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.

Sammy’s Great Adventure

submitted by Amy Gryga/Miller           Sweetlilpaws RagaMuffins and Elysian Maine Coons
The following is an email from a kitten adopter of RCF member Amy Gryga/Miller who breeds RagaMuffins and Maine Coons. A one year old Main Coon kitty escaped from a cabin in the Adirondacks and the panicked owners went into overdrive to find their beloved pet. With the help of Lost Cat Finder ,the kitty was found against all odds.
Amy,
Well, after 15 days we retrieved Samson.   We experienced and tried all the things NOT to do until you supplied us with Kim Freeman’s contact. This shifted our search us from searching the woods (many miles logged there) during the day to setting up two traps and using a motion detection critter camera to isolate location and then trained him to get used to eating from deeper and deeper in the trap.  Critical in the process were two sightings at night.   True to her word, Sammy had not strayed more than 1/2 a mile but calling him, etc was of zero use.   They don’t respond.    One night after a sighting I had his eyes in my flashlight beam and even spoke to him for a few minutes about 30 feet away.   But there was no way I was going to get close to him.   That s when we moved to the trap / critter cam protocol.    We trained him for four night, and  finally armed the trap on Monday night.  The most likely trap was below the deck of a friend up the mountain.  (The area is very very rural on a mountain side).  At 1:30am I got a call from Greg that indeed Sammy was in the trap.   Below is a photo from the critter cam the previous night .
I went up to retrieve him in the trap.  Only then did he start meowing to me softly.    Brought him into a room in our friends house, gave him a little food and water and stayed the rest of the night with him.  The second picture is from then.  He was immediately rubbing on me and laying down next to me, the rest of the night.   In the morning we let him back into the rest of the house while I packing things up.   The second picture is Sammy’s crate flying copilot hom from KLKP to KBED.   Then I flew him home Tuesday.  Picture shows him as my copilot.
Very glad to have him back home after 15 days.   Was 18 lbs, now 14 but eating and sleeping a lot.  Working on hair knots and burs.   Very glad to have him home.
Jeeze, they just don’t respond the way you think they would.   Hide during the day.   Don’t come if called. Don’t make noise (too worried about predators).  Only move at night.  This is all outlined so well in Kim’s book.   I wasted a lot of time doing daytime searches through the woods.   That is only really good if you are looking at hiding places, which in this case were so wide and varied with some buildings and lots of rock crevices and caves that I would never have found him.   Thank you for the reference to Kim – this was indeed the first and critical step to recovery !!
It is now Thursday morning and he is significantly more chilled out.   Knows all his old spots in our house and is becoming much less clingy.  He sees the vet this afternoon.  We are working on helping him with his fur and bulking him back up.
Warmest regards and huge thanks !!
Michael

Showing a RagaMuffin

 

RagaMuffin kitten

author Sara Thornton DVM                                         iCandy RagaMuffins

I sometimes get inquiries from people who have never shown a cat, but are interested in exploring the idea. I encourage the activity, whether with a non-pedigreed cat (yes, there is a division for that) or a pedigreed kitty. It’s a fun way to spend a day or a weekend. Showing is about the cats, but also so much more. Spending time in the show hall with friends is a social event. Being surrounded by people who love cats like I do makes for lots of conversation. There are quite a few families and couples that enjoy the cat show hall as a hobby.

Looking to start out with a cat one already has is easy. But, be warned, if cats have not been exposed to the show hall and the handling at a young age, they may not like it. There are exceptions, of course. As fellow cat lovers, we ALL want our cats to have a good experience at a show. In some cases, cats just say no and it is up to us to listen.

A good way to start is by showing a Premier ( neutered cat) that is a retired breeding/show cat. Some of these cats had successful show careers early on in championship ( unneutered ) class. A Grand Champion RagaMuffin can do very well as a Premier for years in competition. A cat that has already granded in one division has been handled by numerous judges and recognized as an exceptional individual.

Getting a show quality kitten from a breeder is another way to start. While all RagaMuffins are sweet and beautiful, not all are show quality to succeed under judges’ scrutiny. And, even the best will not always win. Evaluating a kitten for show takes experience and under any circumstance, is a gamble. What looks like a great ear set as a kitten may not appear as good as they mature. Temperament is another coin toss. A kitten may be a doll at home and go to a show and love the atmosphere; or may go to a show and freak out.

