Most and Least Expensive Cat Breeds
As we did in our previous post on “Most and Least Expensive Dog Breeds,” we’re discussing in this post estimated purchase prices and projected health care cost estimates for various cat breeds.
The estimates we found for the costs of acquiring and caring for various cat breeds are wide-ranging and frankly, may or may not be reliable. As you’ll see, the same estimated purchase prices for several breeds were considered both “expensive” and “affordable,” depending on the article. We’ve included links back to the source articles we found so you can review them for yourself.
In considering potential health care costs over the lifetime of your cat, remember, generalities about specific breeds are just that—generalities. Your own purebred cat may or may not experience any of the common health issues associated with its breed.
With this post, we mean simply to get you thinking about potential costs associated with buying and caring for various cat breeds. We encourage you to do further research before purchasing a purebred cat of your own so you’ll have a better-informed idea of the potential risks and rewards unique to each breed.
The Most Expensive Cat Breeds to Buy
We found three estimated purchase price lists—one listing the “most expensive” cat breeds, and the other two listing the “most affordable” breeds.
The list of the priciest cat breeds starts with the Ashera—a breed currently recognized by neither The Cat Fanciers Association, nor The International Cat Association. These cats reportedly sell for $75,000 to $125,000.
Another cat on the “most expensive” list, the Savannah, reportedly costs $25,000. The rest of the “expensive” breeds are priced at anywhere from an estimated $400 to $5,000.
Interestingly, on the two lists we found of the “most affordable” cat breeds, several breeds estimated to cost as much $1,000 to $1,500 are included. Clearly, there are no standard definitions of “expensive” and “affordable” when it comes to buying cats.
A 2019 Yahoo.com article, “The Most and Least Expensive Cat Breeds in the World,” quotes what it calls “sometimes staggeringly high prices” for 15 cat breeds. Here are the acquisition cost estimates the article listed for the world’s most expensive breeds:
- Ashera $75,000 to $125,000
- Peterbald $1,700 to $3,000
- Savannah $25,000
- Bengal $2,000 to $5,000
- Persian $3,000
- Sphynx $900 to $1,200
- California Spangled $800 to $3,000
- Maine Coon $1,000 to $3,500
- Egyptian Mau $500 to $800
- Russian Blue $400 to $3,000
- British Shorthair $800 to $1,000
- American Curl $800 to $1,200
- Korat $600 to $800
- Ocicat $800
- Scottish Fold $800 to $1,500
Visit the Yahoo article for commentary on each breed.
In the same article, Yahoo.com included a list of these 15 least expensive breeds:
- Oriental Shorthair $400 to $500
- Turkish Van $200 to $600
- Manx $200 to $500
- Havana Brown $300 to $500
- Himalayan $300 to $500
- Ragdoll $400 to $1,100
- Munchkin $300 to $500
- Snowshoe $200 to $1,000
- Cornish Rex $700 to $800
- Siamese $200 to $600
- Burmese $550 to $1,000
- Birman $400 to $700
- American Bobtail $500 to $700
- Tonkinese $600 to $1,200
- Abyssinian $500 to $700
As you see, within this article, there’s some overlap of purchase prices considered expensive and those considered affordable.
PetKeen.com published an article, “11 Most Affordable Cat Breeds (with Pictures)” listing these affordable breeds and their estimated purchase prices:
- Turkish Van $200
- Ragdoll $400
- Siamese $200
- Burmese $500 to $1,000
- Manx $500 to $800
- Himalayan $300
- Cornish Rex $100
- Oriental Shorthair $400 to $500
- Havana Brown $300 to $1,500
- Snowshoe $200 to $250
- Domestic Shorthair <$50
See the article—with pictures—for estimated lifespan, temperament, colors and commentary on each of the 11 listed breeds.
Note the overlap of affordable breeds named on the Yahoo list with the above list from PetKeen as well as the substantial ranges in purchase price estimates for some of the breeds. To determine actual purchase prices for the breed you’re interested in buying, contact individual breeders.
