Owning pets isn’t cheap. Cats will cost you roughly $630 per year, according to the ASPCA. Two cats? Twice the money (roughly). Bigger cats? Bigger bills. The first year of cat ownership will usually cost more than the average, too, depending on how fancy you get with food and gear, and whether you have to pay for spay/neuter surgery or vaccinations. On top of these routine annual costs, some cat breeds require you to dig very deeply into your pockets, just to take them home. We’re talking thousands of dollars for the world’s most expensive cat breeds! Intrigued? Keep reading.

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What makes a cat breed expensive?

The two factors that have the most significant impact on a cat’s cost are its breed status and popularity. Purebred felines (especially those from long lines of show-winners) are pricier. Other factors include how difficult the breeding process is and the individual cat’s coloration. Some cats, like Toygers, are meant to look like actual tigers. A bright, beautiful striped pattern may cost you more than a faded or irregular coat color.

Rare cat breeds will also cost more, especially if the breed is new or trendy. Generally, the harder it is to find one, the higher the demand. And even if they aren’t rare, some breeds are so popular that they’re pricier too. Persians, for instance, are in high demand, whereas American Wirehairs are difficult to find. Both are expensive.

Some breeds (usually the larger, hybrid breeds) will have more expensive vet bills over their lifetimes. So, while their initial cost might be lower, they could cost you more after a decade. Many, like Bengals, Savannahs and Asheras, prefer to eat raw meat. If you think you can get away with raising one of these cats on bagged dry pellets, think again.

Watch out for wild cats and scams

You may notice the priciest cat breeds in the bunch resemble wild cats. Who wouldn’t love a miniature leopard patrolling their home? People are willing to pay top dollar for large cats with some wild cat lineage. Though felines like the Savannah and Ashera are technically domestic pets, they’re often more adventurous, need more space and may not take kindly to using litter boxes. Check to make sure these cats are legal in your area before buying! For instance, Savannahs are illegal in New York City, but certain hybrid breeds are legal in other parts of the state.

Just like the priciest dog breeds, the most expensive cat breeds come from reputable breeders who put time, energy and detailed record-keeping into each kitten. Always ensure the price you pay reflects this effort. Reputable breeders happily share information on their breeding practices and how they care for their cats. The Bengal Connection advises anyone in the market for a pricey feline to be wary of scams. If the price seems too low and too good to be true, it probably is.

Most Expensive Cat Breeds American Wirehair
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1. American Wirehair

Height: 9-11 inches

Weight: 8-15 pounds

Personality: Adaptable, even-tempered

Coat: Short, wiry

Color: Variety of colors and patterns

Life Expectancy: 10-18 years

Price Range: $1,000-$1,200

It’s no wonder the rarest domestic cat breed is also among the most expensive. Ranked 45 out of 45 on the Cat Fancier’s Popularity List, American Wirehair cats are hard to come by. These felines adapt well to a variety of environments. Their wiry, sometimes crimped coats are natural genetic mutations that give them a coarser feel, but their personality will melt your heart.

Most Expensive Cat Breeds American Curl
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2. American Curl

Height: 9-12 inches

Weight: 5-10 pounds

Personality: Smart, sweet

Coat: Short or long, silky

Color: Variety of colors and patterns

Life Expectancy: 10-20 years

Price Range: $800-$1,300

Another natural genetic mutation occurred to give us the American Curl cat. Notice their cute button ears curling backwards? These curly-cue ears are perfect for such whimsical, sociable felines. American Curls don’t mature until about three years old and maintain lighthearted playfulness well into adulthood.

Most Expensive Cat Breeds Ragdoll
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3. Ragdoll

Height: 9-11 inches

Weight: 10-15 pounds (females), 15-20 pounds (males)

Personality: Sweet, patient

Coat: Long, soft

Color: White bodies, pointed markings

Life expectancy: 13-18 years

Price Range: $1,000-$1,300

Ragdolls might be expensive because they offer everything you want in a pet: sweet vibes, patience with kids, super soft fur. They’re on the pricier end because breeding takes extra effort. It’s worth the price tag, as Ragdolls adapt well to a variety of family environments, love their people and can live into their late teens.

