The most expensive cat breed in the world

Wait, cats have breeds? Yes, it's true, there is more than just the breed "domestic cat." While most of us ordinary humans obtain our cats from the local animal rescue or from a friend who adopted a pregnant stray, some people shell out actual money for fancy breeds of cat, and some people shell out extra-large amounts of actual money for really, really fancy breeds of cat. So it might cost you up to $3,000 for a flat-faced Persian or $3,500 for an elegant Maine coon, but if you want to spend the really big bucks, there are a couple hybrid breeds that will give you points for exotic and points for spending way more money on a cat than you really need to.

Bengals are very beautiful, very expensive cats

According to the Cat Fancier's Association, the Bengal is a large domestic cat that has a rosette pattern on its coat — circular markings resembling those of a leopard or ocelot. So if you want a domesticated cat that looks like a wild one, only without the part where it kills you in your sleep and eats you, you should look into purchasing a Bengal. This breed can trace its ancestry back to 1963, when a breeder weirdly decided to cross a domestic cat with the Asian Leopard Cat, a small type of wild cat native to the Asian continent. All modern Bengals are descended from that original breeding program, although no cross-breeding with wild cats still occurs — all Bengals are bred from other Bengals. One of these cats will cost between $1,500 and $5,000.

You're probably wondering, though — can a domestic cat that's descended from a wild one really be considered completely domesticated? The Cat Fancier's Association says yes, although this breed does have a few quirks you won't find in most other domesticated cats. They'll happily learn tricks, for example, while most common housecats are clearly pretty far above such things. Many of them actually enjoy getting wet, too, and you know how most common housecats feel about that. So Bengals are mostly like the cats we're used to sharing our homes with, with a few fun and unexpected differences. And they're not likely to kill you in your sleep and eat you, either. 

Savannahs are the supreme expensive cat

Dropping $5,000 is nothing, though, compared to the most expensive cat breed in the world. According to the Savannah Cat Association, the Savannah is another hybrid between a domestic cat and a wild cat. Savannahs are the product of breeding domestic shorthair cats to the African serval, which is a long-legged, spotted species with large ears and a short tail. Because one of the goals of breeding Savannahs was to produce a domestic cat with a similar coat pattern to the wild serval, early Savannah cat breeders sometimes bred servals with Bengals and other domestic/wild crosses such as the Chausie. The ideal Savannah is an animal with a domestic personality and the look of an African serval. 

There are a lot of genetic differences between domestic cats and servals, so early generations of Savannah produced fertile females and sterile males. In later generations, the males were fertile, too, so breeders could start breeding Savannahs to other Savannahs. But today's Savannah is still sort of a work in progress — unlike Bengal cat breeders, who no longer cross in Asian leopard cats, Savannah breeders are still producing cats that are 50% African serval. So if you want a cat that is literally half-wild, somewhere out there is a breeder who will happily take your money. Or you can get later generations of Savannahs that are the result of breeding Savannah to Savannah.

How much does a Savannah cat cost?

How much you spend on your Savannah cat depends a lot on which generation the animal is and how closely it resembles a serval. So you may only spend $1,500 on a pet-quality sixth- or seventh-generation Savannah, but if you want a first-generation breeding-quality female that looks pretty danged similar to a wild African cat, you could pay up to $18,000, or even $20,000 depending on where you go. That's around the price of a small car, so hopefully you'll enjoy your Savannah cat so much you won't ever want to leave the house.

Yeah, these cats are pretty amazing, but they're not wanting for homes. If you just want a cat to love, an animal shelter or rescue organization is still the best place to go.