6 Great Reasons to Choose a Retired Cat

Ragamuffin cat

Yvonne with retired kitty Tessa

author Lynda Jay                  Gentlepurrs/ Serendippity RagaMuffins

 

Here are six positive reasons to consider choosing that older RagaMuffin over a kitten. Most retired show and/or breeding cats are young adults. They have many years left to be enjoyed with you.

 

Reason #1

Older cats are great for older people. An adult RagaMuffin is a much better match for a retired person. An older cat appreciates the value of companionship and is grateful to be with you and will be very loyal. They appreciate being able to retire and take life easy and being spoiled. There is less risk of an older cat out living his companion and ending up in a shelter.

 

Reason #2

You can not always be sure of a young kitten’s personality. By choosing a retired RagaMuffin, you can choose the personality you want. From a cat that likes to play with you and craves attention to a de-stressing cat that quietly curls up in your lap and purrs. With an adult cat you get no surprises, their personalities are complete.

 

Reason #3

Kitten can be very “chewy”. Like little two legged children, kittens put everything in their mouth. They will chew on electrical cords, computer cables, phone chargers, books, magazines, important papers, plastic bags, etc. Kittens are aways under foot and can cause you to trip. Adult RagaMuffins have given up that foolish behavior in favor of more passive past times, naps.

 

Reason #4

Kittens are high octane! Kittens wake up in the middle of the night and decide to play with your toes or lick your face. Kittens will break things, climb drapes, unroll tissue paper. Once the kitten discovers how to start the unrolling process, he just can’t stop until it’s all unrolled. Retired RagaMuffin cats sleep through the night, choosing beauty sleep over play.

 

Reason #5

Retired cats were chosen for their sweet docile personality and good looks as well as meeting the breed standard. It is true that breeders always keep the best for themselves. These RagaMuffin cats have both looks and personality. Many retired cats were show cats at some time so they are use to being handled by strangers and have travel experience. They will enjoy going on trips with you. A healthy cat can live into their late teens, so you’ll have many happy healthy years together.

 

Reason #6

You’ve heard “curiosity killed the cat”. Inquisitive RagaMuffin kittens are more likely to get into trouble. They will eat things they shouldn’t, fall from high places, and go where they shouldn’t, such as in dryers, drawers, cabinets, etc. Adult cats have been there, done that, and don’t put themselves into dangerous situations.

Health Clearances for RagaMuffins

author Sara Thornton DVM            iCandy RagaMuffins

As a long time breeder of Labrador Retrievers, I have been utilizing health clearances for breeding animals for many years. It is an important part of breeding. To be a conscientious breeder, one must be aware of possible health issues in any breed and work to avoid issues.

The DNA tests available today are wonderful additions to every breeding program. Utilizing these tests to give our RagaMuffins the best chance at a healthy life is imperative. It’s not difficult, not prohibitively expensive and so, so important. The main two DNA tests that should be run on every breeding animal is PKD1 for polycystic kidney disease (primarily from the Persian in the background of muffins) and HCM Ragdoll for Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy  ( found in Ragdolls, a cousin to our muffins).

Another test every breeder should run is blood type. While blood type does not affect the long term health of a cat in any way, it can affect the viability of a litter of kittens. Breeding the wrong blood types together will result in the loss of an entire litter unless extreme measures are taken.

Since Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy is caused by a number of different factors, the DNA test is only one way to prevent the disease. Some breeders also choose to have echocardiograms done by a veterinary cardiologist on each of their breeding cats to ensure the parent is clear of HCM. This is something I am doing these days.

An issue that has been noticed more recently is the lack of one uterine horn that may be associated with only one kidney (about 33% of females with one uterine horn have only one kidney). All affected cats have both ovaries.  Affected cats live normal lives, however, it is not ideal for a breeding program. Since the cats appear normal, the affected cats are often discovered at the time of a spay procedure. I am now recommending that at the time of an echocardiogram, cats be checked for two kidneys. This genetic abnormality has been observed mostly in Ragdolls, but also in Persians and random bred cats.

Doing every test possible is not a guarantee of a perfect kitten. What it DOES guarantee is that the breeder has utilized the tools available to produce the healthiest animal possible. Pet buyers should not be afraid to ask about what  testing has been performed and even ask for documentation.

