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Ragamuffins are substantial cats both in personality and size. Males are on average 15lb - 20lb and females 8lb - 15lb. They have sweet faces resulting from the combination of the size and shape of their eyes and their puffy whisker pads. Slow to reach physical maturity, they achieve full growth around 4 to 5 years of age. Their plush, rabbit-like coats are medium length, mat resistant, and easy to care for. Ragamuffins come in any coat color and pattern.
In demeanor they are often said to be dog-like due to how friendly and affectionate they are towards people. Do not let your Ragamuffin run loose outside. They are too gentle-natured to fare well outdoors without supervision. Ragamuffins in general will get along with other household pets. They need a lot of attention and should have a cat companion if they are going to be alone for long periods of the day.
In the 1960's Anne Baker, a breeder of Persians, came across a stray angora-type cat named Josephine that had been fed by one of her neighbors. This cat's kittens gained a reputation for their exceptionally sweet nature and a habit of going limp when hugged. Gathering as many of these kittens as possible, Anne started a breeding program to preserve this personality. Mrs. Baker registered and patented the Ragdoll name and franchised out the breeding stock under strict contracts. She founded the International Ragdoll Cat Association to further this aim. Many strains were developed under Anne Baker's guidance of the IRCA. Honeybear, Cherubim Cats, Ragdolls, Miracle Ragdolls, Doll Babies, Baby Dolls, Shu Schoos, Catenoids and Little Americans to name a few. This continued until 1975. Anne Baker is reported to have started behaving in an increasingly eccentric manner. Due to this, a group of breeders left the organization to gain mainstream recognition for their cats. This group developed the Ragdoll standard that is accepted today by many cat registries.
In 1993 a second group, including Janet Klarmann, Judith Morrison, Curt Gehm and Kim Clark broke away. They were concerned about the health of the breed, particularly hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Initially out-crossing this original Ragdoll stock with Persian, Himalayans, and Domestic Long-haired cats they founded the Ragamuffin breed. Careful stewardship over the nineteen years since has established the distinct, healthy, and personable cat's standard which breeds true.
Ragamuffin breeders and owners are a growing and dedicated community. There are two dozen or more catteries in the United States. The United Kingdom boasts a dozen, and numbers are growing in Europe. The ACFA accepted the breed in the experimental category in 1994 and moved the Ragamuffin to Championship status in 2001. The CFA recognized the Ragamuffins first as Miscellaneous Class in 2003. They advanced to Championship status in February of 2011. Ragamuffins have been showing well in the CFA in 2012. The CCA recognized Ragamuffins for championship in 2012.
Other groups that have recognized Ragamuffins are:
Mary Anne Miller is a free lance writer, website content provider and member of The Cat Writers’ Association.