Names

RagaMuffin kittenauthor Sara Thornton DVM                                           iCandy RagaMuffins

Occasionally I am asked about the origin of one of my RagaMuffin’s names. It’s simple…..they are all named after something sweet. I think it is appropriate, as nothing is sweeter than a RagaMuffin.

It all started with my very first RagaMuffin, Bon Bon. He was a sable boy that quickly became the apple of my eye. My second RagaMuffin was Nougat, another  confection. When I decided to breed RagaMuffins, I needed a name that would convey the luscious nature of the breed as well as the stunning looks. Eye Candy came to mind. It seemed to beRagaMuffin kitten perfect.  A suggestion from a friend made the final version iCandy.

Lots of syrupy identifications of cats have been utilized since then. Some are immediately identifiable like Ganache, Beignet, Fudge Ripple and Blueberry Crisp. Others are brand names like Rolo, Pixi Stix, Bitahoney. Sugar Daddy, and Jelly Belly. Some candy names are less well known like regional candies Wilbur Bud, Smidgen, and Gertrude Hawk.

RagaMuffin kittenI began a tradition of having each RagaMuffin’s portrait done by the professional photographers at the shows with props to match the name of the cat. The photographers have gotten used to me walking up with a cat in one hand and candies in another. In Fanny Farmer’s case, I bought a vintage Fanny Farmer candy box off of ebay and fake chocolates to place around. In Willy Wonka’s case, I found Willy Wonka printed wrapper to put on a piece of cardboard.

Why do I do it? It’s fun. Names are perfect for the RagaMuffins and, after all, who doesn’t love something sweet?

I Won’t Go

author Robert Hamera                                    Slice of Life

“I am telling you that I will not step into that. I don’t care what you say. I know what happens every time I am put in that thing.”

They think they are being smart telling me we’re going out to look at the pretty Fall foliage. Maybe they will look at the changing leaves but all I ever see is the back of the car seat or maybe the back of their heads. Not at all an exciting view.

Let me go back and explain how this started and what I am talking about. One day last week after going out to the mailbox for the mail, my houseman came in, looked at me and said, “Oh look. You received an invitation. How nice.” Then he showed me the card that came. I saw my name there, a truly distinguished name at that, but I didn’t care. I am not going to accept.

Now, just so you know, I never accept invitations . I don’t want to go anywhere. I have no need to leave the house. My staff takes care of all of my wants. Why else do you think I let them live here with me?

Back to the present. My servant is saying, “They can’t wait to see you. You know they always make such a big fuss over you every time you go. Dr. Sara loves when you come to visit.”

Well, I am lovable. That’s the truth. And who wouldn’t be happy to see me? I do deserve adulation. No, that doesn’t change my mind.

Dr Sara loves seeing me. Really? Then why does she scratch my head and fawn over me and then proceed to probe, prod, and stick me. I ask you, is that the sign of someone who is happy to see you? The indignity of it all.

Wait! What are you doing? Put me down. I told you I am not going in that thing.

RagaMuffin cat

Stop. Don’t you dare close gate. Help. I am a prisoner. I demand you put this thing down immediately and let me out. Oh no. There is the car. I am doomed. Poor me.

RagaMuffin cat

Well, if they think I am going to sit here quietly and take this they had better think again. I know it’s a 40 minute ride. My voice is strong. Time to make my displeasure known.

My Kittens Look Like What?

RagaMuffin kitten

author Terri Cassiday                            Xpressions RagaMuffins

RagaMuffin kittenIt was a big day for the kittens. It was time to load them up and take them to the veterinarian. All six fluffy RagaMuffin kittens. I checked them in with the receptionist with all six kittens pressing their faces against the carrier trying to get a better look. The staff was admiring them and I started to puff up with mommy pride. Several of them followed me into the room to get a better look and a chance to hold them. Cameras came out snapping pictures of my beauties. The compliments poured out and I kept puffing up.

When the veterinarian came in, she literally squealed with joy! She started her examinations and we chit chatted about the easy going, soft, fluffy RagaMuffin breed. A vet tech I had never met before walked in and immediately scooped up a kitten to cuddle…another admirer! I thought I would burst with pride!

