The RagaMuffin cat is an extremely affectionate, puppy-like cat. They like to follow their people around the house and keep them company wherever they are. Some RagaMuffin cats and kittens play fetch. Many RagaMuffins like to help you type on your keyboard, and most think they can be of great help when it comes to wrapping gifts. The RagaMuffin cat wants to be near its people, either sitting in your lap, or right next to you. They love to be cuddled and they thrive on attention. Many RagaMuffin cats and kittens like to give “kitty kisses.” The RagaMuffin cat has a very docile nature, and is a perfect family pet, getting along well with children and other animals.
RagaMuffin cats are strictly indoor pets. Cats can live much happier and healthier lives inside. This is even more important with this breed of cat. Because RagaMuffin cats have been bred for their fabulous personalities they simply do not have the survival instincts to survive in the outdoors.
RagaMuffin cats are large, muscular, heavy cats that do not reach full maturity until approximately 4 years old. Females can be substantially smaller than males. The look of the body is rectangular, with a broad chest and powerful shoulders supporting a short neck. The RagaMuffin cat often has a fatty pad in the lower abdomen. The head is a broad modified wedge with a rounded forehead and obvious nose dip. There is a puffiness to the whisker pad and the cheeks are full. Large, walnut shaped eyes give a sweet appearance. The RagaMuffin cat is one of the longhaired cats, with a dense and silky coat, like that of a heavily furred rabbit, and the hair grows longer around the face and neck (a ruff), increases in length toward the stomach, with a wispy frill on the hind legs. Every possible color and pattern is allowable. The plush, low maintenance coat resists matting and is easily cared for with a few minutes of combing one to two times a week. The nails should be trimmed periodically. We discourage declawing as this is a maiming procedure.
The History of the RagaMuffin Cat
The history of the RagaMuffin cat started in the 1960's with Ann Baker, who was a Persian Breeder. Ann Baker developed a friendship with a neighbor who fed and cared for a colony of feral cats. A car struck one of these cats named Josephine. Josephine has been described as a white Angora or Persian, and she had previously given birth to feral kittens. After Josephine recovered from her accident, she delivered a litter of kittens that impressed people with their sweetness and sociability. Differences in the temperament of these kittens could be explained by variation that occurs among kittens in litters or the fact that subsequent litters had different fathers, Ann Baker explained the difference in temperament using the highly unscientific theory that the docile temperament of the kittens was a result of the accident. This theory persists in the minds of some people to this day.
Ann gathered as many of Josephine's kittens as possible and began breeding to preserve the wonderful personality of these cats that went limp as a Rag Doll when cuddled. She gave the cats the angelic name Cherubim. The most famous of Josephine's random bred offspring were Buckwheat and Daddy Warbucks. One of these cats was a short haired cat that resembled a Burmese and the other cat was a pointed cat with white mitts that resembled a Birman, because it was a pointed and cat with white mitts. Many of the Cherubims had points and mitts but others came in a rainbow of solid colors and bicolor variations. Ann called these non-pointed and non-mitted cats Miracle Ragdolls.
Ann was determined to direct the progress of her Cherubim cats, and so she developed strict rules for anyone wishing to breed them. She alone knew the ancestor of each cat and made all breeding decisions for the people that were breeding. In 1967 a group split away from Ann's control taking their cats to the mainstream registries to show and make their own breeding choices. They chose to call their cats “Ragdolls” and to breed only pointed cats in three patterns; the bicolor, the mitted and the non-mitted. Anne was bitter over this defection and she took steps to exert greater control over the development of ‘her' breed. She set up her own registry, the International Ragdoll Breeders Association “IRCA” and required all her breeders to register only with her. Ann patented the name “Ragdoll” for use only with cats of her breeding registry. Catteries were franchised and paid royalties for each kitten sold. For more than 20 years Ann's breeding program continued, with Cherubim breeders relatively content to enjoy raising kittens while allowing Ann to make marketing and breeding decisions. Eventually her loyal group developed misgivings about Ann, as she struggled to keep a healthy cattery while handling the responsibilities of the registry
By 1993 a group of breeders including Janet Klarmann, Curt Gehm and Kim Clark persuaded Ann to retire and planned to take over management of IRCA. However after a few months Ann refused to relinquish her control. Regretfully the group voted to leave IRCA and seek recognition with established registries. Since their cats included all colors and patterns and they signed contracts not to use the Ragdoll name, the first issue focused on what to call the cats, in the process of submitting a standard to the American Cat Fanciers Association. Janet Klarmann credits Curt Gehm of Liebling cats in Virginia with the choice of the name “RagaMuffin.” This name was chosen because the breed came from little urchin cats of Riverside . The “M” in RagaMuffin is capitalized because they are big huggable loveable Muffins. The new name stuck and in May 2001 the cats gained championship recognition.
Difference from the Ragdoll Cat
This is a question I am often asked. From the beginning, RagaMuffin breeders have faced the challenge of gaining acceptance for their cats as a distinct breed, despite the common origins with the Ragdolls. The patterns that form such an important part of the Ragdoll standard receive little emphasis from the RagaMuffin breeders. The RagaMuffin breeders accept every color and pattern with or without white, but the differences go deeper than mere color. The RagaMuffin has head shape that is distinct from the Ragdoll. Rather than having a flat plane between the ears, the skull of the Ragamuffin has a slight dome. The RagaMuffin has a shorter nose than the Ragdoll and walnut rather than oval shaped eyes. While the Ragdoll profile exhibits a gentle curve with the final segment being straight, the RagaMuffin standard requires an obvious nose dip and scoop. The RagaMuffin cat has a bit more chubby looking face, and slightly tipped forward ears. The walnut shaped eyes, the puffiness of the whisker pads, and the scoop in the nose all give the RagaMuffin cat its characteristic sweet expression. RagaMuffin breeders aim to produce a rounded more heavily boned cat. The RagaMuffin's coat is texturally similar to that of a rabbit and is shorter and thicker than the Ragdoll's medium long silky coat. While both the Ragdoll and the RagaMuffin have the same sweet, affectionate, puppy-like temperament, the RagaMuffin breeders elected to allow certain outcrosses to other breeds in order to insure that the gene pool was large enough to provide for the excellent health of the RagaMuffin cat. The use of the outcrosses has strengthened the health of the RagaMuffin cat, as well as given the RagaMuffin cat a look that is distinct from the look of the Ragdoll.