Toby – Ragdoll of the Week

| June 3, 2013 | 24 Comments

Toby Ragdoll of the WeekHi – My name is Toby “Kiki” Love and I will be 2 years old the middle of June.  I moved to the desert southwest in early February 2013 to live with my human mom (Mom) and human dad (Dad).  My original home was with a breeder in Utah.  My mom says she kicks herself for not doing her due diligence on the breeder as she really doesn’t know much about her policies and practices.  I was described as a lilac Ragdoll boy with a beautiful coat.  A quote from the website said, ” There is nothing wrong with him – he is just a little older ” and I was offered for a discount adoption fee.  Later, in an email, my breeder disclosed that I was a little ” shy “.   She did not disclose that I had issues.  On the ride home from the adoption (which was a half-way point between my old and new home) my new mom noticed that I was sneezing alot and that my left eye was kinda pink.  Two days later she took me to my new vet, Dr. Tammy.  I was given antibiotics for a possible upper respiratory infection and told that I probably had conjunctivitis, plus a strong possibility that I had feline herpes of the eyes.  My new mom was not too concerned until she realized that the herpes was for life.  I still suffer from Toby – Ragdoll of the Weekoccasional gooey eyes but Mom has given me L-lysine and recently started me on Dr. Willard’s Water. It was recommended by Dr. Jean Hofve on floppycats.com (see link under the Healthcare tab / Cat Herpes).  We are also going to try flower or Spirit Essences to help keep my flare-ups at bay and to help with my scaredy-cat behavior.

When I arrived at my new home I was set-up in a safe room but I was extremely scared.  I hid in the closet and under my human parents bed for weeks.  My mom wrote to Ms. Jenny at Floppycats.com who offered advice and a recommendation to talk to Melinda Hughes at Merlin’s Hope (A Ragdoll and Maine Coon Rescue).  Melinda was so kind to write an extensive email to my mom and much of her advice has helped me.  BUT, even though it’s been 3 months since I came to my new home I still do not allow my parents to hold and cuddle me.  I talk a bunch and every morning we tell each other “HI” and “I LOVE YOU”.  Mom says that my I love you sounds like ” E-ooo “.  She is trying very hard to learn kitty language.  My dad built a wooden enclosure around the bed frame so I was no longer able to hide.  It helped me to come out and explore my new home.

I’m kinda finicky about my food and do not like to chow-down.  My mom says I eat like a bird but I weight almost 10 lbs. and have big paws so maybe someday I’ll be a big kitty.  I particularly like my dry kibble from Life’s Abundance and I really like my kitty treats from Pet Naturals.  We have 3 kinds, Calming, Daily Best and L-Lysine.  I only get one each in the AM and the same in the evening, because they contain medicine and vitamins I cannot have a bunch.  She fooled me with Greenies Pill Pockets to hide my antibiotic pills, which was a good thing ’cause no way was I gonna allow her to catch me and squirt that disgusting, sticky, banana flavored gunk in my mouth…EWWW!

On my second visit to the vet’s office, which was 2 months later, I was seen for diarrhea.  It took my human parents almost 10 minutes to chase me into my kennel because I wasn’t about to let them hold me or pick me up.  Once we got to the office I was seen by Dr. Tammy’s husband, who specializes with eye issues, and it was confirmed that I have feline herpes.  (The diarrhea was something else).  It was discussed that I was still showing behavior of an extreme scaredy-cat and at one point the doc asked my mom if she was willing to “deal with me”…because the herpes is for life and I may never get over what the breeder so wrongly called shyness.  The doctors and my human parents think I was not taught social skills and/or lacked human interaction at my old home.  They also think that it’s possible I was low on the totem pole of the cattery pecking order???

Toby – Ragdoll of the WeekNow, even though I am a “Don’t Touch Me” kitty I do have some normal kitty behavior.  My favorite things are playing with my Bergan Turbo Scratcher, my wand toys with Mom and my laser light with Dad.  My mom says she is going to purchase some Neko Flies for me asap as my squeaky mouse wand is almost broken…so it’s time for something new that will last.  I love to sit by the front door and watch the birdies every morning.  Course, I can’t venture outside ‘cuz a big screen covers the opening.  (I’m not looking forward to the hot summer when we can’t leave the door open).  I also love to sit on my perch in the den and listen to the birdies while I cat-nap.  At night I still sleep in the closet but occasionally I sleep at the end of my human parents bed which makes Mom so happy.

