If you are reading this, the chances are that you are considering acquiring a Ragamuffin, either a kitten, or maybe an older cat. Good for you! These are lovely cats, and you are likely to greatly enjoy owning one of this beautiful breed. Maybe you have already seen one at a cat show, or know someone who has one. Or perhaps you have just read about Ragamuffins and want to know more. But is it the right breed for you? Don't just get a Ragamuffin because it looks beautiful, because it is new and interesting, or even because you like the breed name! It has happened,and these are not good reasons. Let us take a look in more detail at the Ragamuffin, its history and characteristics...
The Ragamuffin is essentially very similar to the better known Ragdoll cat. In the 1990s a group of breeders broke away from the Ragdoll breeding programme in America, essentially due to a falling out with Ann Baker, who had originally developed the Ragdoll. Concerned about inbreeding, the breakaway group decided to outcross their original Ragamuffins to Persians and domestic longhaired cats, so increasing the distinctiveness of the new breed. At first the Ragamuffin was just perceived as a different type of Ragdoll. But eventually it became a breed in its own right. No outcrosses are allowed now, and the Ragamuffin is accepted as a separate breed, having been recognised by the GCCF in 2010.
As you might expect from the above, Ragdolls and Ragamuffins are essentially very similar in many respects. Indeed, some people mix up the two and think they are essentially the same breed! But this is not the case, despite many similarities. For a start, Ragamuffins come in a far greater variety of colours than Ragdolls. For Ragamuffins, all coat colours and patterns are allowed, including self with or without white, tortie, and all tabby patterns, plus of course all the usual Ragdoll colours. The Ragdoll, however, comes in only three accepted patterns, colorpoint, mitted, and bicolor. Ragamuffins also come in a wide variety of eye colours, while Ragdolls always have blue eyes. And the Ragamuffin's eyes are a rounder, walnut shape as compared to the oval shape of the ragdoll's eyes. In terns of temperament, both are similar, but some people say that the Ragamuffin is even more friendly and people orientated than the Ragdoll. These cats love people, and they show it.
The fact that the Ragamuffin is available in so many colours may be one of the reasons why you may prefer it to some other cat breeds like the Ragdoll. Maybe you love ginger cats, or really want a white cat, or love tortie females. The Ragamuffin is available in any of these colours, and more.
However, perhaps the most attractive thing about the Ragamuffin is its calm, affectionate nature. It is similar to the Ragdoll in this respect of course, as would be expected, but as stated above, some people say it is even more friendly and people-loving. These cats are extremely affectionate, and also love playing and fetching toys. They absolutely adore people, and thrive on companionship. Some Ragamuffins have been known to follow their owners from room to room in the house. So if you want a cat who will be with you all the time, this is definitely a breed for you.
Ragamuffins almost always get on well with children and other animals. Indeed, they have been said to be better around children than even the laidback Ragdoll. Since they are so relaxed and tolerant, they are unlikely to object to children who are not sure yet how to handle a cat, although of course young children should be supervised and taught how to hold and stroke a cat correctly. In fact, the Ragamuffin has been described as a big, teddy-bear like cat. You should note that Ragamuffins can be very large, almost as large as the Maine Coon, which is the largest cat breed. Most females are 10-15 lbs are maturity, with males possibly reaching 20 lbs. Like the Maine Coon, they do not reach full maturity until they are about four years old.
Ragamuffins are fairly easy to care for. Since they are a semi long haired breed they do require regular grooming, but not as frequently as the long haired Persian, for example. Many people say that weekly grooming is enough, and their coats are less likely to knot than the Ragdoll's coat. Most Ragmuffins enjoy being groomed, so brushing and combing them should not be too much of a chore in any case.
Of course, you may not want a laidback cat who is rather dependent on its owner. If you are at work all day and leave your cat on its own, or go away for a day or longer at times, the Ragamuffin may not be the cat for you. These cats hate being left on their own; they crave companionship, and are very dependent on the love and affection of their owner. So if you like independent cats, do not get a Ragamuffin! You would be better off with a cat like a Maine Coon, which although friendly and sociable, is quite happy to be left to do its own thing for a while.
So is a Ragamuffin the right cat for you? Hopefully you will now have a better idea. But if you are still not sure, or don't know the breed that well, the best thing to do is to get to know a Ragamuffin, or several of the breed if possible. Perhaps try to visit a cat show, and/or talk to some Ragamuffin breeders, who will be able to tell you more about this lovely breed, and point you in the right direction to acquire one for yourself, if you decide that this is what you want to do.