The Ragamuffin is a calm and patient breed of cat that possesses striking similarities to the Ragdoll. It is sweet and cuddly and will never mind getting picked up and cuddled. It has a long and thick fur that is surprisingly easy to maintain. If you are looking for a cat that is as sociable as dogs, as docile as rabbits, and has the looks of a huggable Teddy bear, then the Ragamuffin cat is it.
History of the Ragamuffin Cat
The Ragamuffin has a very striking similarity to the Ragdoll cat. This is because the latter is one of the foundation parent breeds of the Ragamuffin. To be more specific, the Ragamuffin came from the Cherubim Ragdoll blood lines of the International Ragdoll Cat Association. The Cherubim line of Ragdolls from 1971 to 1994 provided the basis for the establishment of the Ragamuffin breed.
It all started in the 1960s, when Ann Baker purchased some of the litter than belonged to Josephine. Josephine was a non-pedigreed, long-haired, domestic cat. People say that Josephine is of either Persian or Angora stock because of the characteristics of its coat. What was remarkable about the litter of Josephine was that they were more docile than other kittens. When Josephine kept on producing litter that had the same docile nature, Ann Baker purchased some of the kittens to establish the Ragdoll breed.
Baker used domestic tomcats with Burmese or Birman ancestry in the breeding of the Ragdoll. Knowing that she has hit a potential gold mine in the Ragdoll, Baker sought to establish a monopoly of the breed by establishing her own cat association – the International Ragdoll Cat Association or IRCA. Anyone who wished to become a breeder of Ragdolls has to be a member of Baker’s association. She imposed very stringent requirements and standards on any person who wanted to sell or breed Ragdolls. Baker also forbade the registration of Ragdolls in other feline registries.
Because of Baker’s monopoly of the Ragdoll franchise, some members of the IRCA decided to form their own group. They distanced themselves from Baker and her IRCA in 1994. Because Baker ‘trademarked” the names Cherubim and Ragdoll, the group had to think of a new name for their IRCA Cherubim cats. They called the cat, Ragamuffin.
Hence, the Ragamuffin is essentially a Ragdoll cat from Baker’s IRCA. Since the IRCA members had their own stock of Ragdolls and Cherubims, they renamed these cats Ragamuffins.
The group had a more holistic look about the Ragamuffin. They sought to improve the breed’s personality, temperament, and genetic health. They encouraged their members and other breeders to outcross the cat to the Domestic Longhair. This was to help strengthen the long-haired genes of the breed while imparting many of the adorable characteristics of the Domestic Longhair.
With the expiration of the Standard of Perfection afforded by the American Cat Fanciers’ Association on the use of Domestic Longhair cats for outcrossing, the group turned to Persians and Himalayans. The group also allowed the use of IRCA Ragdolls in the outcrossing of the Ragamuffin.
For a cat to be considered to be an authentic Ragamuffin, one of its parents should be a Ragamuffin. The other parent should also be a feline breed that major feline organizations recognize as acceptable outcrosses. These organizations include the American Cat Fanciers’ Association, the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy, and the Cat Fanciers’ Association.
The United Feline Organization was the first to recognize the Ragamuffin as a feline breed. The American Cat Fanciers’ Association followed suit. The Cat Fanciers’ Association classified the Ragamuffins under its Miscellaneous category in 2003. Eight years later, the CFA gave the Ragamuffin full championship status.
Today, it is one of the most popular kitties in both the United Kingdom and the United States.
Quick Facts About the Ragamuffin
The history of the Ragamuffin is steeped in controversy. However, one cannot deny that this is a very lovely and affectionate breed. With so many adorable characteristics, it is not surprising why some dog lovers will also want to bring home a Ragamuffin cat. Here are other facts you need to know about this feline Teddy bear.
- A Large Cat
Everyone knows that the Maine Coon is the planet’s largest domestic cat breed. However, the Ragamuffin is not far behind. Males can weigh more than 20 pounds. And if you look at their fluffy coat, you would think that this kitty is one solid block. Females are lighter. However, they can still weigh between 10 and 15 pounds. This is heavier than the males of other breeds. Take note that these weights are for adults. A typical Ragamuffin will not reach its full adult weight until it has reached the age of 4 years.
