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How Much Does a Tortoiseshell Cat Cost in 2024? Updated Price Guide

Written by: Christian Adams

Last Updated on June 17, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

a tortie persian cat

How Much Does a Tortoiseshell Cat Cost in 2024? Updated Price Guide

Tortoiseshell cats have unique coloration, typically red and black, in a pattern that resembles a Tortoiseshell. Like Calicos, most Tortoiseshell cats are female, and males are rare.

Though Tortoiseshell coloration occurs in a variety of breeds, it’s still relatively rare and sought by owners. Depending on the breed and where you acquire the cat, you could spend $25–$200 by adopting or $1,000–$2,000 buying a Tortoiseshell cat from a reputable breeder.

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Bringing Home a New Tortoiseshell Cat: One-Time Costs

You may be thinking that the biggest expense of getting a Tortoiseshell cat is paying for the cat, but your one-time costs can be much higher.


A “free” cat isn’t really free. Even if you get lucky and there’s an accidental litter, your kitten will need veterinary care. The ASPCA estimates that the initial veterinary costs for a cat are around $365 for spaying, neutering, vaccinations, and an exam. This can vary by your cat’s age, location, and the vet clinic’s pricing.

tortoiseshell kitten
Image Credit:, Shutterstock


  • $15–$200

The price for adopting a cat can vary according to age, behavior, medical condition, and demand, which may apply to the desirable tortoiseshell coloration. If that occurs with a popular breed or it’s a kitten, it may be on the higher end of that range. Fortunately, this adoption fee includes spaying or neutering, vaccinations, deworming, and other medical care.


  • $1,000–$3,000

The price for a Tortoiseshell cat can vary by the breeder and the specific breed you’re looking for. Tortoiseshell can occur in Maine Coons, American Shorthairs, British Shorthairs, Persians (and variants), Cornish Rexes, Ragamuffin, and more.

With the rarity of the Tortoiseshell pattern and the premium cost of some of these purebred cats, the price can go well into thousands of dollars. Show quality, breeding rights, and rare males can increase the price even more.

portrait of a tortie maine coon kitten
Image Credit: Nynke van Holten, Shutterstock

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Initial Setup & Supplies

  • $150–$500

Whether you get a free kitten or a purebred Tortoiseshell cat, you will have additional upfront costs for supplies to bring your cat home. Your must-haves include a carrier, litter box and litter, a collar and ID tag, scratching posts or mats, cat food, and bowls. You may also want toys, cat shelves, beds, and other supplies, which raises the price.

List of Tortoiseshell Cat Care Supplies & Costs

ID Tag and Collar $25–$50
Spay/Neuter $150–$500
X-Ray Cost $100–$250
Ultrasound Cost $300–$500
Microchip $45–$55
Teeth Cleaning $50–$300
Bed $30
Nail Clipper (optional) $10
Brush (optional) $8
Litter Box $10–$100
Litter Scoop $15
Toys $30–$75
Carrier $50
Food and Water Bowls $20

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How Much Does a Tortoiseshell Cat Cost Per Month?

  • $53+ per month

Based on information from the ASPCA, cats cost around $634 annually, which is around $53 a month. This not only includes your upfront costs for the cat and one-time purchases but also recurring costs like food, treats, and veterinary care. Once your cat is spayed or neutered and vaccinated, you will need to keep up with annual checkups, vaccinations, flea and tick medication, and heartworm medication.

If your cat has health problems or requires regular medication for a chronic condition, the costs can go much higher. For example, diabetic cats can cost $50 to $100 extra per month for prescriptions like insulin—on top of the other expenses.

tortie cat resting on heated bed
Image Credit: Tina Talley, Shutterstock

Health Care

  • $46–$253 per month

Your cat’s health care, which includes food, grooming, vet care, and insurance (if you choose to purchase it), will likely be the most expensive part of cat ownership. But it is the most essential part of ensuring a long, healthy, and happy life for your cat. Fortunately, some expenses are one-time purchases, such as spaying and neutering or grooming supplies.


  • $10–$50 per month

Cat food costs can vary widely. Each cat costs about $10 to $50 per month, depending on the brand you feed, whether you feed wet or dry food, how often you feed your cat, and how much your cat eats. Many cat owners combine wet and dry food to save on costs and provide well-rounded nutrition to their cats.

Cute Kittens Sweet Baby Cat Maine Coon Kitty Tortie
Image Credit: Lana Kud, Shutterstock


  • $1–$15 per month

Professional cat grooming isn’t common, but it is an option for cats that are difficult to groom at home like Maine Coons or Persians. Otherwise, you will need to purchase grooming supplies once, but they could last your cat’s lifetime. These cost around $5 to $15 for a brush, comb, shedding brush, and nail clippers.

Medications & Vet Visits

  • $25–$150 per month

Veterinary care for cats is often cheaper than it is for dogs, but it’s still expensive. Most of the expenses occur during annual visits, but cats may have health conditions that need to be monitored more frequently throughout the year or visits for sudden injuries or illnesses. Kittens and senior cats may have higher expenses as well, though that is temporary.

vet scanning microchip on tortoiseshell cat
Image Credit: Evgeniy Kalinovskiy, Shutterstock

Pet Insurance

  • $6–$38 per month

Cat insurance is a monthly expense that pays off if your cat gets sick or injured. There are several pet insurance companies available with different plans for cats, including accident and illness, accident only, routine care, and add-ons.

