Is My Cat a RagaMuffin?

author Sara Thornton DVM                                                                       iCandy RagaMuffins

One of the most common comments I see on Facebook is a cat owner posting a picture of their beloved kitty and asking if it is a RagaMuffin. The answer is virtually always going to be no. Same with other breeds like Maine Coons. Unless you go to a breeder for a pedigreed cat, it is unlikely to be a pedigreed cat, especially when it comes to rare breeds.

If your kitten or cat is sweet, floppy and long haired it is not a RagaMuffin unless it came with papers from CFA, ACFA, GCCF, WCF or CCA. Most likely it is a Domestic Long Hair. If it is a TICA registered RagaMuffin, it is generally a Ragdoll crossed with a Persian or other cat (

Domestic Long Hair, or Domestic Short Hair is a term used to describe random bred cats with long or short hair. These are the most common cats in the world. The truth is, pedigreed cats are developed from these cats. A random bred cat is no less deserving of a good home and love than a pedigreed cat. I have always had rescues in my house; I still do.

Back in the origins of the RagaMuffin, a breeder developed a line of cats using domestic cats and pedigreed cats for a specific temperament and look.  The characteristics that the RagaMuffin is known for come from these cats. Those features are available in the general cat population. In the RagaMuffin, those lovable traits come together in one cat specifically bred for sweet temperament, good health, and to meet the breed standard in looks. (


Chatty Chanukah (a tongue in cheek tail)

By: Levi, Tavi, Chaya & Shoshana from the land of Presca RagaMuffins
Chanukah came early this year. The first night was celebrated the Sunday following Thanksgiving which is hardly fair considering we were still stuffed with all the trimmings from our Thanksgiving feast.
For those of you who are not familiar with Catty Chanukah, it is celebrated over 8 Days.
As the ancient Hebrew Cats recall, the Maccatabees defeated mean old Greek King Antiochuscats’ troops after a three year war. Oh it was a big dust-up with a lot of hissing and growling going on!
To celebrate their triumph, the Maccatabees and their neighbors lit a seven-pronged lamp, now called a Meownorah in 167 BCE (Before the Cat Era), but found they only had enough ‘tuna’ oil to keep it alight for 1 day. But a miracle happened, the lamp remained lit for eight days which allowed all the cats in the land of Purrrsia to search for more ‘tuna’ oil to keep the lamp burning as a sign of their great victory over King Antiochuscats.
So what does this mean to us cats today? Good question!
Each year we tell this great story so we remember our life before the Maccatabees set us free. Today we celebrate by playing a special game with a Dreidel (a wooden thingy that spins when you bat it). It’s really a secret cat code with the letters Shin, Gimel, Hay, Nun and means “A Great Miracle Happened Here”. Here’s how we play:
Mom holds a pile of Temptations Tuna Treats for us, we like them the best cuz they’re yummy!
The four of us gather in a circle and bat our dreidel to see what letter appears when it stops spinning. If the letter Shin comes up she gives each one of us a treat, if the letter Hay appears we get 1/2 a treat, if the letter Nun pops up then Mom gives us Nothing! But, if the letter Gimel shows up we get all the treats in her pile! Meowhooo!!!
Plus, each of us get a new toy each night for the 8 nights … we always love a new toy mouse, a ball, a crackly thing, a new box, or tissue paper to rip up. We run up and down the stairs, through the hallways, and all through the house joyously chasing each other and our new toy mouse.
We hope you enjoyed our story and in 2022 we hope you and your families experience Great Miracles.
Purrs and Nose Bumps to All!

Picky Cats?

author Sara Thornton DVM                                               iCandy RagaMuffins

Why are cats so picky? Well, one reason is that cats develop taste preferences very early in life. If a kitten is not exposed to beef, for example, prior to five or six months of age it doesn’t really recognize beef as a food item later.

It is not just food flavors or ingredients that matter. It is texture and shape as well. If it was only fed round dry pellets as a kitten, it would be unlikely that it would accept flat shaped kibble later. If it only has canned slices in gravy, a switch to pate as an adult would not be welcome.


