Ragamuffin Longhair Cats
The Ragamuffin is a breed of domestic cat that first made its appearance in 1994. Ragamuffins are notable for their friendly personalities and thick, rabbitlike fur.
Ragamuffins are a muscular, heavy breed of cat needing approximately four to five years to fully mature. The physical traits of the breed include a rectangular, broad-chested body with shoulders supporting a short neck. The head is a broad, modified wedge with a rounded forehead and a nose dip. Ragamuffins come in all coat colors and patterns with a medium-length coat that increases in length toward the stomach. Although the coat is thick and plush, it does not readily mat or clump and is easy to care for. Ragamuffins are bred to be sociable, affectionate, cuddly companions that are playful throughout their lives.
The head is a broad, modified wedge with a rounded appearance. The forehead should be moderately rounded. The body should appear rectangular with a broad chest and broad shoulders and moderately heavy muscling in the hindquarters, with the hindquarters being equally broad as the shoulders. There should be a fatty pad (omentum) in the lower abdomen. Fur length is to be slightly longer around the neck and outer edges of the face, resulting in the appearance of a ruff, and increasing in length from the top of the head down through the shoulder blades and back, with the coat on the sides and stomach being medium to medium long. Every color and pattern is allowable, with or without white. Some colors patterns, such as pure white, are rarer than others and are generally in greater demand.
They are adoptable as early as four months of age.
In the 1960s a regular nonpedigreed white domestic longhaired cat named Josephine, who had produced several litters of typical cats, was injured in a car accident and taken to a laboratory at the University of California. After she recovered, her next litter produced exceptionally friendly kittens. When the subsequent litter produced more of the same, Mrs. Ann Baker (an established cat breeder) purchased several kittens from the owner, who lived behind her, and, believing she had something special, set out to create what is now known as the Ragdoll.
Baker, in an unusual move, spurned traditional cat breeding associations. She trademarked the name “Ragdoll”, set up her own registry, International Ragdoll Cat Association (IRCA), and imposed stringent standards on anyone who wanted to breed or sell cats under that name. The Ragdolls were also not allowed to be registered in other breed associations. In 1975, a group broke rank with the IRCA with the aim of gaining mainstream recognition for the Ragdoll. This group eventually developed the Ragdoll standard currently accepted by major cat registries.
In 1994, a second group decided to leave the IRCA and form its own group because of increasingly strict breeding restrictions. Owing to Ann Baker’s trademark on the name “Ragdoll”, the group renamed its stock of Ragdoll cats Ragamuffins. While the name was initially put forth as a joke by one of the group founders, when the original registry could not be undone, the name stuck. One of the first concerns of the group was the genetic health of its stock, which was already in its fifth generation of inbreeding. So, in the spirit of bettering the breed’s genetic health and personality, it outcrossed to Persians, Himalayans, and domestic longhaired cats, which increased the distinctiveness of the Ragamuffin from its Ragdoll ancestors. The group did allow some Ragdoll inbreeding as well (which ended in 2010 for ACFA-recognized Ragamuffins). Only cats with at least one Ragamuffin parent and an ACFA-accepted outcross currently qualify to be called Ragamuffins. CFA Ragamuffins may only have Ragamuffin parents.
The cost of adopting a Ragamuffin has been typically higher than for its Ragdoll relatives by several hundred dollars. Kittens typically have been adopted out for $1000 for most of the breed’s history.
The first cat association to accept the breed at full show champion status was the United Feline Organization (UFO), and while some major cat associations still refuse to accept the Ragamuffin as a recognized breed (primarily because of its close association with the Ragdoll), it was accepted into the American Cat Fanciers Association (ACFA) and finally the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) accepted them into the Miscellaneous class February, 2003 and advanced to Championship Class in February, 2011.
Ragamuffins come in all patterns and colors, although colorpoints are not allowed under CFA standards. Their eyes can be any solid color, with some exhibiting heterochromia.
The only extreme allowed in this breed is the very docile nature. The Ragamuffin loves people and is very cuddly and affectionate, with a tendency to go limp when held. While not overly athletic, they enjoy playing and climbing scratching posts, and some will even run after and retrieve toys. They greet family members at the door and will follow familiar people around the house. Because of their gentle nature, as a very general rule, it is considered advisable to keep Ragamuffins mostly indoors, the idea being that they are more vulnerable to threats present in outdoor environments than the majority of other cats. They can be vocal at times and are very lovable and attentive. Fanciers who raise both Ragdolls and Ragamuffins claim that their temperaments are very similar. These cats adapt easily to a variety of territories.