Ragdolls anyone?

flybear

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Are there any Ragdoll breeders here that could tell me what they love about the breed? Are Ragdolls really different in behavior and temperament from your average mixed breed/ domestic shorthair? I am thinking about adopting a beautiful little flame point Ragdoll boy from a breeder and wonder what I should expect? ... I have two lynx point shorthair/ siamese/manx mixes ( love water, are the biggest lovers and talk ) and a had many mixed fosters over the years. Of course every cat has a unique personality but in general ... what attracted you to Ragdolls- what should I know? Words of wisdom ?
 

lutece

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I don't breed Ragdolls, but I will comment that because this breed is popular among pet buyers, there seem to be quite a few backyard breeders and less reputable for-profit breeders out there... so not all Ragdolls being sold have typical Ragdoll type and temperament.

If you are working with a good breeder, however, they should be able to help you understand the typical temperament that they get in their bloodlines, as well as the individual personality of the specific kitten.
 

mservant

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I share lutece's concerns about backyard breeders being a particular issue with Ragdolls. They are a popular breed so very suscepable to unscrupulous people trying to take advantage. As with many cat breeds though this often includes any cat looking like the breed type being described as one and the associated amount of money demanded if you want to buy one. With Ragdolls that often means any longhair cat.

Again, I am not a breeder but have talked a lot with Ragdoll breeders here in the UK, and have good friends with pedigree Ragdolls. All very different to each other!

As for the nature of Ragdolls, they can be lovely, loyal and cuddly cars with placid nature BUT beware, even real pedigree certificated Ragdolls are not cuddly and placid. Nor does the breed tendency to be placid and tolerating being picked up by humans extend to nature the rest of the time. They can be just as playful, active and generally needy of play attention as any other cat.
 
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flybear

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Oh I am aware ... I am generally not against small breeders and I am less interested in a pedigree than in good living conditions for the parent cats and good temperament. I did visit this cattery and met the lady running it. Her cats are registered and come from good catteries but she runs a very small operation with just a few cats, it is clean and the cats are clearly loved. I am less concerned about papers than ... a pet that was raised right. I usually foster and have a few foster failures here and have seen the heartbreak of puppy mills and the likes ... All cats are individuals ... I know that and love it ! I think much is in the way you treat cats ... no cat likes to be grabbed and mistreated even the most tolerant ones... I had cats that were lab cats and some that were not both is just fine. I however enjoy a somewhat easy going nature ... I am just interested to hear from people with Ragdoll experience about this young breed...
 
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lutece

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I understand that this breeder has registered cats, but just to respond to your comment about pedigree papers being less important... the value of registration papers is that they give you some confidence that the kittens being sold are actually members of the breed that you want. Breeders who sell unregistered kittens sometimes do this because their breeding program started with pet quality kittens that they purchased without breeding rights... and other times their cats aren't members of the breed at all. Any good breeder ought to have properly registered cats.

However, there's certainly nothing wrong with a small breeder that has just a few cats! I know some excellent breeders who have as few as one or two breeding cats at any given time... and I only have a few cats myself. "Backyard breeder" doesn't mean a small-scale breeder, it refers to someone who just puts two cats together without much forethought or planning, often with unregistered cats, but sometimes with registered cats. Backyard breeders might also skimp on health care, and often let kittens go to new homes too early.

Since you know these cats are registered Ragdolls and you were able to meet the breeder and her cats, you can probably get a good idea of the kittens' temperament from the parent cats. If the parents seemed friendly and easy going, and the breeder socializes her kittens properly, the kittens will probably have a nice temperament, too :)
 
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flybear

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yes - I agree - if someone is selling a certain breed they should have papered breeding stock they acquired with breeding rights . However - there are many kennels and catteries that are registered but keep the cats and dogs in poor conditions - I foster mill puppies and most of them came from breeders with registered pure bred stock. They might have started with a few decent quality animals and then inbred them for profit ... always registering their litters. I have a registered Yorkie from "champion lines" with more health issues than I can list due to poor breeding and upbringing ( she was a rescue) ... There is no quality control whatsoever over time unless someone actively shows. What I am trying to say is that ... it is more important to actually meet the parent animals and see their upbringing, body type, health status, temperament... rather than relying on registration papers alone ...
 

lutece

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The situation is different for cats vs dogs. Given your experience with dogs, I understand why you would worry about registered kittens coming out of mill-type situations, and I expect there are some of them... but there simply aren't enough kittens registered each year, or high volume breeders, for registered kitten mills to be as big of a problem, compared to registered puppy mills. Relative to dogs, there are FAR fewer pedigreed kittens registered in the US, and very few high-volume cat breeders that register a large number of litters / kittens per year.