- Not a Ragdoll
If we look at the history of this feline breed, it is safe to say that it is a Ragdoll from the Cherubim line. However, this is not accurate. Remember that the Ragamuffin can also be outcrossed to Domestic Longhairs and Persians, as well as other breeds that cat organizations recognize for outcrossing. This results in a more diverse cat breed in terms of physical characteristics. Ragamuffins can have any color and coat pattern. Ragdolls, on the other hand, have to have the colorpoint pattern.
The Ragamuffin also has a ‘sweeter’ expression than the Ragdoll. Both feline breeds have almond-shaped eyes. However, the Ragamuffin comes with rounder and larger eyes. The corner of the eyes also has a very distinct ‘pinch’. The Ragdoll’s almond-shaped eyes are thinner and come at an angle.
To complement the sweet expression of the Ragamuffin, the area between its ears come with rounded contours. It also has a distinct nose scoop that the Ragdoll doesn’t have. Ragdolls also have a flat section in between their ears. The topline is flat, though. Ragdolls have an angled topline. The hindquarters of the Ragdoll are also raised.
- Their Original Name is Not Ragamuffin
Before the breakaway group of the IRCA named the cat Ragamuffin, they called it the Liebling. This is German for ‘sweetheart’ or ‘darling. It is a very apt name for a cat that has such adorable qualities and sweet demeanor. However, not many people can relate to the word without first checking the dictionary. In Northern Virginia, people still call them the Lieblings, however.
- Lapdogs in a Feline Body
Ragamuffins are the feline equivalent of a lapdog. Their sociability and friendliness are things that very few other breeds of cat can match. They love being with their owners. Unlike the Siamese, however, the Ragamuffin will not pester you when it sees you doing something. It is already content on following you around the house.
- Super Mellow Kitties
One of the things that people love about Ragdolls is their docile nature. They go limp whenever someone picks them up. This is why Ann Baker gave them the name “Ragdoll”. And since the Ragamuffin came from the same line of Ragdolls, you can also expect it to go limp when you handle it. This makes the Ragamuffin one of the few feline breeds that will never mind getting picked up, handled, cuddled, and petted.
Things You Should Know
Owning a Ragamuffin requires a basic understanding of how to properly care for it. A good ragamuffin owner should always look after the health, nutrition, and safety of the cat. Its happiness is also contingent on the owner’s understanding of the unique temperament of this cat.
This is one aspect of the Ragamuffin that people love. Unlike other breeds, this cat does not have any genetic disease. However, it is still at risk of developing health problems that are common in domestic cats. These can include polycystic kidney disease, obesity, and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
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Obesity is a real concern among Ragamuffins. Their laid-back nature and docile character make them quite prone to weight issues. This is especially true if you are also not careful about their feeding patterns.
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Ragamuffins are large cats that need the right amounts of calories to supply them with energy. Be very mindful of the amount of calories you give to this cat. If it is too much, then there is the risk of turning the cat into an obese feline.
Its food should contain at least 50 percent protein. It is best to give animal proteins than plant proteins because they have a more complete amino acid profile. Pet parents who decide to go vegan can still provide plant proteins. However, it is also crucial that the cat receives the correct amino acid supplements.
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Always choose a high-quality canned or wet cat food for the Ragamuffin. The pet food product should never contain unnecessary ingredients like fillers. Many dry cat food contains too many fillers that these cat foods are known for being calorie-rich and carbohydrate-rich. On the other hand, canned cat foods contain more proteins and fats.
You should never remove fat from the Ragamuffin’s diet. This nutrient can help maintain the health of the cat’s coat. It also works in the formation of hormones and other nutrients that the cat needs.
Do not forget to include water in the Ragamuffin’s feeding. While canned pet food contains more water than dry cat food, they still need to drink from their cat water bowl. If they don’t like drinking from an ordinary water bowl, you can try a pet drinking fountain instead.
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There are many reasons why you should keep your Ragamuffin indoors. They are expensive cats that can set you back by as much as $1,500 per kitten. People in the know can take advantage of this price tag and take your cat away. Ragamuffins are also very docile. Instead of fighting an opponent, they would rather go limp. Anyone can pick it up from the street without the cat putting up a fight. When faced with ferocious animals, the Ragamuffin does not fare better, too. It does not know how to defend itself. As such, always restrict this cat indoors. In the event that you go outside, put it on a leash.
