How much do sand cats cost?

This page is a reality check on buying a sand cat and I discuss the true overall costs.

Sand cat at home
Sand cat at home. Not possible I am afraid. Image: PoC.
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Overall costs

When working out the cost of an exotic species of animal such as the sand cat you must factor in the lifetime maintenance of that animal. The question is not asking how much a sand cat cost to buy. It is asking about the overall costs. This is important because my research indicates that to buy a sound cat you might have to spend about $7,000 which is expensive but a fraction of overall expenditure.

Wild not domesticated

When your sand cat arrives and you bring him or her into the home and start to treat that beautiful little creature as a pet you might be shocked. You won’t succeed. You do not have a pet at that stage. You have a wild cat species albeit a small one about the size of a domestic cat. The small wild cats have very similar temperaments and characters to the big ones. Some wild cat species are more able to become domesticated than others e.g., cheetah and snow leopard, but it still means that you’re living with a wild cat and you’ll notice it.


Therefore, you will probably have to build an outside enclosure. And before that you have to make sure that you are allowed under local authority or state regulations, if you live in America, to possess and look after a wild cat such as a sand cat as you might need a licence and that licence will cost money. Ultimately all sand cats live in the wild, it is the world’s only true desert cat. In order to provide a proper environment, you’d have to build a custom enclosure which mimics the desert. Your enclosure might cost $5,000 to $10,000 and something equivalent in terms of British pounds.


Then you’ll have to buy specialist food. Your sand cat will like to eat raw food. It will have to be specially prepared. You can go to the Big Cat Rescue website to learn about it, if you like. It is quite tricky to prepare a balanced raw cat food diet. It requires skill. You can go wrong. The veterinarians don’t like people doing it as it can become contaminated with bacteria and you can poison and harm your cat.

The overall costs over the lifetime of a sand cat would, I expect, be considerably higher than the costs of looking after a domestic cat over the same period. It is well known that it costs up to about $15,000 (and in the UK you can convert the same figure to pounds) to look after a domestic cat including all expenses such as veterinary bills over the cat’s lifetime. Perhaps you could double this for a sand cat.


You might, therefore be looking at something in the order of $50,000 to purchase and look after a sand cat properly over its lifetime. These are very big guesstimates and therefore I would not ask you to rely on them in a strict sense. They are meant to be guideline figures. Let’s just say it’ll be expensive and therefore you can’t casually enter into the process of adopting a sand cat even if you can get your hands on one.


There is also a much more important aspect to this process. The ethics. And you can see right away that I’m against adopting a sand cat. Your sand cat has to come from somewhere. They live in the Middle East and the cat that you adopt may have been imported from the Middle East into America or Europe illegally. And your cat may have come from a den and it may have been taken from his mother. This damages conservation and it emotionally harms both the mother and the kitten. The kitten may have been removed from his mother before weaning. This will be doubly emotionally damaging. Or the cat may have been bred by someone illegally or under less-than-ideal conditions. All of this is not good. This is a reality check.

Can sand cats be domesticated and make good pets?

I have written about this before. Please click on this link to read my thoughts on the topic.


There are so many complications and ethical and practical barriers to adopting a sand cat in a developed countries such as America or the UK that I would strongly argue against it. I hope that this page helps.

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Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

2 thoughts on “How much do sand cats cost?”

  1. I concur with your caution that this or any wild cat is daunting financially, practically and morally to even consider, which should be enough to discourage everyone, but you didn’t touch on if they can be socialized, which would be the only upside and lure for doing so (aside from illegal profiteering). They do look cute, and one wonders if they act cute, but I guess your mention that they act pretty much like big wild cats who can not only not be cute but vicious. Handling and trying to socialize feral domesticated cats has been hard enough… I would not want to attempt it with wild cats (save the goofy Snow Leopard). I have too much respect for them.

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