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Tetsu Yamazaki, Animal Photography
Don’t confuse the longhaired Ragamuffin with his cousin the Ragdoll. The two are separate breeds, although they are similar in temperament and appearance. Large and affectionate, this is a classic lap cat who loves being cuddled. The Ragamuffin is a big kitty who comes in more colors and patterns than the Ragdoll, although not all of them are accepted by every cat breed association.
The name "Ragamuffin" was originally a joke made by one of the breed's founders. It stuck when the original registry couldn't be changed.
Don’t confuse the Ragamuffin with his cousin the Ragdoll. The two are separate breeds, although little is known about the development of the Ragamuffin. He was probably created by crossing longhaired breeds such as Turkish Angoras, Persians, Birmans and longhaired domestic cats.
The Ragamuffin might as well be lined with Velcro. He follows his people wherever they go and greets guests at the door with a happy meow. Expect to see him participating in a little girl’s tea party, fetchingly dressed in a pretty bonnet. With his outgoing nature, he can make a good travel companion and can even learn to walk on a leash.
His silky coat is easy to groom. Comb it once or twice a week to prevent or remove any mats or tangles. Be gentle, and with his accepting personality, he’ll enjoy the special attention. Like all cats, the Ragamuffin’s coat sheds, but not excessively. Ask if your Ragamuffin has any Persian ancestry. This could cause his coat to mat more easily.
The only other grooming he needs is regular nail trimming and ear cleaning (with cotton balls and a vet-recommended ear cleaning solution). It’s also a good idea to brush his teeth regularly with a vet-approved pet toothpaste. This breed is prone to periodontal disease.
The Ragamuffin weighs between 10 and 20 pounds and is well suited to any home with people who will love him and give his gorgeous coat a weekly combing. Keep him indoors to protect him from cars, diseases spread by other cats and attacks from other animals. The breed usually lives for 13 or more years.
Little is known about the development of the RagaMuffin. He was probably created by Ragdoll breeders who wanted to bring in additional colors and patterns by crossing their cats with other longhaired breeds such as Turkish Angoras, Persians, Birmans and longhaired domestic cats. The breed is recognized by the American Cat Fanciers Association, the American Association of Cat Enthusiasts, the Cat Fanciers Association and the Cat Fanciers Federation.
RagaMuffin Temperament and Personality
The sociable RagaMuffin might as well be lined with Velcro. He follows his people wherever they go and greets guests at the door with a happy meow. Expect to see him participating in a little girl’s tea party, fetchingly dressed in a pretty bonnet. With his outgoing nature, he gets along with visitors, dogs and other cats, can make a good travel companion and can even learn to walk on a leash.
RagaMuffins and children go together like chocolate and peanut butter. The calm, patient RagaMuffin loves attention and happily plays fetch, learns tricks and rides in doll carriages. Just make sure children treat him with the gentle respect he deserves.
Their adult owners will enjoy the RagaMuffin’s gentle companionship while they read or watch television. Give him a tummy rub once in a while and the RagaMuffin will be in seventh heaven. Keep plenty of toys around; he is active and playful throughout life.
All cats have the potential to develop genetic health problems, just as all people have the potential to inherit a particular disease. Run, don’t walk, from any breeder who does not offer a health guarantee on kittens, who tells you that the breed is 100 percent healthy and has no known problems, or who tells you that her kittens are isolated from the main part of the household for health reasons.
Ragamuffins are generally healthy, but hereditary health issues that can be a concern include hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and polycystic kidney disease.
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is the most common form of heart disease in cats. It causes thickening (hypertrophy) of the heart muscle. An echocardiogram can confirm whether a cat has HCM. Researchers have identified the genetic mutation that causes the development of HCM in the Ragamuffin and have developed a genetic test that allows breeders to screen cats before breeding them. Cats identified with HCM should be removed from breeding programs. Avoid breeders who claim to have HCM-free lines. No one can guarantee that their cats will never develop HCM.
Polycystic kidney disease, which causes renal failure, ended up in the Ragamuffin via its Persian ancestry. Genetic testing is available that can identify whether a cat is a carrier or affected with PKD.