Then….POP! The vet tech said that the kittens looked like a Lykoi. A Lykoi….really? Lykoi’s are a breed that are cute in their own way, but in no way

Lykoi

look like a RagaMuffin. My face must have said it all because the vet tech started to explain how they were similar. I quickly tried to recover and came to the conclusion that she had never seen one. I asked her ( politely) if she had ever seen a Lykoi. She lit up and told me yes. They had one in the clinic the other day. Again I stood there with my mouth to the ground. The veterinarian looked at me…the vet tech…at me…and quickly changed the subject. I love my vet.

All went well with the kittens. They were healthy and behaved well. What more could I ask for? On the journey home, I recounted the appointment and I started to chuckle. Next thing on my agenda was to share the story with my breeder friends. We shared a good laugh.

It’s been a few months since this appointment. I wanted to share this with all of you. These days everyone could use a good laugh.

RagaMuffin kitten

NO MORE CATS! (SAID NO CAT LOVER EVER!)

Ragamuffin cat

 

author Patti Grow, cat lover

 

It was deep into the weeks of winter in 2020, and I knew in my heart that my days with my beloved 18 year old Simon Cat were drawing to a close. He was suffering from kidney failure, and I felt that he would let me know when his fight was over. That dreaded night arrived in early March, and he looked up at me one last time with his denim blue eyes and quietly passed away in my arms at the Emergency Vet Center.

 

For days on end, I cried and I felt like once again my heart was ripped out of my chest. For any of you that have ever lost a companion (family pet), you know that awful gut-wrenching feeling. I continually told my family, “No more cats! I can never do this again! I will never love any cat the same way that I loved Simon!”

 

Well… fast forward to… the very next month!  Being retired has its advantages. I have a lot of time to do mindless things—which is perfectly fine with me! One of those tasks is searching the internet, and on this particular day, I came across a RagaMuffin breeder near Pottsville, PA. I grew up in a small coal mining town named Mahanoy City, so of course I knew where Pottsville was on the map (not to mention some of the best eating establishments I ever came across!) A quick email inquiry to Sara Thornton, and she provided me with a wealth of information about her cattery and the RagaMuffin breed. As I began sifting through the sweetest cat photos ever on her website, my heart yearned for another cat. At the time, there were no kittens available. All of those fur balls were spoken for and would soon be going to their “furever” homes. Phew! I was saved—after all, NO MORE CATS for me! (I am not sure who I was trying to convince!)

 

Sara and I conversed some more and she popped the question, “Would you be interested in Fudgie?” Now, Fudgie had resided with Sara since he was a kitten, and the two of them became best buddies. She explained to me on the phone one evening all there was to know about Fudgie! My heart raced with excitement and then when we ended our conversation—and a mega feeling of uncertainty waved over me and paralyzed me with a mountain of questions. “What if I can’t fill Sara’s shoes in being Fudgie’s caretaker?” “What if Fudgie doesn’t like me?” “Will he be happy here?”

 

After a lengthy conversation and some confidence coaching from a former colleague of mine named Bob (whom I am proud to call a friend and THE most marvelous baker EVER), I decided, “Why not take Fudgie? I could do this! Besides, if Fudgie doesn’t like me, well… it will all be just fine—I would be fantastic for Fudgie—after all, Bob said so!”

 

The day finally arrived!  I was bringing RagaMuffin Fudgie home with me! I set out on a solo road trip to Pottsville, anxious to finally meet Sara and of course, to finally meet my new furry friend. It was during COVID, so social distancing was in effect. As Sara took the carrier inside and returned with Fudgie and placed him on her porch, she called from her door, “Please bring him back to me if he’s not happy.” Oh no… what did she know that I didn’t know?  All the way home, I asked myself, “How would I ever begin to replace Sara as his caretaker?” Stress and doubts crept over me as I began my journey home – (insert heavy sigh here and two eyes full of tears too).

 

Now, I won’t kid you. The first week or two with having Fudgie with me, I began to feel that Sara was correct. He wasn’t happy. I wasn’t Sara. Then,  I heard Sara seem to whisper in my ear saying, “Remember, Fudgie is a timid cat. It will take weeks and months for him to perhaps come around and feel comfortable.” “I could do this! Don’t give up!” It will all be worth it—I think!?!