This is important to note as a RagaMuffin breeder or a pet owner. There may come a day that a cat needs to eat a specific food, whether prescription or not, for health reasons. In addition, a food may become unavailable and an adult may need to have a diet change.

At iCandy RagaMuffins, kittens are fed two premium kitten kibbles, so they get used to the different shapes. They are also fed various flavors and textures of canned food. As I serve multiple cats, I never know who likes what best; I am sure they have preferences. But, I do know the kittens are well prepared to go to their new homes with a base of exposure to foods that a pet owner may prefer to feed.

Heart Disease in Cats

author Sara Thornton DVM                                iCandy RagaMuffins

I recently had an inquiry from someone interested in acquiring a RagaMuffin kitten from me. Pretty typical email. When I responded with general information that I always respond with including waitlist information, price, genetic testing including echocardiograms on the parents, and other details, I got a surprising response.

It appears the inquirer got the impression that RagaMuffins have a significant amount of heart disease. Her background was in a dog breed that has terrible heart disease, so I can understand her concern. But, I didn’t want her to feel that RagaMuffins were in the same league as the dog breed she previously loved.

In fact, RagaMuffins are no more likely to have heart disease than any cat walking down the street. The odds are that around 15% of the general cat population has heart disease. By far the most common presentation is Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy ( HCM). In some feline breeds, HCM is rampant. Gene mutations were identified in both Ragdolls and Maine Coons that can cause HCM. The good news is those genes can be tested for and findings can be used by breeders to eliminate that cause of heart disease in kittens that are produced. Since Ragdolls are in the background of RagaMuffins, I test every breeding cat.

In addition, I take the extra step to screen my RagaMuffin breeding cats with an echocardigram since many types of heart disease are not detectable via genetic testing. 50% of cats with HCM do not have a heart murmur. So, this means a routine auscultation by a veterinarian has only a 50% chance to suspect a problem. The echocardiogram is the gold standard utilized. Even that is not perfect. A cat can have a normal echo and then six months later develop heart disease. HCM is the top suspect in sudden death of a younger cat. That being said, it is not necessarily a death sentence. When detected, a cat may be monitored and live a normal span in some cases. I had a dear Domestic Long Hair that was diagnosed around three years of age. She lived to 14 with no issues, but then her heart failed.

The bottom line is, I do health clearances including echocardiograms to ensure that I am doing the best that I can to produce healthy RagaMuffin kittens.

Senior Cat Dental Woes

author Sara Thornton DVM                                          iCandy RagaMuffins

My RagaMuffin Nougat is ten years old now. He has always been happy and healthy. Long retired from the show ring, he is not retired from the couch or the cat yard.

Like all my cats, he gets regular grooming including nail clips and comb outs. Once a year, they each get a formal check up. Now that I have retired, I keep a notebook with their records in it and dates on my cell phone to remind me when individuals are due for a tune up of any kind.

October came around and Nougat’s name popped up that he was due for vaccinations and annual bloodwork. I do the same with each of my pets that I did for pets that visited me in the hospital: ausculation, palpation, skin, ear, eye and mouth checks. This RagaMuffin had a problem surface. He had a bad tooth. I knew it needed attention.

Since I no longer have a practice, I made an appointment for him with my friend and colleague Dr Denise Jones. At the appointment, Nougat’s mouth was evaluated. She agreed that the sore tooth needed to be extracted. She also felt a couple more teeth needed to be radiographed. I made an appointment for him to return for the procedures.

The night before the dental work, Nougat was separated from the other cats because he couldn’t eat anything overnight. I’m sure he thought that was weird. The early morning was dark, foggy and raining. I drove Nougat to Brunswick Veterinary Hospital to drop him off. Like every pet owner, I hated to see my baby get carried away from me, even though I have every confidence in the team that was taking care of him.

All went well with his procedure. No surprise, I was told RagaMuffin Nougat was a charming trooper. He lost two teeth in total, but the radiographs were clear on the questionable teeth. He came home with me as if nothing had happened. His pain is well under control and he is happy to be home.

I greatly appreciate the care that was taken of my special boy. Taking care of pet’s teeth is an important part of keeping them healthy through their senior years.

