Why are pedigree cats so expensive?

The simple answer

Why are pedigree cats so expensive? Well, there is no simple answer, it is a complex topic. But one of the main reasons is, that good quality and good investment is never cheap. By buying a pedigree kitten from a good and serious breeder, you buy quality.


If you adopt a kitten, you probably plan to love the little creature for the next 12-20 years. You don’t want to see your beloved cat suffering from any serious disease. You probably don’t want to spend crazy amounts on treatments of genetic defects that appear  (let’s say) at the age 5 years. And you definitively don’t want to say goodbye to your cat too early.

The following example might sound inappropriate, but think about buying a household appliance. Let’s say a fridge. You know your options and their consequences. You can buy a cheaper one with reduced functions or you can invest more into a high quality fridge from a good brand with extended features, like no frost or door cooling. Both fridges serve their purpose. For a while. But statistically, there is a better chance that your good brand, better quality fridge will have less malfunctioning or disruption during its life time and you can even enjoy it for a longer time. And it has no frost. And the door has a beautiful brushed steel finish.

If you chose the cheaper option, you can save quite a lot at the time of purchase. Later, you might get some frustration with the disruptions and send some extra money on reparation. Then, changing a broken fridge after a few years is a bit of a hassle, but not dramatic. It is just lost money and time and energy. On the long term however, you might end up spending the same amount as per buying the better fridge initially. The difference is though the experience. 

But now, add the emotional part to all this…

What is quality?

In my personal opinion, quality consists of 3 major elements:


Health is priority

Assuming that you are planning to adopt a healthy kitten from a serious breeder that really cares about health, the breeder would have invested quite a some money into your kittens’ health by the time of collection. Veterinary costs are quite expensive.

Serious breeders allow your kitten to leave the cattery earliest with 12 weeks of age but rather with 14-16 weeks. This age ensures that the kitten is independent from mum, has a mature personality, and is ready to live a mentally and physically healthy adult life.

By this age the kitten has been seen by the veterinary at least 2 times, received 2 course of core vaccinations against feline calici virus, against feline herpes/rhinotracheitis virus and against feline panleukopenia virus. That is about EUR 150-220 per kitten in Germany. I will add estimate prices for the costs to help to understand my points, but I emphasize: these are estimate prices that can vary depending on the location, the breed, and other factors.

At the time of moving out, the kitten has also got a microchip identification implanted under the skin. That is another EUR 80-120.

The kitten has been dewormed and/or a stool test was sent to the lab to check for parasites. Some breeders deworm the kittens multiple times in the first 3 months of life, some breeders prefer avoiding unnecessary medical treatments and rather request the stool to be tested in a lab and treat the kittens only if they need to be treated. The price of a lab test can vary, depending on what you want to examine. 

So, looking at the veterinary costs only, the breeder already spent about EUR 300-500 on each kitten.

Nourishment for a long and healthy life

Growing a healthy body and developing healthy, functional organs requires nourishment, vitamins, minerals – all in all high quality healthy food. If kittens don’t get the right nutrients while developing, they might seem healthy on short term, but soon they can start struggling with health issues, eventually causing tremendous expenses to the new owner.

A serious breeder cares about their reputation and loves their kittens. 
They want the kittens to have a happy, healthy and long life and want to receive good news and good words from the kittens new family (not complains or bad news), and so, they do their best to support the kittens growing to become strong and healthy cats. 

High quality cat food, probiotics to build a healthy digestive system, vitamins during the first 3 months can sum up to about EUR 100-250 per kitten, depending on the food brand and the appetite of the kitten. So the kitten is at EUR 400-750 price to cover the veterinary and feeding costs.

Inherited health

Another important part of the kitten’s health is the inherited predisposition to diseases. Do the parents have any genetic disorder or hereditary disease? Do they carry the recessive genes for certain diseases? There are certain diseases that severely affect a cat’s life expectancy and life quality, and cats with those conditions should not be bred, as their kittens might develop the disease after a few years. Just to mention 2 of these: HCM (Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy) and PKD (Polycystic kidney disease) show no symptoms in kittens but will progress as the cat gets older. Unfortunately there is no cure for these 2 illnesses but cats can get tested by a specialist with ultrasound examination and eliminated from breeding if they show signs of the condition. An ultrasound test costs about EUR 150-200 and needs to be repeated yearly. Father and mother 2 tests each, divided among the kittens in a litter of 4 makes it EUR 150-200 for each kitten. That sums up to EUR 550-950 with the vet and food costs.

Appearance and character

Each cat breed has its own special and distinctive features in appearance and character that makes the breed different from other breeds. These features are called breed standard. It ensures for example that a Persian cat has a short nose and long hair, a Russian Blue has emerald green eyes and deep grey fur, Birmans have white semi-long fur and color pointed face and tail, etc. Breeders are dedicated to preserve the breed’s characteristics. By selecting the best cats for the breeding program, the breeds can keep their features and even improve over time. In order to do that, only the best cats should be bred. Sometimes it means years of waiting to get a kitten from a certain mating from a certain breeder and very likely includes traveling to another country to get that breeding kitten. If you think a pedigree kitten is expensive, don’t ask about the price of a good kitten that was meant for breeding…

You might think, appearance is not that important. Of course, all cats can be beautiful and sweet, even a domestic cat that was born in a barn. No difference there. 

The advantage of adopting a pedigree cat and not a domestic cat, is that due to the selective breeding, the cats’ appearance and character can be predicted. If you want to go hiking with your cat, you better adopt a Bengal that loves adventures, while a Birman is more suitable for comforting you at home. If you like cuddling with fluffy, soft cats, you are at the right place considering Birmans, but if you prefer less cat hair on your furniture but enjoy teaching circus tricks to your cat, you might want to consider an Abyssinian. This doesn’t mean that individual cats always follow the breed standard in character but there is a rather clear tendency towards that.

Back to the costs, if your kitten is a pedigree cat, it also needs a pedigree document – issued for a fee.

To have proof that a cat corresponds to the breed standard, breeding cats should also be taken to cat shows, at least until they earn a title (e.g Champion). This is again an investment in good quality kittens but it divides between all kittens that a cat has during her/his career as a breeding cat.

In my program, queens will have 3 litters of kittens during their breeding career, and Birmans on average typically have 4 kittens in one litter. That makes the pedigree related costs about EUR 200-400 per kitten.


Summarizing the above listed health related costs (EUR 550-950) and pedigree related costs (EUR 200-400), it is almost impossible to create a kitten for less than EUR 700. If the breeder does everything the best possible way, they spend about EUR 1350 on each kitten that leave the cattery. And the costs for cat furniture, equipment for new born and young kittens or emergency treatments for mum are not even mentioned. Or the invested time: breeders stay awake at night when kittens need to be bottle fed, take a day off work to be with the cat that gives birth, clean 7 or more cat toilets daily twice.

Breeding cats is a beautiful hobby. And like each hobby, it requires time, energy, dedication and money to be invested. It is not a way to create extra income or make a living out of it. It is a hobby that costs, and requesting money for the kittens just covers part of the expenses, so the breeder can continue working on the improvement of the breed.

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