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When my colleague Alyssa Oursler, an avowed dog person, wrote about the priciest pooches money can buy, I knew I had to follow up with an article of my own.
You probably don’t think of cats as an expensive pet. The ASPCA estimates that there are about 70 million cats in the U.S., and research shows that most people find their pets as strays or receive them from friends or family.
If that’s the case, I’m pretty typical. I didn’t pay a cent for my cat. The unusual part? He’s one of the most expensive breeds in the world.
Beckett is a Bengal who came to me last winter via someone who could no longer keep him due to allergies. Since then, he’s ruled the house with an iron claw, despite my new Siamese kitten’s best attempts to usurp his throne.
Cats are a cheaper pet than dogs when it comes to general upkeep. Petfinder’s lowball estimate is $295 in annual kitty costs compared to $526 a year for dog care. But if you want an exotic look, you’ll have to pay a premium price — unless you know an animal-loving allergy sufferer with expensive tastes, like I did.
According to Cats Around the Globe, the top five most expensive cat breeds are:
5. Peterbald: $1000 – $5000. Move over, Mr. Bigglesworth. The Peterbald is a new bald breed of cat.
4. Persian: $1,000 – $6,000. These pug-faced lapcats have long, fluffy fur. That’s an expensive feather duster.
3. Bengal: $1,000 – $10,000. Bengals are playful, dog-like cats with a spotted or marbled coat.
2. Savannah:$15,000 – $35,000. Larger than Bengals, Savannahs have a similar leopard-print coat. They are closer to a “wild” cat since they are bred by crossing African Servals and domestic cats.
1. Ashera: $27,950. This cat comes from Lifestyle Pets (formerly Allerca), a biotech company that claims to have developed hypoallergenic pets. However, since the company’s inception in 2004, it has come under scrutiny. No scientific studies have shown these cats are hypoallergenic, while some customers claim they never received cats after sending the money. Oh, and a Pennsylvania cattery claims that LifeStyle Pets is simply re-selling its Savannah cats at a huge markup.
But whether you pay up for a purebred or you rescue a rough-and-tumble tomcat, some of the biggest costs of pet ownership are vet bills down the road. Trupanion’s top three most expensive cats by insurance claims were Siamese, Bengals and Himalayans — unfortunately for me.
If you need me, I’ll be wrapping my boys in bubble wrap.
By day, Carla Lake is an assistant managing editor at InvestorPlace Media. By night, she is a professional mousie-toy thrower for Beckett the Bengal and Manchego the Siamese.