from the Savannah and the Bengal breeds and mixes them all together.
With its long legs, long torso, striking markings and gigantic ears, the Ashera is undoubtedly a cat that’ll make you look twice (just like the $125,000 price tag). However, don’t expect a typical feline temperament with this breed; many pet owners compare the Ashera to dogs.
The Savannah: $25,000
The unmistakable Savannah cat looks like something more at home in the wild than in your living room. A cross between domestic Persian cats and African Servals, these large cats can reach a whopping 20 pounds. As you might expect from their serval lineage, these cats can be on the aggressive side, and they have a strong hunting instinct, as well as an athletic prowess that exceeds that of your average house cat. Now, cat fanciers enjoy their unique look (including striking ears) and their loyal bond.
Today, Savannah cats can go for around $25,000, though some Savannah kittens have gone for as much as $125,000 (less-than-reputable breeders that have claimed they were Ashera cats). The high cost is attributed to Savannah kittens’ rarity, as the breeding process between Servals and Persian cats isn’t exactly easy.
The Khao Manee: $11,000
This Thailand-originated breed isn’t technically recognized as an official international cat breed yet, but that doesn’t stop Khao Manee kittens from pulling high prices, up to $11,000 per cat. Once at risk of dying out, the Kaho Manee is sometimes called the Diamond Eye Cat due to its unusually colored eyes.
The Bengal: $10,000
Another domestic cat-wild cat hybrid, the Bengal credits half its DNA to the Asian continent and Asian leopards. With a lanky, sleek and leopard-like appearance, the Bengal is one of the most popular and prized breeds in the world.
In order to be considered an actual Bengal cat, a kitten must be no further than four generations removed from a wild animal. Unfortunately, their undomesticated heritage may mean that you’re not allowed to have this cat at home. New York City and Hawai’i are two places that have banned Bengal cats.
The Toyger: $5,000
Yes, it has a bit of a gimmicky name, but that doesn’t detract from the Toyger’s cuteness at all — or it’s hefty price tag. The Toyger was created by the same family of breeders that put together the Bengal, and the Toyger is a mix between a Bengal and a domestic shorthair. It’s an entirely domestic cat with some wild cat looks, hence the name that’s so close to “tiger.” You’ll see a lot of tiger-like markings on many members of this breed, as well as shorter front legs that make for a more tiger-like stance.
Pretty low-key and laidback, friendly and open to training (or as much as a cat can be), the Toyger breed is an excellent pick for someone who wants an exotic cat without the exotic behaviors.
The Maine Coon: $3,500
The Maine Coon is another luxury cat breed with a wild look. While the Savannah cat might look most at home in the Savannah (obviously), the Maine Coon, however, might look more at home in the snowy forests of, well, Maine.
Growing up to more than 20 pounds with lots of shaggy hair and big, tufted ears, these cats are suitable for cold weather climates and any home where they’ll be able to aggressively hunt down prey every once in a while. Some owners regale them for their excellent mouse-hunting.
Despite the up to $3,500 price tag, Maine Coons aren’t stuck up at all and enjoy living with families. Most are relatively friendly and can get along decently with dogs.
The Persian: $3,000
Topping out at around $3,000 per cat, the Persian has been around for a long, long time. Originating in the 1600s, Persian cats make appearances in many movies and advertisements, thanks to their striking, squished faces and long, elegant coats.
The Persian cat gets along well with just about every family member and is on the calm, quiet side. Less athletic than some other breeds, Persians are good cuddlers. Unfortunately, these cats are somewhat high maintenance due to that luxurious coat, which requires daily care.
The Peterbald: $3,000
Think that all hairless cats are members of the Sphynx breed? Think again. There’s also the pricey Peterbald, a new-ish, Russian breed that’s not merely a hairless cat; instead, the Peterbald can have different types of coats throughout its life, ranging from no coat to a layer of fuzz to short hair.
While some may think of hairless cats as villainous (maybe it’s that unsettling facial expression or hairless cats’ portrayal in popular media throughout the decades), the Peterbald is quite nice. They are also playful and happy to get along with pretty much any other member of your household.
The Russian Blue: $3,000
Another high-priced kitty hailing from Russia is the Russian Blue cat, which can go for as much as $3,000. The breed gets its name from its gray coat that has a blue tint in the right lighting. A Russian Blue might be a good pick for those who suffer from cat allergies, thanks to their hypoallergenic coats and little need for excessive grooming.
As far as expensive cat breeds go, though, Russian Blues are relatively common, and while $3,000 is the high-end price tag, you can find kittens for as little as $500.
The Sphynx: $2,000
The Sphynx is likely the most well-known exotic cat, but just because everyone knows a Sphynx on sight, that doesn’t make them any less expensive. A Sphynx cat can run you up to $2,000, and then there’s all the extra cost of actually caring for these unique felines and their plethora of potential skin issues. Just like a human, owners must take care to protect their Sphynx from sunburn and skin infections, among other problems that might arise.
Dr. Lauren Redies — an associate veterinarian practicing in Chicago, Illinois and working with Emergency Vet 24/7 — shared some insight on expensive cat breeds with us, stating, ”Some of the most expensive cat breeds that I see in clinical practice are Sphinxes, Bengals and Persians. These cats are primarily expensive because of the initial adoption fees charged by breeders but some of these types of cats are also prone to medical problems, which can lead to multiple vet visits and expensive bills.”
