Ragamuffin Cat: So Sweet They Give You Cavities

Close-up image of a Ragamuffin Cat
Stella Noble
Written by Stella Noble

What do we know about the personality of cats in general as compared to dogs? They are more independent, less affectionate, and more demanding. While willful cats are cute and endearing in their own way, sometimes we want a cat that could defy our expectations—one that could prove people wrong and declare once and for all that stereotypes are not to be believed. The Ragamuffin cat could be up to the task.

The Ragamuffin’s very existence seems to turn all common kitty stereotypes on their head. They are not so independent (in fact, they can be rather clumsy; adorkably so), very affectionate, and while they crave your attention, they are patient enough to sit and wait for you to give it to them instead of forcing their will on you. We can, technically, describe them as dog-like; only, dogs don’t have the pliant and squishy body that the Ragamuffins are best-known for. A domestic breed of cat in all ramifications, the Ragamuffin cat is one big beauty to behold.

Orange And White Ragamuffin Cat Sitting

We know that picking a cat is serious business, and it is not a decision that should be based on how cute the cat is. Having said that, we have brought together a good aggregate of information that should get you on track to learn about what kind of cat this is, the Ragamuffin cat temperament, personality, and so much more. Rest assured that you won’t be guessing or tossing a coin when it comes to making a decision about adopting this breed.

Breed Characteristics

  • Adaptability: Above Average

  • Grooming: Average

  • Health: Good

  • All Around Friendliness: Very Good

  • Exercise Needs: Average

Cat Breed GroupLong-Haired, Crossbreed
WeightMales: 12 – 20 pounds

Females: 8 – 15 pounds
Lifespan15 – 20 years

Native to the United States of America, the Ragamuffin cat breed has been around for quite a while. However, that does not make them an original, as they are considered a variant of the Ragdoll breed. In fact, before the year 1994, the two of them were considered to be the same type of cat.

The history of the cat breed that would come to be called the Ragamuffins started when an established breeder, Ann Barker, discovered and registered a new breed under the name “Ragdoll.” She set up her own regulatory body for the Ragdolls and controlled much of the breeding, but some other breeders wanted more. For this, they had to form their own association and choose another name for the result of their breeding exercise.

To broaden the gene pool of the Ragdolls, as well as to increase the variants, the new breeders started to outcross them to Persians, Himalayans, and other domestic longhaired cats as well. In the end, they got all the desired traits of different cat breeds combined into one.

RagaMuffin Kittens sitting and looking at the camera

While the Ragdoll provided most of the genetic material that contributed to the look of the Ragamuffins today, the other parents were responsible for the Ragamuffin’s diverse colors and other variations in their appearance. Even the Ragdoll cat’s personality and temperament were altered in the Ragamuffins.

While there is no solid historical support as to why the name was chosen for this breed, some suggested that it was put forward by a founder of the new group of breeders. Others believed that the name was chosen as a sign of respect to the dominant parent of this breed—the Ragdolls. The Ragamuffins faced some snubbing from cat fancying organizations in their early days, but the breed has now been accepted under the canopies of many official organizations.

When looking at cats of the Ragamuffin breed, one thing has always stood out to us, and that is the size of these cats. They can get so big in so little time. Aside from the weight which puts them in a league of their own, Ragamuffins are also distinctive in their type of thick, plush coat. To the touch, it almost feels like the cat is wearing a coat made of rabbit fur.

close-up image og a Ragamuffin Cat

Considering the size of the cat, it is little wonder why they are classified as a heavy breed. What is surprising is that like most cats, they only require between four to five years to reach full maturity. One would expect them to take longer, but their genetics speak differently.

One thing that we love about the cat, aside from their affectionate nature, is that they come in all color types. Cat parents/prospective cat owners who are choosy about the kind of color they want their cat to have will be able to express their preference with this breed. Their coat is less susceptible to matting and knotting as compared to other breeds with long hair. Due to their longer-than-average life expectancy, you can expect the bond between you and your pet to last long should you go for a Ragamuffin.

Main Highlights

  • The Ragamuffin cats take a leaf from the book of lapdogs. They are a very friendly breed and are also known to love snuggling up to their owners.

  • If you have ever confused the Ragamuffin cat with the Ragdoll breed, there is no need to beat yourself up about it. The Ragdoll is the dominant parent of the Ragamuffin breed.

  • There is no verified story behind the naming system adopted for this cat, but one thing’s for sure: it was partly to pay homage to the breed’s Ragdoll ancestry.

  • Different cat registration organizations recognize the Ragamuffin breed in different ways. For example, ACFA will not recognize similar cats that have Ragdoll parents as Ragamuffins. In the ACFA’s books, at least one of the parents must be a Ragamuffin, and the other parent should be recognized as a possible outcross. On the other hand, the CFA demands that both parents must be Ragamuffins themselves.

  • The Ragamuffin is not the biggest cat breed (the Maine Coon takes this championship status), but they are not left out in the class of big cats likewise. Females can weigh up to 15 pounds, and males can mature to weigh 5 pounds more than that.