 

Well, it’s been almost five months and guess what? Fudgie has stolen my heart! He and I are best buddies, and I exist just to serve his immediate needs. (Any of you that have cats know that THEY are the ones that are really in charge, correct?).  I will save that story of how I serve Fudgie for yet another post. He has done an admirable job of training ME in a few short months! 🙂

 

In every way ever imaginable, Fudgie has been a true blessing, and I could never ever fathom my life without him being part of it. I love him bunches!  He and I are “friends to the end!”

 

-Patti G.

 

P.S. Take this advice from me and always remember:  You can NEVER ever have enough RagaMuffins!  🙂

Are You My Mother?

author Terri Cassiday                                        Xpressions RagaMuffins

 

Many of us of had the pleasure of growing up with Dr. Seuss books. A recent experience brought the book ‘Are You My Mother?’ by P.D. Eastman to mind. This children’s book is about a baby bird (that fell out of its nest) search for its mother whom it’s never seen. It walks around asking everything if it’s his mother. My RagaMuffins reminded me of this baby bird.

There had been a series of events that had left me heartbroken. It was a lot to process and this led me to tears. Crying is not something my cats have seen often, if at all. How my RagaMuffins reacted to me made me think about this book.

When the tears started to flow, it was interesting to see my cats different reactions. They looked at me as if to say are you my mother? Their reactions couldn’t have been more different. My diva approached me and looked as if to say; what is that ugly display of human emotion and walked away. My velcro kitty climbed into my lap and nestled into me. Something she always does, but I preferred to think she was comforting me. My contemplative kitty approached me like I was from another planet. She slinked close enough to me to get a good look, but still stayed far enough away to be able to escape if need be. This certainly was not their mother!

About an hour later, ( yes, I know) the diva came back to look at me. This time I am pretty sure she was wondering if my present state was going to hinder me from being able to feed her. Velcro kitty was still in my lap purring away. Contemplative kitty was now closer, but kept a close eye on me just in case. After all, this was not their mother.

More time went by and I was still visibly upset. The diva was getting concerned. Her expression was softer. She looked at me and then velcro kitty and then back at me. She sauntered away looking back at me as if to say velcro kitty has this. Velcro kitty was staying very close to me. She followed me around the house and then jumped back into my lap when I sat down. Contemplative kitty’s body language had changed and she was now on the back of my chair. She reached out occasionally putting her paw on my shoulder. Maybe this was their mother.

Eventually, these RagaMuffins finally saw their mother return to herself. She was no longer doing strange things and making strange noises. Their mother was not a dog, nor a plane, nor a hen, nor a snort (although she occasionally sounded like one)…..

The End

A Meditative Season

author Randy H. Schmidt                                   New Walden RagaMuffins

 

For those of us who live in the temperate climates we have four seasons to choose from.  Spring  is for me the best of the seasons with bright welcoming sunshine after a dark gray winter. New life springing forth like American Beauty snowdrops, and kelly green grass peeking out around rocks, fruit trees blossoming, jonquels and  daffodils waving in the fresh spring breeze blue bells blooming in the woods and crocus beaming at your feet. Your household and your RagaMuffin felines are growing closer to a birthing of a new litter of kittens along with many animals in the cadence of spring warmth and beauty.

However, there is another season which I look forward to.  That is fall, my second choice and it in some ways is even more glorious than the first, especially the color palette.  It is a creation of the pregnant pause at the end of summer the ‘growing drowsiness of the season that leads us into the Fall, particularly the month of October with its frosty mornings, crisp autumn air and brilliant colors.

Scientists tell us that it is the pollen being dispersed at this time of the year that can be the cause of the drowsiness effect, and that may be true to some extent, but whatever the cause, it is a time of meditation and soaking in the change in the world around you and all the varieties that the Fall days provide to our very souls. We may slip off into daydreaming periods, with the busy insects humming and buzzing as a background symphony to our ears.

