Ragamuffin cat breed: a big, patient and friendly relative of the Ragdoll

László Enikő

2023. July 11 - Photos: Getty Images Hungary

For a long time it was considered a variant of the Ragdoll, but in 1994 the two breeds became separate. The ragamuffin is the perfect family cat, as it has everything that makes it a great pet: it is patient, kind, loves to be petted and, of course, its owner too.


They are also called gentle giants, because Ragamuffins can grow very large: these cats can weigh up to 11 kilograms! But a big body goes hand in hand with a big heart. After all, the breed is extremely adorable, kind, affectionate and lacks all malice. It follows its master like a shadow and is famous for being very fond of children and easily finding common ground with other animals in the household. And last but not least: this kitty is gorgeous!


The separation of the Ragamuffin from the Ragdoll was not smooth and at first there were serious differences between the supporters of each version. The Ragdoll was bred by Ann Baker in the 1960s in California. She was the owner of Josephine, the first representative of the breed. Ann kept the breed and its classification under strict control. Not everyone liked this, and a group of breeders wanted to deviate from Baker’s rules. After a few years of animosity, the Ragamuffin was created and officially separated from the Ragdoll in 1994.

Why did they separate?

Baker had a number of quirks so she raised some eyebrown. For example, she spread the word that aliens and the CIA had something to do with the breed, and that human genes were implanted into these cats. Josephine was once hit by a car, and after that her behavior completely changed, according to her owner. She believed that her kittens also inherited this trait. Just like the characteristic laxity of Ragdolls: when such a cat is picked up, its limbs relax in a unique way. According to Ann, these cats don’t feel pain and fear, so they go limp. These theories were, of course, dismissed by cat fans.

In a unique and rather strange way, Baker rejected traditional cat breeder associations. She trademarked the name Ragdoll and created her own registry – the International Ragdoll Cat Association (IRCA). She imposed strict standards on anyone who wanted to breed or sell a cat under that name. Ragdolls could not be registered by other breed associations either.

In 1994, some of the IRCA breeders decided to leave and form their own group due to the strict regulations. They wanted several colours and patterns for their cats. Ragamuffins used to be called Cherubim cats, but Baker trademarked that too. Thus, the separated breeders had to find a new name for their cat. The original idea was Liebling (German for precious), then the Ragamuffin name was suggested as an alternative by Curt Gehm, one of the founding members of the group, and it was finally chosen.

Breed standard

The most striking difference between a Ragamuffin and a Ragdoll is the point colouration of the latter. On the other hand, with Ragamuffin, any color and pattern is allowed. The Ragamuffin has large, walnut-shaped eyes, while its relative’s have a thinner, slightly slanted and almond-shaped eyes. According to its standard, its appearance is “sweet”, which is mostly due to its expressive gaze and large eyes. The head of the Ragamuffin gives the animal a rounder appearance, while the Ragdoll is dominated by flatter shapes. The fur of the Ragamuffin is plush, but that of its relatives can also be silky. Its body is also slightly larger than the Ragdoll; it is about 7-8 kg. The ragamuffin is bigger, it is not uncommon for it to weigh more than 10 kg. Its expected lifespan is 15-18 years.


This cat is a real lovebug, a perfect choice for almost anyone. Even for those who don’t mind if their cat always keeps an eye on them, follows them and showers them with endless love. The Ragamuffin is a big bundle of love who always wants to please its owner. It is kind, patient and gentle, and it expresses his devotion by purring loudly. It likes to rest on its owner’s lap and enjoy being stroked. But it also likes to play, so it is worth getting it several toys. It can also learn different tricks and a Ragamuffin is also willing to get used to walking on a leash.

Ideal environment

Due to its calm, balanced nature, even the older age group finds a companion in a Ragamuffin. It can also be a great choice for families with children, as it has everything you need for a child-friendly cat. It is patient, kind, gentle and extremely loving. There is no malice or aggression in it at all. Because it is very affectionate and always likes to be near its owner, it is recommended for a family where it will not be left alone for long hours. Without enough attention and company, it will be lonely and lethargic.


Although its coat is longer, it does not require much care. Its fur is almost tangle-resistant, but it does not hurt to comb it once a week. Your cat will also be happy that you are taking care of it, the trust between you two will strengthen, and its fur will be even nicer than before. Make sure its ears and eyes are clean. And its claws should be cut shorter if they don’t wear at the right pace.

Common health problems

Typical cat diseases such as kidney and heart problems (hypertrophic cardiomyopathy) can occur with Ragamuffins. As they get older, larger individuals may experience joint pain, inflammation or patellar luxation. It is important that the kitty won’t be overweight, as this has an extremely negative effect on its joints, in addition to causing many other problems.

breed description long-haired cat ragamuffin

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