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!

Rethink Supplements for Breeding Animals

author Sara Thornton DVM       iCandy RagaMuffins

Some people like to feed supplements to their breeding dogs or cats, thinking that it  is more likely to be helpful than harmful. According to Michael Peterson MS DVM, certain supplements can cause problems in both pregnant dogs and cats and should not be used.

One common example is adding calcium to the diet of an expectant mother; doing so  actually decreases fetal size and increases the incidence of problems at birth.

Increased levels of vitamin A contributes to congenital defects.

Calcium metabolism is affected by vitamin D supplementation.

B vitamins are bound when raw egg is fed.

Raspberry leaves increase the incidence of dystocia.

Feeding cottage cheese alters the Ca:P ratio which is problematic for neonates.

The bottom line is to think twice prior to adding supplement to an otherwise balanced diet.


The Silent Killer

RagaMuffin kitten

author Laurie Godshall                       High Country Cats


It is said that the only flaw in our animal companions is that they don’t live forever. Despite all of our human efforts to keep them with us as long as possible, there are some diseases that will still creep up. Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, or HCM, is one of those. This is a heart condition that causes the walls of the heart, specifically the left ventricle, to thicken. It is the most common heart disease seen in cats and also the most difficult to diagnose early, as cats rarely show clinical signs until the condition is in an advanced stage.


Though there is ongoing research, there is no known cause for HCM, which makes it difficult to know if we’re preventing it. HCM affects cats around the world and is seen more frequently in male cats than females, both intact or neutered.  Breeds such as Maine Coons, Ragdolls, Persians and Sphynx have shown to have a suspected genetic predisposition to HCM and are therefore more prone to developing it. It is unknown why these breeds are more likely to get HCM than others, but DNA mutations may indicate that a cat has a higher risk of developing it.


Most RagaMuffin breeders run a DNA test for the Ragdoll gene mutation on all of our breeding cats. However, echocardiography is the gold standard for diagnosing hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in cats, so most breeders will have this performed on their cats prior to breeding, as well.


Annual physical veterinary exams are important, but several studies have shown that few cats with subclinical heart disease exhibit abnormalities during a physical exam. The presence or absence of a heart murmur doesn’t indicate that a cat has or doesn’t have HCM. The presence of a murmur should be followed up with an echocardiogram. If caught in the early stages, it is possible to manage HCM with nutrition and medication.


You can help keep your kitties healthy and hopefully decrease the likelihood of disease with nutritional support, supplements such as Omega 3 fatty acids and annual vet visits.


Here’s to healthy kitties!

Unusual Use of Parfum

Author Randy Schmidt                  New Walden RagaMuffins

I have to share a true happening. My 2nd Great-Grandmother and my lst Great-Grandmother and my Grandmother all wore a perfume called “English Tweed” which was supported by the Queen of England originally. It was beautiful light fragrance, and I loved it on my Grandmothers as a child, so when I became a young girl, I started wearing it too. I always received multiple compliments from men and women. Well shortly after the time that Westminister Abbey caught fire in England if you remember news several years ago, I began having a hard time ordering my perfume every company I approached was running low on supply, and one after another no longer carried it. What was shipped to the US was package and sold from the Lethargic (sp) company.

I finally talked to a buyer through one of the department stores, and she gave me the story that the Queen had sold out some of the Royalty assets,and it no longer was being sold to the US. Well, I bought all that I could find. Then finally no more, so, I started some research on perfumes and since I am of Scotch, Irish, English, and Native American descent, I thought I should check out these countries fragrances.

As it turns out I came upon a 100% pure Parfum called “Green Irish Tweed. Well why not try it. There were several prices and since I was a little strapped for luxuries at that time. I chose a cheaper Essential Oils Creation that was suppose to expertly mimic the original Irish tweed.

Well all I had to do was open the bottle, and I knew I would never wear it.

Now you are asking, what does cats have to do with this perfume. Bare with me, you shall see. My stud males are housed in the office and library, with 2 double decks doors and a six foot wide window, with birdfeeder sand wildlife feeding stations visible as well as a exercise wheel, and toys. This room is separated from the rest of the great room by French glass doors. We also have cat proof the bookcases by hooking enameld mason board on the lower shelves when not in use and covering office equipment with Rubbermaid bins, so when the males spray the hit these areas and are easily wiped down with bleach.

Well, one day all three had decided to spray up the room, because of a feral cat visitation outdoors. I guess they had a contest as to who could spray the most. To make a long story short. I walked into the office in the morning and had to hold my nose. I had tried different air fresheners, etc., but nothing ever is 100%. So, I washed it all down, and was going by bathroom cabinet when I saw that ungodly bottle of perfume oil. “Hmmm, why not!” So I took this Perfume Oil Blend and put a couple of drops on each Rubbermaid bin,window and door glasses and masonite hangings and desks spots. I could not believe it. Not one of those bins or hangings or anything was sprayed. SO MAMA’S SPRAY WORKED MIRACLES. THE GUYS KNOW THAT THOSE THINGS ARE MAMA’S TERRITORY, AND SO WE NOW LIVE HAPPILY EVER AFTER, BUT I AM NOT CRUEL THEY HAVE ONE PLACE IN ONE CORNER THAT THEY CAN SPRAY IN CONTEST WITH ONE ANOTHER, THE TOP OF A BIN, AND TRY TO OUTMATCH ONE ANOTHER AND I CLEAN IT EVERY MORNING WITH THEIR LITTER CLEANING. BUT, YES WE LIVE much more HAPPILY EVER AFTER.

Ready, Aim, Shoot! Taking Pictures of RagaMuffins, or Attempting to…..

Author Terri Cassiday                     Xpressions RagaMuffins

There is a reason why we pay big bucks to have pictures taken of our RagaMuffin cats. Some things are best left to the professionals. Taking pictures is nothing less than a comedy show. There is hours of preparation for those few short minutes that you can keep the kitties’ attention. Here are a few things that I can share with you.

Take into consideration the background colors that will best compliment your RagaMuffin. Are you trying to accentuate their eye color, coat color, pattern, or your cattery colors. I try to stay away from heavily patterned backgrounds and too many props as to not take away from the subject. Your kitty should be the star.

Take a few pictures of your set up so you can tweak things before introducing your cat. The lighting in your room is also important. A bright room but not direct sun works best for me. Know which teasers and toys are your RagaMuffin kitty’s favorites and have them close at hand. Now that the room is ready, shut the door and concentrate on getting your kitty ready.  Bathe (another blog for a later date), comb and yes, cut their nails. Uncut nails can catch and snag the photo setting taking away valuable time to set it back up. Remember you are dealing with subjects with short attention spans.

One of the most important things I’ve learned is to play with the kitten before you take the pictures and not in the room where the pictures will be taken. This is not as easy as it sounds. Kittens should play long enough to get the majority of their energy released without making them too tired to play for the photos. Finally it’s time to take pictures. With all the hours of preparation spent, you will have only minutes to get that perfect shot. Take your RagaMuffin kitty to the specially prepared room and introduce them to the area in which the photos will be taken. I let them sniff around a bit and then it’s time for the circus to begin. Place…play…shoot…place…play…shoot…place. ..Well you get the idea. Remember to keep it fun and short!

I take still shots and videos. Videos enable you to capture a photo and then isolate it to use separately. Now you get to review your hundreds of photos and pray for a handful worthy to keep. Now that it’s over, its time to cuddle your kitty and fall asleep because both of you need your well deserved cat nap.

My hat goes off to the professionals that make this look so easy. I miss you Chanan Photography and Larry Johnson Photography!


And now some photo misses!

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.