Take for instance the dawn of a new fall morning, I snuggle into a warm flannel shirt, make myself a cup of coffee and step out of doors to welcome in the new crisp fall air and frosty morning.  The coyotes and racoons are returning to their dens. The deer and turkeys are feasting on acorns and various seeds. The squirrels and chipmunks are filling up their lauders for the long winter rest ahead. I fill up the birdfeeders for the hungry flocks coming through on their migrations south.

Then, I retreat to a soft chair behind glass doors with my cup of warmth cradle between my hands and all my RagaMuffins and their anticipatory gazes and winkings for this ritual morning rendezvous of resting and soaking in the warmth of the Sun together.  There is no better feeling. It is a moment of heaven.  You are all connected and of one accord.

This is also the time of the year that the RagaMuffin litter of kittens born in the Spring and early Summer are at their most perfect ages.  They are full of life and love. They tumble and toss over one another and play chasing games with a toy mouse, take part in mock battles to the art of besting the other.   They jump at dust particles floating in the sun rays, chase glowing coral leaves flying across the deck in front of the glass doors and windows.  They are little innocent balls of fluff with purrs so loud and comforting they can put you to sleep.   You can watch them in a daydream daze for hours. They roll over and turn their tummies up for petting and kneed their little paws in the air, all the while looking into your eyes with unconditional love.   It doesn’t get any better in my opinion.

Some Useful Things

author Terri Myers                              Country Muffins

For years I could not get ahead of my RagaMuffin male’s stud tail until I tried Diatomaceous Earth. I purchase the food grade package from my local health food store. I message a small pinch of D.E. into the part of his tail that is prone to be oily and then comb it out.  I do this several times a week and it has completely fixed his stud tail.

Probably everyone knows that baby nail clippers are the way to go when trimming kitten’s nails. I was a little late in discovering the style with the extended easy to grip handle.  The handle gives me more control and precision. I now include them with each kitten’s “go bag”.

When I purchased the Vesper wooded cat trees, I loved the idea of removable and washable cushions, but most of my cats didn’t take to the trees. So now I mostly use the standard carpeted cat trees.  I watch for the small round chair cushions and bar stool covers to go on sale. They work well for covering the sleeping areas on many of the carpet style cat trees. They are easy to wash and I feel like it greatly extends the life of each cat tree. I also like to drape fleece blankets over the cushions.  I stop laundering these blankets the week before the kittens go to their forever homes because I include the “scented” blanket in the kitten’s “go bag” for comfort as they transition to their new home.

Several months ago, a customer sent me a rabbit comb (The Hair Buster).  It is metal with a good size handle and a piece of rubber woven through the tines. I am still experimenting with it, but so far, I love it for its ability to capture fur without allowing it to swirl through the air like my greyhound comb does. I have been using this comb once a week and it does an amazing job at decreasing the “dust bunnies”. I am still watching to see if it is stripping the undercoat, but after 2 months of use I have not noticed any thinning of the Ragamuffin coat. I don’t think I will ever retire my regular comb for daily grooming, but the Hair Buster is a great addition for weekly use.

Teaser Addiction

 

author Sara Thornton DVM                              iCandy RagaMuffins

When I go to cat shows (pre-COVID), I can’t help but peruse the cat teasers at the vendors. There are so many different types: feathers, noise makers, fur pieces, ribbons, beads, tiny fake bugs and more. Every cat responds differently to teasers. Many have a favorite. RagaMuffins being cats, they may love one style this time and another the next time.

I like the pink ones. Always. I can’t help myself. I have a substantial collection. My favorite is custom made with my  cattery name on the handle. I take far too many to shows. They travel in a poster mailer that has been shortened to keep them from getting squashed. When I unpack at a show, I pull them out and set them in my benching area. Sort of a bouquet of teasers. Sometimes, when I take my RagaMuffin cat out, they pick out their own toy. Sometimes I have to wiggle them around to see what that cat is interested in that day.

Hoping this virus gets under control soon so the cats, the teasers and I can go to some cat shows!

Everyone Wants That Special Kitten

 

author Laurie Godshall                               High Country Cats

Everyone wants that special kitten.

You know the one- the one who greets your guests, loves your dog, loves cuddling in bed, enjoys affection and physical contact. The one who adores your children and your lap.

