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16 Inexpensive Cat Breeds

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

By Nicole Cosgrove

cute Munchkin cat

There’s so much to think about when you want to bring a furry companion home. Not only do you have to consider the ongoing cost of food, veterinary visits, and toys, but the initial cost of your new pet is also important to remember. Pedigree cats can be incredibly expensive, and for those of us on a tight budget, it can be devastating to think that we can’t afford a feline friend of our own.

Fortunately, many cat breeds won’t break the bank just to welcome them home. We put together this list of the cheapest cat breeds available to introduce you to your options.

Top 16 Inexpensive Cat Breeds:

1. Domestic Shorthair

domestic shorthair cat in garden
Image Credit: Katzenfee50, Pixabay
Lifespan: 15 – 20 years
Weight: 8 – 12 pounds
Temperament: Smart and friendly
Average Cost: $0 – $600

Also known as the American Shorthair, the Domestic Shorthair is the most common cat breed in the United States. They’re easy to find due to their popularity and can be quite cheap, especially in shelters and rescues. These cats are also cheap to look after because they’re not prone to any dietary restrictions. However, they should still be fed carefully because they aren’t that active and can easily become obese.

Their non-combative nature makes these cats best suited for indoor living to keep them safe. Take them for walks on a leash, or keep a close eye on them if you do let them go outside.

Pros
  • Smart
  • Friendly
Cons
  • Can be lazy

2. Cornish Rex

Cornish rex in the grass
Image Credit: Rita_Kochmarjova, Shutterstock
Lifespan: 15 – 20 years
Weight: 6 – 8 pounds
Temperament: Curious and playful
Average Cost: $50 – $1300

The Cornish Rex is a highly playful cat, exhibiting kitten-like behavior even in their late adult years. Highly sociable and super friendly, they love being around their favorite people, whether it’s for cuddles or playtime. Due to their energetic, non-stop activity level, these cats aren’t prone to becoming overweight despite their immense appetites.

Cornish Rex cats can be identified by their short fur, which has a characteristic curly wave. They also look rather delicate, with high cheekbones and oversized ears.

Pros
  • Playful
  • Active
Cons
  • Can get bored easily

3. Ragdoll

Ragdoll sitting on carpet floor
Image Credit: Peredniankina, Shutterstock
Lifespan: 15 – 25 years
Weight: 15 – 20 pounds
Temperament: Relaxed and lazy
Average Cost: $75 – $400

Gaining their name from their habit of going limp like a ragdoll whenever they’re picked up, Ragdoll cats are among the longest-lived breed of cat. Kept indoors and looked after well, these cats can live up to 25 years.

They are also among the heaviest cat breeds, with some male Ragdolls weighing up to 20 pounds. Despite their heavy size, they don’t throw their weight around and typically enjoy lazing around in sunny spots or ambling along behind their people.

Unfortunately, they do require special dietary consideration, as their lack of activity makes them prone to obesity.

Pros
  • Long-lived
Cons
  • Lazy

4. Snowshoe

Snowshoe on grey background
Image Credit: COULANGES, Shutterstock
Lifespan: 15 – 20 years
Weight: 7 – 12 pounds
Temperament: Companionable and good-natured
Average Cost: $200 – $800

A close relative to the Siamese cat, the Snowshoe is a rather uncommon pet to have. Their name is derived from their looks, as they typically have fluffy coats with white paws.

Snowshoe cats are a new breed, only dating back to the 1960s, and have yet to achieve full recognition by international cat organizations. Since they originated in Philadelphia, U.S.A., and have yet to see a high amount of interest, this breed is inexpensive within America.

Their personality is similar to their Siamese cousins, with a tendency to chatter and seek frequent affection.

Pros
  • Low demand makes them affordable
Cons
  • Talkative

5. Havana Brown

Havana Brown in red background
Image Credit: Zoonar GmbH, Shutterstock
Lifespan: 15 – 20 years
Weight: 6 – 12 pounds
Temperament: Quiet and adventurous
Average Cost: $200 – $1,500

If you’re frequently on the move, the Havana Brown is a great traveling companion. Adaptable and adventurous, they’ll settle into any vehicle that you need to use to get to where you’re going, whether it’s a car, plane, or boat. They don’t demand much attention and are much quieter than talkative breeds like the Siamese.

Havana Browns have a good balance between being energetic and laidback; however, they can be prone to obesity, so their diet should be carefully considered.

Traditionally, these cats have brown fur and are the only cat breed to need brown whiskers to be allowed to compete in professional cat shows.