Ollie

Ollie

Before me, my mom had a forever friend named Ollie.  He was a rescue kitty that resembled a Turkish Van and he had an orange mustache that she loved.

Sadly, he crossed over in 2006 so it’s been a long time since my mom has had a kitty.  Before finding me she did lots of Internet research on Ragdolls and loved the idea of our gentle floppy nature.  I’m sure some day I will allow her to cuddle me because so far I’ve allowed her to scratch just below my ears and once or twice she’s rubbed my “kitty-belly” when I was really relaxed….and…I LOVED IT!

I am so happy that my new parents adopted / rescued me AND have not given-up on me!!!   xoxox

When I was younger.  This is the picture my mom saw on the internet and says she was being drawn back to again and again…yeah!!

Toby – Ragdoll of the Week

 

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About the Author ()

Hi, I’m Jenny Dean, creator of Floppycats! Ever since my Aunt got the first Ragdoll cat in our family, I have loved the breed. Inspired by my childhood Ragdoll cat, Rags, I created Floppycats to connect, share and inspire other Ragdoll cat lovers around the world,

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  1. AM Stewart says:

    The tenor of the article is very wistful, which is very understandable given the false pretenses from the breeder and the resulting health and behavorial issues. Despite that, please believe that I and many others who read your story much appreciate you giving Toby a loving home.

    It is not Toby’s fault for the issues you both face, as I’m sure you are aware. My advice is to make the best of what you have, and you’ll be surprised at just exactly how much that truly can be.

    The health part sounds like it’s a nuisance, but still manageable and will not preclude a long happy life for your fur-baby. The behavior issues (timidity being foremost) are something that are VERY much in your control.

    I recommend you watch cat behaviorist Jackson Galaxy on the “My Cat From Hell” TV show, not because you have a severe problem but because he demonstrates weekly how even the worst cat behavioral issue can be overcome. The key, unsurpringly, is FOOD and love. Just like professional animal trainers in Hollywood can get animals to do amazing things, Jackson Galaxy gives you examples on his show how to retrain a cat (and their Humans) via food and interaction. Give it a try and see if it doesn’t help.

    Please stay the course, and I think you’ll find little Toby can become a loving part of your family. He may never be a lap-cat or poster-kitty for the limp “ragdoll” pose, but he can bring immense joy and provide companionship for his lifetime.

    Good luck and God Bless.

    • Dee says:

      Thank you so much for your kind words AM Stewart. I love to watch Galaxy Jackson and recently have used some hand feeding of treats to help promote interaction.

  2. Oh, how I feel for you and relate to what you went through. I have 2 Rags, but wanted a third kitty and paid $1200 for a 5 mo old Siberian kitten from Penn. to be shipped to Boston. I have allergies and didn’t want a 3rd regular cat.
    My family was complete. The Siberian, while beautiful, was tiny, was not at all socialized and was scared of everything. He brought herpes into my home, and gave it to my 2 Ragdolls. At age 2 1/2, the poor guy started losing weight. He had FIP, the worst possible cat disease on the planet. After 3 months and spending $6000 trying to save him, he died. One of the worst days of my life. The story, and the one you told should tell anyone, DO MORE THAN YOUR HOMEWORK. You are going to share their life for maybe 20 years. The only good part is that these babies came to us and not someone who returned, or abandoned them, or let them be sick with no treatment.
    RED FLAGS: if you see cages in the photos, lots of kittens, too many adults listed on their “Our Kings and Queens” pages, check the background of the pics, where are they kept, is it dirty? or like Toby’s mom’s story, a very shy kitten. Sometimes you decide you want a kitten, and when the ones you really want aren’t available, and you start looking at ANY available kittens, you may get into trouble. A good breeder will ask you lots of questions about your life, past pets, and will be concerned to match you with an appropriate kitten temperament wise. They will follow up, and not ignore your concerns after the sale.
    Kudos to Toby’s mom for doing so much for him 🙂 Over the past 5 years,
    I’ve honed in on 2 excellent Ragdoll breeders I can say with confidence will sell you a great kitten. Willowtree Rags in Mass.(Owner Mable Roberts) and LottaRags of Burlington, Mass.(Owner Denise Cuzzupe) You may wait months, but you’ll get what you’ve dreamed of.