On the other hand, you do see lots of people selling unregistered kittens, or claiming that the kittens are registered but not actually offering paperwork, or giving sham paperwork (not actual registration papers). Pet buyers generally expect puppies to be registered, but don't expect or require kittens to be registered. Since the differences between pedigreed and random-bred cats are not as great as with dogs, it's relatively easy for someone to set themselves up as a breeder and claim to have Ragdoll kittens, etc... There are also a lot of fake web sites that are just scams and don't sell kittens at all, they take your money and then don't send you anything.
 

The Goodbye Bird

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"Backyard breeder" doesn't mean a small-scale breeder, it refers to someone who just puts two cats together without much forethought or planning, often with unregistered cats, but sometimes with registered cats. Backyard breeders might also skimp on health care, and often let kittens go to new homes too early.
Wikipedia does also say it refers to small-time operations.

Backyard breeder - Wikipedia
A backyard breeder is an amateur animal breeder whose breeding is considered substandard, with little or misguided effort towards ethical, selective breeding. Unlike puppy mills and other animal mill operations, backyard breeders breed on a small scale, usually at home with their own pets (hence the "backyard" description), and may be motivated by things such as monetary profit, curiosity, to gain new pets, or to show children "the miracle of birth".

I don't like this because everything about it that is not 100% subjective is about the scale of the operation. It also simply lists every motive someone might have for breeding and words it in the worst possible way. Even breed preservation could be shoehorned into "curiosity" or "to gain new pets" and gets lumped there when the breeder is small-time.

The way I see it, the more small breeders, the better. Few big breeders means only a few gene pools being worked with, while many small breeders means more lines, and more lines mean better genetic diversity.

It's pretty obvious to me that money = power in the world of definitions. Only in a world as %$#&ed up as this one could a mainstream source like Wikipedia so easily and glibly imply that just because you breed in your house and love your animals means you're unethical while puppy mills still operate with impunity.
 

lutece

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Few big breeders means only a few gene pools being worked with, while many small breeders means more lines
Not sure why you say that... The exact same set of cats could be in one larger breeding program, or in several different breeding programs, and it wouldn't make any difference to the gene pool. As long as the cats are properly cared for, and breeders work together to preserve diversity in the gene pool, the same effect can be achieved either by a whole lot of small breeders, or fewer big breeders.

I've known both small and big breeders that cared for their cats well... and both small and big breeders that didn't.
 

The Goodbye Bird

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Not sure why you say that... The exact same set of cats could be in one larger breeding program, or in several different breeding programs, and it wouldn't make any difference to the gene pool. As long as the cats are properly cared for, and breeders work together to preserve diversity in the gene pool, the same effect can be achieved either by a whole lot of small breeders, or fewer big breeders.
More distinct lines is probably what I should have said. I guess you could say that as long as there are at least two breeders and they often swap, you could theoretically have the same genetic diversity.

But I'm thinking more along the lines of more breeders meaning more distinct lines meaning if you suddenly find out most (for example) Ragdolls have some weird new condition called eye dysplasia that causes their eyeballs to drop out at age 6, somebody's going to be out there whose lines were never affected.

I'm thinking along the lines of it actually benefiting genetic health and diversity for every breeder not to have access to every cat, because you don't know what that cat is carrying, so maybe that stud is out of my price range or on another continent and I just have to make peace with that. Well maybe he had a new harmful recessive or otherwise obscured mutation and that ends up benefiting me.
 

lutece

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Sometimes physical separation can help lines to develop separately, but I think that in practice, the barriers are often social rather than physical. In most breeds there are groups of breeders that don't get along with each other, so their lines rarely get mixed... but within groups of friends, cats may be exchanged in every generation.
 

The Goodbye Bird

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Sometimes physical separation can help lines to develop separately, but I think that in practice, the barriers are often social rather than physical.
I'm just dipping my toes in and I'm seeing it already. It's the only thing that gives me cold feet. If all this negative energy is due to the fact that every new breeder cuts into existing breeders' profits, then the ultimate truth is that everyone is everyone else's natural enemy.

I've even heard things like, "There's a certain personality type we want a cat breeder to be, and you're not it," when they couldn't find fault with anything else.

Unfortunately a lot of breeds don't have enough breeders and they're suffering for it. I honestly can't help blaming people who would exclude people who want to help based on nothing but their own personal preference. If there's knowledge I need, I'll go get it. If you find some actual fault (which is a fault precisely because it's fixable) I will fix it.
 

lutece

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If all this negative energy is due to the fact that every new breeder cuts into existing breeders' profits,
LOL!!! Serious breeding isn't for profit. We all lose money. I certainly hope you aren't planning on making money with this hobby!

People just don't always get along with each other. Sometimes there are disagreements related to breeding (such as people disagreeing on details of the breed standard), or bad feelings from competition, or just human beings not getting along for whatever reason (might have nothing to do with the cats).
 

The Goodbye Bird

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LOL!!! Serious breeding isn't for profit. We all lose money. I certainly hope you aren't planning on making money with this hobby!
No I don't expect that, and I'd be irresponsible if I wasn't prepared to cover the costs myself.

