About the Ragdoll
Ragdolls are large, laid-back, semi longhaired cats with captivating blue eyes. The Ragdoll is a pointed breed, which means that the body is lighter in colour than the points (the face, legs, tail and ears). The Ragdoll cat is carefully bred to produce large affectionate animals in three patterns, two with white (mitted and bi-colour) and one with no white (colourpoint). The ideal Ragdoll is a well balanced cat, with no extreme features. Altered males will usually top the scale at 15-20 pounds; females are proportionately smaller and usually weigh between 10-15 pounds at maturity. Ragdolls are slow-maturing, reaching full coat colour at two years, and full size and weight at four.
Ragdoll cats tend to be more interested in humans than some breeds of cats. They are known to run to greet you at the door, follow you from room to room, flop on you, sleep with you, and generally choose to be where you are. Many Ragdolls have been taught to come when called and play fetch. They are gentle cats, and usually play without extending their claws. Ragdolls tend to be floor cats, not jumpers. The Ragdoll’s semi long coat is plush and silky, and requires minimal grooming to keep it looking its best. They should be combed with a steel comb on a regular basis to find and remove any loose hair or tangles. Quality coats consist mainly of long, soft guard hairs. Ragdolls, just like all breeds of cats, will shed, usually with the change of seasons. The absence of the thick, dense, insulating undercoats results in reduced shedding and matting. In all, Ragdolls are well behaved, and easy to care for – perfect for our modern, busy, lifestyles.
There are four patterns: bi-colour, van, mitted and colourpoint. Patterns come in six colours: seal, blue, chocolate, lilac, red, and cream. Points may be solid, tabby, tortie, or (tortie and tabby). If you do the math, you can see that there are quite a large number of different combinations possible! CFA accepts bi-colour and van patterns, mitted and colourpoints for showing in the full array of colour combinations.
Colourpoint Ragdolls have the classic pointed markings with no white anywhere in their coat. Mitted have white feet in the front and white boots that go all the way up and around the hock in the back, a white chin and belly stripe. Mitted Ragdolls may have a blaze, star or hourglass shaped patch of white on their forehead and nose. Bi-colour have more white; all four paws, their underbodies, chest, and an upside-down ‘V’ marking on their faces are white. They may have a splash or two of white on their backs. Only their tails, ears, and the outer part of their masks show the darker markings. In the Van pattern, only the top of the mask, ears, and tail, and perhaps a few spots on the body, show darker markings.
Ragdolls were developed in the 1960’s by Ann Baker; a breeder in Riverside California. The origin of the Ragdoll breed consisted almost entirely of free-roaming cats. Ann bred Josephine, a domestic longhaired white female that was found running loose in her neighbourhood, to other cats she owned or found. The offspring of this female had unique temperament traits that were very endearing. By selecting individuals with the look, temperament and criteria she wanted for her breeding program, she created the Ragdoll breed.
Usually breeders make kittens available between twelve and sixteen weeks of age. After twelve weeks, kittens have had their basic inoculations and developed the physical and social stability needed for a new environment, showing, or being transported by air. Keeping such a rare treasure indoors, neutering or spaying and providing acceptable surfaces (e.g. scratching posts) for the natural behaviour of scratching (CFA disapproves of declawing or tendonectomy surgery) are essential elements for maintaining a healthy, long and joyful life.
ABOUT THE MAINCOON
The Maine Coon is a large cat that originates from North Eastern America. They are an old breed that over the years has become among one of the most popular cats on the planet and for good reason. They have lovely semi-long coats which paired to their charming looks and affectionate loyal natures means they are ideal companions and family pets.
History of the Maine Coon
The Maine Coon is an old breed that's native to the United States. It's thought the breed came about when early seafarers took longhaired cats with them to America. These cats then mated with local shorthaired breeds and the result was large robust cats that boasted having semi-longhair coats and bushy tails that looked very much like the tail of a racoon. Because the mating's were random these large cats came in a variety of coat patterns and colours but they were bred to withstand Maine’s cold winter temperatures. They were originally kept as farm cats because they were natural hunters and extremely good "ratters". However these large cats soon found their way into the hearts and homes of many people who then neutered them and kept them as pets which meant their breed numbers remained quite low.
