Ragamuffins are one of the most loving and tolerant breeds in the cat world. They’re offshoots of the original ragdoll breed and have only been around since the mid-1990s.
These large, soft cats are content in a wide array of households. After getting to know their first Ragamuffin, many new owners quickly fall in love and become passionate breed advocates.
Characteristics of a Ragamuffin
Body size. The typical Ragamuffin size is large for a cat. In fact, they’re one of the largest breeds of cat. The males tend to be significantly larger than the females.
Healthy females can weigh anywhere from 10 to 15 pounds. Healthy males weigh an average of 14 to 20 pounds. The breed does tend to eat too much and become overweight. Make sure to talk to your veterinarian if you’re concerned that your pet is too far underweight or overweight.
Body shape. Ragamuffins have surprisingly sturdy bodies. They have rectangular shapes with broad chests and shoulders. They tend to have extra fat padding around their lower abdomens. Their legs are heavily boned and end in large, round paws.
Other Ragamuffin characteristics include broad, wedge-shaped heads and small, round muzzles. Their muzzles come with thick whisker pads, which contribute to their endearing expressions.
Ragamuffins have long tails that taper ever so slightly towards their ends. They tend to look a bit like bottle brushes.
Lifespan. The Ragamuffin lifespan is long for a cat. They frequently make it to 18 years old. This means that you should be prepared for a long life with your pet, especially if you adopt one as a kitten.
Coat. The Ragamuffin cat breed has a distinctive coat. Their fur feels more like a rabbit’s fur than a cat’s. The coats are thick and plush. They’re medium in length.
These cats can come in all sorts of colors and patterns. The kittens are born white, and the colors and patterns develop as they grow. Common coat types include:
- Solid blue
- Brown tabby with white coloration
They also come in pointed varieties. While these can be registered in the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA), they can’t be shown in their championship competitions.
Eyes. Ragamuffins have large eyes that are oval at the top and rounded at the bottom, like a walnut. Unlike ragdolls, which only have blue eyes, Ragamuffin eyes can come in a variety of colors. The breed standard prefers the deepest, most intense hues possible. The exact color will vary depending on your cat’s coat color, but options include:
Personality. The Ragamuffin personality is incredibly endearing. They’re sweet and affectionate with their families. Your Ragamuffin will enjoy nothing more than curling up in your arms or cuddling with you in bed all night.
These cats are quiet, calm, and mild-mannered. They’re also very attentive. Some even like to wait at the door to greet their owners when they come home.
They’ll adore any attention that you give them. They’ll likely start purring as soon as you pet them.
Caring for a Ragamuffin
Grooming. Ragamuffins have very basic grooming requirements. Despite how plentiful their coats are, the fur doesn’t mat or tangle easily. This means that you only really need to brush them to remove dead hairs. You can give them a thorough brushing once a week to keep their coats looking their best and prevent dead hairs from accumulating on your furniture.
These cats do shed. They aren’t considered a hypoallergenic breed.
You should also brush your cat’s teeth daily with cat-safe toothpaste. This prevents dental disease. Check their ears and the corners of their eyes for signs of debris regularly. You can gently clean these areas with soft fabrics and cotton balls. Never use cotton swabs in your cat's ears. Trim their nails every few weeks to complete their grooming routine.
Feeding. You should consult your veterinarian for the most accurate feeding advice for your pet. In general, you need to make sure that you’re tailoring your cat’s diet to their stage of life and activity level. Cats at different ages have unique nutritional needs. Less active cats don’t need as much food as energetic ones.
Make sure that your pet has access to clean, fresh water at all times. Some cats may struggle to get enough to drink. To get your cat to drink more water, you can keep water dishes in multiple locations or try using a flowing fountain. Make sure to fill your dishes up to the rim because many cats don’t like having their whiskers touch the edges when they drink.
Exercise and mental stimulation. Despite their cuddly natures, Ragamuffins are active and playful animals. They’ll enjoy playing with toys whenever you get them out. They particularly like playing games with their owners.