 

Believe me when I say that most, if not every one of us RagaMuffin breeders, works hard to make sure YOU get that kitten. The crucial socialization window is between about 3 -9 weeks, but I’m here to tell you that this is really something that lasts a lifetime. Cats aren’t born loving humans any more than puppies are born to know how to potty outside.

 

It’s important to remember that RagaMuffin kittens are just like children, in that they all arrive on the planet with their very own, distinct personalities. Some will begin to immediately seek out our voices just before their eyes open at about 2 weeks of age. Some make it clear that they’d prefer only to be touched by their feline mother, thank you very much. And that’s just too bad, because those are the kittens who get handled the most!

We begin handling them at birth, for as much as mama will let us. We talk to them, we kiss them, touch them millions of times by the time they leave our catteries. They will depend on the same from their forever families, lest they regress in the socialization skills we’ve given them. From the time you bring your new kitten home, it’s imperative to continue the socialization of your RagaMuffin.

 

Handle them. Begin holding your new kitten as soon as possible, for a tad longer than she prefers. Then release her and use your voice to reassure her. Do this the rest of her life.

Touch them. Scritch her neck, run your hand the length of her back, softly pet his head. Brush them and stroke their ears. Touch their feet often, touch their mouth and begin to get them used to you rubbing their gums so that teeth cleaning and nail trims are regular occurrence. (It’s very likely your new kitten has already had several nail trims- it’s important to continue this!) Touch them at every opportunity and show them you are their love source! Do this the rest of their life.

Play with them. Cats, even our sweet RagaMuffins, are natural predators. They need to engage in the hunt for a fulfilling life. Feather teasers, sweat pant drawstrings (too thick to ingest), interactive toys such as The Cat Dancer (stupid simple, inexpensive toy!), Da Bird- are great options. Not only will they get exercise and develop their hunting skills, but interactive playtime is a fantastic bonding opportunity for you and your cat. Set aside 15 min of playtime every day, if possible. Do this the rest of their life.

 

We work really hard to make sure YOU get ‘that’ cat. It’s so important to do all of the above, and more, so that they REMAIN that cat and don’t develop behavior problems down the road.

 

Ask not what your cat do for you, but what can you do for your cat! J

 

 

Monty the Lizard Hunter

author Linda Druck

 

RagaMuffin catI find it fascinating when the sweet RagaMuffin lap cat I have turns into the mighty hunter and catches live pray just like his bigger cousins in the wild. I call him my house puma.  I live in an area where there are garden lizards that make the mistake of getting into my lanai under the crack of the door.

I am usually very careful, as I do  not like Monty to catch and kill them.  I like to watch the lizards and observe their behaviors.  Monty likes them as well, for a whole different purpose.  I normally scan the area and if I deem it safe, I let him join me.  I tend to keep the sliding doors ajar so he can come and go as he pleases in case something happens that scares him.  Sometimes that is not a good idea.  I also try to deter the lizards from getting in the lanai by stuffing plastic in the crack of the outside door so they can’t get in, but somehow, they do.

He stalks them even if they are on the outside of the screen with such precision and force; I am afraid he will go through the screens.  His whole body gets so tense before the spring and pounce and his RagaMuffin  butt wiggles as he springs into action.  He is very accurate in his calculations of the hunt.  As I said, sometimes they are inside his territory, then it is the battle to get him to give up his prize.  He usually gives in and sometimes I set them free and other times it is too late. On one such occasion he got in the house with his prize and I was so upset that he may eat it ,that I was really angry at him.  I looked all over the house and called him a “Bad Cat” but that is such a waste of time and energy because he doesn’t understand why I get so upset.

He is so proud of himself for his hunting prowess.  For Monty  is the mighty RagaMuffin hunter of his house providing for his family.  After looking for the lizard I gave up and sat down to watch TV.  In comes Monty with the limp lizard carcass and spit at me like “here, you can have it if you want it so bad” and walked off with his tail in the air in a very snooty way.  As always, everything was back to normal by meal time which tends to mend all feelings with him, and he was back to being the spoiled pampered house cat he is.