    • Dee says:

      Thank you Suzanne for your post. How are you dealing with the feline herpes for your two rag dolls? Do you manage to keep the flare-ups at bay?

  3. Dee says:

    Thank you Jenny for featuring my kitty this week. The Neko Flies arrived in the mail today and I believe they will be a hit! Toby did try and pick-up the kittenator and carry it off much like Charlie did in your videos. Maybe in time he’ll realize it’s a toy and not prey. 🙂

  4. This story is so familiar and upsetting to me. Before I bred Ragdolls I rescued for 30 years. This was & still is a common occurance. Please do not believe what you see on the Internet. ALWAYS go to the home or cattery to check things out!! Also a good breeder can provide lots of personal & veterinary references regarding the health & temperament of their cats. It makes me sick that some people are so greedy that all they care about is making money off their Ragdolls. On a lot of the sites you can enlarge the pictures & see parasites & filth on & around the cats/kittens. Some people don’t even show the correct picture on their website. These immoral backyard breeders are giving all the hard workkng ethical breeders a bad name. Don’t be drawn in by the pretty kittens as the more these unscrupulous breeders sell, the more they will breed. Most reputable breeders seem to have a waiting list as they get lots of repeat business & lots of referrals by word of mouth. I am so sorry about you & Toby. You really should call the Utah State Ag Dept so these unethical practices can be monitored or stopped. I feel badly for the other Ragdolls in this person’s care. Hopefully the Meds will boost his natural immune system and keep the herpes in check. I hope he was tested for HCM & all feline viruses. You thought you were adopting a kitten when actually you were rescuing him. I applaud your efforts & I know he will socialize in time. Maybe he will never be friendly to strangers but he will grow to see you are his savior. The BEST thing you can do for Toby is spread your story so others will learn to choose a reputable breeder and don’t rush it. All good things come in time.

    • Dee says:

      Dear Bobbi – You are exactly correct! I struggled with posting a story that is not bubbly and full of happy tales. BUT, I decided that if Jenny approved – then it was a good idea to spread the word for new parents to due the research and get referrals on breeders…AND…like you said – visit the home or cattery. You know it is possible that Toby is an isolated incident – in that he was the only kitty with the scaredy cat demeanor and thats why I did not come right out and name the breeder. However, the conjunctivitis and the feline herpes should have been disclosed. I have struggled with the thought of reporting the breeder to the Utah authorities….sigh

      Thank you for your post!

      • Kay says:

        I lost my kitten from fip this year. In fact two months after you received your cat, I notified the breeder that we were very confident he had fip and she did not reply. I am certain it is from the same breeder in utah, as the last picture you posted it very typical of the kind she posts. I wish we could get in touch.

        I even visited her home and had no alarms go off in my mind. My kitten had eye problems that we assumed to be a recurring eye infection, however as his symptoms progressed, it was apparent to my vet he had fip. I wish you the best.

  5. Barb Corson says:

    What a sweetie ! With a calm loving home Toby may settle down & relax. I had an extreme scaredy cat and she did settle in but it took a long time. By the time she was 10 she was a lap cat. Best of luck to you.

    • Dee says:

      Oh Barb – The good Lord is sure teaching me patience. I look forward to the day when I can cuddle my kitty. I few days ago I got to rub his kitty belly with my bare toes he was so relaxed and all stretched out. He paws were making bread so I know he loved it. 🙂

  6. Beth says:

    Thanks for sharing the beautiful pictures of Ollie and Toby 🙂 Don’t worry – Toby will trust you in his own good time. I had two wonderful Ragdoll boys, both rescues. My Gizmo, like your Toby, was a scaredycat. First sneaking up on the bed to sleep with me at night, he slowly decided I was his person. My Moosie was an aggressive fraidycat; he fought when he couldn’t escape. Also in time, I became his true love. Both my Raggies must’ve had very little human contact and I think what they experienced before life with me was all negative.

