Choosing a RagaMuffin


author Sara Thornton DVM                                      iCandy RagaMuffins

When I was closing in on my 50th birthday, I was looking through a magazine called Cat Fancy that regularly arrived at my veterinary hospital. I have always had a passion for cats, so this was one of my favorite magazines to peruse. This issue featured a breed called the RagaMuffin. I read the article and looked at the pictures and decided I was going to look into this breed.

Always a cat lover, I adore long haired cats, but I don’t like dealing with difficult to care for coats. Having a number of rescued random bred long hairs over the years, I knew some were easier to keep up with than others. The description of the RagaMuffin breed included easy care coats.

As a veterinarian, health is, and was, at the top of my list for any cat. Looking at the breed, there was nothing extreme that signals likely chronic health issues. No dwarf legs, no flat faces, only a sweet, pleasing appearance.

As a breeder and exhibitor of pedigreed dogs for years, I decided to look for a breeder. It turned out that there was a breeder less than two hours from me. I did have to wait two years for my first RagaMuffin, but once I got him, I was hooked.

Two years later I got my first show RagaMuffin and then another two years, I got my first breeding RagaMuffin and never looked back.

RagaMuffin Coats

RagaMuffin cat

GC BWR RW iCandy Fudge Ripple, has an excellent example of a RagaMuffin coat.

author Sara Thornton DVM                             iCandy RagaMuffins

The CFA RagaMuffin breed standard calls for a coat that is medium to medium long in length with the texture being soft, dense and silky.  Sounds great doesn’t it? The truth is there is a spectrum of coats in the RagaMuffin breed.

My personal preference is a medium length silky and dense coat. I want a low maintenance coat. My first RagaMuffin had a long coat that was very fluffy and, yes, tended to mat. There is Persian in the origins of the RagaMuffin breed and many muffins have a Persian or two in their ancestry. Because of this, an occasional RagaMuffin will have a coat that is more effort to maintain.

As a breeder, I do the best I can to avoid the more difficult coats . My goal is to have soft, silky, luxurious non-matting coats on every cat. But, realistically, there is no fighting genetics. There is always a possibility the longer, fluffier Persian coat could slip in every now and then.

TICA registered “RagaMuffins” are not authentic RagaMuffins; they are Ragdolls bred to any other breed, often Persians. These “RagaMuffins” are visible on the Internet with obvious Persian coats that require much more time and effort to look good.

One of the things that attracted me to this breed in the first place was being able to keep them looking good with only a weekly comb through for most cats. Some muffins love to be groomed and ask for it frequently. To be honest, I‘m not a groomer at heart, but my cats are pretty easy to keep up with. They are on a schedule for grooming  including nail trims so I can be sure they all look and feel their best.

When It All Goes Right

RagaMuffin kitten

Author- Cristen Dillard         Magnolia Rags
As a breeder, we hope everything will always go right. We plan. We test. We think and pray. Our beloved girls get pregnant, and we anticipate the arrival. Closer to due date, we pamper the girls more. Make sure they eat plenty. Rub their backs, and never fall for the “rub my belly” pose. Lol.
The due date comes. We plan to never leave the house for days until the little ones are safely here. Behind the scenes in a good cattery, theres so much worry and stress!
But we cant let on about that!
This week my girl, Della, was due. The last three births with my girls had been traumatic in one way or another. It tested my grit beyond measure. I even thought about quitting because my heart was broken.
So to say I was nervous is putting it mildly. Della woke me up at 7:30 Dec 21, and let me know it was time. Before noon, we had three beautiful, perfectly healthy looking classic tabbies. Each birth was simple and straight forward. No scares. No resuscitations. No vigorous rubbing needed. Della did it all while I waited to see if any help was needed. What a blessing it was that it was uneventful! We just cant ever take that for granted. Everything working as it should. Plenty of milk. And everyone is happy. I guess these moments are what keeps us going as we try to preserve this wonderful breed.

Planning a Breeding Program

author Sara Thornton DVM                       iCandy RagaMuffins

Putting together and developing a RagaMuffin breeding program is much more than buying a male and a female and allowing them to mate. There are a number of different factors to consider.

First is always health. Starting with vigorous individuals with clear health testing (Health Clearances), current vaccinations and regular parasite control is vital. Potential mates should also be genetically different enough to ensure healthy kittens (Coefficient of Inbreeding)

Evaluating individual type is necessary. Does the cat look like a RagMuffin should look? Each breed has a written standard. If one cat needs bigger, better shaped eyes to fit the standard, breeding to a complimentary mate that has that characteristic, or better yet, has a track record of producing the desired eyes is ideal. Getting a cat out to be evaluated by judges at a CFA or ACFA show may be of benefit for a breeder to get an unbiased opinion on a RagaMuffin.