Education For Breeders and Veterinarians

author Sara Thornton DVM                                        iCandy RagaMuffins

Now that I have sold my veterinary practice, I want to maintain my license so I can help out another veterinarian if the need arises and do the routine care of my own animals. To keep my license, I need to continue taking approved continuing education. It has never been an issue for me to meet and exceed the required credits. But these days, I have the freedom to concentrate on things that directly interest me most….such as my RagaMuffin cat breeding program.

I recently watched two webinars that were offered for veterinary continuing education credit, but were also open to technicians and breeders. Both were very well done, with good coverage on several subjects. Each provided five hours of education. The first one was the National Kitten Coalition Veterinary Conference. I signed up, knowing I would be unable to attend live, as it was the same day as a cat show. But, they were offering viewing of the recorded sessions at a later date, and by taking a test post viewing, the continuing education certificates were available. The cost of this was very low, maybe $30? in total.

The second one was the Feline Breeder Symposium offered by the University of Pennsylvania . I was able to watch that live. I don’t think later viewing is possible in this case. Again, the price was very reasonable, $75. Both of these seminars were sponsored in part by companies. I would recommend all breeders take the time to sign up and attend these webinars when offered. While most of the information was a good review for me, I always learn something. Both organizations have offerings every year. The webinar format is great. I was able to sit around with my RagaMuffins and utilize my tablet for a good cause!

Building My RagaMuffin Library

author- Lucile Gordon Press                    Presca RagaMuffins

To me, books have always been the basis of knowledge; experience is about applying the knowledge gained from studying the books. Due to a recent event demonstrating an acute lack of knowledge and inexperience in recognizing a common occurrence in cats, it occurred to me I better start looking for help in the event other minor, or major, issues present themselves, thus keeping my blood pressure within normal range.

As a former Pembroke Welsh Corgi breeder (22 years) and a retired ICU Nurse I had an extensive collection of books on every aspect of my Corgis from history to health. And, of course, all kinds of medical reference books pertaining to human health which I still refer to even in todays’ modern and tech savvy world. It occurred to me other Newbies to the world of cats, whether you have a Household Cat, a Show Cat, or are a breeder in training, a few good books could be helpful. Amazon was a great initial resource for me. I purchased five books:

1. Cat Owner’s Home Veterinary Handbook (Third Edition)

2. RagaMuffin Cats as Pets by: Lilly Brown

3. RagaMuffin Cats by: Colette Anderson

4. RagaMuffin Cat: So Sweet They Give You Cavities

 5. The Cornell Book of Cats (Second Edition): Edited by Mordecai Siegal

I’m sure the more experienced members of our Club can recommend other books to add to our collections but I’ve started with these and thought I’d share my list with you. Here’s to healthy purrs and nose-bumps!

In Hindsight

Author  RH Schmidt                                              New Walden RagaMuffins

