Remarkable Weekend at the Cat Show

author Sara Thornton DVM       iCandy RagaMuffins

Last weekend was the annual Santa Paws CFA cat show in the Baltimore, Maryland area. I go to this show every year, not because I expect to win a lot as it is a tough show, but because it is a fun time.

I enjoy hanging out with friends, cheering each other along. The show hall is festive with Christmas decorations. There is always an awesome raffle to buy tickets for. Simply put, it is an enjoyable weekend with cats.

I took both my young adult Solo and my kitten Fanny Farmer to compete. Both girls are a pleasure to show. They have fun between rings waiting to compete. They play or nap or even, in this case get dressed in holiday outfits.

When it is time for judging, I carried the kitty whose turn it is up to one of four judging rings. I placed her in a cage behind the judging tables where she waited until it was her turn. Both Solo and Fanny were relaxed, looking out of the cage or playing with the number over the top of the cage.

The judge evaluated the cat in each cage behind him/her in order. Both Solo and Fanny are happy campers when they get on the table. Both are party girls. They play with any toy the judge offers, they climb the sisal covered pole and in general, strut their stuff.

Solo went into the two day show with 99 points. She needed 101 more to earn her grand championship. I knew it was possible, but unlikely due to the high quality of the cats that would attend. Saturday started off with her getting called to finals in the first couple of rings where she earned points. In four rings on Saturday, she finaled three times.  I added up her points (yes, there’s an app for that) and realized it was still possible for her to get to 200.

Sunday started out well. In true dramatic turn, it was down the wire at the last ring for the weekend. Solo needed to final and earn 12 points. I used the app to figure out she needed to win either 1st place long hair cat or top three of all breeds. She was called to the final. Whew. Next step….find out how the judge placed her. And…..she gave her best long hair and 3rd best all breed! Gentlepurrs Solo Purrsuit of iCandy was a Grand Champion! My friends were cheering for her and even other exhibitors that I do not know were enthusiastic in their congratulations.

To top it off, Fanny had a great weekend in kitten class. She finaled in seven of eight rings, even under judges that are not traditionally keen on the RagaMuffin breed. The published results were out this morning. She was third overall out of a large entry of 56 kittens! To say I was happy with the results would be understating it.

The best part? Bringing those joyful kitties home and having them snuggle up with me last night.

Solo

 

Fanny

 

The Heated Bed

author Sara Thornton DVM      iCandy RagaMuffins

 

Petals

After Thanksgiving sales were too tempting to ignore. I went Internet shopping for my pets. My oldest cat, a rescue named Petals, has arthritis. While she is getting medical treatment, I thought a heated pet bed might helpful as well.

Nougat

I looked at several that were available. One seemed to be just perfect for a kitty. And it was on sale for a very good price. So, I bought it and in a couple of days it arrived. I initially put it on a chair to test it out. It was immediately occupied by RagaMuffin Nougat. I let him enjoy it for a bit , but then moved it to Petals favorite resting spot, on top of one of the cat trees in my den. I had to move Petals to put the bed there, plugged it in and replaced Petals. She immediately left.

The next I looked, Puzzles (another rescue) was sitting on the tree enjoying the heat. I was hoping that eventually, she would get down and Petals would return to her spot.

Puzzles

The following morning Ganache was lounging in the new bed. He didn’t look anxious to move. Finally, later in the morning, I found Petals enjoying her new found warmth. She was still there when I got home from work in the evening and only got up for her dinner.

I’d say the bed is a success. And I’m thinking I will have to get more!

Ganache

Parenting Styles of Queens

author Sara Thornton DVM              iCandy RagaMuffins   

 

I have been a pedigree cat breeder for a while now. After breeding horses and dogs as well as being a veterinarian for well over thirty years, I doubted I could be in for many surprises. Well, the difference in the queen attitudes toward their families has been startling.

I started with Squidgy, my UK import. Squidgy was a fierce protector of her newborns. She was determined to keep them from harm …that included me. She would leave her birthing box once a day to use her litter box. I put her food in the box so she would eat. I needed to put it near her face as she would never disturb her kittens to reach for it. As her kittens matured, she was horrified that they would leave the box. It’s like the first grade child that is happy to get on the bus and leave mom. As much as she would try to keep them home, they were determined to leave. As they started their adventures in the house, Squidgy’s role became that of the playground monitor, carefully observing the kittens and looking out for predators.