Houdini, the Adored RagaMuffin

author Lisa Rowe                       Heavenly Muffins

RagaMuffin kittenOver the 21+ years of breeding I have had several special needs cats.  One cat that I currently have is Houdini.  Houdini was born in August 2016.  He has a sister Wini that has no issues and went on to have beautiful babies for another breeder.  Houdini was born with a condition called cerebellar hypoplasia.  Some people may refer to this as wobbly cat syndrome.  Cerebellar hypoplasia is a non-life threatening condition that occurs when the cerebellum does not fully develop in kittens while in utero. The cerebellum is the portion of the cat’s brain responsible for fine motor skills and can affect the cat’s ability to walk, jump, run, or accomplish other tasks involving coordination. Cerebellar hypoplasia is generally not a well-known condition and can therefore be mistaken for other diseases by veterinarians who have not previously encountered the condition.   My vet knew about this condition but only from reading about it in vet school many years ago.  He had actually never seen a CH animal in his practice until Houdini.

 

When Houdini was born it was a tough delivery and we had to go to the vet.  The vet knew right away what the issue was or suspected it.  His condition was listed as guarded and he told me that he may not make it if he could not nurse.   Houdini’s sister would not let him nurse and kept stealing his nipple.  Since he had a head tilt and was smaller than his sister he could not nurse on his own.  He started to lose weight.  He also would not take a bottle or syringe.  Since I did not feel comfortable tubing feeding him I did the only thing I could.  I held him up to a nipple every two hours and let him nurse as long as he wanted.  I slept beside him and kept an alarm going so I could get up and let him nurse.  As he got bigger I could go to every 3 hours.  It was a long 4 weeks.  At 4 weeks old I decided to see if he would take KMR mixed with some kitten food.  I had to hold him up to the bowl but he started eating and drinking.  At that time mom stopped letting him nurse and I switched him to KMR and wet kitten food.  During this time he could not sit up without falling over or stand and walk.  I started doing physical therapy with him to help strengthen his back legs.  One thing about this disorder symptoms do not worsen or progress over time, but may diminish as a cat learns to compensate.  So I knew if I could strength his muscles as he grew he had the possibility of being able to walk and do things on his own.  As he grew he got stronger and compensated for his uneven gait.  His sister helped him learn how to walk, run, play and use the litter box.  By 6 weeks he was walking by himself and eating and drinking on his own.  By 8 weeks he was wrestling and playing with his sister and running super-fast.  By 12 weeks he was using the litter box.  He made such great progress when I took him in for his first shots the vet was amazed at how well he was doing.  He continued to improve and do well.  He cannot jump or climb but he walks, plays and still runs super-fast.  He can use the litter box on his own and eat and drink just fine.  He loves to cuddle and if he wants up in bed with me he just meows and I pick him up and cuddle with him.  He was neutered just fine.  Ketamine is a big no to be used for CH kitties because it causes them to have even more balance problems after surgery until it is completely out of the system, so no ketamine was used on Houdini and he seemed like nothing happened.  He will be 4 in August and has gotten so much stronger and better at walking and keeping his balance.  CH kitties really do learn to compensate for any balance issues.  He has two flat scratching posts that he uses all the time, not to mention tons of cat nip toys he loves.  He is one spoiled, happy, healthy kitty.

 

A little more about Cerebellar hypoplasia.  This affects more than just cats.  It can affect dogs and other animals even livestock, any animal that has a cerebellum.  In humans it would be considered cerebral palsy.  Cerebellar hypoplasia is typically caused by some type of trauma (caused from a fall or other similar incident while the mom is pregnant) or infection (usually panleukopenia in cats and parvo in dogs) that occurred while the mother was pregnant. This can be caused from malnutrition (this is seen typically in stray cats).  This can be congenital as well.  It also usually does not affect the entire litter (but can if it is an infection and each can be affected to different degrees).  This is not hereditary, so cannot be passed down by the parents to offspring.

 

There are many different levels to this condition.  It ranges from mild to severe.   Mild usually has a slight wobble or unsteady gait, moderate usually have trouble climbing and jumping, severe usually falls over while walking/standing or some cannot not walk at all.  Many of the severe ones that cannot walk have little walkers made for them to help them get around or strengthen their muscles.  Houdini is considered moderate to severe only because he cannot jump or climb and at times will tip over if he walks too slow,  but the older he has gotten the less he tips over because his muscles have strengthened enough that he can keep his balance now.

 

While many shelters choose to euthanize cats that suffer from cerebellar hypoplasia, it is important to note that the disease is not a death Ragamuffin catsentence and affected cats can make excellent and loving companions for those willing to provide an appropriate level of physical support.