Another  important consideration is temperament. According to research, the sire has more influence on the temperament of the kittens than the queen. Ideally, both parents should be good representatives of the RagaMuffin personality.

To sum it up, breeding is a complex process with the ideal product being a goal. The perfect RagaMuffin cat does not exist but striving toward that perfection is an art.

Tiny Miracles

author Cristin Dillard                                                                                          Magnolia Rags

I am still a newer breeder. Magnolia Rags just had our third litter.

The day we anticipated so eagerly, quickly turned into a near nightmare. Breeding cats is not for the faint of heart. It’s very expensive when you breed for the health of the cats. High quality food, cat litter, cat shows, testing, and vet visits eat up the funds quickly. You learn very quickly that you aren’t in it for the money. And all the time preparing doesn’t always lead to smooth going!!

And thats where I was the Saturday before Easter. I knew my girl, Della, would probably have the babies that day Or on Easter. She had been clingy to me, and in and out of her birthing hotel. So that night, while I was ironing shirts, I realized she was in her box and starting to push. I checked in on her, got my pen and paper ready for writing down the births and weights etc, and sat down to wait. It was her first litter, and I was a little nervous. I was expecting 2-3 kittens. Two hours later the pushes got harder. I saw two little white feet emerge. I was not worried about it being breech. As my other queen had managed that just fine. But it wasn’t going to be easy for Della. She struggled to get the kitten out. Finally it was down to the head. I knew baby needed to get out quickly! But Mom was upset by this point and hissing at me as though I were causing the pain. It took my husband and me to manage to get the poor purple kitten out. I knew he was dead. It had been so many minutes. His gums were gray. Feet dark. I rubbed him. Cleaned out his nose and mouth. Did everything all the videos suggested. But nothing. I gave him a little breath. Rubbed and begged him to come back. Nothing. I told my husband he was gone. But suddenly he gasped! I rubbed him more and suctioned him and told him how brave he was!! He gasped again. Then again. Slowly his white skin colored pink. But there wasn’t time to celebrate. Della had feet dangling again! The same thing happened. Although it took less time to get baby out, he was also lifeless. I repeated the above, and he gasped minutes later. Slowly he too, began to come back to me. Talk about relief! I was never so happy for a small litter!!! I stayed awake with the new family until the wee hours, making sure they were breathing and finally nursing. When I saw the boys fighting over milk, I knew they were ok. Hopefully each passing day they grow stronger and don’t develop any complications.

So many think we breed for the money. Have all these cute kittens everywhere and life is good. But its not like that all the time. Its life and loss. Its litter boxes and vomit and hairballs. Its infertile hopes, and disappointments. We do it for the breed. We stay up late, pay the bills, and clean and plan and prepare, because we want RagaMuffins to be a name people recognize. A healthy beautiful breed for many to enjoy. Never take for granted the miracles we witness a long the way.

Coefficient of Inbreeding

author Sara Thornton DVM                           iCandy RagaMuffins

What is a coefficient of inbreeding  (COI) and why is it important? The COI is a measurement of the amount of inbreeding in a specific population. In my case, the population of concern is the RagaMuffin breed of cats. According to  COI FAQS: Understanding the Coefficient of Inbreeding by Carol Beauchat PhD, “The coefficient of inbreeding is the probability of inheriting two copies of the same allele from an ancestor that occurs on both sides of the pedigree.”

Why is it important to know what the COI is in every breeding? Especially in a limited population like RagaMuffins, calculating the COI is one tool to maintain the health of the breed. A high coefficient is more likely to reproduce qualities that are not desired, thereby decreasing vitality and health of the breed. Think about it this way, sibling pairs or parent-offspring pairs are generally avoided in order to prevent genetic issues. But, in order to truly evaluate a pairing, it is important to go further back in a pedigree. Geneticists recommend evaluating using ten generations.

So, how does a breeder check the COI on a prospective pair? It’s simple, I use a computer program that has much of the RagaMuffin population history stored in it. The data lists cats from the very beginning- including random bred cats, Persians, Ragdolls, and Siberians along with a lot of RagaMuffins. More recently, Selkirks have been added as they are a permitted outcross in CFA. The main chore I have is to keep it updated as more cats join the breeding population of muffins. I input the names of the cats I want to breed, select ten generation inbreeding analysis and click!

My goal is to keep the coefficient under 10% as the geneticists generally recommend. That being stated, does not mean I would not utilize a higher number. As line breeding can produce harmful qualities, it can also increase the incidence of positive traits.  That is the art of being a breeder….figuring out what traits I want to avoid and what traits I want to ensure are reproduced. Health is number one. I do the genetic testing to give my kittens the best shot at a long and healthy life. By being cognizant of the COI, I can reduce the incidence of characteristics I want to avoid.