I don't care if I make money or not. In fact I have a very negative opinion of money's effect on breeding. I believe large amounts of animals are churned out and then culled just to maintain artificial scarcity and protect profits. In the case of dogs I don't even think the breeders deny doing it, and I remember watching a clip of a Rhodesian Ridgeback breeder admitting they just culled the pups that were born without the little ear of corn thingy on the back. If they'll do it for such an arbitrary reason as that (that is an ostensibly perfectly healthy pet-quality, purebred animal somebody would love) I don't see any reason to believe they won't just cull what they can't sell to maintain price.

But certainly even if everyone is losing money (which doesn't seem to be the case), my statement still stands. Negative profits would just become more negative with the increase in supply.

I actually think there would be a lot more money to be made by just lowering the price of a cat but I certainly wouldn't just crash everybody's prices without a serious discussion and a lot of agreement from peers. And I do of course understand doing that would have other possible negative consequences too, up to and including not being able to put as much individual care into a kitten and people not safeguarding their cats as much. (Though I have heard of people blowing $2k on a cat and then just letting it roam outside, which I can't fathom. The safety of the cat is my first priority of course but these cats are also worth a lot of money and I can't stand to just waste or wantonly risk anything; it physically hurts me a little, especially when it's that much.)

There are positives and negatives to every choice, and one of the positives is that if it can be made profitable, more people can do it, which is a huge win for breed preservation.
 

lutece

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You think breeders are "churning out" and then "culling" kittens to "maintain artificial scarcity"?... that's crazy! All breeders I know fight hard for the life of each kitten, and cry bitter tears when we lose one, regardless of its quality. Perhaps some dog breeders do that (?), but litters of kittens are already very small, why would you think cat breeders would have an incentive to "cull" any?

It's also crazy to think that lowering the price of kittens would increase profits. My total costs of raising a kitten are already higher than what I make from selling the kitten. Think of the cost of the mother cat, the stud fees or cost of buying and maintaining the stud male, transportation costs in order to get cats or transport the female to the male (these costs can be very high when working with other breeders over long distances), health testing, genetic testing, routine prenatal care and health care for the parent cats, 3-4 vet checks and sets of vaccines for each healthy kitten, microchip and spay / neuter for each kitten, vet care of any sick cats or kittens and emergency vet care when needed (like $4000 for a c-section), etc. etc... then throw in the fact that some potential breeding cats never work out for breeding and must be neutered/spayed and placed... and none of this includes the huge expense of cat shows!

Now, if I were a backyard breeder who sells kittens at 8 weeks with no health testing, routine vet care, vaccinations, neuter/spay, etc... that would be a different story altogether. But as a responsible breeder, my costs are much higher than that.
 

The Goodbye Bird

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You think breeders are "churning out" and then "culling" kittens to "maintain artificial scarcity"?... that's crazy! All breeders I know fight hard for the life of each kitten, and cry bitter tears when we lose one, regardless of its quality. Perhaps some dog breeders do that (?), but litters of kittens are already very small, why would you think cat breeders would have an incentive to "cull" any?
I deliberately avoided insinuating that cat breeders do this. I have no evidence of it whatsoever. I simply presented my opinion of money's effect on breeding. And dogs actually are profitable, so there's every incentive to max that in every way possible and there's evidence they cull heavily.

I'm toying with the idea of doing both and since my wife wanted a dog anyway, I bought a show-quality Labrador to see what kind of synergy I can get (I can then sell the dogs as "good with cats" and vice-versa) but the dog kind of weirds me out, though training is going a lot better than I expected. I basically just stick to the guides and positive reinforce like clockwork and she gets better every day. It's a huge effort though and it's taught me to appreciate that cats are basically born perfect.

My total costs of raising a kitten are already higher than what I make from selling the kitten. Think of the cost of the mother cat, the stud fees or cost of buying and maintaining the stud male, transportation costs in order to get cats or transport the female to the male (these costs can be very high when working with other breeders over long distances), health testing, genetic testing, routine prenatal care and health care for the parent cats, 3-4 vet checks and sets of vaccines for each healthy kitten, microchip and spay / neuter for each kitten, vet care of any sick cats or kittens and emergency vet care when needed (like $4000 for a c-section), etc. etc... then throw in the fact that some potential breeding cats never work out for breeding and must be neutered/spayed and placed... and none of this includes the huge expense of cat shows!

Now, if I were a backyard breeder who sells kittens at 8 weeks with no health testing, routine vet care, vaccinations, neuter/spay, etc... that would be a different story altogether. But as a responsible breeder, my costs are much higher than that.
Vet care is the biggest expense there and since I'm already part of the way through vet school, I may just go finish, which would cut my costs heavily. If we had just one in ten breeders who were their own veterinarians, we could offer free care (or basically free, perhaps just the cost of medicine) to other breeders in exchange for studs or stock from other lines, allowing everyone to offer kittens for less.
 
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