Last updated: October 20, 2017
On our journey through the realm of catdom, we’ve seen many different types of feline, from the cutest newborn kittens to the monsters of the cat world, Maine Coons, from the boisterous Bengal to the peaceable Persians, and they are all special in their own way. Some of the breeds were started by human beings and some, like the Burmilla, happened because two lusty cats got together by chance and made babies! Let’s have a look at another breed, which, for a change, didn’t come about by accident!
This is a BIG cat! Not quite in the Maine Coon league but it is definitely getting there. They are in the heavyweight division for sure with muscles on their muscles! The females weigh in around 10-15 lbs and the males 15-20 lbs. Of course, this is an average, since some big males can weigh even more. They have big rectangular bodies, broad shoulders with a deep chest and a short neck, and often a pad of fat on their tummies. Their long, puffy, wooly tails can wrap around their feet to keep them warm in winter. There is nothing delicate about these cats – they remind me of weightlifters. They take about five years to fully mature, but hey, you can’t hurry magnificence! Their heads are wedge-shaped with rounded foreheads and big round eyes, and their noses have a cute little dip in them. Surprisingly, although the silky fur looks very high-maintenance, it isn’t really. It is long and thick around the neck and chest area, giving them a cozy ‘ruff,’ with longer thicker hair on the chest, back, and hind legs. Just to complete the furry picture, there are also tufts of it in their paws and ears. Adult males who have not been neutered have distinctive jowls giving them an assertive, distinctly military look sometimes! Ragamuffins come in every color of the rainbow but since white is the most scarce, it’s also the most in demand.
Their soft satiny coat is easy to brush and tends not to form mats, so it doesn’t need to be untangled every five minutes! A good brushing once or twice a week will suffice to keep his coat smooth, shiny, and free of tangles, as well as banishing all that dead hair and dandruff. Although he’s a long-haired cat, the Ragamuffin doesn’t shed much, and chances are he’ll love the feeling of the brush strokes and that special bonding time with you!
Other things to which you need to pay attention are his claws, which must be cut on a frequent basis, and his furry ears! These must be cleaned out with a cotton swab and a special preparation approved by your vet. This is very important since it’s all too easy to introduce infections into his ears. Ragamuffins are quite prone to tooth and gum disease, so brush their teeth at least once a week – preferably every day, in fact – with a special toothpaste from your vet.
The Ragamuffin breed was born when a number of cat breeders thought it would be interesting to introduce new colors and patterns into the Ragdoll breed. The Ragdoll was a breed originated by Ann Baker. When a long-haired feral white cat called Josephine was hit by a car, she was taken to the University of California to recover. She had already had a few litters of ordinary kittens, but after her accident, the next ones were extremely friendly and sociable. The next batch of kittens after those had exactly the same temperament and were seen by Mrs. Ann Baker, a cat breeder. She bought some of the kittens and decided to start a new breed, the Ragdoll. In the ’70s she left all the other cat breeding associations and established a new one which she called ‘International Ragdoll Cat Association.’ She enforced tight controls over breeders and forbade them from belonging to any other cat associations, so many of them left and decided to start a breed of their own. They did so partly because they wanted to introduce new colors and patterns, but also because they felt that the tight regulation of Mrs. Baker was reducing the size of the gene pool and it needed new bloodlines. They wanted to call the breed “Liebling” cats, but someone jokingly suggested “Ragamuffin” and everyone loved it! So “Ragamuffin” it became!
To keep the Ragamuffin breed healthy and build the right personality, they were mated with domestic long-haired cats, Persians and Himalayans, and occasionally a Ragdoll. The American Cat Fanciers Association put an end to that in 2010, decreeing that at least one parent had to be a Ragamuffin.
The United Feline Organisation (UFO!) was the first to give Ragamuffins full show status, but other associations did not recognize them because they felt they were too closely related to the Ragdoll. However, the American Cat Fanciers Association recognized them in 2003 and they were allowed into the Championship class in 2011.
Ragamuffins typically live between 12-15 years but there are those who live well into their late teens. They are usually very healthy with no major issues to worry about, however, due to the fact that there is some Persian in their ancestry, there is a chance of Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, a disease that thickens the walls of the heart and lessens their ability to pump blood efficiently. There is also a chance of Polycystic Kidney disease, which causes the kidneys to fill up with fluid filled sacs. These will have been present since birth but grow larger throughout the cat’s life. This is an incurable condition, and often the only solution is euthanasia. Ragamuffins also suffer from periodontal disease – infections of the teeth, mouth, and gums, which is why oral hygiene is so important.
This cat is EVERYBODY’S buddy! He’s more like a dog than a cat, and more like a baby than an adult, which is incredible, considering his size. If you are sitting down to watch the TV in the evening and you have an invitingly empty lap, don’t expect it to stay that way! The ragamuffin loves nothing better than to be friends with you, your pet dog, your other cat, your friends, your kids and your guests. In fact, the world is his oyster – he’s just a bundle of love! He’s famous for being biddable and good-natured, willing to do just about anything for those they love. If he could make dinner or scrub the floor for you he certainly would! He is a joiner-inner and lets himself be drawn into kids’ games, pushed around in prams and affectionately ill-treated.
But you don’t get all that affection for nothing! This is a guy who loves to be petted, cuddled, loved, played with and generally spoilt. You can teach him to play ‘fetch’ and walk him on a leash but he doesn’t take kindly to hours of being alone. Be careful if they are outdoor/indoor cats though. These guys think that because his family is nice, everyone else is too, so he’s not aware of danger – stranger danger, dog danger or car danger, that is! He loves to follow his favorite human everywhere! (I have a cat like that – I wonder how many people have died from tripping over cats?) But Ragamuffin-related scratches and bite marks are very, very rare – they haven’t got a bad bone in their bodies!
When you bring your kitten home, put it in a room of its own and let the other animals in the house have a sniff at him. If you can, doss down with him for a few days – maybe even in your own bedroom – so you can become firm friends. Let him run around and explore while you sit and talk to him, but wait till he comes to you – don’t force yourself on him. When he’s used to you, you can start taking him out of his safe space into the rest of his house, but only if you’re with him. Don’t leave him with other pets till they have shaken paws and become pals. A kitten is a very small creature to a great big dog who might flatten him without even noticing!
You yourself will probably need a bit of training when you bring your Ragamuffin home. Kitten-proofing your home is essential. First, make sure that any small thing that can be inhaled or swallowed is off the floor. Hairclips, buttons, and marbles are all choking hazards. Keep toilet lids closed. Keep cupboard doors shut, especially those with toxic chemicals in them. Never leave balls of knitting wool or string lying about – your kitten may look cute playing with them but they can be swallowed and are dangerous. Tape electric cables to the wall and try to keep your breakables out of reach. Not easy, I know, but your Ragamuffin is a particularly curious cat!
Buying and Caring cost analysis
Ragamuffin Kittens can cost between $800 and $1000 each, less if you adopt them from a shelter when you’ll only have to pay adoption fees and all neutering and vaccinations will already have been done. If you wish to, you can get a pet medical insurance which will vary in price according to the amount of cover you want.