The costs vary widely according to your cat’s age, health, breed, and preexisting conditions and the plan, reimbursement amount, and deductible you choose. It can be as little as $6 per month or as much as $38, if not more.

Environment Maintenance

  • $10–$50 per month

There are ongoing maintenance costs for owning a cat, such as using litter, litter box liners, deodorizing spray, and more. If you give your cat disposable toys like a cardboard scratcher, they will also add to your maintenance costs each month. These expenses are typically low, however. Some products you purchase in a pack, such as litter box liners, will last several weeks.

Example for cats:

Litter box liners $20/month
Deodorizing spray or granules $5/month
Cardboard Scratcher $5/month


  • $2–$25 per month

Cats enjoy playing with toys. You can stock up on cheap toys like cat teasers or catnip balls or spring for premium interactive toys like electronic laser toys. Either way, your cat toys will last for some time (hopefully!) before they need to be replaced. Larger enrichment purchases, such as a cat perch or tower, are more expensive but last much longer.

As an example, a subscription box of cat toys averages about $25 each month. The subscription boxes include toys, treats, and novelty gifts for cats and cat owners (mainly for the cats), to give you an idea of how much you could spend on cat enrichment.

Tortoiseshell Cat playing on the cat tree
Image Credit: socreative media, Shutterstock

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Total Monthly Cost of Owning a Tortoiseshell Cat

  • $50–$250 per month

As you can see, the total monthly cost of owning a cat varies significantly. Your cat’s health costs, like food, vet care, and insurance, are the most expensive. If your cat is ill, you may have higher monthly costs for vet care, medications, special diets, or pet insurance coverage.

After these expenses, your maintenance costs vary depending on what you choose for environmental maintenance and entertainment. For example, litter box liners make cleaning the litter box more convenient, but they’re not necessary for cat ownership. The same applies to deodorizing sprays.

Additional Costs to Factor In

Health care, entertainment, and maintenance are all routine expenses you can expect to pay throughout the year, each year of your cat’s life. Other costs may come up that you’re not expecting, however.

If you travel often, you may need a pet sitter to care for your cat while you’re away. Your cat can also have an injury or severe illness that requires emergency care, which is more expensive than vet care at a regular vet office. If you don’t have pet insurance, you should have an emergency fund to cover unexpected vet expenses.

Another thing to consider is expenses related to behavioral issues. Intact male cats can spray, and you may need to treat carpeting or furniture for odors. Cats may also scratch curtains, carpets, couches, bedding, and other surfaces in your home, which may need to be repaired or replaced. Severe behavioral problems may need to be addressed with the help of a veterinary behaviorist, the cost of which varies across the country.

tortoiseshell cat stepping out of the carrier
Image By: alenka2194, Shutterstock

Owning a Tortoiseshell Cat on a Budget

If you’re on a tight budget, that doesn’t mean you can’t bring home a Tortoiseshell cat. These cost ranges include optional expenses that you can reduce or remove completely, such as litter box liners and subscription boxes. Other expenses, such as the cost of getting a cat, can be reduced by going to a shelter.

Saving Money on Tortoiseshell Cat Care

The most significant expense that you can save on a cat is skipping the breeder. If you adopt a cat from a shelter, you will have a much lower fee to adopt instead of purchase, which includes spaying or neutering and vaccinations. That alone can save you thousands of dollars.

After that, the biggest expense is health care. Though it may seem counterintuitive, feeding high-quality food over a cheap brand provides better nutrition, and your cat will get more nutrient-dense food to support better health. However, you should be careful to avoid overfeeding—obesity isn’t good for your cat or your wallet.

Veterinary expenses are similar. Keeping up with your cat’s regular vet care, including routine dental cleanings, exams, and vaccinations, can prevent much more expensive problems from cropping up in the future. For example, heartworms may require thousands of dollars to treat with surgery to remove the parasites, but it costs less than $100 a year to prevent.

Tortie Maine Coon
Image By: Nynke van Holten, Shutterstock

You can lovwer your vet bills with pet insurance. For a small fee each month, you can have peace of mind that your cat is covered in the case of major illnesses, injuries, and emergency visits, which can run thousands of dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. Be sure to review your plan options to decide the best plan for your needs and budget.

Another way to save is by cutting out unnecessary supplies. Your cat doesn’t need dozens of toys—just a good scratching post/perch combination and some simple toys are often enough. You can also make DIY equipment for your cat, such as scratching mats and cat towers, to provide more enrichment.

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The cost to buy and own a Tortoiseshell cat falls within an extensive range. The most critical expenses relate to your cat’s health and well-being, but you can expect other expenses for entertainment, maintenance, and more. Fortunately, there are ways you can care for your cat on a budget and promote a long and healthy life.

Featured Image Credit: coryr930, Pixabay

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