This last year has been hard for many beings upon our Mother Earth. Every part of the Earth has
endured some kind of catastrophic agent whether it be fire, flood, hurricane, tornado, volcano,
earthquake, and yes, even insanity among the human population. If that isn’t enough to deal with
pestilence in the form of Covid 19 has run rapid with many variants. Those of us close to nature see yet
another sign. Our trees are overproducing vegetation and fruits. Extremely heavy fruiting is taking place
in all forms of vegetation. If nothing else the change in the climate and human behavior has let us know
that something is afoot, and things are changing. Things are not going smoothly. There never seems to
be enough time to complete projects or work. There is a lack of balance existing.
As human beings, change causes us stress and makes it very hard to keep a positive balance in
life. And as humans in our misguided consciousness, we tend to reach out externally, for comfort,
consolement, assurance, and for love and wellbeing. With the turbulent times those external needs can
turn to many vices, including drugs, alcohol, etc. Anything that will give us immediate gratification or
provides us with a numbing towards realities we are struggling with.
Many of us know that consciousness and change has to come from within our own creative
selves, but what can be external and maybe makes us feel better from time to time. Maybe a hobby, or a
project we have had our heart set on doing. Maybe another human being. All these help, but what
about unconditional support and love. We don’t always get that in a reciprocity from our fellow human,
and definitely not from material things.
There is though, entities that can give us the complete unconditional support and unending love.
We put a label on them as pets. They maybe dogs, cats, ferrets, rabbits, Guinea pigs, lizards, turtles, and
yes, even snakes. Ach! Well, the list can go on and on. But, when thinking of reciprocity, I personally
attune to cats, and a particular cat indeedthe RagaMuffin.
First, why would I choose a cat, over other animals and secondly why a RagaMuffin in particular?
Well, cats tend to be kind of self-sufficient. They have a little independent streak in them. They are
definitely quieter than dogs and much more acclimated to the quiet peaceful existence I adore, and they
don’t need as much attention as the dog, yet they are still soft and cuddly without having to give them a
bath to keep them clean or to curb a smell.
So, in answer to my second question, I ask myself what are the ways my RagaMuffins are the
apex in the cat world for me. I believe they give complete surrender as opposed to a lot of breeds. They
will drop in front of me and want their tummy rubbed frequently. Frequently, when I am busy at the
computer or some house maintenance chore they are right there with me. Always close enough we can
touch each other. One of the best traits they have is when I am sad. When my father died last year, they
were the first to come and sit and lie with me. It is comical at times, because they can all pile on top of
my bed or area I am in, just to be close give warmth and a purr that says, “I understand, and I love you.”
When I am in an upbeat mood, or even being bored with what I am doing at a present time.
Here comes a little Gaia, Poosiitha, or Tykee, e.g., with a toy for me to throw for them to fetch and bring
back. Others will skitter sideways to me with back arched to join in a faux challenge. Then, again as I
enter a room one will jump out from behind a door and smack my leg or shoulder, and sometime even
my head ,(depends on their location) to say, “You’re it! Catch me if you can.” Or, just to let you know, “ I
am here!”
Of course, there is not one of my precious RagaMuffins that doesn’t communicate verbally. A few
more than others. And there if the forever quiet message of the eye winks projecting love.

I think I have said it to many of you before, I do not think there is anything sweeter than a two-
week old kitten. So, intricately made, and from birth they can give a little snapping like sound that they
are already purring. They give support and love back ten fold.
So, in hindsight, yes, 2020 has been a rough year, but in my particular case. I have had plenty of
unconditional support from a little loving fury creature called a RagaMuffin. And seeing that we are
approaching the November Holiday of Giving Thanks, I think it is absolutely perfect for me to say, I am
so very, very thankful for my RagaMuffins, because it is a mutual gift they offer.

The Veterinarian said- “CONJUNCTIVITIS”!