My next girl to have kittens was the total opposite. Only a couple of hours after birth, Beignet would be asking to leave the room for an outing, I swear, she wanted to hire a nanny right away. While she seemed to like her kittens and do the necessities, she was demanding of frequent coffee breaks, nail appointments, and dates with her friends. She would leave their room to go sun in my outdoor cat yard for hours. I would need to call her in when leaving for work to put her back with her babies. She had a very casual attitude toward parenting for sure.

The third mother was CC. She was a bit anxious, never satisfied that she had picked the right spot in the room for her litter. She was fine giving birth in the birthing box, but soon after moved the kittens to a new spot, on the bare floor under an end table. When I attempted to put a blanket there, she moved them again. This repeated itself several times, until I caved. Mother knows best, I guess.

When Buttons queened two weeks after CC had her litter. CC decided she was an expert on parenting. She stole Buttons first baby immediately after birth. I retrieved it and held vigil for the remainder of the process. After that, CC would walk up to Buttons and stare as if telling her she wasn’t doing it right. I’m not sure what made her believe she was an expert, but she did. As it turned out, Buttons did just fine. She turned out to be a caring, relaxed mother. That, however, did not keep CC from once again stealing the same baby she had absconded with previously when he was about a week old. This time I let her keep him. Both moms seemed happy with the situation, so who was I to change it?

One thing I have learned through this process is that you just never know what to expect!

Static Electricity

author Sara Thornton DVM         iCandy RagaMuffins

At the last cat show I went to, the show hall was dry, very dry. And the cats were full of static.  My cats, especially Solo, were getting shocked by me and the judges. I carry products just for this but nothing seemed to do the job. I wasn’t the only person with this issue. A friend that has been showing for years said she had never had static on her cats previously.

I borrowed products from other exhibitors. Some worked better than others. One of the issues with using any product is that you don’t want residue on your cat’s coat when they are judged. Water helped….a spray mist of Evian from my neighbor before each ring. It was very temporary.

I came home from the show and purchased more products to carry with me. I may have gone overboard just a bit. My grooming bag now has 5 small travel sized spray bottles of products to use just for static. By the way, my suitcase has one hair product for me…….”
I’d be interested to know what others have found to be helpful for this.

Holiday Safety for Kitties

author Sara Thornton DVM                      iCandy RagaMuffins

 

Holidays are exciting times in the household. This is stressful for your pet. Keep  your cat’s play time a priority to help reduce the stress. Don’t put off cleaning the litter box! Keeping an eye on your cat’s toilet habits is important. Catching diarrhea or a urinary tract problem early can make the difference in life or death for your precious muffin.

Keep safety in mind with any toys or treats you buy for your pet. Some toys need supervision when your kitty plays with them. They can get tangled up dangerously in toys with long dangling string or ingest smaller toys, which can lead to an intestinal obstruction.

And then there are the decorations…..kitties love to climb Christmas trees. Be sure yours is well secured. Kitties also love to eat tinsel and ribbon. It’s best not to use these items in areas where cats have access. Ingestion of linear items can cause serious, life threatening obstructions.

Liquid potpourri is particularly dangerous for a cat; a small amount can result in severe chemical burns in the mouth, fever, difficulty breathing, and tremors. Lit candles are an obvious hazard. Always supervise!

Toxic plants are also on the holiday agenda. Lilies are particularly deadly. Other plants, like mistletoe, and holly berries can make a kitty’s tummy sick and can even cause heart arrythmias.

This list can be scary, but knowledge is power. In this case, it is the power to keep your feline family members safe during a busy time of year.

 

Traveling Litter Box

author Sara Thornton DVM                          iCandy RagaMuffins

I found it at last. The perfect traveling litter box is in my grasp. I’ve been traveling and staying in motels with my cats for years.  But, every litter box seems to have a drawback. Cardboard ones can leak,  plastc ones can be awkward to pack and difficult to cleanly empty at the end of a motel stay. The foldable ones are a challenge to clean.

And then I discovered Tubtrugs. They are flexible tubs that come in different sizes and colors.  Now known as gorilla tubs, they are easy to clean, handy to pack, a piece of cake to empty into a trash bag and the sides are high enough to prevent the cats from spreading litter everywhere.

I, of course, bought pink. The 4 gallon, 15 inch diameter seems to be ideal for travel. I also bought a spare, which the cats are currently using as a cozy bed with a towel in it.

