Photograph of World’s Most Expensive Cat

Here are three photographs of the world’s most expensive cat as decided by Guinness World Records. My reasons are set out below. Please remember that the photo is copyright protected.

California Spangled Cat the world's most expensive cat

According to Guinness World Records, the world’s most expensive cat was a California Spangled Cat which was bought for $24,000 (£15,925) in January 1987. This individual cat was the display cat on the 1986 Neiman Marcus Chistmas Book. The cat made a big impact at the time and many orders were placed. (Note that this breed’s name is “California” not “Californian”).

Some time ago, I was fortunate enough to be contacted by a lady whose name is Udana Power. She was a close friend of the founder and creator of the California Spangled Cat, Paul Casey. Paul Casey was a very talented person and you can read about him by clicking on this link.

Udana provided me with photographs of the California Spangled Cat which featured on the 1989 calendar about this cat.

I believe that the cat featured on the 1989 calendar are photographs of the same individual cat that featured in the Neiman Marcus catalogue of 1986. Although, of course I can’t be completely sure.

California Spangled Cat the world's most expensive cat

It is certainly very likely to be the same cat because Paul Casey would have featured the best cat that he had both on the Christmas book and the calendar.

If I’m correct, therefore, the pictures on this page are of the Guinness World Records most expensive cat.

You can read about the full history of this very rare cat breed on this page which features the pictures you see here. The page was written years ago immediately after Udana sent me the photographs. The photographs are actually scanned copies of the original calendar, which I received. You can see the screen printing.

California Spangled Cat the world's most expensive cat according to Guinness World Records

I’m sure a lot of readers of this page will notice that the California Spangled Cat featured is similar to the modern day Bengal Cat.

This was a time in the history of the American cat fancy when there was a flurry of new cat breeds and great interest in wild cat hybrids.

It should be said, however, that the California Spangled Cat is not a wild cat hybrid (although please see Sarah’s comment below). In that sense it is more like today’s Ocicat, which is also a totally domestic cat albeit a hybrid.

Finally, I would at least have to query whether Guinness World Records are correct in saying that this individual cat is the world’s most expensive because A1 Savannahs sold quite a few first filial (F1) Savannah Cats and the best quality F1 Savannah Cats-called A1 Supremes-could well have sold for $30,000 and more.  However, when inflation is factored in the price of the California Spangled would have been an astonishing: $38,105 (£22,692).

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Photograph of World’s Most Expensive Cat — 16 Comments

  1. Certainly a beautiful cat. The word “created” is a big turn off for me.
    The creations that I’m in love with are worth more to me than any that could be created by man.

  2. Michael,thanks for the excellent information on Screenplay writer Mr Paul.Casey’s invention, “California Spangled Cat”.He was the first person to experiment in producing “Hybrid Cats” which is today a trend and resulted in creation of the “Bengal Cats ” and later the “Savannah Cats”.. 38,105 U.S $ in 2014 Dollar purchase power is unbelievable which in Indian rupees is Rs 23,24,405 only ! ?Just for information although not concerning cats , “German Shepherd Dogs” of the best imported pedigree have sold for over Rs 1 Crore in India !

    • I am sure many Indian people will be shocked by the price when you consider what it could purchase in India. It seems terribly extravagant when that sort of money could help so many children who are underfed. And the price of the German Shepherd dog is astonishing. People seem to be a bit crazy sometimes and it is no wonder that we have the starving poor when people want to spend that sort of money on a companion animal when the better alternative is to go to a rescue centre adopt one for $40.

  3. The breeders of that cat must have laughed all the way to the Bank especially when they consider how many moggies were used in it’s creation. The difference between this California Spangled and my foundling Kuzeykedi is not all that great.

    • I suppose, at the time in the mid-1980s there was a greater fascination with replicating a small wild cat species for the home. About that time in America there was this heightened activity in trying to create a domesticated wild cat and that is probably why Paul Casey jumped on the bandwagon and was able to expect a very high price for his cat. I agree that it is silly.

  4. The statement it didn’t contain any wild blood may be misleading. Bengal breeders have been digging around and Casey was known to have obtained cats from an early Bengal breeding program. It is suspected by them that these were used in the California Spangled breeding program – which would have introduced some wild genes. I’m also pretty sure some of the fraudulent Asheras had a higher price tag.

    After a bit of digging around, I can’t find anyone still breeding the Spangled.

    Experimenting with hybrid cats goes back a lot further than Paul Casey. Hybrids were bred as far back as the 1880s and then a few were bred in the 1930s and 1940s before Sugden’s first breeding program in the 1960s and Engler’s breeding program in 1972.

    http://messybeast.com/small-hybrids/bengalensis-margay-hybrids.htm

    • Thanks a lot, Sarah, for a very informative comment, as usual. I suppose hybridisation goes back as far as the cat fancy itself which is late 1800s. I’ll be honest and say that I did not check the history of the California spangled when I wrote this page. I wrote it straight out of my head and I thank you once again for adding to the page.

