Guide to Cat Breeds (See Full List)

RagaMuffin

RagaMuffin

Ancestry: Random-bred domestic longhairs, and likely Persian, Birman, and Angora lookalikes
Place of Origin: California, USA
Date of Origin: 1963
Accepted by: AACE, ACFA, CCA, CFA, CFF, and UFO (championship); TICA (experimental category only)

 
Description

The RagaMuffin is a large cat. The overall impression is one of sweetness and robust health. RagaMuffins attain full maturity at approximately four 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 large size, big expressive eyes and their 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 may have pink paw pads or they may be bicolor or multi-colored. 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.

History

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 who 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 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 percent 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 (31st out of the 42 breeds CFA accepts, according to CFA’s 2012 registration numbers), nevertheless the RagaMuffin has a solid base of fans who believe the breed is the cat’s meow.

Notes

RagaMuffins have soft, dense and silky fur. They require a thorough weekly grooming with a quality steel comb to remove loose hairs and prevent matting. Be sure to ask your breeder if your RagaMuffin has Persian in her bloodline because that could make it necessary to groom more often; Persians have substantial long downy undercoats that are known to mat easily.

RagaMuffins are generally hardy, healthy cats with no studied and documented breed-specific problems. Breeders pride themselves on breeding for health and personality, as well as color and conformation. However, since Persians and Ragdolls were allowable outcrosses for this breed until July 2006, it’s likely that some RagaMuffin bloodlines have inherited Persian and Ragdoll health problems. These include polycystic kidney disease (PKD), a disease that can cause renal failure and is known to exist in many Persian lines. According to the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine in California, more than 37 percent of Persians have PKD, a severe problem since Persians account for about eighty percent of the pedigreed cats in the cat fancy, and have been used in the matrix of many other breeds. Genetic testing is available at UC Davis and is vital for any breed that has used Persians as outcrosses.

The inherited heart disease feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) also exists in some Persian and Ragdoll lines. The genetic mutation specific to the Ragdoll causes early onset HCM at an average age of 15 months. Ragdolls who inherit two copies of the mutated gene tend to develop the disease earlier than Ragdolls who inherit only one copy. The first symptom of HCM is often sudden death. HCM is the most common feline heart disease, and is known in other breeds and in random-bred cats as well. However, in pedigreed cats negative traits can become more concentrated. Since both the Persian and the Ragdoll were allowable outcrosses, the breed could have inherited the disease from either or both. Fortunately, the Veterinary Cardiac Genetics Lab of Dr. Kathryn Meurs at the College of Veterinary Medicine, Washington State University, has developed a do-at-home genetic test for the HCM genetic mutation found in Ragdolls. The test can identify which cats may develop the disease and how severely, depending upon whether the cat inherited the gene from one parent or both. The test is also available at the Veterinary Genetics Laboratory at UC Davis, California. Breeders can now screen their breeding stock, identify those who test positive and remove them from their breeding programs.

In addition, some Persian lines are prone to plaque, tartar buildup, and gingivitis, which they could have passed onto some RagaMuffin lines. Gingivitis can lead to dental disease that can cause tissue, tooth, and bone loss. Untreated, periodontal disease can undermine a cat’s overall health. If your RagaMuffin is prone to dental disease, it’s important to get dental exams with her annual veterinary checkups, periodic teeth cleaning from your veterinarian and, if your RagaMuffin will allow it, regular tooth brushing using cat toothpaste and a cat toothbrush or a soft child’s size toothbrush. Be sure to talk to your breeder about these and any other health concerns, and look at your prospective cat’s pedigree for Persians or Ragdolls in past generations. Buy from a breeder who provides a written health guarantee.

Did you know?

In some associations such as ACFA, RagaMuffins are accepted in all the pointed colors and patterns that their sister breed, the Ragdoll, comes in, as well as all other colors and patterns with or without white. However, in CFA, RagaMuffins are accepted in every color and pattern genetically possible except pointed colors and those colors with white. Cats of these colors can be registered with CFA but not shown, because the CFA board felt they would be too similar in appearance to the Ragdoll.

Personality

RagaMuffins are people-loving and affectionate—large, cuddly, feline teddy bears, according to the CFA standard. They love nothing more than to be cuddled and pampered by their favorite humans and are known for their mellow, extremely sweet dispositions. They develop strong bonds with their owners, crave attention, and will do almost anything for a head pet or a tummy-rub. They desire to please their people and are calm, easygoing and patient. Like the Ragdoll, RagaMuffins tend to go limp in your arms because they love being cuddled. They are happy to snuggle in your lap as you read or watch television. RagaMuffins generally are delighted to greet anyone at the door—they know no strangers and are almost always very friendly. With their mellow and accepting temperaments, RagaMuffins should be indoor-only cats.

RagaMuffins are intelligent and easily trained to walk on a leash, play fetch and sit up to beg. They are good with other cats and cat-friendly dogs. Excellent with children because of their docile, patient natures and natural hesitation to use their claws in play, you might find your RagaMuffin happily lying in a baby stroller pushed by your six-year old. However, an older kitten or adult is recommended when you have young children in the home.

They are not especially athletic, but bring out the toys and they're ready for a romp. They are a quiet breed; they listen when you talk to them and offer love. Cuddles, and purrs in response. RagaMuffins want to be involved in everything, make wonderful companions and are said to be addictive; one is never enough.

Breed Characteristics

Size:Medium to large.
Coat Length(s):Long hair.
Body Type:Moderate.
Grooming Requirement:Once a week.
Talkativeness:Quiet.
Activity Level:Fairly low.
Affection:Very affectionate.
Usually Good With:Everyone.
Time Alone:4 to 8 hours per day.
Attention:Needs average attention.
Handling:Easy to handle.