“Sphinxes, for example, are beautiful cats that love to snuggle but have very fine fur which does not provide much insulation. Care should be taken to keep these cats warm and prevent them from getting sunburns and skin infections. Often these cats need to be bathed with special shampoo. These cats are also prone to a genetic heart disease known as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) which causes thickening of the heart muscle. Ideally, these affectionate kitties should be having heart scans each year.”
The Scottish Fold: $2,000
The Scottish Fold cat is easily one of the cutest on this list, even if it doesn’t have that wild, exotic look that some luxury pet owners want. Even celebrities love this breed; Taylor Swift has two Scottish fold cats, christened Olivia Benson and Meredith Grey.
Scottish Fold felines are known for their interesting ears; because of a gene mutation, their ear cartilage is, well, a little off, resulting in ears that flop forward, kind of like a rabbit’s. The tiny, floppy ears make this cat’s eyes look even larger than they are, for an overall owlish appearance that’s undeniably adorable. Maybe that’s the reason for the $2,000 price tag?
The British Shorthair: $2,000
The British Shorthair is an older breed, developed in Rome, where they were used for their superior hunting skills. While the British Shorthair looks pretty average as far as cats go, it’s not the looks that necessarily makes them prized; instead, it’s their rarity. These cats — with their arresting eyes and faces that look like that of an old British man — are few and far between, resulting in prices that climb up to $2,000.
The Siberian: $2,000
The Siberian cat is another expensive Russian breed, with white, black and gray coats and a hefty size to match their price tag. Only one other cat on this list exceeds the Siberian for weight, and that’s the Maine Coon; Siberian cats can reach 25 pounds in adulthood. All of that weight is put to good use, though, as the breed was created to survive harsh conditions, including cold climates and situations where they might need extra fat stored.
The American Curl: $1,300
The American Curl shares something in common with its more expensive cousin, the Scottish Fold. Like the Scottish Fold, the American Curl breed features ears that curl rather than stand upright, resulting from a genetic mutation. This breed has been nicknamed the “Peter Pan” of cats, as it simply refuses to ever grow up.
The Ragdoll: $1,300
The Ragdoll cat breed is named thusly because of the breed’s friendly nature and the fact that you can literally just pick one up and carry it around with you. Big blue eyes, fluffy coats and triangular ears give these cats their signature look. As far as cats go, they’re on the larger side and can grow to 20 pounds or so. The breed is also amiable and gets along well with dogs, as well as other pets.
The American Wirehair: $1,200
If you’re not a cat person, you’ll likely look at the American Wirehair and think that it looks exactly like every other nondescript cat you’ve ever seen in your life. But the American Wirehair stands out for a few reasons that add up to $1,200.
While its bone structure, coloring and other features are similar to the domestic American Shorthair cat, the wirehair coat is the breed’s defining breed feature. Additionally, breeders note that the American Wirehair is extremely easy to care for and very healthy over its lifespan.
The Ocicat: $800
The Ocicat is beloved for its wild look, though it’s not as undomesticated in nature as the Savannah. On the contrary, its behavior is very similar to that of any domestic cat, making it a good fit for those who want the cat behavior they’re accustomed to as a pet parent, but a more exotic look than what you might find among the cats at your local shelter. Ocicats usually get along well with most children and other household pets.
First bred in the 1960s, Ocicat kittens are a mix of Abyssinian, Siamese and American Shorthair breeds. You can find Ocicats in 12 distinct colors.
The Selkirk Rex: $800
Like the Ocicat, the Selkirk Rex may not be that expensive (at least not compared to other cat breeds), but it is rare, which is worth noting. The Selkirk Rex features a curly-haired coat, making it stand apart among most other cat breeds in the world. With the nickname, “the cat in sheep’s clothes,” this is one breed that’s sure to draw attention no matter the setting.
Is it Possible to Safely and Responsibly Buy a Cat?
All this talk about purchasing a cat for an insane amount of money might have you wondering if it’s always smart to buy a cat versus adopting one (which can be done for free or a minimal adoption fee). While it is possible to find astonishing, beautiful and unique cats at shelters, all of which need homes, you may have to look beyond your local humane society if you want a specific breed.
Rather than look directly to a breeder, though, you may want to look to a breed rescue, which will offer you the specific breed you want, without all of the negatives that go on behind-the-scenes in many breeding programs worldwide.
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The 18 most expensive cat breeds:
- The Ashera: $125,000
- The Savannah: $25,000
- The Khao Manee: $11,000
- The Bengal: $10,000
- The Toyger: $5,000
- The Maine Coon: $3,500
- The Persian: $3,000
- The Peterbald: $3,000
- The Russian Blue: $3,000
- The Sphynx: $2,000
- The Scottish Fold: $2,000
- The British Shorthair: $2,000
- The Siberian: $2,000
- The American Curl: $1,300
- The Ragdoll: $1,300
- The American Wirehair: $1,200
- The Ocicat: $800
- The Selkirk Rex: $800