Ragamuffins can also benefit from routine veterinary visits. These can include wellness exams, screening tests, and vaccinations. There are also veterinary clinics that provide dental services to help make sure that the cat stays free of dental and oral problems.
It would be ideal to get pet insurance for your Ragamuffin. While these cats are a healthy breed, you can never be too sure about emerging feline diseases. Vaccinations can protect them from certain illnesses. However, a pet care insurance can give you the peace of mind you need in the event that they fall ill.
These cats thrive on human companionship. As such, you should socialize them at the earliest possible time. Training is also important. These are smart cats that will do almost anything to win your admiration. Teach it some skills and train it to use the litter box.
Speaking of the cat litter box, make sure to clean it every day. Scoop soiled litter so that they don’t contaminate the rest of the toilet. Every week, you can clean the litter box in a more thorough manner.
One of the things that prevent some people from getting the Ragamuffin is its thick coat. Like the Ragdoll, the Ragamuffin has a very dense and long fur. What you do not know is that this cat is very easy to groom. Its coat never tangles or mats. It is true that the coat is thick. However, it is only a single layer of coat. It does not have an undercoat.
Grooming the Ragamuffin entails brushing its coat at least once a week. It still needs brushing to help distribute the natural oils in its fur and skin. This can help minimize skin irritations and other health problems on the skin. They also do not shed that much. Don’t think that this translates to a hypoallergenic kitty. The Ragamuffin can still have a moderate concentration of the Fel d 1 allergen in its saliva. This allergen can still trigger asthma and other allergic reactions from vulnerable persons. Brushing can help remove dead skin cells and reduce the risk of causing pet dander allergies.
Bathing the Ragamuffin is a must. However, one should bathe this cat not more than once every 6 to 8 months. This is to retain the natural oils of the cat. When bathing the Ragamuffin, it is ideal to use a cat shampoo and conditioner. Make sure that it contains only natural ingredients. Some of the ingredients to look for include aloe vera and oatmeal.
These cats can also form tear stains on the fur around their eyes. You should check their eyes every day. If you notice tear stains starting to form, wipe them off at once. Their ears also need your attention. Every week, you should inspect their ears and check for redness, discharge, or foul odor. Clean them well, too.
Brushing the teeth of the Ragamuffin is also important. You need a cat-friendly pet toothpaste for this. Once a week brushing of the cat’s teeth is better than not having dental hygiene at all. The claws should also be trimmed or clipped every 3 to 4 weeks.
Ragamuffins share many fine qualities with the Ragdoll. However, this cat can be best described in one word: sweet. This kitty has the sweet looks to go with its gentle and friendly nature. It is one of the darlings of the crowd. People can walk up to it and pick it up without any fuss. The Ragamuffin can be a friend to anyone and everyone. Unfortunately, this is also not good in the event that you let it stray outside.
This cat breed is famous for greeting visitors at the door. They will rub their bodies on the legs of almost anyone who comes into their homes. They will also let out a soft purr. And if only these cats were able to hold a wine glass, they’d offer you a martini every time you walk into the room.
These cats love to follow their owners from room to room. They are not going to pester their owners or demand attention. These cats are always happy to see their favorite person in the household. And when this person is not doing anything on the couch or sofa, it’s the Ragamuffin’s cue to hop into the owner’s lap.
Do not ever think that the Ragamuffin is lazy. It loves to play. It is witty and loves playing with puzzles and cat interactive toys. It becomes more meaningful for the cat if its owner also plays an active role in these playtime activities. And because it is a large cat, you can also train it to like walking on a leash. Some pet parents teach their Ragamuffins cat tricks while enjoying a game of fetch.
The Ragamuffin won’t have any issues with other cats and other pets, like dogs. However, one has to make sure that the other animal is also friendly and sociable to cats. It does not make sense to the house together with two socially-opposite pets.
The Ragamuffin is a real-life Teddy bear in a cat’s body. It is sweet and mild-mannered and can be playful, too if it wants. Ragamuffins are easy enough to care for that it is the ideal pet for almost any family.
- About the RagaMuffin – CFA