Pros
  • Adaptable
  • Traveling cats
Cons
  • Can be prone to obesity

6. Turkish Van

Turkish Van sitting in the garden
Image Credit: Vadim Petrakov, Shutterstock
Lifespan: 15 – 17 years
Weight: 10 – 13 pounds
Temperament: Playful and athletic
Average Cost: $200 – $800

The Turkish Van cat is a lesser-known breed and can be hard to find, but they are still relatively affordable despite this. They are friendly and enjoy spending time as lap cats. However, given the choice, they much prefer playing with their family.

Their need to play can lead to destructive tendencies if they become bored. While you’d assume such active cats would sleep more after wearing themselves out, the Turkish Van actually sleeps less than most other cat breeds. Thankfully, they can be easily entertained by toys and active games.

Pros
  • Playful
  • Friendly
Cons
  • Can be destructive when bored

7. Siamese

seal point siamese lying on a velvet clothe
Image Credit: slowmotiongli, Shutterstock
Lifespan: 12 – 15 years
Weight: 5 – 8 pounds
Temperament: Active and talkative
Average Cost: $250 – $800

Notorious for their talkative nature, Siamese cats can produce many different sounds to better communicate with their families. They’re incredibly sociable and love to be around all sorts of people, familiar or strange. This friendliness, however, does make them prone to separation anxiety that manifests itself in the form of over-grooming and pica.

Thankfully, Siamese cats get on well with other pets and can thrive in multiple pet households. Due to the breed’s popularity, they can be easy to find at a low cost. They aren’t prone to any diet-related medical conditions, so they most likely won’t require a special diet.

Pros
  • Sociable
Cons
  • Prone to separation anxiety

8. Tonkinese

Tonkinese cat
Image Credit: dezy, Shutterstock
Lifespan: 15 – 20 years
Weight: 6 – 12 pounds
Temperament: Active and helpful
Average Cost: $250 – $1,000

The Tonkinese is an intelligent cat with a penchant for mischief, which involves getting into cabinets or even opening doors. While this cat does enjoy relaxing in your lap, their favorite activity is following people around and learning new tricks.

Their intelligence makes them quick learners, and they love to figure out light switches and how to open doors. Use consistent commands along with plenty of treats and positive reinforcement to teach your Tonkinese new tricks.

Due to their high activity level, the Tonkinese isn’t prone to obesity and doesn’t require any special nutritional considerations.

Pros
  • Easy to train
  • Friendly
Cons
  • Can become bored easily

9. Himalayan

white himalayan cat hepper pod bed

Lifespan: 15 – 18 years
Weight: 9 – 12 pounds
Temperament: Gentle and polite
Average Cost: $300 – $1,250

Himalayan cats are increasingly popular due to their fluffy, cloud-like fur. Fortunately, this plush, cuddly-looking cat also loves to be around people and is always seeking attention. Their thick coat does require a great deal of maintenance, though. It’s not much of a chore due to this cat’s gentle nature but is still something to bear in mind.

These cats are not among the most active breeds and will seek out a warm lap for a nap more often than asking for playtime. It can be tricky to tell if these cats are becoming overweight with all their fur, so weighing them regularly is recommended.

Pros
  • Lap cat
Cons
  • Requires regular grooming

10. Oriental Shorthair

grey oriental shorthair cat
Image Credit: TalyaPhoto, Shutterstock
Lifespan: 15 – 20 years
Weight: 7 – 12 pounds
Temperament: Outgoing and demanding
Average Cost: $400 – $500

The main selling point of the Oriental Shorthair — also known as Orientals — is their incredibly short hair, which makes them a perfect cat for anyone looking for a cat breed that doesn’t shed excessively. Orientals come in over 300 colors and patterns and can be distinguished from other cats by their triangular faces and long ears.

As another relative of the Siamese, Orientals are friendly cats. They can be talkative, playful, and thrive when they have close relationships with people. Their sociability can make them a bit demanding, and their high energy requires regular exercise in the form of playtime — they love to play fetch!

Pros
  • Sociable
Cons
  • Can become bored easily

11. Manx

manx cat
Image Credit: Cheryl Kunde, Shutterstock
Lifespan: 15 – 18 years
Weight: 8 – 12 pounds
Temperament: Sociable and active
Average Cost: $500 – $800

One inexpensive cat breed with unusual features is the Manx. Most of the breed is naturally tailless or has a short, bobbed tail. Due to their lack of a tail, a Manx cat is also known as “Rumpy.” While you can get a Manx cat with a full-length tail, they are rarer and may cost more.

This is an easygoing cat that gets along with dogs and children, so they’re a perfect addition to family life. Despite their sociability, Manx cats form strong bonds with their families and don’t handle rehoming well.