While I can’t report on its long term sturdiness yet,  I can certainly say it fits the bill.

New Baby Brother

author Lucile Gordon Press

Hello friends, My name is Levi, my mom says I am half RagaMuffin and half traveling salesman, whatever that means. My mom is a quilter and of course she needs a supervisor so I keep a paw on things. This is my new baby brother, Tavi. He is a four months old RagaMuffin. His name means “good” in Yiddish. My human mom bought a playpen for the little guy so we could get to know one another without having to sniff under the bathroom door and wonder about each other. Besides, he hated being alone in there and cried and cried and cried. It was very stressful for me so mom put him in the playpen. Here is Tavi learning to be a quilt supervisor. Whew, there’s a lot of neat stuff to get into! Falling asleep on the job! All those odd bits of fabric are hard to keep track of so I need 40 winks before I get my next lesson. Ahhhh….so comfy!

After an exhausting day my big 
brother is making sure I don’t
have nightmares. I’m so lucky
to have him for a big brother.

Wow! Look at this! Things actually
move in there. I wonder how they
get in?

One of the first days my brother 
and I got to spend together 
outside of my playpen. I was
feeling a little insecure and
really needed a hug. 
The playpen. My big brother likes
kitten food so mom feeds me 
in there to discourage him 
from stealing my food. 



A little love after a busy day.
Ahhh, this is the life!

Hope you enjoyed our introduction. 
Our mom, Lucile, will 
write her story in a future blog. 
Life is purrrrfect for us,
Levi and Tavi

A Typical Day In the Life of Boomer- The Most Wonderful Kitty Ever.

A heartfelt letter to a RCF breeder from a RagaMuffin lover

 

author Barb Knowdell      Boomer bred by GW Muffins

Boomer wakes me up every morning by sitting on my chest or lying beside my face purring and asking for me to scratch his neck and under his chin.  He purrs so quietly that mostly I can only tell that he is purring because of the vibrations I feel.  Is there any better way to wake up?  I don’t think so!

This gives me a chance to give him a hug and some kisses.  I’m not sure if he really likes hugs and kisses.  However, he doesn’t try to get away and doesn’t stop purring.  I’m interpreting that to mean he is saying “If you really need to give hugs and kisses, I guess it’s OK with me.”

One morning last week (at 6 am–before I was awake) he decided to play with his favorite toy.  It is a narrow strip of multi-colored fabric attached to a plastic wand.  He tried to go up the spiral staircase with it.  He pulled it by the fabric and the plastic wand handle banged against the wrought iron railings and got stuck.  What a way to wake up.  Wish I could have gotten a picture of him.  He seemed confused as to why this wasn’t working.  He had to come back down the stairs.  I got up and untangled it for him.

After I give him hugs and kisses, I get up and Boomer goes to sit by his toy.  This is the only toy he will play with.  I tried lots of different cat toys and he ignores them and won’t play by himself.  He says I must play with him.  First, he sits by it, then he taps it with his paw, then he looks up at me as if to say “Hurry up, you must be stupid if you can’t figure out what I want!”

He is quick and leaps in the air, plops down and rolls over and generally has a good time.

After play time, it is food time.  He eats on the low kitchen counter at “his spot”.  He doesn’t seem to mind that there is lots of other stuff on the counter.  I feed him half canned Merrick Chicken Pate and half homemade cat food.  I was convinced by a vet on line (Dr. Pierson) that, when possible, wet food is best for cats since they have a low thirst drive.  I use her recipe and grind “mostly cooked” chicken thighs (some with bones) and chicken liver. Then add appropriate supplements.  I ran this all by my vet and she agrees that it is a good diet for Boomer.  He seems to like it.

Next comes “nap time”.  NOTE:  nap time comes frequently throughout the day and evening.

Midday, I usually go out to feed the horse and run errands.  When I get home a few hours later, Boomer is often still “napping” in the same place I left him.

I work on the computer most afternoons.  Boomer often wakes up from his nap on the bed and comes over near my computer where he has a grey “Purr Pad” to sit on while he watches out the window for critters (birds, quail, lizards, rabbits, deer, neighbor cats, etc).  This usually turns into another nap time.

Sometimes he plays in a bag or a box.  The box provided another opportunity for nap time.

