Mental Floss
ANIMALS

The 10 Most Expensive Cat Breeds in the World

Ellen Gutoskey
It's a lot easier to own a Toyger than a tiger.
It's a lot easier to own a Toyger than a tiger. / Nataliia_Pyzhova/iStock via Getty Images
facebooktwitterreddit

You don’t need to spend thousands of dollars in order to reap the scientific benefits of being a cat owner, and there are countless shelter kitties who’d love for you to give them a forever home. But for some people, a cat isn’t just a furry companion—it’s a status symbol, too, and they’re willing to shell out some serious money for the privilege of owning a certain sought-after breed. Below are 10 of the most expensive ones, from the big cat-blooded Ashera to the triple-coated Siberian.

(If you have your heart set on taking home a Maine coon, a Ragdoll, or another cat on the list, it’s still worth seeing if there are any available to adopt or via a breed-specific rescue group before you visit a breeder. Even purebreds end up in shelters.)

1. Ashera Cat

An Ashera.
An Ashera. / Soon Koon, Flickr // CC BY-ND 2.0

The Ashera—a cross between an African serval, an Asian leopard cat, and a house cat—was developed by California-based company Lifestyle Pets around 15 years ago. It can weigh around 30 pounds, open doors, and cost you roughly $125,000.

2. Savannah Cat

A Savannah cat clearly ready for its closeup.
A Savannah cat clearly ready for its closeup. / Jason Douglas, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

The Savannah cat, priced at roughly $20,000, is basically an Ashera without any Asian leopard cat ancestry—just a mix of domestic cat and serval. It’s been around since the ’80s and is reportedly very playful, affectionate, and great with kids.

3. Toyger

A Toyger in a 2008 cat show.
A Toyger in a 2008 cat show. / Heikki Siltala, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY 3.0

Breeder Judy Sugden created this designer cat in the early 1990s by crossing a Bengal cat with a shorthair tabby. Its tiger-like stripes earned it the name Toyger—a combination of toy and tiger—and it could cost you anywhere from $3000 to $10,000.

4. Khao Manee

A regular David Bowie.
A regular David Bowie. / gopfaster/iStock via Getty Images

The Khao Manee originated centuries ago in Thailand. It’s known for its distinctive eyes, which are sometimes two different colors, and its nicknames include the “White Gem” and the “Diamond Eye” cat. Some sell for up to $8000.

5. Bengal Cat

Less dangerous than owning a leopard.
Less dangerous than owning a leopard. / Seregraff/iStock via Getty Images

Toyger inventor Judy Sugden wasn’t the only cat breeder in her family. Her mother, Jean Mill, helped create the Bengal cat back in the 1980s by crossing an Asian leopard cat with a domestic cat. Mill wasn’t the first to try it, but she was the reason The International Cat Association (TICA) recognized it as a breed. These days, a typical Bengal might sell for somewhere between $3000 and $5000.

6. Maine Coon Cat

He's judging you.
He's judging you. / Nils Jacobi/iStock via Getty Images

One completely untrue legend about Maine coon cats is that they’re the progeny of raccoons and domesticated cats. They’re best known for their long hair and bodies—an average one is roughly 40 inches long—and they usually cost in the $2000 to $3500 range.

7. Persian Cat

A colorpoint Persian kitten.
A colorpoint Persian kitten. / Dorottya_Mathe/iStock via Getty Images

Persian cats, which often run from $2000 to $3000, are generally thought to have originated in Mesopotamia during the 1600s, but the specifics remain unclear. What we do know is that their iconic flat faces came much later—in the 1950s, to be exact, after a genetic mutation caused that quirk in certain red tabby Persians. People soon started breeding them that way.

8. Sphynx Cat

It's the creepiest thing in this photo, which is saying something.
It's the creepiest thing in this photo, which is saying something. / powerofforever/iStock via Getty Images

Sphynx cats are the result of a genetic mutation, too. Some kittens were born without hair in the ’60s and ’70s, and breeders decided to make more of them. Many of today’s Sphynxes (which do actually have a very thin coat of fur) sell for $1000 to $3000.

9. Ragdoll Cat

A face that's impossible to say 'No' to.
A face that's impossible to say 'No' to. / peredniankina/iStock via Getty Images

Also valued between $1000 and $3000 is the Ragdoll cat, created by California-based breeder Ann Baker in the 1960s. The early Ragdolls were reportedly so laid-back that they went a bit floppy whenever you picked them up, hence the name.

10. Siberian Cat

A pair of Siberians ready to make mischief.
A pair of Siberians ready to make mischief. / EnkiPhoto/iStock via Getty Images

As their name suggests, Siberian cats are native to Siberia, where their trademark triple coat comes in handy during cold weather. They may have been around for more than 1000 years, but they only became common in the U.S. in the last few decades. If you’re buying a Siberian from a breeder, you might end up shelling out as much as $2500.

facebooktwitterreddit