My Ragdoll journey
My name is Stephanie and my Ragdoll cat story begins with a love (obsession) with animals from a very young age.
I have been blessed to have spent the past couple of decades amongst felines. I have enjoyed working in veterinary medicine & volunteering in canine & feline rescue. I fostered cats in my home for many years, and subsequently tolerated many unwanted behaviors.
After the birth of my daughter, I desired a docile feline companion that would be well suited for our growing family. I was naturally attracted to the Ragdoll. I quickly fell in love with the breed, and that love has evolved into a passion.
I am currently a BSN student (back to school mama) & enjoy sharing my passion for raising and showing Ragdoll cats & kittens with my two children.
“Time spent with cats is never wasted.” – Sigmund Freud.
Preserving & Promoting the Breed Standard
We select our breeding cats from well established ethical breeders, and are proud to have both traditional (no outcrossing; pure Ragdoll) and award winning lines in our cattery. We are a part of a dedicated Ragdoll breeding community that genetically tests each breeding cat so that the future of the breed has less occurrence of genetic mutation/carrier traits that are associated with feline disease.
Through the selective breeding & showing of our cats we intend to preserve the personality and traits that are unique to the Ragdoll. We breed for health, temperament, and type (in that order).
What sets this breed apart from all others is the iconic "Ragdoll personality". Ragdolls are docile, loyal, loving, intelligent, and are inclined to relax into a "limp" state when held.
Our intention is to promote and preserve the true Ragdoll temperament.
Conscious, Responsible, Compassionate
We are dedicated to maintaining a responsible breeding program. We strive to keep our cats stress free & healthy. We also adhere to the ethical breeding standards set forth by The Cat Fanciers Association & The International Cat Association. It is no light matter to purposefully bring life into the world. We remain conscious of our role & committed to the welfare of our cats and their kittens. No cat nor kitten will leave the cattery without having been spayed or neutered nor without proper veterinary care. We also do not cage or crowd our cats and kittens into rooms. This is why we have few litters each year, it is a matter of quality over quantity. Our potential adopters are screened and interviewed. We are selective of our adopters & have been blessed to see all of our kittens raised in loving homes w/ fantastic pet-parents.
Health & Well-being
Managing an in-home cattery is a constant, everyday commitment. Sanitation, inter-cat dynamics, and human socialization as well as feline behavioral & nutritional needs play a huge role in proper cattery management.
The success of our breeding program depends upon the health & well-being of our cats. Preventative and diagnostic veterinary care is part of our cattery protocol. In 2020 we enlisted the help of a DVM feline practitioner with over 40 years of clinical experience to help create a wellness protocol for our cattery. Our cats receive annual exams, vaccines, and routine dental cleanings by a licensed DVM. Kittens receive a minimum of 2 wellness exams (sometimes a 3rd depending on age at adoption). Vaccines and spay/neuter procedure are preformed by a licensed DVM. Each breeding cat is screened for genetic & infectious disease. We submit fecal samples for routine testing. All of our cats are on external and internal parasite prevention (Revolution Plus) year around. Our kittens and cats also leave the cattery with this same protection, as well as 30 days free Trupanion Pet Insurance, and a 5 year genetic health warranty.
We intentionally keep a small cattery for the health of our family (household) and for the health of our cats. Research indicates that the risk for stress & feline disease are both directly related to the number of felines housed together. Our cats do not live in cages, nor do we have them all living together in a single room.
Our breeding cats grow up much like pets. They are highly socialized throughout their time with us, and all of our breeding cats are retired young (under 4 years of age). This is because the best life is the pet life. Hormones do take a toll on even the healthiest felines when they are left intact (not spayed or neutered). We do our best to offset the physical stress of breeding by providing quality nutrition, professional breeding supplements, and adequate environment and rest.
Cattery & kitten rooms are sanitized daily with either high heat vapor (318 degrees), or veterinary-grade disinfecting agents. Our entire house is filled with natural light & HEPA filtered air purification.
Our kittens are fully socialized with the humans of the household, our our German Shepherd doggie, Flori, and our Cavalier king Charles Spaniel, Dash. We handle our kittens daily during "the critical stage" which is 2-7 weeks of age according to AAFP. During this age our kittens & mama are nestled in the heart of our home where they see and hear all the daily hustle and bustle of household life.
Generally after their first kitten vaccine series at 8 weeks of age, mom & kittens are transferred to the "Kitten room" where they can enjoy a safe "kitten proof" space to let out their crazy kitten antics. We routinely bring kittens into the main level of the home so that they are receiving proper human interaction. They also spend time with our dogs, & our 5 year old who constantly plays & interacts with them. My daughter and son are both very interactive with all of our cats and kittens. We are all enthralled with each litter that is born.
The American Association of Feline Practitioners "AAFP", has a nice body of research that elaborates upon the importance of kitten socialization. According to the AAFP, it is best that kittens remain with their mother & litter mates until at least 14 weeks of age. The research suggests that when kittens are removed from the mother and siblings too early the following issues can occur during adulthood: inappropriate elimination, inter-cat aggression/anxiety, inappropriate play behavior, lack of confidence, and general anxiety.
Therefore, we do not separate moms from kittens & we keep our kittens in our home until at least 14 weeks of age (and spayed and neutered).
Since Ragdoll cats are slow maturing breed (some lines mature slower than others) we will occasionally keep some kittens until 16 weeks. The goal is to ensure that kittens leave the cattery with confidence and adequate development.
A common question I get from my adopters is whether or not their kitten will still be a "baby" when it comes home at 14 weeks of age. The answer is "absolutely, yes". Due to the fact that this breed is slow to mature, Ragdoll kittens remain pretty naive and infantile at 14 weeks of age. I find that when they go home at this age they are not only super cute and precious, but also confident and curious in their new surroundings. It is a natural time for kittens to seek some independence and this helps them during their transition away from littermates & mama and into their new furrever homes.