 

I did a lot of research and joined groups and learned all I could to help him do well.  I had a long discussion with my vet about this condition and the prognosis for a good quality of life.  I am glad that I did my homework and did not give up on him.  He has no clue he is different than the other cats and does well.  He seems very happy and at almost 4 is healthy and loves to play. The key to helping any cat with special needs or an injury is to do your research, get second opinions if needed and decide if they will have a good quality of life when all is said and done.  Luckily he is in no pain and compensated well for his lack of coordination and has no other medical conditions.  Never be afraid to take a special needs cat as long as you know your limits on what help you can and are willing to provide them to give them a great life.

 

If you want to follow Houdini on Facebook and keep up to date on how he is doing you can go to https://www.facebook.com/HoudinitheCHkitten/

 

 

 

Cat Moms

RagaMuffin queen and kitten

 

author Laurie Godshall     High Country Cats

You might think you know cat behavior and assume that cat mothering is a level playing field. I know that’s how I felt, before I started breeding RagaMuffins (I thought I knew a lot about cats before I started breeding, but that’s another blog!)

Here’s what I’ve learned over the years about cat moms. There are good cat moms, where you’ll have to keep an eye on them, maybe assist sometimes.  There are fantastic cat moms, the ones we wish all our females were, the ones who have an abundance of milk, they’re gentle and attentive to the kittens’ every need and no human intervention is needed.  There are the not -great- but -you’ll -do cat moms, where you wonder if they even know what is going on. You’re certain she can hear those babies crying, but why isn’t she alarmed and racing to be with them??  How does she not know she is laying on them?? These kittens generally need a little more supportive care.

Then there are the ones who shouldn’t be moms. These are the one where we must take over and give it all we’ve got in hopes that the RagaMuffin kittens survive. This is a whole other blog!

Unfortunately, we don’t know what kind of moms they’ll be until they are one. It would sure benefit some of them if they had a RagaMuffin version of ‘What To Expect When You’re Expecting’, but they only have what nature has given them in the instinct department. What we hope for is that if our breeding females had great moms, then the chances are greater that they will also be great moms. While this is often the case, sometimes the genes just don’t get passed on. Sometimes, it takes a less than ideal first litter experience for them to grow into fantastic mothers the next time around. But what if they aren’t? It’s a little like Russian Roulette.

I currently have a first time mom that falls into the ‘not-great-but-it’ll-do’ category. It’s stressful. I’m sleep deprived. A lot of the time, it seems that I am the only one who hears the kittens cry and I worry daily that they’re not getting enough to eat. They are gaining weight and healthy, so she must be doing something right! I am thankful that at least they’ve gotten too big to not be noticed if she accidently lays on one and they’re strong enough to escape. Oh, Lord, please get us to the day when we can start on solid food!

 

Will she have a 2nd litter? Undecided.

The Great Hunters

 

author Christine Santa                 SantaCats RagaMuffins

 

We all know that cats are great hunters. The largest wild cats to the smallest domesticated cats will relish in the chase of anything that moves. Usually, in our house, it’s a feather toy on a long pole being swung back and forth to leaping happy feline hunters. When the RagaMuffin cats are really lucky, they will find a bug—a stinkbug, an occasional bee, or the most yummy insect, a fly! Can you imagine the surprise and shear shock and joy–when they found a HUGE flying target in our house? I assure you, I was not joyful at this discovery. A BAT! It was soaring through the air in our living room. We have cat shelves and climbing structures all over the room. They raced to the highest spot in competition over who would get to catch this prize, swiping and chirping all along the way. Unfortunately, no one was able to catch it…fast forward to 1:00am. I’ve been sound asleep for hours (early to bed, early to rise), suddenly I heard flapping and running that sounded like elephants, then thud! I foggily started remembering that we never caught and removed the bat and leapt out of bed, all the while thinking “please don’t let me step on a bat in the middle of the night.” As I turned on the light, the bat fluttered into my bedroom close to the ground. The RagaMuffins had trapped him at the base of my dresser! My husband wrapped it in a towel and released it into the back yard.

While I certainly do not hate bats, in fact I am fond of them for many reasons, I really don’t want them in my house. So, once again, the cats saved the day…or night. My hunters, my protectors.