Some owners claim that they can learn tricks, like fetch. Playing with and training your cat are great ways to provide both mental and physical stimulation.
They tolerate leashes and harnesses better than other breeds. You can occasionally take them outside with you for extra stimulation. Just make sure not to leave them alone outside. They aren’t strong hunters and don’t have the demeanor needed to defend themselves from outdoor threats. Ragamuffins should always be kept as indoor cats.
Veterinary visits, medications, and immunizations. Your veterinarian is the best person to determine the vaccinations that your pet needs, but all cats should get a core set.
This includes vaccinations for:
- Feline distemper
- Feline herpes virus
You should also discuss non-core vaccinations with your veterinarian to see if they’re right for your pet. For cats, these can include vaccinations for problems like feline leukemia.
All cats are susceptible to flea infestations. Oral and skin-based applications are available from your veterinarian or other distributors. You should follow the directions for these very specifically. Use them at any time of year that your cat needs them.
Like dogs, cats can also get heartworms. Unfortunately, there isn’t a treatment for heartworms in cats. This means that your best bet is prevention. Have your veterinarian check your cat for signs of heartworms on an annual basis. Also have your cat take a preventative that your veterinarian recommends.
Health Problems To Watch For with a Ragamuffin
Ragamuffins are usually very healthy cats. There aren’t any health problems that are specific to this breed. But your pet can still be diagnosed with some common purebred problems.
Possible Ragamuffin health issues include cardiomyopathy and polycystic kidney disease (PKD).
Cardiomyopathy is the most common form of heart disease in felines. It’s caused by a thickening of the heart muscles. Symptoms include trouble breathing, vomiting, decreased appetite, and weakness — particularly in their rear limbs. The treatment depends on how severe your cat’s condition is. It commonly involves prescription medications.
PKD is a problem that Ragamuffins most likely inherited from their Persian ancestors. Over time, it can lead to kidney failure. You should have your veterinarian regularly inspect your cat for signs of this condition because it can eventually lead to death.
In general, you should bring your cat to a veterinarian for annual checkups. This is the best way to catch conditions early and ensure that your cat lives their happiest, healthiest life.
Special Considerations for a Ragamuffin
Ragamuffin cats are fantastic pets in a wide range of homes. They’re great with children and other pets. They even enjoy spending time with young children. These cats are comfortable being thrown in a stroller and walked around the house. They’ll even patiently sit still for a child’s tea party.
They also aren’t likely to harm your children. Instead, they like to go limp when they’re picked up.
They’re also great listeners. This makes them ideal companions for people who live alone and older people who are looking for a peaceful pet.
History of Ragamuffins
Ragamuffins come from a similar breed of cats called ragdolls or “cherubims.” In the 1960s, ragdolls were created from the litters of a particular non-purebred cat in California. An all-white cat named Josephine was in a car accident. She was treated at a University of California Hospital.
Before her accident, Josephine had had multiple litters of kittens. The cats were always completely ordinary. After her accident, she had multiple litters of unusually friendly kittens. These kittens were adopted by a woman named Anne Baker, who used them to start the ragdoll breed.
She decided to trademark the name ragdoll and started her own registry in the 1970s. In 1994, many of the breeders involved with ragdolls decided that her breeding criteria were too strict. They crossed their ragdolls to Persians, Himalayans, and domestic longhairs to create a distinct breed called the Ragamuffin.
They originally tried to call their new breed Lieblings, but the name didn’t stick. The United Feline Organization was the first cat group to accept this breed in their championship competitions. They were granted registration status by the CFA in 2003 and full championship status in 2011.
Until 2010, the cats could be crossed back to ragdolls, Persians, Himalayans, and other similar longhaired breeds. Now the CFA only allows them to be crossed with other Ragamuffins to continue this purebred line.
These cats remain rare today. There are only a few dozen breeders in the U.S. and Europe. Modern kittens can go for around $1,000 apiece.