The RagaMuffin is a large cat. The overall impression is one of sweetness and robust health. RagaMuffins attain full maturity at approximately 4 years of age; mature males usually weigh 12 to 20 pounds; mature females usually weigh 8 to 15 pounds. Altered males are more likely to reach 20 plus pounds than whole males. The only extremes in this breed are its large size, big expressive eyes, and docile nature.
The body is rectangular with a broad chest and shoulders, and moderately heavy muscling in the hindquarters. The hindquarters are as broad as the shoulders. RagaMuffins tend to have a fatty pad on the lower abdomen. RagaMuffins upon palpation should feel well covered with flesh. The cat should have an overall balance in body size, shape and distribution of weight, with quality and conformation given preference over size. The legs are heavily boned and medium length, with the back legs slightly longer than the front but in proportion to the body. The paws are large and round, able to support the cat’s weight without splaying, and with fur tufts beneath and between the paws.
The head is a broad, modified wedge with a rounded appearance. The forehead is moderately rounded. The muzzle is round, slightly shorter than moderate in length, and tending to broadness. The chin is firmly rounded, reflecting a proper bite, and the cheeks are full. A puffiness to the whisker pads results in the characteristic "sweet look" of the breed. In profile, an obvious nose dip can be seen, giving the impression of a scoop rather than a break. The neck is short, heavy and strong, particularly in older males. The tail is long and medium at the base with a slight taper, and plumed like a soft bottle brush.
The ears are medium sized with slight flaring, tilted slightly forward, set as much on the side of the head as on top, rounded and with moderate furnishings in pleasing proportion to the head. The eyes are large, moderately wide set, walnut shaped, and expressive, contributing to the face’s sweet look. A slight oriental slant is acceptable. The more intense the eye color, the better. All eye colors are allowed, including odd-eyed, but in most associations, eye color depends upon coat color and pattern. In CFA, mink colors must have aqua-colored eyes and sepia colors must have yellow-to-gold-colored eyes.
RagaMuffins come wrapped in a wealth of colors; however, which are accepted depends upon the association. For example, in ACFA and CFF, every possible color and pattern is allowable with or without white. In CCA and CFA, however, every genetically possible color or pattern is accepted, with the exception of pointed colors and patterns, with or without white. Any amount of white is allowed, including blazes and lockets, white spots on paws, back, chest, and belly. The degree of symmetry, whether in the pattern or the white spotting, is of no importance. Nose leather and paw pads are accepted in all colors and in any color combination, and are not necessarily related to coat color. Cats with white on their feet might have pink paw pads or they might be bicolored or multicolored. Body darkening in older cats, and lighter or incomplete markings in kittens and young cats is allowed.
RagaMuffins have no allowable outcrosses. Before July 15, 2006, Ragdolls and Persians were allowable outcrosses in CFA. In CCA, Persians, Ragdolls, and domestic longhairs are allowable ancestry crosses before May 2010. In ACFA, however, the IRCA Ragdoll and Miracle Ragdoll are the only foundation cats of the RagaMuffin and are the only cats allowed to be foundation registered for the RagaMuffin. Today, kittens can have only RagaMuffin parents.
The RagaMuffin is not a new breed, but rather an old breed that was recently accepted. The history of the RagaMuffin is intertwined with the history of the Ragdoll. However, they are not the same breed. The Ragdoll was developed in the early 1960s by the late Ann Baker of Riverside, California. All true Ragdolls can be traced back to the bloodlines she began. All true RagaMuffins also can be traced back to these bloodlines. Despite the tall tales surrounding the Ragdoll’s creation, the breed was probably the result of crosses between unpedigreed longhaired cats that possessed the recessive gene for the pointed pattern, although some believe the breed was created by crossbreeding Persians, Birmans, and Angoras with random-bred domestics. No proof of this exists. The foundation cat from which the breed originated, Josephine, was a semi-feral longhaired white female of unknown parentage with a Turkish Angora appearance. All subsequent generations can be traced back to Josephine’s offspring. Four of her progeny in particular—Fugianna, Daddy War Bucks, Tiki, and Buckwheat—are notable progenitors of both the RagaMuffin and the Ragdoll; evidently subsequent generations can be traced back to them, although this is difficult to prove. Baker apparently kept her breed records in her head, which made it difficult to know the exact lineage of the breeds.
