Cats are one of the most popular pets in the US, with kitties bringing companionship and comfort to tens of millions of households.
And while money is no object for many owners to secure a cat’s well-being, sometimes no expense is spared when acquiring a kitty.
Although the price of a feline can fluctuate, there is no doubting people’s willingness to pay serious prices for cats with prize-winning traits or particularly rare breeds.
Newsweek counts down to some of the most expensive cat breeds in the world.
20. Norwegian Forest Cat ($500 – $800)
Originating in Northern Europe, this cat breed is adapted to a very cold climate, meaning it boasts a gorgeous topcoat of glossy, long, hair and a wonderfully woolly undercoat.
The cat breed’s high price is due to it being relatively rare in the US, meaning breeders have to make multiple trips to buy kitties to breed.
19. Egyptian Mau ($500 – $800)
This small to medium-sized short-haired breed is one of the few naturally spotted types of domesticated cat.
Colors are limited to those occurring naturally, meaning prospective owners can often be willing to pay a lot of money to secure their first choice cat.
18. Korat ($500-$800)
Korats are a silver-tipped blue-grey, short-haired breed with a smaller than average build and body fat.
The cat breed, considered a symbol of prosperity in its homeland, is rare because a relatively small gene pool exists in their native Thailand.
17. Selkirk Rex ($500-$800)
The Selkirk Rex is best known for its extraordinary plush, curly hair, earning the breed its nickname “the cat in sheep’s clothing.”
As they are highly tolerant of children, Selkirks Rexes are wonderful family pets and these cats command a high price because this breed is relatively new and rare.
16. Siberian ($1,000-$2,000)
These cats herald from a Russian region known for long, brutal winters, a fact reflected in their long and thick triple coat.
With an easy-going charm and hypoallergenic fur, this breed has only arrived in the US relatively recently, making these cats extremely expensive.
15. American Shorthair ($600-$1,200)
This is a medium to large-size cat breed native to the US boasting a beautifully thick coat with a tendency to grow even denser during the winter.
Descended from cats who sailed on The Mayflower, this powerful breed is expensive due to its extraordinary lineage.
14. Maine Coon ($400-$3,500)
These plus-size New England natives are affectionate cats adorned with beautiful neck ruff and dainty britches.
What people are prepared to pay for a Maine Coon differs throughout the world, but a show-quality specimen crowned “America’s Cat” can cost a small fortune in the US
13. American Wirehair ($1,000-$1,200)
These medium-sized, yet very powerful cats are a breed native to New York, boasting a wiry, crimped coat.
The four-figure price tag reflects the fact this cat breed remains quite rare, as most American Wirehairs are kept for show or breeding.
12. American Curls ($800-$1,300)
Named after its characteristic ear shape, this cat breed comes in all colors and patterns of coat, which can be short or long and shaggy.
The cost of an American Curl cat is very high due to its direct lineage to a single stray kitten and the fact it is one of the most recent of breeds.
11. Ragdoll ($1,000-$1,300)
Ragdoll cats are distinguished by their large size, semi-long coat in a pointed pattern and sparkling crystal-clear blue eyes.
This breed’s high price reflects the demand for the ultimate in “lap cats” and a clear lineage stretching back to 1960s California.
10. Scottish Fold ($800-$1,500)
These cats can all trace their ancestry back to a barn cat named Susie with distinctly folded ears.
With their adorably round face, eyes and bodies, these cats have been a hit on the Internet, with celebrities such as Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift sharing photos, which has likely increased their price.
9. Sphynx ($900-$2,000)
The Sphynx is a breed of cat known for its lack of fur as well as its desire to snuggle with its owner all day long.
The Sphynx cat extraordinarily difficult to track down and expensive because it is a purebred.
8. British Shorthair ($1,500-$2,000)
British shorthair cats are one of the oldest recognized cat breeds and are prized for their large rounded head, eyes and paws.
Their sky-high price tag is explained because these kitties have no breed-specific health conditions, yet exist in small numbers.
7. Russian Blue ($500-$3,000)
These sweet-tempered, loyal cats are known for their thick, gorgeous blue-gray coat and startlingly bright eyes.
Owning one of this good-looking breed can command a lot of money, due to its relative rarity.
6. Peterbald ($1,700-$3,000)
The Peterbald cat is a breed of Russian origin considered a highly loyal and affectionate feline companion.
Because this hairless cat breed has only existed for a few decades it is still quite rare, making it one of the world’s most expensive.
5. Persian ($1,800-$5,500)
With their beautiful, flowing coats, sweet faces and calm personalities, the Persian is the glamorous puss of the cat world.
The fact this is purebred means an individual’s lineage will determine just how high a Persian kitten’s price can rise.
4. Bengal ($4,000-$10,000)
With his exotic spotted coat and larger size, the Bengal can closely resemble a wild cat on the prowl.
Due to the time and effort involved in producing a Bengal, an average cat can command an extraordinary price.
3. Toyger ($5,000)
Toygers are a newer cat breed capable of capturing the wild look of a striped tiger while behaving like a cute domesticated kitty.
Prospective buyers of the highly sought-after Tiger should note breeders traditionally donate a portion of sales proceeds to benefit Tiger conservation.
2. Savannah ($10,000-$25,000)
Savannahs are a hybrid breed, the result of crossing a Siamese cat with a wild Serval.
The price of this very tallest cat breed is exceptionally high, in large part due to low fertility rates among males.
1. Ashera ($22,000-$125,000)
The Ashera was developed by the Lifestyle Pets company and sells from five to six figures, as only 100 are sold annually since 2006.
As a result, anyone interested in one of these big and friendly cats should expect to join a waiting list reportedly months long.