Monday, November 21, 2016

Cat Breeds: Ragamuffin

The Ragamuffin is one of those newer breeds with a somewhat hazy past. We do know that this sensitive breed was developed in 1994 from the experimental "Cherubim" cat Ann Baker tried to create in the 1960s from street cats in California. We don't really know the full story, and are not likely to discover it, but we do know that though Ann Baker is also connected to the development of the Ragdoll breed, the two breeds are not the same. There are very specific differences that warrant this cat being recognized as a separate and distinct breed.

Luckily, most registries agree. Both the Cat Fanciers' Association and the Cat Fanciers' Federation, accepted the Ragamuffin in the early 2000s, and granted them Championship Status not long after. Today, most associations acknowledge the breed, though some still contend that the Ragamuffin is merely a variant of the Ragdoll. This is, of course, nonsense.

The Appearance of the Ragamuffin

The body of a Ragamuffin is substantial and heavy. He's a large cat, weighing up to 20 pounds, and he definitely feels like it. Females tend to be significantly smaller, not usually weighing more than 13 pounds. Regardless of gender, this cat is heavily boned and well rounded. He even has a fatty pad on his abdomen, giving him more weight.

These guys take up to four years to reach maturity, so they're kittens for a long time. If you're comparing them to their cousin, the Ragdoll, you might notice that the Ragamuffin has a rounder head and a shorter nose, so he lacks the more gentle curves of the Ragdoll.

Ragamuffins come in all colors and patterns, and they may or may not have white patches. Some registries restrict which colors and patterns can be shown, but most registries that accept the breed also accept that the colors are quite a bit more varied than the colors of the Ragdoll. In essence, a Ragamuffin can look like whatever a Ragamuffin wants to look like.

Coats are a bit longer than the Ragdoll, but they're just as soft and just as low maintenance. A quick brushing once a week will do the trick. Their coats don't tend to mat and they don't shed as much as you'd expect for a cat with fully furred, medium-long hair. They're also so soft you'll find yourself unable to take your hands off the plush furball sitting on your lap.

The Personality of the Ragamuffin

The Ragamuffin is one of the sweetest of cats. He forms a strong bond with his family and pines for his people when they're not around. He doesn't like to be alone, so most people get two of these lovely beasts. Two Ragamuffins are better than one, guaranteed. Besides, this cat breed is just a little addictive. Most people find they want a second cat in short order anyway.

Calm and patient, this cat is great with children. He'll sit for hours in a baby stroller, tolerate being dressed up, and even sit through a game of checkers or a tea party. He's eager to please, making him highly trainable. He'll learn to fetch, to walk on a leash, and will usually come when called. Except when he doesn't. He is a cat, after all.

His temperament makes him a great pet for almost any household. He'll play with children, sit on the lap of an adult, and generally just offer unconditional love and support.

Like his Ragdoll cousin, the Ragamuffin tends to go quite limp when you lift him in your arms. This is temporary and normal, so don't fret. He'll be back to curling up on your lap as soon as you put him down. But for all his napping and cuddling,  he's not a lazy cat. You'll find him playing with a scrap of paper or bounding about the room at the oddest hours.

One important thing about this gentle giant is that he's far too trusting. He assumes everyone is his friend and wants to play. Because of this, he should not be left alone outside. He's far too likely to trust the wrong dog or assume the car won't run over him to be left among such dangers unsupervised.

The Ragamuffin is gentle and loving. If you're looking for a sweetheart of a cat and like having a giant furball on your lap at all hours, the Ragamuffin might be for you.

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