  • Ragamuffins like to be picked up, and much like their cousins (the Ragdolls), they will go limp once you do so.

  • Usually sporting a pad of fat around the abdomen at full maturity, Ragamuffins can take up to four years before they fully leave kittenhood.

  • In spite of their very rich and plush coat, Ragamuffins are low maintenance cats. That is because they don’t have an undercoat.

  • Ragamuffins are usually white when they are born, but they soon grow into their respective colors. The permanent color can vary widely since the breed can exist in any of the known cat colors.

  • Although first registered by the CFA in the year 2003, Ragamuffins didn’t score the championship status until the year 2011.

Breed History

There are some conflicting beliefs around the breeding history of the Ragamuffin, and little information is known about their initial development. But, they still have a backstory. In the 1960s, Ann Baker started a new breed of cats which she referred to as the Ragdolls. So as to keep control over the breeding measures of this breed, she set up an organization and established some breeding guidelines.

However, after a while, some breeders thought that the Ragdoll breed could be further extended to include more colors, better personality traits, characteristics, and so much more. In a bid to widen the genetic pool of the Ragdolls, the adventurous breeders were challenged by the strict impositions on the breeding of Ragdolls—causing them to break away from the official Ragdoll breed association.

RagaMuffin Kittens sitting in a cat tree

After going their separate ways, the breeders started to outcross the original Ragdoll to other cat breeds—most notably the Persians and Himalayans. By so doing, they were able to achieve a number of desired traits in the offspring produced.

One was an improvement in the personality and temperament of the cat, and the other was the introduction of even more colors. After a particularly successful breeding in the year 1994, they realized that these offspring would not be recognized as Ragdolls, hence the need for another name.

At one point, the name Liebling (which translates to ‘darling’ in German) was a strong contender. But the founders of the breed soon dropped it in favor of Ragamuffin. According to speculations, it was said that the latter was more fitting since it recognized the dominant parent that the new cat breed came from.

Orange Ragamuffin Cat Sitting Cat Sitting On Grass

UFO became the first organization to accept the Ragamuffin cat at full championship status, and they were soon to be followed by the ACFA. In the year 2003, CFA adopted the cats into their Miscellaneous class and then accepted the breed in their championship category in February 2011. Till date, some other cat organizations are still denying the breed due to their close association with the Ragdolls.

Despite the snubbing they got from these other cat registration and regulatory bodies, the Ragamuffin has gone on to do well for themselves among cat lovers. According to a published report by the CFA, Ragamuffins came in 33rd (out of a possible 43) in a contest to determine the most popular cats in the year 2014.


When talking about the Ragamuffin cats, it would be a gross injustice not to mention their size. They are one of the biggest cat breeds. Taking longer than usual to mature in most cases (4 years give or take), they tip the scales at impressive points.

Pure Ragamuffin cat in a studio

Classified as a medium to large-sized cat, the females can weigh anywhere in the range of 10 to 15 pounds, while the males sit higher at 15 to 20 pounds at maturity. In the not-so-common cases, you can find males that weigh more than 20 pounds.

Personality and Character

Like their cousin, the Ragamuffin will be very happy to follow you around the house and sit in your lap whenever they get the chance. They are a very warm, friendly, and affectionate breed. Again, in resemblance to their cousin, this breed will go limp in your hand when you pick them up. That is most likely the reason why the ‘Rag’ prefix precedes their names.

Having a very plush and medium to long coat, they enjoy being petted for as long as possible. For a cat that wants this much attention from their caregivers, Ragamuffin cat personality is surprisingly quiet. People who are wary of cats that will constantly meow and cry for attention will find the Ragamuffin to be an ideal breed.

studio image of a Pure Ragamuffin  cat

On average, you can leave the cat alone for 4 to 8 hours daily and not be worried about depression. You should, however, make sure you find quality time to spend with them. Perhaps the most unsurprisingly personality that the cat has, considering the sheer size the breed can attain, is that they tend to be lazy. If you don’t engage your Ragamuffin in activities enough, they won’t find it hard to simply lounge around and do nothing. This could lead to obesity, so make sure you attend to their needs for exercise with cat toys.

Their docile nature makes them a great fit for less active cat owners; the cat will easily adapt to your level of activity. Another plus to their docility is that they are devoid of any forms of aggression. The Ragamuffin won’t lay a paw on anyone in the house, or outside the house for that matter. Although mellow, the cat also craves attention. The best parents for them would be those who know how to mix things up so the day would not be boring for the cat.

Health and Potential Problems

Generally, the Ragamuffin breed is a very healthy one, but that does not mean they cannot suffer from some health complications from time to time. When picking yours up from a breeder, ask them what potential problems you should expect the cat to develop.

Should the breeder tell you that the cat is 100% healthy, you might want to consider going to another breeder. As humans are prone to suffering from health problems from time to time, the same goes for cats. Ragamuffins are particularly vulnerable to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) and Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD).

The latter is the most common type of heart disease in cats, so don’t think it is a problem that is specific to this breed. However, Ragamuffins run a higher risk of contracting this health issue due to their tendency to get overweight. That makes it important to watch what you feed the cat.