From these cats, Baker developed several breeds. One of these Baker named the “Cherubim,” which was the umbrella breed under which all the others were developed. Other breeds included Ragdolls, Miracle Ragdolls, Honey Bears, Doll Babies, Baby Dolls, Shu Schoos, and Catenoids.
In 1971, Baker founded her own registry called the International Ragdoll Cat Association (IRCA), and, in an attempt to protect her proprietary interests and keep control of the breed, she trademarked the Ragdoll name. The trademark was valid until 2005, and allowed only IRCA breeders to use the Ragdoll name.
She sold breeder franchises, which meant IRCA breeders had to pay licensing fees, breed according to Baker’s carefully controlled guidelines, and get her approval for all Ragdoll matings. Baker reserved the right to decide what cats could be bred, and to which mates. In addition, breeders paid IRCA a 10% royalty for each kitten they sold. IRCA Ragdolls could only be registered with IRCA, and were not allowed to be shown or registered with the mainstream cat associations. The mainstream cat associations, in turn, didn’t recognize IRCA Ragdolls.
Some breeders were very displeased with these arrangements, and also wanted to distance themselves from the questionable claims being made about their breed. In 1975, these breeders split from IRCA and formed the Ragdoll Fanciers’ Club International (RFCI).
Other breeders hung on, agreeing with Baker or daunted by the lawsuits Baker filed against breeders who took their cats and scrammed, and because of their deep love for their breed. However, over time, Baker’s demands of her breeders and her tight control over the breed increased. Her claims about the breeds, as well, became more strange and unbelievable. By 1993, many had had enough. They broke away, choosing to seek mainstream association acceptance for their cats. They renamed their cats RagaMuffins. Some of these breeders formed the RagaMuffin Associated Group (RAG), to preserve the breed and promote it with the mainstream associations. Others formed the non-profit RagaMuffin Cat Lovers Society, Inc. Breeders had to start from scratch, so to speak, since the associations wouldn’t grant them the same acceptance they’d already granted the Ragdoll because of color and conformation differences between the two breeds, and the amount of time separating the two breeds. But they persisted, and today all associations except TICA recognize the RagaMuffin for championship. TICA has yet to recognize the breed beyond the experimental category.
The RagaMuffin is similar, but not identical, in conformation and temperament to the Ragdoll because of the many years of separation between the two breeds. The RagaMuffin comes in a wider variety of colors and the body type is slightly different. RagaMuffin breeders say the RagaMuffin is not a new breed but an old one with a new name. Although Ragdolls and RagaMuffins are both descendants from the original bloodlines that Baker developed, RagaMuffin breeders split away from IRCA much more recently than the Ragdoll breeders. According to the RagaMuffin Associated Group, the RagaMuffin is a combination of all the Cherubim breeds, and therefore comes in a great many more colors and patterns. Some believe that if the breed’s history is put into proper perspective, the RagaMuffin is the parent breed and the Ragdoll is simply a division of the original. According to some RagaMuffin breeders, the Ragdoll breeders took only a few colors and patterns, and the breed is just a small part of what the Ragdoll was intended to be.
On the other paw, some Ragdoll breeders feel the RagaMuffin fanciers used the Ragdoll’s hard-won success to advance a breed very similar to their own.
While the RagaMuffin’s numbers remain small (33rd out of the 41 championship breeds CFA accepts, according to CFA’s 2014 registration totals), nevertheless the RagaMuffin has a solid base of fans who believe the breed is the cat’s meow.