Before There Were RagaMuffins…
In the 1960’s, a Persian cat breeder named Ann Baker discovered a litter of kittens that were born to her neighbor’s non-pedigreed cat. These kittens were much friendlier and more laid back than any cats she’d ever known. The mother of this litter was named Josephine. Ann purchased some kittens from her neighbor’s litter, and she began to breed them. She created several breeds (including the Ragdoll), all under the label of “Cherubim.”
A number of other breeders joined Ann in raising these special kitties. Ann discouraged participation in recognized cat registries, but she founded her own registry, the IRCA (International Ragdoll Cat Association). She trademarked the name “Ragdoll.”
Ann kept tight control of the breeding program. Because of this, in the 1970’s, some of the breeders decided to break away from Ann’s control. They worked to get their wonderful Ragdoll kitties recognized by the major kitty associations. Ragdolls are big cats that have blue eyes and “points” (darker colors at the ears, feet, and tail), medium long fur, and great dispositions.
After the initial group left to form the Ragdoll breed in other associations, Ann Baker maintained leadership and control of breeding the Cherubim kitties, which included the Ragdoll breeders who remained in her circle.
The RagaMuffins Begin
In the 1990’s, as Ann became older, she began to make increasing demands on “her” breeders. She also made some odd claims related to the Cherubim breeds. Eventually, a second group, which included the majority of her remaining breeders, decided to form their own independent group in 1993. This group became the founding breeders of the RagaMuffin.
The foundation cats were a mixture of all the Cherubim breeds. They were also big, sturdy cats, with medium- to medium-long fur. They had easy-care coats, came in almost every available kitty color and pattern, and had loving, laid-back personalities.
Starting a whole new breed from a group of cats—cats that have not been previously registered by any of the main cat fancy organizations—can be a long and sometimes difficult journey. To start, our founding breeders wrote the first standard for these cats.
As the deadline for submitting the new standard was approaching, our founding breeders had not yet settled on a name for this new breed. Because Ann had trademarked the names they had been using, they searched for a new name.
At the last minute, considering that these kitties originated as darling street urchins, one of our founding breeders named them “RagaMuffins,” spelled with the “M” capitalized. Not everyone in the group was sure about this name at first, but it stuck, and we love the name today.
The RagaMuffin Today
We remain a small breed, with a few dozen breeders across the United States and Europe. Our first concern in breeding is to protect and promote the health of our cats and kittens, so we pay careful attention to genetics and to providing excellent kitty care. The second concern of our breeders is to breed friendly cats with great dispositions. After that, we ensure that we are breeding for conformation (see our standard here).
Some RagaMuffin Milestones
Our first breeders, as well as those who joined later, have worked hard to get the RagaMuffin recognized by the major cat registries.
- 1994 |Accepted in UFO, the United Feline Organization
- 1994 | Accepted as an experimental breed in ACFA, the American Cat Fancier’s Association (our foundation registry)
- 2001 | Accepted for championship in ACFA
- 2003 | Accepted as an experimental breed in CFA, the Cat Fancier’s Association
- 2008 | Accepted for championship status in WCF, the World Cat Federation
- 2011 | Accepted for championship in CFA
- 2014 | Celebrating 20 years of the RagaMuffin!
- 2015 | Accepted for championship in GCCF, Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (UK)
The RagaMuffin Associated Group
Along with starting up a whole new breed, our founding and early breeders put together a Chartered Club with ACFA named the RagaMuffin Associated Group (RAG). It includes select ‘Muffin breeders and fanciers. We maintain this Web site, mailing lists for breeders and fanciers, an Apprentice Breeder Program, and a number of other services and benefits to members. Our goal is to provide education to new and continuing breeders, to maintain standards, encourage exhibitors, and to encourage promote, and improve the health and breeding of RagaMuffin cats and kittens.