Not to be confused with the very closely related Ragdoll cats, the Ragamuffin – often spelled RagaMuffin – is a breed all its own. These large, clingy, and affectionate cats love people and have a personality as outsized as their big, fluffy frames.
While the details are foggy, it’s generally agreed that Ragamuffins were created by Ragdoll owners who crossed the breed with other longhaired cats, including Turkish Angoras, Himalayans, Persians, and longhaired domestic cats. In doing so, they increased the breed’s size and expanded the colors and patterns associated with these large fur balls.
The origin of the Ragamuffin goes back to a cat named Josephine. And Josephine wasn’t even a Ragamuffin. She was, in fact, a Ragdoll. But given the mystery that surrounds the early days of the Ragdoll breed, it’s not surprising that Ragamuffin origins are also intriguing.
As it turns out, there was once a rift in the world of Ragdoll aficionados that led to a lot of tension between factions and even some good ole fashion litigation. The founder of Ragdoll cats and owner of Josephine, Ann Baker, held stringent control over the breed and its classifications. This didn’t sit well with some admirers and caused a group of Ragdoll breeders to depart from Baker and her strict rules. After some hostile years, the group ended up with the Ragamuffin breed. It all sounds very stressful, but perhaps worth it when the end result is such a wonderful kitty companion.
It’s not just their unique origin story that makes Ragamuffins special. They have some defining features – both physically and personality-wise – that distinguish this impressive breed. Some of the most distinctive attributes include:
• Loveable purrsonalities – Ragamuffins are docile, friendly and have a sweet temperament. Owners of this particular breed might even think they’ve grown a second shadow, because Ragamuffins love to provide their humans with some serious companionship. Their pleasant demeanor makes them excellent pets for homes with children and other animals.
• Physical features – These large lap cats tend toward the larger side of catdom. Female Ragamuffins can weigh between 10 and 15 pounds, while their male counterparts can tip the scales at more than 20 pounds. These big-boned kitties have medium-length coats that come in a variety of colors and patterns.
• Behaviors – Given their name, it should be no surprise that Ragamuffins have the tendency to stretch out and go limp in their owner’s arms like, well, a rag. Often called “puppy-like,” these large fur balls are attention-seekers, who enjoy playtime, walks on a leash, and can even learn a trick or two.
Grooming and Care
Ragamuffins have incredibly soft fur, but luckily for enthusiasts of this breed, their coat is tangle resistant. One weekly brushing with a stainless steel comb should suffice for these kitties. This will remove debris and dead hair while helping keep these loveable felines looking as beautiful on the outside as they are on the inside.
When it comes to Ragamuffin upkeep, it’s also important to:
• Brush your kitty’s teeth once a week to guard against periodontal disease, a common occurrence in cats
• Trim their nails every few weeks
• Check the corners of their eyes and use a damp cloth to wipe away any dirt or discharge
• Clean dirty ears with a cotton ball and a 50/50 mixture of water and apple cider or white vinegar (no cotton swabs!)
Common Health Issues
A hearty breed, Ragamuffins are generally healthy, but can be predisposed to the following hereditary issues:
• Cardiomyopathy – This common form of heart disease in cats is caused by a thickening of the heart muscle
• Polycystic kidney disease (PKD) – This condition made its way to Ragamuffins from their Persian cat ancestors and can cause renal failure.
An already large breed, Ragamuffins can have a tendency to overeat, which makes them more susceptible to obesity. Owners of these king-sized companions should monitor their food intake just to be safe and to make sure kitty isn’t going back for seconds… or thirds.
The breed had such a crazy beginning that it’s no wonder there’s more than meets the eye when it comes to Ragamuffins! Here are some fun facts about these cuddle-crazed kitties:
• Ragamuffin kittens are actually born white and develop a color pattern as they mature
• These gentle giants are one of the largest cat breeds
• Ragamuffins are the 33rd most popular feline
• The breed can be prone to a condition known as heterochromia, meaning they have two different colored eyes
• Ragamuffins can live to the ripe old age of 18
• It can take four years for these full-sized felines to reach complete physical maturity
• Originally called the “Liebling” which is German for “darling,” the name was later changed to pay homage to the Ragdoll breed.
Popular Ragamuffin Names
These larger than life cats need a name that can do this unique breed justice. Here are some popular picks:
Some names to consider for lady Ragamuffins include:
Male Ragamuffin names to consider are:
Post by Eric M.