Today the Maine Coon is one of America's most popular breeds and since they first arrived on British shores in the 1980s they have found a big fan base over here too. The breed was granted full recognition by the GCCF in 1993.
Appearance of the Maine Coon
The Maine Coon is an extremely large cat that boasts having a muscular well developed body and robust strong legs. Their heads are a little longer than they are wide with a cat's nasal bridge being halfway between their ear line and the tips of their noses. Muzzles are square and Maine Coons have firm chins. In profile there is a concave curve at a cat's nasal bridge but no obvious break.
Their ears are large being tall and wider at the base before tapering to pointed tips. Ears are set high and nicely apart. They have large round eyes that are set well apart on their faces and a little obliquely. Their eyes can be gold copper or green and do not have to match a cat's coat colour. Cats with white coats often have odd coloured eyes or one blue eye.
They have strong muscular rectangular shaped bodies and powerful broad chests. They mature slowly and never really reach their full size until they are between 3 and 5 years old. They have wonderful bushy tails which are typically as long as a cat's body.
The Maine Coon is known for being a gentle giant and a cat that also boasts being an expert "ratter". They are extremely smart and thrive in a home environment because they like to know what is going on in a household. They enjoy being involved in everything that goes on and learn new things quickly. Many Maine Coons even enjoy being taken for a walk on a lead much like their canine counterparts.
Maine Coons often choose the strangest of places to take a nap which could be a trait that's deeply embedded in their wilder psyche. They do not meow like other breeds either but make a rather sweet chirping noise which for such large cats adds to their endearing personalities. However they boast having quite a range of sounds which includes a "yowling" sound that can be quite loud at meal times. They form strong bonds with their owners and families but are never clingy being quite independent characters by nature.
They remain very kitten-like right through to their senior years which is one of the reasons why it's so much fun sharing home with a Maine Coon. Males tend to be more clown-like in their behaviour than their female counterparts. Females are generally more dignified but both males and females are extremely affectionate by nature because they thrive on human contact and don't like to be left on their own for long periods of time. As such they are best suited to households where at least one person stays at home when everyone else is out of the house or where there are other pets whether it be a dog or another cat so a Maine Coon always has company.
Intelligence / Trainability of the Maine Coon
The Maine Coon is known to be a highly intelligent cat and one that learns things extremely quickly. Being high energy cats they enjoy playing interactive games like fetch and like being taken out for walks on a lead much like their canine counterparts. They need to be kept busy to be truly happy although like other breeds the Maine Coon likes to spend a lot of his day cat napping in the strangest of places which many people think could be a trait that goes way back to when they were kept as farm cats.
Children and other
Maine Coons with their outgoing affectionate and gentle personalities are the perfect choice for families with children and this includes toddlers. However care has to be taken when very young children are around cats and any interaction should always be well supervised to make sure things stay nice and calm. Children need to be taught how to behave around cats and when to leave them alone.
They also get on well with dogs especially if they have grown up together. However care has to be taken when introducing a Maine Coon to dogs they don't already know just in case the dog does not get on with their feline counterparts. They are incredibly social by nature and have been known to get on with smaller pets too. However it's always wiser to keep a close eye on any cat when they are around smaller pets just in case.
Health of the Maine Coon
The average life expectancy of a Maine Coon is between 9 and 15 years when properly cared for and fed an appropriate good quality diet to suit their ages.
They are known to be a healthy breed but there are two hereditary health issues that seems to affect the breed and which are worth knowing about if you are planning share your home with one of these large and affectionate cats is as follows:
Feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) - Breeders should have stud cats tested before using them in a breeding programme
Hip dysplasia - Breeders should have stud cats tested before using them in a breeding programme
Caring for the Maine Coon
As with any other breed Maine Coons need to be groomed on a regular basis to make sure their coats and skin are kept in top condition. On top of this cats need to be fed good quality food that meets all their nutritional needs throughout their lives which is especially true of kittens and older cats.