      • The Duke & Duchess of Sutherland exhibited some Scottish Wildcat hybrids at Crystal Palace at the first British cat shows, so even exhibiting hybrids at shows is nothing new (nothing new under the sun as it’s said). Mind you, back then a ring-tailed lemur was exhibited at a cat show as a “Madagascan Cat”! The New York cat shows of the 1890s allowed small wild cats to be exhibited (ocelots and margays).

        • Yes, I remember reading about the Scottish wildcat show cat in Harrison Weir’s book. We do have a fascination with the idea of domesticating wild cats and keeping them as pets. I suppose that is how the domestic cat started in the first place. It seems that we would rather have a domestic cat that looks like a wild cat in our house rather than lots of them in the wild, outside. This is an aspect of humankind that I don’t like.

  5. really 30,000 far out i wouldnt be able to afford her them as my income is more less than that. wouldnt buy anyway. Looks alot like a tabby cat actually.

  6. Paul Casey was my very dear friend and I think of him often. As I remember, the California Spangled Cats sold for $3,600 per cat at the very highest, not $24,000. Paul never made a lot of money off them, nor did he live an extravagant lifestyle. Quite the opposite. He was passionate about the cats as well as his inventions and his writing projects. He had patents on some extraordinary energy devices, one being the Solar Lens. Sometimes called the Sol-Lens. He never cared at all about money… Mostly that we take good care of the planet. That was a part of his desire to create the California Spangled Cat. He said he was in the Olgavie Gorge with Dr Leakey when the last of the breeding leopards was shot and killed and that gave him the idea to create what he called a “lap leopard” … To bring consciousness to the worls to save the great wild cats. It took him years to do. He chose 8 different breeds from 4 different continents. He started with the body and at the very end somehow “added the spots.” He said that the only surprise was when he got 8 different colors of cats.

    The cats would still be thriving today except that there was one cat that was brought back to his kennel to breed. The owner had given a “cat party” for neighbors to bring over all their cats before he brought his cat to the kennel, unbeknownst to Paul. The cat brought a virus into the kennel that killed off the next 36 kittens. Paul was broken hearted. Literally. His finances were low, it had taken an enormous undertaking to do what he had already done… And his heart went out of it. His own brother, John, died about that time (they were very close – John was a magician with things in the Smithsonian Institution.) And ensuing obstructions to his development of the Sol-Lens plus low finances and illness in his family were beyond what he could surmount on his own.

    Paul was an amazing man, a brilliant genius and a dear friend. I was introduced to him by a producer on Universal Studios lot when Paul submitted a series idea the producer thought I might be right for. We became lifelong friends. I was honored to play the lead role of Juana La Locca in readings of his play of the same name. That was a monumental work. He never got the acknowledgement his gifts and talents deserved. RIP Paul.

    • Thank you once again for communicating with me and the site. It seems like the Guinness World Records are not very accurate, unsurprisingly. I’ll respond more fully later.

    • You have written a beautiful comment about Paul Casey your dear friend. He was clearly a very talented person, able to do many different things. Sometimes you get people like that who are multitalented – able to turn their hand to almost anything because they’re both physically and mentally talented. He was also a very intelligent man and sensitive to what I consider to be the real issues, namely the environment and how to protect it and nature and how to protect that against humankind’s expansion. Thank you once again for visiting and sharing your knowledge about Paul Casey. In writing about him on this website and providing me with information about him I hope that he receives more recognition for his work. He deserves it.

  7. Paul Casey was such a talented and beautiful soul. Besides his work with the Spangled Cat, his novel Open the Coffin was completely fascinating. During the reading, Kenneth Branagh was in the audience to offer his opinion. I’m pretty sure either my aunt or her daughter (my cousin) took those great shots of those beautiful cats. He was a real pioneer in hybrid breeds and it was all done out of his love for the leopard and the poaching that was going on. I’m actually named for the family. My great aunt Corinne married a great man with Paul Casey, Sr. Thanks for this article. ( https://books.google.com/books?id=msOZh5NSvaYC&pg=PR25&lpg=PR25&dq=kenneth+branagh+paul+casey&source=bl&ots=NBKJ4IWVYp&sig=l-yzzcV7odRlMFSfA3xdKEnST0s&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiT3M3dp5TLAhUJw2MKHUvlB0cQ6AEIIzAC#v=onepage&q=kenneth%20branagh%20paul%20casey&f=false )

  8. Should’ve mentioned he’s my dad’s first cousin, but maybe that was deduced with the end of my comment. He’s greatly missed just like his brother John Casey.

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