Pros
  • Active
  • Family oriented
Cons
  • Don’t adapt well to sudden life changes

12. Burmese

close up of Burmese cat standing on gray background
Image Credit: Seregraff, Shutterstock
Lifespan: 15 – 20 years
Weight: 8 – 12 pounds
Temperament: Energetic and sociable
Average Cost: $500 – $1,000

Instantly recognizable by their bright, expressive green or golden eyes, the Burmese is a popular cat breed that is still highly affordable. Their coats are typically shorthaired, so they don’t require much grooming to retain a healthy sheen.

Burmese cats are sociable and are highly playful even when fully grown. They can be a little stubborn, but they are also intelligent and love to learn new tricks. These cats hate being left alone for too long, thriving best in multi-pet households or large families who are home often.

Pros
  • Easy to train
  • Playful
Cons
  • Stubborn

13. Abyssinian

Abyssinian cat standing on white surface
Image Credit: Osetrik, Shutterstock
Lifespan: 12 – 15 years
Weight: 8 – 10 pounds
Temperament: Attention-seeking and curious
Average Cost: $500 – $1,500

The Abyssinian cat is one of the most athletic cat breeds available, and they delight in learning new tricks. These clever and curious kitties will even study and learn new behaviors from their family members — even if you don’t want them to!

Common activities that the Abyssinian can learn include opening cabinets or turning lights on and off. Fortunately, these cats can be easily distracted by various cat trees, toys, and other activities.

This cat breed typically has a shorthaired coat, but it’s thick and dense, so it requires weekly brushing for the best health.

Pros
  • Mischievous
  • Easy to train
Cons
  • Can become bored easily

14. Birman

birman cat walking outdoors
Image Credit: Jeannette1980, Pixabay
Lifespan: 15 – 20 years
Weight: 6 – 15 pounds
Temperament: Quiet and intelligent
Average Cost: $500 – $1,500

As one of the gentlest cat breeds — in coat softness, temperament, and even vocal range — the Birman cat is the perfect addition to quiet families. Similar in appearance to the longhaired Siamese or the Ragdoll, these adorable fluffy kitties are often mistaken for these other breeds.

The Birman cat’s temperament gives them away, though. Unlike the active Siamese, the Birman prefers to keep all four feet firmly on the ground and rarely climbs onto high shelves.

Intelligent and highly social, Birman cats do their best when part of a multi-pet household. They can suffer from separation anxiety, especially when their favorite people work long hours.

Pros
  • Prefers staying close to the ground
Cons
  • Can suffer from separation anxiety

15. American Bobtail

red american bobtail cat
Image credit: Ievgeniia Miroshnichenko, Shutterstock
Lifespan: 15 – 20 years
Weight: 11 – 20 pounds
Temperament: Lovable and mischievous
Average Cost: $600 – $1,200

The American Bobtail is an uncommon breed and can be hard to find. Their rarity makes them one of the more expensive breeds on this list, but you can still find affordable options, especially in shelters and rescues. Their most distinctive feature is their bobbed tail, similar to that of the Manx cat.

Super friendly, the American Bobtail is comfortable around people of all ages, whether they’re family or strangers, and they also get along well with other cats and dogs. They enjoy being a part of all aspects of your life and even take well to going on strolls on a leash.

Pros
  • Adapts well to walking on a leash
  • Suitable for multi-pet households
Cons
  • Difficult to find

16. Munchkin

munchkin cat indoor
Image Credit: SV_zt, Shutterstock
Lifespan: 15 – 18 years
Weight: 8 – 12 pounds
Temperament: Curious and outgoing
Average Cost: $900 – $2,400

Unlike most of the other cat breeds on this list, the Munchkin can be one of the most expensive cats that you can get, depending on where you decide to buy your new furry friend. However, they’re also a breed with a large price bracket and can, in some places, go for as low as a few hundred dollars. Even if you’re on a budget, though, make sure to do your research into any breeders.

The most notable characteristic of the Munchkin cat is their extraordinarily small size. Due to their short, stubby legs, this cat stands at a much lower height than their other feline relatives. Despite this, they’re just as capable of getting around — and into mischief — as any other cat.

Pros
  • Adorable
Cons
  • Can be expensive

Conclusion

Cats can be incredibly expensive, but there are plenty of breeds that you can look into even if you are on a tight budget. While most pedigree cats can cost hundreds of dollars, the popularity of the breed and how commonplace they are can bring their average cost down to something affordable.

Always remember to do your research, especially if you choose to go to a breeder, and make sure the cats you look at are healthy and well taken care of before purchasing one. We hope that this list of the cheapest cat breeds will help you find your new family member.


Featured Image Credit: This road is mine, Shutterstock

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