authorLucile Gordon Press               Presca RagaMuffins
Last evening my five month old baby RagaMuffin walked into my office and looked at me in a peculiar way. I looked again and noticed her left eye was bloodshot.
I had absolutely no idea what had happened to her. As a former ICU nurse all sorts of scenarios were racing through my mind. The ugly voice in my head was thinking one of her feline housemates had scratched her and it was a corneal injury, maybe she accidentally scratched herself, maybe her blood pressure spiked and caused a vessel to pop, maybe she got into something, but what?
Of course it was the end of the day and a visit to the Vet wasn’t an option. I went to bed and prayed whatever it was wouldn’t get significantly worse overnight.
Needless-to-say, I didn’t sleep well.
Today, off to the Vet. He took her temperature, “normal”; palpated her belly, looked into her ears (clean), and then got his ophthalmoscope (thingy to look into eyes) and said, “it’s Conjunctivitis”! The ugly voice in my head was shut down but I felt awful and guilty. How had this happened? What had I missed in her care? All of my food and water bowls are top grade stainless steel; they are washed and sanitized after every meal. I don’t allow bowl swapping, my other cats are healthy, so I didn’t think she didn’t get it from one of her feline housemates. Litter boxes are cleaned twice daily and they are washed and sanitized each week. Bedding is washed once a week with non-scented, hypoallergenic Dreft detergent.
Her Vet assured me this is quite common in cats. Hah … not my cats! I had a Maine Coon who lived for 19 healthy years, and I have a 6 year old rescue cat who is healthy, a healthy 2 1/2 year old RagaMuffin, and another 5 month old RagaMuffin kitten who is healthy, thank G-d. Surely there was something I had missed. But what?
Solution … go to everyone’s source of information … the internet. Time to study Feline Conjunctivitis to combat the possibility of a reoccurrence.
Conjunctivitis / Cornell University College of Veternary Medicine: 
“Conjunctivitis, the most common of all feline disorders, is an inflammation of the thin mucous membrane (conjunctiva) that lines the inner surface of cat’s eyelids and coats the outer surface of the eyeball. Many cats will experience at least a mild episode of the condition at some point in their lives”. Thomas Kern, DVM, associate professor of ophthalmology at Cornell University of Veternary Medicine says,”the conjunctiva serves several purposes. Most important, this slippery membrane provides the eyeball with lubrication as a conduit for tears that fall onto its surface and are distributed by what he refers to as “the blinking phenomenon.” The conjunctiva harbors certain certain antibodies that may help an animal ward off some eye infections. Nevertheless, there are several microorganisms that cats commonly carry, and the feline system’s immune response to these bacteria and viruses is responsible for the great majority of feline conjunctivitis cases.” 
Clinical signs of the condition can be evident in one or both eyes and tends to cause the eyelid to become swollen and red. Other signs include squinting, frequent blinking, and the presence of a discharge that, depending on the cause, can be either colorless and watery or thick and dark colored.
Dr. Kern adds, “All cats, regardless of breed or gender, are susceptible to conjunctivitis, and the condition is not heritable. This infection occurs primarily in young animals although it can occur in older cats. Most affected cats will develop an immunity to the condition and will not experience recurrences, Dr. Kern notes that episodes of conjunctivitis may recur periodically in those animals who carry the herpesvirus-just as cold sores appear from time to time in humans who carry it.”
In most cases, according to Dr. Kern, conjunctivitis “will self resolve with no medication.” However, owners should seek veterinary care if your cat has apparent eye discomfort and discharge to rule out more serious eye disorders. Most veterinarians will  prescribe antibiotic eye drops or an ointment to be used as directed for two to three weeks. He notes, “if we suspect that we’re dealing with herpesvirus, we won’t be able to cure it but we will try to eliminate the infection from the surface of the eye and let it heal.”
Conclusion: What did I do wrong? What could I have done to prevent this? Nothing!
I hope this information helps other RagMuffin cat newbies combat the anxiety and self-blame when their furbaby contracts conjunctivitis. Take a deep breath, see your veterinarian and continue to enjoy those purrs and nosebumps.

Scratching Post

author Cathy Foldesi                         RagaMuffin lover

Beware of where you put your cats scratching post.  You might regret your location choice.  In our bedroom our cats have each chosen a piece of furniture to scratch even though we do have scratching posts available for them in other rooms. Our oldest cat sometimes scratched an old chair that my husband used to set cloths on.  We really don’t mind him scratching that chair.  It is not an important piece of furniture.   If we tell him to stop it he does quit.  Ragamuffin Windsor on the other hand. had to pick another piece of furniture to scratch in our bedroom.  He likes needling a bench we have a dog crate on.  I tried to discourage him from his scratching choice but of course failed at my attempts to redirect his behavior.  So, one day I was at Home Goods (one of my favorite stores) and found a small scratching post, for cats, with a bell and a ball on it designed for cats entertainment.  It was only $10 so I bought it figuring if the cats did not like it I would not have wasted a lot of money.  To keep it steady I used a small rope to tie it to the bottom of the bench where Windsor liked pruning his nails.    It worked.  He likes it.  The only problem now is he plays with the bell and ball as he uses the post and sometimes it gets a bit noisy and quite loud while we are sleeping.  Not so much fun for us, but after all cats tend to be a bit nocturnal so his play time choices are a bit different then ours.  Honesty, I fuss a little but really it’s okay as we are glad he likes it and is no longer scratching the bench.  I could cut the bell and ball off  of the post but I am afraid if I do he would no longer like it anymore.  So sometimes we all have to be a little flexible and understanding to each other’s needs, desires, and pleasures.  The truth is I love watching Windsor being a kitten and he really does nothing that is seriously wrong.  So, we let him have fun, even if he wakes us up, and we have saved our bench too.  YAY!