As a cost-saving alternative to buying a purebred cat from a breeder, consider looking for an adoptable cat at the Hendricks County Animal Shelter or Misty Eyes Animal Center. Purebreds are available from time to time at both facilities.
The Specialty Purebred Cat Rescue organization is a foster-based program with foster homes in Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa and Michigan. Visit the website to see cats currently available for adoption.
What Makes a Cat Breed Expensive to Care For?
Any cat can inherit a genetic disorder, but pedigreed cats tend to be at higher risk than mixed-breed cats for certain known heritable health problems because purebreds are selectively bred from limited gene pools.
In a blog post identifying the seven cat breeds most prone to hereditary diseases, Pawlicy Advisor, a pet insurance marketing company, posted “Which Cat Breeds NEED Pet Insurance?” listing these breeds:
- Exotic Shorthair
- Scottish Fold
Following the list is detailed health information, including the most common known hereditary conditions, for each breed.
From a VetHelpDirect.com article, “Do cats get genetic diseases?” a list of common genetic diseases associated with specific cat breeds includes:
- Polycystic kidney disease
- Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
- Spina Bifida
- Hypokalemic Myopathy
- Lymphoma and Small Intestinal Adenocarcinoma
- Feline lower urinary tract disease
- Spinal muscular atrophy
See the article for details on these diseases and the breeds most likely to inherit them.
Keep in mind, while the breed predispositions for certain heritable diseases may be stronger than average for some breeds, all Burmese and Norwegian Forest Cats do not necessarily develop diabetes. All Siamese cats do not develop lymphoma and small intestinal adenocarcinoma, nor are they all asthmatic. And mixed-breed cats can develop these disorders, too.
Insurance Claims Rankings By Breed
An indicator of breed-specific health care costs is pet health insurance claims data.
For an article published on PetCareRx.com, pet health insurer Trupanion provided information on the five cat breeds with the highest total lifetime average claims submitted:
- Siamese $74,638
- Bengal $73,408
- Himalayan $69,449
- Maine Coon $63,683
- Ragdoll $40,442
See the article for details on common health problems experienced by each of these cat breeds, based on claims submitted. The information about cats starts about halfway through the article.
Another list based on insurance claims data was published by Forbes Advisor as part of a more general article on pet health insurance. On that list, the ten breeds with the highest average pet insurance claim amounts included:
- Siberian Forest Cat $457
- Bengal $404
- Mixed Breed Medium-Haired Cat $403
- Mixed Breed Long-Haired Cat $397
- Ragdoll $381
- Mixed Breed Short-Haired Cat $380
- American Shorthair $376
- Maine Coon $374
- Russian Blue $369
- Domestic Medium-Haired Cat $356
As the individual and lifetime claims averages show, several breeds—Bengal, Ragdoll and Maine Coon—made both lists. Note that four of the ten cat breeds listed as having the highest claims amounts are actually mixed breeds.
Also bear in mind that claims amounts do not include deductibles and co-pays—typically 20 to 30%—covered by the pet owner.
- As suggested in a previous post, the lifetime costs of buying and caring for any pet can easily amount to tens of thousands of dollars. Regardless of pedigree and initial purchase price, all cats need to be fed and cared for properly throughout their lives. Before you add any pet to your household, be prepared financially to provide these essentials.
- Any cat will experience poor health if not fed and cared for properly. You can do your part to keep your cat’s lifetime total healthcare costs affordable by scheduling regular preventive exams, having us administer recommended vaccines and addressing any illnesses and injuries promptly.
- While breed and breeder research is helpful before you buy, it’s impossible to predict the health outcomes for any individual cat you acquire.
For more information about cat breeds, visit the website for The Cat Fanciers Association, a breed registry founded in 1906. CFA currently recognizes 45 cat breeds as well as non-pedigreed companion cats that make up more than 95% of the cat population.
Another cat registry organization, The International Cat Association (TICA), currently recognizes 73 cat breeds for championship competition. Visit their site for photographs and details about the breeds they register.