Ask the breeder to show evidence that a kitten’s parents have been screened for HCM and PKD. Do not buy from a breeder who does not provide a written health guarantee.
The RagaMuffin has a medium to medium-long coat with a soft, silky texture. It typically does not mat or tangle readily and is easy to groom. RagaMuffins with Persians in their pedigree may mat more easily than others, though.
Use a stainless steel comb to groom the coat once or twice a week. Be gentle, and with his accepting personality, he’ll enjoy the special attention. Like all cats, the RagaMuffin’s coat sheds, but not excessively.
The only other grooming a RagaMuffin requires is regular nail trimming and ear cleaning. Trim the nails as needed, usually every 10 days to two weeks. Cats can be prone to periodontal disease, so it’s important to brush their teeth at home with a vet-approved pet toothpaste and schedule veterinary cleanings as needed.
You want your RagaMuffin to be happy and healthy so you can enjoy your time with him, so do your homework before you bring him home. For more information on the history, personality and looks of the RagaMuffin, or to find breeders, visit the websites of the American Cat Fanciers Association, the Cat Fanciers Association, Cats Center Stage, the Fanciers Breeder Referral List and the RagaMuffin Associated Group.
A reputable breeder will abide by a code of ethics that prohibits sales to pet stores and wholesalers and outlines the breeder’s responsibilities to their cats and to buyers. Choose a breeder who has performed the health certifications necessary to screen out genetic health problems to the extent that is possible, as well as one who raises kittens in the home. Kittens who are isolated can become fearful and skittish and may be difficult to socialize later in life.
Avoid breeders who only seem interested in how quickly they can unload a kitten on you and whether your credit card will go through. You should also remember that buying a kitten from one of those “instant pet” websites leaves you no recourse if what you get isn’t exactly what you expected.
Lots of reputable breeders have websites, so how can you tell who’s good and who’s not? Red flags include kittens always being available, multiple litters on the premises, having your choice of any kitten, and the ability to pay online with a credit card. Those things are convenient, but they are almost never associated with reputable breeders.
Whether you’re planning to get your feline friend from a breeder, a pet store, or another source, don’t forget that old adage “let the buyer beware”. Disreputable breeders and unhealthy catteries can be hard to distinguish from reliable operations. There’s no 100% guaranteed way to make sure you’ll never purchase a sick kitten, but researching the breed (so you know what to expect), checking out the facility (to identify unhealthy conditions or sick animals), and asking the right questions can reduce the chances of heading into a disastrous situation. And don’t forget to ask your veterinarian, who can often refer you to a reputable breeder, breed rescue organization, or other reliable source for healthy kittens. Put at least as much effort into researching your kitten as you would into choosing a new car or expensive appliance. It will save you money in the long run.
Be patient. Depending on what you are looking for, you may have to wait six months or more for the right kitten to be available. Many breeders won’t release kittens to new homes until they are between 12 and 16 weeks of age.
Before you buy a kitten, consider whether an adult RagaMuffin might be a better choice for your lifestyle. Kittens are loads of fun, but they’re also a lot of work and can be destructive until they reach a somewhat more sedate adulthood. With an adult, you know more about what you’re getting in terms of personality and health. If you are interested in acquiring an adult cat instead of a kitten, ask breeders about purchasing a retired show or breeding cat or if they know of an adult cat who needs a new home.
Make sure you have a good contract with the seller, shelter or rescue group that spells out responsibilities on both sides. In states with “pet lemon laws,” be sure you and the person you get the cat from both understand your rights and recourses.
Kitten or adult, take your RagaMuffin to your veterinarian soon after adoption. Your veterinarian will be able to spot problems, and will work with you to set up a preventive regimen that will help you avoid many health issues.
A breeder is not your only option for acquiring a RagaMuffin. Although RagaMuffin kittens are almost never found in shelters and rescue, adult RagaMuffins, both pedigreed and mixed, are not always so fortunate. You may find the perfect RagaMuffin for your family through RagaMuffin rescue or by checking your local shelters or the listings on Petfinder.
Wherever you acquire your RagaMuffin, make sure you have a good contract with the seller, shelter or rescue group that spells out responsibilities on both sides. In states with pet "lemon laws,” be sure you and the person you get the cat from both understand your rights and recourses.
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