What happens if breeders do not utilize a coefficient of inbreeding? It seems so many do not understand  that a brief pedigree cannot be eyeballed and deemed safe. For three or four generations, there may be no replication of breeding animals, but further back, there could be substantial replication which leads to a high COI. This is of special concern in a smaller population in a rare breed.

Cattery Parasite Control

Sara Thornton DVM                                                     iCandy RagaMuffins

The first of the month is a big day here at iCandy RagaMuffins. Every month for years. It’s the day I treat all animals to prevent parasites. The dog gets her heartworm pill along with her flea and tick medicine. The cats are on a program to meet their needs.

The RagaMuffin males and neutered pets have access to a fenced outdoor area completed with dirt, shrubs and trees. That means they all get flea and tick treatment. Yes, even in cold weather. It is not unheard of for a bit of warmer weather to produce the dreaded external parasites. I keep my cats on medication so they NEVER have a flea or a tick. It is much easier to prevent a problem than treat an existing one.

The breeding RagaMuffin females and kittens live in another area of the house. They are treated monthly with a medication that controls fleas, hookworms and roundworms. Even though they don’t go outside, after being a practicing veterinarian for many years, I know indoor only pets can still get fleas. In addition, since my show cats travel to shows and hotels, it is possible for one of the pests to take a ride back home. Internal parasite control is also imperative for the queens and kittens. Roundworms are commonly passed from mother to kitten in the uterus. By maintaining the adults on an appropriate parasiticide, it minimizes infestation of the kittens.

Proper parasite control is an important part of managing animals. I make sure all iCandy RagaMuffins and other pets in the house are up to date with a consistent program.

A New Level of Excitement


RagaMuffin cat

GC BW RW SantaCats Check Meowt of Xpressions (Piper)

RagaMuffin Cat

GP Xpressions Check Meowt Too (Poppy)











Xpressions RagaMuffins

Showing my animals is not new for me, but it’s always been exciting. I started with horses, then dogs and now cats. I’ve had the pleasure to Grand, be awarded Regional Wins and blessed enough to have achieved the CFA Top RagaMuffin award. As exciting as all that has been, this past year a cat we bred was shown to a Grand Premier! Not only did Poppy Grand, but she did it on her first birthday! To be able to be there to witness this was a dream come true for me.

You may be asking yourself why this is so special. There are several reasons. Diana and Dennis (Poppy’s owners) had gone to a show in Oklahoma as spectators. They shared with us that they’d hoped Piper (Poppy’s future mom) would be there. She was. Diana had followed Piper on Facebook and had named herself President of Piper’s Fan Club. The friendship was almost instantaneous. Months later, as the friendship grew between us, they asked to be put on our waitlist for a pet. Poppy became part of their family (along with their other two RagaMuffins) and Diana and Dennis became part of our family. They caught the show bug and gifted Xpressions RagaMuffins with a Grand Premier!

Another reason this is so special to me is as a breeder of RagaMuffins my vision was successful. Breeders don’t just put two cats together and hope it works out. Many hours are spent over lineage and genetic testing. They look objectively at their cat’s assets as well as where their cats may need improvements. After all this is taken into account, breeders hope that they will have at least one kitten out of the litter worthy of showing. Then they are shown to several different judges (typically over a period of time), hoping that the judges find that your cat fits the standard. You compete not only with other RagaMuffins, but against other breeds that meet their standards. The top cats are given placements, points, and you begin the journey to a Grand title. It’s one thing to think your cat is beautiful, but to have several trained judges feel that too, is amazing! Showing can be addicting, but to be able to meet new lifelong friends in this process is priceless! By the way, Dennis and Diana are addicted. They have another RagaMuffin to show.

When It Rains, It Freezes

Xpressions RagaMuffins


Here we go again. We are under another winter storm warning. Last year in February, Central Texas had a freeze that we had never experienced before. Six days of below freezing temperatures, (some days with the wind chill below zero) ice and snow paralyzing our area. Some of you may be thinking why is that a big deal. Simply put, our homes are not designed to handle cold weather. Central Texas has few plows, trucks and materials to use on our roadways. The central Texas electric grids started failing Over 200 people died during those six days.

Now we are bracing for another storm. Thankfully, not as serious.  I’m writing this blog to let you know how we faired, but more importantly, how our dog and RagaMuffin kitties survived this ordeal. We were blessed. Our power went off for hours, but then came on for a few hours. Our home never dropped below 45 degrees. Our pipes did not break and we only lost cell service for short periods.

