History of RagaMuffin Breed

The history of the RagaMuffin cat started in the 1960's with Ann Baker, who was a Persian Breeder. Ann Baker developed a friendship with a neighbor who fed and cared for a colony of feral cats. A car struck one of these cats named Josephine. Josephine has been described as a white Angora or Persian, and she had previously given birth to feral kittens. After Josephine recovered from her accident, she delivered a litter of kittens that impressed people with their sweetness and sociability. Differences in the temperament of these kittens could be explained by variation that occurs among kittens in litters or the fact that subsequent litters had different fathers, Ann Baker explained the difference in temperament using the highly unscientific theory that the docile temperament of the kittens was a result of the accident. This theory persists in the minds of some people to this day.

Ann gathered as many of Josephine's kittens as possible and began breeding to preserve the wonderful personality of these cats that went limp as a Rag Doll when cuddled. She gave the cats the angelic name Cherubim. The most famous of Josephine's random bred offspring were Buckwheat and Daddy Warbucks. One of these cats was a short haired cat that resembled a Burmese and the other cat was a pointed cat with white mitts that resembled a Birman. Many of the Cherubims had points and mitts but others came in a rainbow of solid colors and bicolor variations. Ann called these non-pointed and non-mitted cats Miracle Ragdolls.

 

Ann was determined to direct the progress of her Cherubim cats, and so she developed strict rules for anyone wishing to breed them. She alone knew the ancestor of each cat and made all breeding decisions for the people that were breeding. In 1967 a group split away from Ann's control taking their cats to the mainstream registries to show and make their own breeding choices. They chose to call their cats “Ragdolls” and to breed only pointed cats in three patterns; the bicolor, the mitted and the non-mitted. Anne was bitter over this defection and she took steps to exert greater control over the development of ‘her' breed. She set up her own registry, the International Ragdoll Breeders Association “IRCA” and required all her breeders to register only with her. Ann patented the name “Ragdoll” for use only with cats of her breeding registry. Catteries were franchised and paid royalties for each kitten sold. For more than 20 years Ann's breeding program continued, with Cherubim breeders relatively content to enjoy raising kittens while allowing Ann to make marketing and breeding decisions. Eventually her loyal group developed misgivings about Ann, as she struggled to keep a healthy cattery while handling the responsibilities of the registry.

By 1993 a group of breeders including Janet Klarmann, Curt Gehm and Kim Clark persuaded Ann to retire and planned to take over management of IRCA. However after a few months Ann refused to relinquish her control. Regretfully the group voted to leave IRCA and seek recognition with established registries. Since their cats included all colors and patterns and they signed contracts not to use the Ragdoll name, the first issue focused on what to call the cats, in the process of submitting a standard to the American Cat Fanciers Association. Janet Klarmann credits Curt Gehm of Liebling cats in Virginia with the choice of the name “RagaMuffin.” This name was chosen because the breed came from little urchin cats of Riverside . The “M” in RagaMuffin is capitalized because they are big huggable loveable Muffins. The new name stuck and in May 2001 the cats gained championship recognition.

© 2019 by Broadway Darling

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