 

Parting with a Retired Friend

RagaMuffin Cat

GC BWR RW iCandy Fudge Ripple

Sara Thornton DVM                       iCandy RagaMuffins

My heart ached last weekend. GC BWR RW iCandy Fudge Ripple, aka Fudgie, went to his retirement home. He has been with me from birth. He is my first home grown Grand Champion, Regional Winner and National Breed Winner RagaMuffin.  I thought he would be with me forever. I had planned on it.

But as he matured, he seemed overwhelmed by the other cats. He didn’t want to spend time with me as he had when he was younger. If my lap already had a cat, he would walk away. Fudgie is a BIG boy. He could easily push other cats out of the way, but that wasn’t his nature. I began to wonder if he needed more than I could give him.

His show career has been over for quite a while and his breeding career was concluded as well. Around the first of the year, I began to think that maybe I needed to find the perfect home for him to spend the rest of his life as the center of attention. My spirit sagged thinking about it.

It is THE hardest thing to consider as a RagaMuffin breeder and pet owner: what is in the best interest of each animal. I finally came to the conclusion that Fudgie needed his own family where he could be the focus of all the love.

So, once I decided it would be best for him, I had to set the parameters of the perfect home. I wanted it to be a family within easy driving distance. No long trips for my Fudgie, also known as Fudgsicle. Also, no young children as I am sure the activity would disturb him. And, I preferred he be the only cat or one of two.

As it turned out,  the people that have Fudgie’s brother had good friends that were looking to add a cat after their Ragdoll passed away. I consider  people who have one of my RagaMuffins part of my extended family. In this case, not only are they RagaMuffin family, they have also been veterinary clients of mine for over thirty-five years. It seemed karma was good to all of us. Fudgie got a loving family home where he could be the king and I got reassurance that he would have a wonderful retirement.

P.S. My most recent update was that the new mom and Fudgie were sitting on the floor together so she could read to him.

Litter Robot

 

author -Kristen Wiley               http://www.imperialrags.com 
We have three Litter Robots. I wish I had just one more though. They are however not a cheap purchase! They do help use less litter so will eventually pay for themselves. Our RagaMuffins had a pretty easy adjustment to switch over. We have added new kitties that have been scared at first, so we shut them down so it doesn’t clean until they have gotten used to it. There is a timed feature you can adjust to 3, 7, or 15 minutes for it to clean after your cat leaves the box. It also features a nightlight (which can be programmed off) which I love because it lights up my way to the human bathroom at night. You can also program it to not cycle at night if it’s in your bedroom.
Cleaning is not as hard as I worried it would be. We wipe in between times with paper towels and vinegar but eventually I like to hose them out. The globe detaches to make that easy. They do come with their brand of bags for the waste drawer, but I use kitchen garbage bags and then use to scoop the other boxes. They do have a minimum weight of 5 pounds so they don’t always run if your using them in a kitten room so we have to hit the manual cycle button a couple times a day. They have a connect model that connects via WiFi to your phone app also if you are interested in remote controls and also tracking of your cats usage. It will also text you when the waste drawer is full.
We love our boxes and if your someone with carpel tunnel syndrome or arthritis and have trouble scooping or maybe just do not want to scoop, this may be the solution for you! For a $25 off coupon and free shipping there is a link on our Home webpage at the bottom. www.imperialrags.com

New Litter Boxes

author Sara Thornton DVM               iCandy RagaMuffins

During this time of self isolation, I am doing on line shopping like a lot of other people. Unlike many people, I am buying litter boxes. For some reason, there are good deals with free shipping available.

I am focusing on litter boxes with high sides. I am tired of sweeping up what seems to be a ton of litter around the box. I looked for 3 high sides with one lower side for easy access. Most of my cats are youngish and healthy and will have no issues getting in.

For the part of the house that my older cat stays in, I will keep lower sided boxes. Petals has arthritis and even though she is treated for it, I want to make sure she has no issues getting into the box.

I also increased the size of most of my boxes to jumbo or extra large. While I scoop them all daily and some twice daily, I find I am replenishing the litter frequently in the smaller boxes. So, I figure a box that easily holds twenty pounds of the unscented clumpable litter I use should have enough litter for a bit longer time. In addition, some of my RagaMuffins are sizable cats. Cats really should not have to squeeze into their bathroom.

There was a new design available that I thought I would try along with the more traditional style. It has more curving sides and so far, I really like it! It is easy to scoop, no getting stuck in the corners.

I never buy covered boxes. Cats generally are not crazy about them. I did have one and the cats always used the uncovered box next to it. Once I took the cover off, the cats started using both boxes.