Ragamuffin Cat And Kittens

PKD is an inherited potential problem which the cat owes to their Persian ancestry. This disease will cause renal failure in the cat. Before you adopt the cat, you can ask for a genetic test that shows whether or not the cat is prone to any of the above diseases.

The breeder should also be able to show you evidence of the cat’s parents having been screened for cases of both diseases, and deemed clear of them. That will increase your chances of getting a very health Ragamuffin.

Care Features

Most of what the Ragamuffin cat will need, aside from basic kitty needs, is your attention. You should ensure that you set time aside to play with them, or just to get them involved in whatever you’re doing. Spending that kind of quality time together encourages bonding, and makes sure you don’t depress your cat.

On top of that, you will want to always ensure the cat is spotless and clean at every opportunity. Regularly check the eyes for discharges, and wipe them with a soft, damp cloth. Look out for dirt accumulation in the ears too. This you can get rid of with the aid of a cotton ball.

The medium/long coat on the cat is very soft and doesn’t tangle easily. You should commit to brushing and combing the hair two times a week (at the minimum) to get rid of all the dead hairs and possible parasites that might be hanging on.

Ragamuffin kitten next to a flower

Keep the feeding areas of the cat clean. Aside from their personal hygiene, cats are very particular about their bathroom hygiene too. That is why you will want to make sure the litter box is clean at all times unless you want the cat to relieve themselves somewhere else in your house.

Ragamuffins should be kept as indoor cats. Even though all cats have the basic instinct to protect themselves in the face of danger, the Ragamuffin’s docile nature means they are vulnerable to attacks by stray cats or other outdoors threats and may come home injured. Likewise, their affinity to quickly warm up to people might make you lose your cat to someone who wants to have a Ragamuffin without paying for one.

Feeding Schedule

The Ragamuffin cat breed will take to any type of cat food. They do not need to be fed any special combinations. If you have had a cat before, you could use the same feeding schedule that you did for the other. Otherwise, you could speak to your vet for a suitable feeding plan for the cat.

Ragamuffins have the natural tendency to be big. Don’t reduce the cat’s normal ratio in a bid to control their weight. That could be counterproductive, as you will just be giving the cat less of the nutrients they need on a daily basis.

Ragamuffin kitten waiting to be feeded

To combat the problem of your cat being overweight, you should talk to a pet nutritionist who can suggest low fat and healthier food options to you. If you will be away for most of the day, consider getting an automatic cat feeder to do the job in your absence. You should also exercise your cat to a reasonable extent every day.

Make sure you watch the cat whenever you are switching to a new kind of food. That will help you know at once if the cat is not taking to the food, allergic to it, or developing some other diet-based problems.

Coat, Color, and Grooming

A Ragamuffin’s coat comprises of very soft, dense, rabbit-like fur. The coat is silky to the touch, and quite surprisingly, does not tangle easily. Depending on the traits present in the parents of the cat, the coat can range in length from medium to medium-long. Whichever it is, you will find it enough to bury your hands in.

To get rid of dead hair, you should brush and comb the cat at least twice a week. You could do this during one of your playtimes with the furry feline. Don’t forget to massage your cat as well to improve blood circulation.

Ragamuffin cat sitting on the grass outside

One of the many beautiful things about this cat breed is their ability to be bred in different colors. In fact, they come in all colors that can be found on cats. They come in white, black, blue, cream, brown, chocolate, lilac, and cameo. The cat also exists in silver, chestnut, cinnamon, and lavender color options.

The coat can either be a solid color or pointed. Of all the patterns a Ragamuffin could come in, the CFA would not recognize a cat as a part of the breed if it has a colorpoint coat. The eyes of a Ragamuffin cat are not left out of the color splash. They can also be of different colors. Some common eye colors in this breed include amber, blue, green, gold, and hazel. Naturally, the cat will have an eye color which beautifully complements the coat and its pattern.

Children and Other Pets Compatibility

The Ragamuffin is a very laid-back breed. They quickly adapt to just about anyone and other pets. They will become good friends with children in the house, most especially because of the attention they will get from them. You should make sure the kid is properly supervised on how to handle the cat with respect before you leave them alone together. The cat will get along well with other pets in the house. They are not so active that they would voluntarily join in on the games, but they will keep a good relationship with the other pets.

Wrap Up

Sometimes when you look at the Ragamuffin cat characteristics, they look like a hybrid between a dog and a cat. Their affectionate nature, tendency to want to get your attention, and their love for your lap don’t make for a very cat-like behavior.

beautiful Ragamuffin Cat looking down

As much as they love your attention, they don’t go out of their way to get it. With a tendency to live long and with few health complications to worry about, the Ragamuffin makes a nice friend for almost any kind of cat lover.

Are you into laid-back cats like the Ragamuffin? If you’re an active person yourself and you’d like a cat that could keep up with your boundless energy, we would like to suggest another breed to you. Don’t hesitate to share any other thoughts and opinions in the comments section below!

About the author
Stella Noble
Stella Noble

Stella Noble lives in Warren, Michigan with her family and three cats. She is a Certified Cat Trainer and a member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants.