The RagaMuffin cat breed is known as the Teddy Bear of the cat world. This is due both to their sweet and docile temperament, as well as to their sweet expression, that often reminds people of adorable huggable teddy bears. The RagaMuffin is a larger breed, which are very friendly and make wonderful pets for a family with children. They get along well with dogs and are a very people oriented breed. If you don’t want a cat that will follow you around, sit in your lap or right next to you, then the RagaMuffin is probably not for you. RagaMuffins are long-haired cats with coats that feel like a rabbit and are resistant to matting.
The RagaMuffin breed was first recognized by a cat association in 1994 and achieved championship status with the American Cat Fanciers Association (ACFA) in 2001. As the RagaMuffin started to grow in popularity, championship status with the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA), the largest cat organization, was achieved in 2011. RagaMuffins come in a rainbow of colors, including solids, minks, sables, torties, pointed cats with blue eyes, all different colors and patterns of tabbies, and all such colors with or without varying amounts of white mixed in. The white does not need to be symmetrical, and some of the sweetest looking RagaMuffins have wonderful unique markings.
RagaMuffins are a slow maturing breed and take 3 to 4 years to reach fell maturity. When mature, RagaMuffin females generally weigh about 10-15 pounds, and RagaMuffin males generally weigh from 15 to 20 pounds. The RagaMuffin cat has substantial bone structure and a full muscular body with a broad chest and broad shoulders. The RagaMuffin has large walnut eyes and there is a puffiness to the whisker pads, and a scoop to the nose. It is these features that give the RagaMuffin its characteristic sweet expression. To view both the ACFA and the CFA RagaMuffin breed standard, visit www.ragamuffinkittens.org.
The history of the RagaMuffins started with Ann Baker, a Persian breeder who was friends with a neighbor that cared for a colony of feral cats. Back in the 1960s, Ann found that one of these litters was unusually friendly and sociable and went limp when they were held. Ann gathered the kittens from this litter, with assistance of other breeders, formed a breed group she called by the angelic name, Cherubim, which included the Ragdoll, Miracle Ragdoll, and Honeybear breeds.
Several years later, in 1967, a group of these original breeders that developed the Cherubim, broke away from Ann Baker, as a result of the over-controlling tendency she had with respect to anyone breeding the Cherubim cats. This group took the pointed cats and registered their cats with the mainstream cat associations. Ann Baker was upset about this and trademarked the name “Ragdoll.” She continued with other remaining breeders, exerting strong control over breeding decisions and access to pedigrees. After continuing with Ann Baker for a time, a second group of breeders broke away in 1993.
This second group of breeders took all colors with them. Since they were prohibited by contract from using the name Ragdoll, one of these breeders came up with the name RagaMuffin, since the foundation of the breed were sweet street urchins from a feral colony. This second group registered their RagaMuffins with established cat associations. The American Cat Fancier’s Association and the Cat Fancier’s Association both now recognize the RagaMuffin in their championship classes.
Many RagaMuffin breeders world-wide recently started an organization of RagaMuffin breeders, RagaMuffin owners and RagaMuffin lovers, called The RagaMuffin Kitten Breeders Society (TRKBS), which has a code of ethics that is strictly enforced to ensure best breeding practices by its breeder members. TRKBS is committed to a community based method of breeding where all breeding members help each other and new breeders are mentored by a primary mentor and by the group as a whole.
New breeders are taught methods to choose the healthiest cats for breeding, how to assist cats with delivery, how to raise and socialize kittens, and most importantly, how to produce healthy, loveable, well-socialized RagaMuffins. TRKBS is committed to the health of the breed and to raising public awareness of the magnificent RagaMuffin. A list of the breeder members of TRKBS can be found here.
Although RagaMuffins and Ragdolls come from the same roots, the RagaMuffin is a separate breed from the Ragdoll and has a very distinct look from that of a Ragdoll. Ragdolls are bred to have specific markings and coloring and all are “pointed” cats, meaning the color is on the head, feet and tail and they all have blue eyes. The RagaMuffin can be any color or pattern and have an incredible palette of eye colors. There are also differences in shape and conformation. The eye shape of the ragamuffin is a large walnut shaped eye, and the Ragdoll has oval shaped eyes. The RagaMuffins have a scoop to their nose and puffy whisker pads. The Ragdoll has a gentle curve to the nose. The coat of the RagaMuffin is generally shorter and plusher than the fine silky coat of the Ragdoll.
RagaMuffins are affectionate cats that love to be with their people. RagaMuffins tend to be soft-pawed, meaning they do not extend their claws when playing. They are easily trained to use scratching posts. RagaMuffins love to help their people with daily chores and will often run to the door to greet people that are visiting. RagaMuffins are generally not an athletic breed, preferring to sit on a lap rather than swing from your curtains. RagaMuffins are very trusting cats and are not suited for the outdoors, so they should be strictly indoor pets.
Information and images supplied by:
Kathy Hyneman – The RagaMuffin Kitten Breeders Society/www.ragamuffinkittens.org
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