Most Expensive Cat Breeds Scottish Fold
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4. Scottish Fold

Height: 8-10 inches

Weight: 6-13 pounds

Personality: Adaptable, loving

Coat: Long and short varieties

Color: Variety of colors and patterns

Life Expectancy: 14-16 years

Price Range: $800-$1,500

Another funky-eared cat! Scottish Folds’ ears curl forward, unlike American Curl kitties whose ears bend backwards. (If they look familiar, you may be a Swiftie—the singer has two Scottish Fold cats she posts about on the regular.) Scottish Folds have been compared to owls because of their ears and large, golden eyes. At their core, they are loyal and dedicated cats who often pick favorites. They’re also ideal for apartment dwellers.

Most Expensive Cat Breeds Sphynx
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5. Sphynx

Height: 8-10 inches

Weight: 6-14 pounds

Personality: Active, smart

Coat: Hairless, hypoallergenic

Color: Variety of colors

Life Expectancy: 9-15 years

Price Range: $900-$6,000

Just because Sphynx cats don’t have coats doesn’t mean they can’t come in a variety of colors. These surprisingly active and energetic cats have even been known to have calico and tabby patterns. Uncommon yet immediately recognizable, Sphynxes are soft and warm to the touch. Get ready for a smart, mischievous playmate if you invest in a Sphynx.

Most Expensive Cat Breeds Lykoi
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6. Lykoi

Height: 8-10 inches

Weight: 6-12 pounds

Personality: Outgoing, smart

Coat: Sparse, short, soft

Color: Variety of colors and patterns, most often black roan

Life Expectancy: 12-17 years

Price Range: $1,000-$2,500

Known as the werewolf cat, Lykoi are rare and charming little creatures who enjoy being around people. Small yet mighty, they actually shed frequently and may even go bald throughout their lifetime. This means their skin requires extra attention to maintain a healthy coat, which can boost vet bills and purchases big time. (But it’s worth it for these lively felines.)

Most Expensive Cat Breeds British Shorthair
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7. British Shorthair

Height: 12-14 inches

Weight: 8-16 pounds

Personality: Calm, independent

Coat: Short, dense

Color: Variety (Known for silvery gray)

Life Expectancy: 12-20 years

Price Range: $1,500-$2,000

Unlike many of the newer, trendier cats on our list, British Shorthairs have been around for centuries. Large and thick, these cats are easy-going and mellow housemates. British Shorthairs are known for being super low maintenance, though they may bring you presents (ahem, dead mice) from time to time, as they were bred to do just that. Since they are popular around the world, breeders charge more for these cats.

Most Expensive Cat Breeds Russian Blue
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8. Russian Blue

Height: 9-11 inches

Weight: 7-15 pounds

Personality: Gentle, reserved

Coat: Short, dense

Color: Gray, blue

Life Expectancy: 10-20 years

Price Range: $500-$3,000

With their piercing green eyes and dense blue coat, it’s impossible to ignore a Russian Blue. Breeders work hard to maintain purebred bloodlines of Russian Blue cats, as these felines have also been around a while. They almost went extinct after World War II but made an excellent comeback, and we’re so happy they did! Russian Blues can be reserved with strangers and aren’t fans of drastic environmental changes. (BTW, while they’re not hypoallergenic, they have lower levels of the protein found in cat saliva that can spark allergic reactions.)

Most Expensive Cat Breeds Peterbald
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9. Peterbald

Height: 8-12 inches

Weight: 5-10 pounds

Personality: Loyal, affectionate

Coat: Hairless or short, fine hair

Color: Variety of colors

Life Expectancy: 12-15+ years

Price Range: $1,700-$3,000

As one of the smallest cat breeds, Peterbalds stand out on this list. Their small stature makes them even more adorable than their playful, affectionate nature. Like the Sphynx, they can be totally hairless or have very fine, short hair. Don’t expect your Peterbald to leave you alone for long. They love company.