For the RagaMuffin cats it was a dream come true. Blankets and sheets covered the windows which made a great speedway. All the pillows and extra blankets were on the floor making it a great obstacle course. Because our pipes run on our outside walls, we pulled the furniture away from the outside walls to let the heat from the inside keep the walls warm to avoid broken pipes . Any closets and cabinets that were on the outside walls were emptied and the contents were put on the furniture in the middle of the rooms. That made for not only a speedway and an obstacle course, but now mountain climbing was added! We may not have had phones or television, but we had a kitty circus! A three ring circus!

Our eight week old RagaMuffin kittens were exposed to so many people during the next couple of weeks. Several people who were not as fortunate came to use our showers, washing machine and dryer; along with filling containers to take water to their homes.

The outside temperatures were finally hovering over the freezing mark. The sun was out and we were thankful that we were some of the fortunate. Then out from under one of the piles of stuff, one of our RagaMuffin cats limped out. Her foot was swollen. I did a quick check for punctures and whether her nails were intact. All seemed good. Almost every business was closed due to the weather including our vet’s office. I called and left a message. In the mean time, I called a friend who is a vet to ask her advice. In less than two hours our vet called and said she was on her way to the clinic. If we wanted to risk the roads, we could meet her there. We did. After X-rays and medicines were given, we were on our way home with our kitty and her two broken toes.

Blankets came off the windows. Pillows came off the floors. Furniture was moved back. The tedious task of putting everything back in the closet and washing items to put back into the kitchen cabinets began. Things were finally returned to their original places. The humans were thrilled with getting their life back in order! The dog and kitties not so much.

Toys With a Four Paw Rating

author Terri Cassiday                                        Xpressions RagaMuffins

Owners’ from the United States wants and needs for their pets has become big business. In fact, over $103 billion was spent last year. In this growing business, owners need to be aware of a business trying to make a quick buck without regard as to your pets health. Toys fit into this category. We want to spoil our RagaMuffins. They are our babies after all. What must be kept in mind before purchasing any toy is how safe they are for your cat. RagaMuffins play hard and tend to need sturdier toys. Continue to examine and dispose of toys that are showing wear. A variety of toys are best for your kitty. Keep in mind toys that will keep them stimulated. They don’t have to be costly. Some of my cats favorites are the most inexpensive. The down side is that the inexpensive toys such as the springs, wool balls and boinks play havoc with vacuums. The upside is that replacing them costs little.

Over the years we have purchased many, many, MANY toys. Yes, we have contributed greatly to the $103 billion industry. After all those purchases, several have been our RagaMuffins favorites. Hopefully, this list will help some of you wade through the thousands of toys available. Above we mentioned the springs, boinks and wool balls. Among these inexpensive and most loved are ping pong balls and the little rabbit fur mice with leather tails. Our cats LOVE these! However, keeping track of them is not one of the things I love.

Next on our list is a tunnel. There are tunnels that are made out of many fabrics. Sturdy fabrics are the best. Two things need to be considered before purchasing. The first being the size of the opening. The diameter of some tunnels are not made for the size of the RagaMuffin. The second being the durability of the wires. Wires can break or fray which can cause serious injuries. We tend to buy children’s tunnels that are tested for such things.

Laser lights are good to use periodically for short periods. These should be used only by responsible owners that are cognizant of the potential dangers. We never use the toys that you place on the floor with laser light. They cannot control keeping the light away from your RagaMuffins eyes. There have been some studies that say laser lights can cause behavioral problems. Using them periodically has not been a problem for us, but the choice is yours.

Pyramids and tracks that have balls firmly secured in them are favorites with our kittens as well as the puzzle boxes. They do not keep our adults attention very long. Hexbugs are very exciting to cats. The prey drive in our cats is highly stimulated. The down side is their size. Cats should not be left alone with them! Supervision is necessary not only for your cat, but if they get under something you can’t move, they buzz for hours. Teasers of all kinds are a necessity. Once again, because of the size of the RagaMuffin, it’s worth the extra cost to get sturdy ones. I hesitate to mention brands, but by far the ones that have lasted the longest are dabird by Go Cat. They have several different attachments which can be purchased to keep your cat interested. Feathers, rabbit fur, insects are just a few of them. These are also not to be left out unattended.

We have purchased almost every interactive toy out there. They are mostly used for the kittens because our adults either figure out how they work and dismantle them or are bored by them. The best in our RagaMuffins view is the one that goes in circles underneath the thin material. The adults learned very quickly to sit on the rod that makes the feather move making it a breeze to rip off the feather. The latest interactive toy we bought is great in concept, but made poorly. It’s a spinning ball that flashes different colors. On the ball you can latch on different attachments. This is placed in a poorly made small tunnel with ends that tie. When the cats see the flashing lights as well as the shadows, they get excited. It’s only good until the big cats rip open and destroy the tunnel. Game over!

These are the toys we found that our RagaMuffins like the best besides empty water bottles and paper towel rolls. Hopefully, this makes navigating through the myriad of toys easier.