Boomer has gotten lots more vocal.  He used to talk very quietly now he is much louder.  He carries on conversations with me all the time. He also talks to my husband, Dick.

About 5 pm it is play time again and then dinner.  After dinner, he washes up.  He generally washes up near his toy—just in case I might play again.  Then another nap time.  But in a different place. This time of day he naps in “his” purple recliner which is about 5 feet from my new recliner.  It is my old recliner.  I was going to get rid of it.  But, Boomer said he liked it and I must keep it so he has a cozy place near me to nap in the evenings.

In the evenings I am usually in my new recliner reading and watching TV.  Boomer rotates frequently between watching for critters out the window just behind my shoulder, curling up on my lap to nap, and napping in his recliner.  Boomer also sits on Dick’s lap.  That’s really nice.  Most of our other cats have strongly attached to me and ignored Dick.

Some time around 11pm, I go to bed.  Boomer makes sure to remind me that, first, I must play with him.  Which, because he has me trained so well, I do.

Then we go to bed.  He sleeps beside me every night.   During the night, he sometimes runs around the house, up and down the stairs.  But, he always comes back to sleep with me.

Then I start the next day with a wonderful purring kitty in my face.  Boomer is the most friendly, cuddly cat I have ever had.  He is perfect for me and my current lifestyle.  I think he is happy and content too.  I am sure that no one could appreciate him more than I do.

Have you seen this quote from Roger Caras?

“Pets are not our whole lives…

But they make our lives whole”

That’s exactly how I feel about Boomer.  I hope you know that he has a very loving and caring home with me.

As always, thank you for letting me have him.

 

Fondly

Barb and Boomer

CFA International Show 2019

author Sara Thornton DVM                       iCandy RagaMuffins

I just came back from the 2019 Cat Fanciers’ Association  International show in Cleveland, Ohio. It was an epic event.  Hundreds of beautiful pedigreed cats, rescue cats available for adoption, celebrity cats for meet and greets (think Farrah Pawcett) , tons of vendors, a cat costume contest, educational seminars, and entertainment by the Savitsky cats were there for cat lovers to enjoy!

At the top of the list was spending time with RagaMuffin lovers from all the United States. Meeting a cyber friend in person was the best! Breeders brought out their best kitties to compete. Several of the judges made comments about the excellent quality of the RagaMuffins in the competition. Every person that exhibits an animal takes great pride in presenting a well groomed, well socialized example of the breed. It was great to get such positive feedback from the judges.

The International show is actually two shows going on at the same time. Each had approximately 400 cats entered. A total of eighteen RagaMuffins were shown with the biggest class in each show being the kitten class.

The spectators were out in force.  The public was anxious to get a look at the beautiful cats as well as watch cats run the agility course. The events going on all the time kept people busy the entire weekend. It was a pleasure to be able to share our love of the RagaMuffin breed with interested families.

Responsible Breeding

author Sara Thornton DVM     iCandy RagaMuffins

There is more to breeding animals than most people realize. First is starting with top quality animals with health, temperament and breed type being imperative. Then it is providing those animals with the best life possible, meeting social, medical and physical needs. Planning a breeding between two outstanding and complimentary individuals with appropriate health clearances is the ultimate challenge. Birthing the litter, maintaining at risk neonates, providing sanitation, nutrition and socialization are part of the process.

I have been breeding Labradors for over 20 years. Six years ago, I began breeding pedigreed RagaMuffin cats. I have met and made many friends through this avocation. I have provided families with healthy, loving pets. Many have come back to me for a second, third or even fourth pet. One of my tenants of breeding is to always be there if an animal I bred needs me.

Over the years, I have had four Labradors returned. Two were due to divorce, one was due to an owner’s death and the fourth was due to family issues. I am so glad these dogs came back. They were all lovely dogs who were able to go to new homes and live happy lives. More recently I got a call from a person who had adopted two kittens from me. The owner was ill and could not take care of the cats. He asked me to come get them and I did. Those two cats were well loved and cared for. I am so glad the owner cared enough to make sure they were safe. I brought the cats home with me and quickly found a new adoring home for them.

Some people are surprised when I do what I need to do for these animals. It is my duty and I know other breeders that feel the same way and would do the same thing in a heartbeat. We also help each other out. When the Labrador owner passed, a close friend of mine went to pick up the dog and took it to her house and then I went to retrieve the dog from her. Good breeders will do what needs to be done.