An important factor in starting a show career is having a mentor, somebody to show a newbie the ropes. Sometimes this can be the breeder a person acquires the show cat from. Other times, it can be fellow exhibitors one meets at a show. CFA ( Cat Fanciers’ Association) actually has a Newbie group to answer questions and help get new exhibitors started, CFAnewbie

Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad

 

 

author Sara Thornton DVM          iCandy RagaMuffins

Remember the old song lyrics? Well, I have come to the realization they can apply to cats. You see, I recently had an epiphany.  iCandy Smidgen is beautiful: wonderful eyes, fabulous coat and great whisker pads. And she is sweet: a great Ragamuffin mommy who loves a petting. But, she may not be the brightest bulb.

Several weeks ago, Smidgen had her first litter of kittens. She took to mothering duties right away. The RagaMuffin kittens were born in a birthing box and eventually graduated to a three by three pen as they became mobile. After the litter box skills were learned, they had the run of the whole room. During this time, I played doorman, opening the door for exits and entrances as Smidgen desired.

Before the kittens have the run of the house, I leave the door open and put a baby gate up so they have a chance to get used to the household noises and activities.  Generally, at this point I no longer provide door duties as moms just jump back and forth over the gate. I always put a small cat tree on the outside to add security.

It was at this point that I discovered Smidgen may be a bit, well, slow. She couldn’t figure out that she could go over the gate. I spent two days lifting her in and out over the gate to show her how to do to. She finally figured out how to get back in the nursery, but it took another half day to get the exit plan down pat. I was beginning to think her RagaMuffin kittens would make the great escape before she learned the skill.

All is well now. Smidgen easily goes in and out over the gate on her own. Soon enough, the kittens will too.

Probiotics for an Upper Respiratory Infection?

 

author Sara Thornton DVM                                  iCandy RagaMuffins

Part of my job as a veterinarian is to keep up with advances in research. That means, in addition to reading, pre-COVID going to seminars and now during COVID, attending webinars at home. Last week I attended a webinar that I didn’t expect would bring any lightbulb moments. But, in reality it did! The presenter was Mike Lappin, DVM, PhD, DACVIM, who is a distinguished lecturer that I have been a fan of for years.

Recent evidence shows that specific probiotic supplementation can help fight a common cause of respiratory illness in cats, feline herpes virus type 1. Probiotic that contains E faecium SF68 , available on the marketplace as Forte Flora, has  immunomodulatory effects that enhance T-helper cells in cats. Trials indicate that utilizing Forte Flora helps infected cats recover much faster and likely decreases the severity of the disease in these cats.

Forte Flora has a high level of palatability. It is commonly used for gastrointestinal disease to improve the microbiome of the gut. This is good news for cats that suffer recurrent bouts of herpes flares. In addition, it is another tool in the box for breeders.

Facts? About Cats

author Terri Cassiday        Xpressions RagaMuffins

RagaMuffin kittenOver the years I’ve learned a few things about cats and their caretakers. There is much more for the my RagaMuffins to teach me. Luckily, they are patient. Okay, maybe not patient, stuck with me.

Here’s a few of them:

Cats don’t see a glass as half empty or half full…it’s to be emptied! Buy one can of cat food and they will devour it…Buy a case of that same food and they’ll bury it!

What’s mine is theirs…What’s theirs is theirs.

Cats can magically grow extra toes when it’s time to cut their nails.

Brush a RagaMuffin and you’ll have enough fur to make another cat.

It’s impossible to keep your clothes “fur free” in the amount of time it takes from the dryer to the closet. Never wearRagaMuffin kitten pants that are black, navy, brown, white…NEVER wear pants!

No matter how large your house is… they are ALL in the same room with you. Invite a group of people to your home and your cat will choose the person that likes the cat the least to sit on…In my case their head!

There is no such thing as a clean litter box…When you finish cleaning it, they reward you by using it.

It doesn’t matter how often you vacuum, litter will be everywhere…the plus side of this is, if you go barefoot, it’s a great exfoliant. 😳

With cats you will never pick up your feet to walk…cat people have perfected the “slide glide”.

We slump when we walk because we need to look down…Heck! Cat owners had “tech neck” before it was a thing!

It will take an hour to make the bed because of their “help”….minutes before the bed bed is unmade because of their “help”.

Your RagaMuffins will appreciate that cute food mat you had to purchase…it’s fun to drag around with the once full water bowl.

As I said before, I have so much more that I’ve learned and need to learn.

Finally, I’ll leave you with one more lesson:

I’ve learned to live with much less…because they’ve taken so much more!