January 11, 2019

Ragamuffin Cat

This is an old breed that was only recognised in the last few years. This breed closely resembles the Ragdoll cat, which brings us back to the 1960s for its development. It started with a white Angora or Persian cat named Josephine. A former Persian cat breeder, Ann Baker was the one who used the offspring of Josephine to develop several new breeds. Baker named one of the breeds the Cherubim, which produced cats that come in varying patterns and colours.

In order to direct the progress of this breed and as the sole person who knows the ancestors of each of the Cherubim cats, Baker established strict rules for anyone who wanted to breed these cats. She established her own registry called the International Ragdoll Cat Association (IRCA) in 1971. Baker went further to trademark the name “Ragdoll” and sold its franchise. Thus, only IRCA breeders were allowed to employ the Ragdoll name.

However, in 1975 a group of breeders broke away from the Baker and took the cats to mainstream cat registries in order to establish their own breeding choices. This group of breeders came up with the name “Ragdoll” and chose to breed the Ragdoll cats in pointed patterns.

In exerting greater control, Baker became more eccentric and this led to the breaking off of another group of breeders in 1993. This group of breeders then sought recognition for the cats with established registries. They renamed their cats RagaMuffin as they were not allowed to use the Ragdoll name. Concerted efforts were made to promote and preserve the breed with the mainstream associations. The RagaMuffin Associated Group (RAG) and the non-profit RagaMuffin Cat Lovers Society, Inc. were formed for such purposes.

However, it was a slow journey and the breeders had to start from scratch as many associations would not grant the breed the same recognition they had already granted to the Ragdoll breed. They prevailed in their efforts to separate the two breeds and it all finally paid off when American Cat Fanciers Association (ACFA) and Cat Fanciers Associations (CFA) granted championship status to the breed in 2001 and 2011 respectively. Till date, all associations except The International Cat Association (TICA) had followed suit and the RagaMuffin is a stunning new breed in its own right.

Physical Appearance and attributes
Ragamuffin is considered one of the largest cat breeds. Males weigh an average of 12 - 20 pounds while females weigh between 8 - 15 pounds. The heavy boning contributed much to the hefty weigh. The impressive stance comes from having a long rectangular body with broad chest, shoulders and equally wide rump. Even though it has a fatty pad on its abdomen area, the Ragamuffin breed can be substantially well-muscled. The legs are relatively medium in length and the hind legs are longer than the forelegs. Supporting the weight are large, round paws that are furnished with tufts between the toes and under the paws. It swishes a long and gorgeously plumed tail around its body, which added much elegance to its entire form.

It has a broad head that is a modified wedge, giving it a rounded appearance. The cheeks are full and there is a touch of puffiness to the whisker pads. Its muzzle is moderately broad with a firm chin. Profile view shows the muzzle to be considerably shorter and a nose dip is evident. The head carries a pair of medium sized ears that are slightly flared with a forward tilt. They taper into a rounded tip and is moderately adorned with tufts. Completing the sweet expression is the large walnut shaped eyes that are wide-set and gleam in a complementing color to its coat color.

Ragamuffin has medium to medium-long coat that is soft and dense. Depending on the color, the texture will vary. The hair length will increase in length from across the shoulder blades down the back and hindquarters into its plumed tail. Ragamuffin also wears a generous ruff around the neck. The hair on the outer edges of the face is slightly longer and the fur on its legs is thicker. The coat color can come in a plethora of colors and patterns except pointed.

Personality and temperament
Ragamuffin is a breed of exceptional personality and temperament. This large cat carries an abundance of sweetness and mildness in its disposition. It finds pleasure in cuddles and has the propensity to be completely relaxed in your arms. It returns the love with trust and loyalty and is never known to lay a claw to harm.

Though calm and laid back, it can lend itself to boisterous play and can get along well with children. High in intelligence and patience, the RagaMuffin can be taught tricks, such as fetch, and to walk on a leash. Pulling out its favorite toy will certainly bring out the excitement in the Ragamuffin and a fun and enjoyable time with this cat is ensured. Even though it seeks for attention, it is also a sensitive breed that will lend its ears to listen, proving itself to be an endearing pet for most homes.

Care and health issues
This is a healthy breed that has an average lifespan of between 15 - 18 years. The few known health issues include Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM), a heart disease which thickens the heart muscles; and Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD), which causes renal failure.  These health issues can be easily identified through genetic tests, thus, it is easy, if not important to obtain a cat that comes with a written health guarantee. This would indicate that qualified breeders have removed affected cats from their breeding programs for the breeding of healthy cats.

The coat of RagaMuffin does not mat or tangle easily, thus a once or twice weekly brushing with a stainless steel comb would suffice to keep it healthy and neat. Care should also be extended to regular nail trimmings and ear checks for infections. Frequent teeth brushing with vet-approved toothpaste is also necessary to prevent periodontal disease.

The ideal home
Ragamuffin is suited for indoor living. Even though it can adapt well to any homes with children, elderly or other family pet, it prefers a serene environment. This breed thrives with human companionship and seeks for attention. Thus, it is necessary that adequate time is made to care and interact with the cat. A hearty growth will not be possible without fun and activities. Hence, it is necessary that space or an adventure zone equipped with cat toys, cat trees and scratching poles is created. An escape-proof and safe outdoor garden where the cat can explore, relax and play would certainly be ideal. Even though RagaMuffin is a laid back breed, it does not hesitate to show its affection and devotion to its favorite people. Coupled with its easygoing, playful and extremely sweet disposition, the RagaMuffin is a highly treasured breed to have as a pet.


Image Credit
Photo By Chris Dlugosz - CC BY 2.0

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