Most Expensive Cat Breeds Persian
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10. Persian

Height: 10-15 inches

Weight: 7-12 pounds

Personality: Quiet, sweet

Coat: Long

Color: Variety of colors and patterns

Life Expectancy: 8-11 years

Price Range: $1,800-$5,500

Round, chubby cheeks and tiny noses? You must be talking about Persian cats. These sweethearts are quiet, adaptable kitties who prefer lazy afternoons in the sun to crazy playtime. As longhaired cats, Persians come in almost any color you can think of. The high price point is due to their popularity —everyone wants a Persian—especially as show cats.

Most Expensive Cat Breeds Bengal
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11. Bengal

Height: 13-16 inches

Weight: 8-17 pounds

Personality: Adventurous, intelligent

Coat: Short

Color: Spotted, marbled tan and brown

Life Expectancy: 10-16 years

Price Range: $2,000-$10,000

Bengals are some of the most adventurous cats around. Designed to look like leopards, they were initially bred in the 1950s by combining domestic shorthairs and Asian leopard cats. Bengals are known for their antics and intelligence. Additional costs for Bengals will definitely include harnesses or furniture for them to climb—these athletes need to burn energy.

Most Expensive Cat Breeds Khao Manee
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12. Khao Manee

Height: 10-12 inches

Weight: 8-10 pounds

Personality: Mischievous, graceful

Coat: Short

Color: White

Life Expectancy: 10-12 years

Price Range: $3,000-$11,000

Known for their snow white coats and ability to bring good fortune to their families, Khao Manees are pricey because they are so rare. Despite their almost porcelain appearance, they are funny, sweet cats who do well with kids. Do not expect to see a Khao Manee hiding in the corner! They want to be the life of the party (so buy the good Champagne).

Most Expensive Cat Breeds Toyger
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13. Toyger

Length: 18 inches

Weight: 7-15 pounds

Personality: Affectionate, energetic

Coat: Short, soft

Color: Striped, tabby in oranges and browns

Life Expectancy: 10-15 years

Price Range: $3,000-$5,000

Calling all Princes Jasmine and Rajah fans! Owning a pet tiger isn’t a good idea, but Toygers love their people and enjoy lap time and active play equally. Due to their recent emergence on the cat scene (they were first bred in the 1990s), Toygers are rare. This—along with their exotic appearance—makes them pricey.

Most Expensive Cat Breeds Savannah
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14. Savannah

Height: 10-17 inches

Weight: 11-20 pounds (females), 13-23 pounds (males)

Personality: Energetic, outgoing

Coat: Short- to medium-length, coarse

Color: Black and brown spotted

Life Expectancy: 12-15 years

Price Range: $10,000-$25,000

Invest in lots of tall cat towers and sturdy cat condos if you’re adopting a Savannah. These large cats need to move and love to climb. They have also been known to enjoy water (gasp!) and aren’t afraid to try new things. Bred initially in the 1980s, Savannahs are the product of domestic cats combined with African Servals.

Most Expensive Cat Breeds Ashera
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15. Ashera

Length: up to 4-5 feet

Weight: 26-33 pounds

Personality: Playful, independent

Coat: Short

Color: Cream with brown spots

Life Expectancy: Up to 25 years

Price Range: $22,000-$125,000

Nope, that price range isn’t a typo—Ashera cats are brand new and highly sought after. Bred by combining domestic cats with African Servals and Eastern Leopard cats, these are probably the largest pet cats you could own. Some say they are identical to Savannahs, while others identify specific distinctions. Serious Ashera buyers should confirm via DNA tests that they aren’t purchasing a Savannah, as the two breeds look a lot alike. Asheras are incredibly rare, stunningly beautiful and could run you as much as a down payment on a house (and more).

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