The down side of choosing boxes is the limit in colors. While I was able to get one style in a shade of pink, most of the boxes I chose were black or gray. I realize the cats really don’t care, but I would like more choices.

Hopefully, the kitties will appreciate their new toilet facilities. I took waaaaaay too much time making decisions.

Enough Already

author Robert Hamera                 Slice of Life

 

Anyone who knows me knows that I am not one to complain.  I am the sweetest most mild mannered guy you will ever meet.  BUT THIS IS TOO MUCH!.  What  is going on?  My world is turned upside down and I don’t like it.  Something has to be done and I mean yesterday.

d1

I had a nice routine to my day.  I would get up when I felt like it.  My servants would get my breakfast ready and then they would go out for the day.  Now. They. Are. Home…CONSTANTLY!!!

This is highly interfering with my day.  They haven’t left the house since last week.  How am I suppose to get my 20 hours of sleep if they are around doing things?  Of course I have to check up on them because who knows what kind of trouble they might be getting into.

It wouldn’t be so bad if they went about their business and left me alone.  But can they do that?  Nooo!  First of all they have to get that metal fangy monster out.  I am perfectly capable of grooming myself.  I don’t need their help.

d2

With all that they have to do around the house they expect me to entertain them.  I am not a paid actor and I don’t work for free.

d3

d4

I do finally find the time to grab a needed and well deserved nap.

d5

Are they content to sit quietly and let me sleep?  What do you think?  They come over and pet me or rub  under my chin.  Do I annoy them when they are trying to sleep?  Oh yeah, I do but that is perfectly OK. They tell me how cute I am.  Well, of course that is true, but why can’t they leave me alone?  (I have got to stop this purring.  They might think I like this.)  After all, who knows where those hands have been.

d7

d6

I don’t know how much more of this I can take.  Someone needs to do something…FAST.  If not, I may just find myself breaking out the catnip.

COVID-19 Cruciferous Crusade

author Terri Cassiday         Xpressions RagaMuffins

The recent Covid-19 virus has affected everyone. Some people more than others. When our county put in place the “stay home stay in place” my thoughts went where every cat owners mind went. I quickly checked my stash of cat food and litter…all good. My personal pantry was pretty bare, but no matter, my cats were set. I settled in thankful to not have to go anywhere with plenty of time to dote on my litter of kittens.
Then…..the kittens mom developed mastitis. Thankfully, the vet was considered an essential business. I took her to the vet which somewhat resembled a drive thru. The vet tech met me in the parking lot took the crate inside leaving me anxiously outside. Medication was prescribed as well as instructions to apply warm compresses. That seemed simple enough. Simple? SIMPLE? Of course not!

Many of you know that cabbage leaves applied to the affected area has been used as remedy not only for humans but for animals. Thus began my crusade for the magical cruciferous cabbage. I had to get a cabbage! Off to the war zone formerly known as the grocery store. After waiting an hour in line complying with the “six foot rule”, it was my turn. Off to the produce department I went. I’d never witnessed anything so bare, but a cabbage, surely one cabbage would be there. Nope! The race was on to the second store. This time during my wait to get in, I came up with my back up plan. I would put together an Insta Cart order just in case. This stores produce department was better, but still no cabbage. Who eats that stuff? Becoming desperate, I spotted an employee. When I greeted him, he turned around and the look on his face almost made me forget what I needed. This poor man looked how I pictured one to look on the front lines of war. Embarrassed I asked him something that I’m sure he’s never been asked before. “Please sir, I know you are overwhelmed but I’m in need of one or two cabbage leaves for my daughter who has the medical condition mastitis. Is it possible that there are a few leaves that may have fallen off in the packing boxes?”. Yes…I know it’s not the truth, but do you really think he would have looked for a cat? He was gracious enough to look, but I went homeRagaMuffin leafless.

I may have lost the battle, but not the war. My Insta Cart order was still being delivered. I was contacted by my shopper. Most of my order was there….but yes…you guessed it no cabbage! I put in my next Insta Cart order, which was now two days, then three out for delivery.
Meanwhile, I’m giving the medication and applying the compresses, which by the way she loves. Five days later the mastitis is gone. Yay! Now guess what was delivered that day. You are right…a cabbage!!

I’m now the proud owner of a cabbage! Yuck! Apparently, it’s a much more popular vegetable than I thought. Hmmmmm….maybe I can sell it on the green market.
By the way, I now have a momma cat that expects her daily spa treatment of warm compresses. Should I add some cucumber slices for her eyes?