    Thank you for being a loving Cat Mama and taking good care of a dear little fellow who needs you so much <3

  7. Lynn says:

    Toby, it sounds like you landed in a good place. I bet, with some more time and lots of love, you’ll learn to trust even more. Just sleeping on the bed occasionally is a big step!
    I have a orange tiger cat, Andy, who is not a lap cat nor a snuggler, but shows his love by head butting and sitting quietly next to me within reach for a stroke every once and awhile.
    Keep up the good work- you’ll love your Neko Fly. Playtime is definitely a bonding time!

  8. Wendoline says:

    Toby, you’re absolutely gorgeous! And you sound so sweet. I’m so happy you lucked out with such a wonderful family who obviously love you so much.

    Dee, to me it really sounds like you and Toby were meant to find each other. I think the fact that you kept getting drawn to Toby and his picture, out of all the possible ragdoll kittens you might have adopted from anywhere, speaks strongly to that. I can’t help but think of the first verse in the song “Unlimited” from Wicked. Goodness knows how his life might have turned out if he’d ended up with someone less loving, understanding and compassionate than your family. He’s very lucky he has you and his Dad to love on him and help him. While he may never be ‘outgoing’ that certainly doesn’t mean he wont be affectionate and one day he will surely show you his thanks for loving him as much as you so obviously do. I wish you both the very best luck as you help draw him out of his shell and help him to trust you both. I’m sure you will be successful!

  9. Dee says:

    I am a firm believer in fate AND definitely feel like we were meant to be together. I had so many opportunities to adopt other kitties from San Diego to Phoenix and I would have gladly traveled to pick up my new friend. I was truly drawn to Toby and have grown to love him so. Thank you for your kind words…BTW I will google your song and it may become our theme…together we’re unlimited.

  10. Mary says:

    By the time I finished reading your story I had a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes. Then I stopped to reflect on why. It is because I think God placed that special creature with a very special person. Toby’s only chance at life was you. Someone who stood up to the challenge, didn’t take him back or drop him off at a shelter. I truly believe in time, he will trust you and bond with you like no other cat you have ever had or will ever have. I believe everything happens for a reason and there are no coincidences. Toby is a diamond in the rough and one day you will fully experience the precious gem you know he is. I hope to read a follow up story from you one day about how wonderful things are and how well he is doing.

    Thank you for sharing your story. Like you, I know all Rags are not the text book Rag. My Amos is six months old and hopefully one day will be that lap cat that everyone talks about but it wasn’t today and tomorrow isn’t looking so good either.

    Thanks again and God Bless you, He Blessed Toby.

    Mary and Amos

    • Dee says:

      Mary – thank you so much for the encouragement. Just last night Toby hopped up on my bed while I was reading and laying flat. I sat up and started rubbing his belly and then up to his jaw/chin area. I could tell that he just loved it. He continued to enjoy with his eyes closed….but when he opened his eyes and looked at me he kinda flinched and almost jumped off the bed. Kinda sad but I have to remember the whole experience. In time I hope your Amos will allow you some cuddle time. I believe your words are a true testament to your situation as well. Bless you Mary for being a loving kitty parent too!

  11. Mary H says:

    I, too, have a ragdoll kitty that at age 10 weeks developed weepy, pink eyes. The cat specialist vet took one look, declared Herpes Virus and no cure. For one solid year, I tried everything to make my kitty better – Lysine, eye-drops, eye ointments. I went to an expensive cat eye specialist, who prescribed very, very expensive human Herpes Virus medicine, which made my cat even worse. FINALLY, another vet asked if anyone had tried an antibiotic – that maybe it wasn’t Herpes. Well, 10 days of antibiotic, and my kitty was cured. I am mad that I didn’t do more to insist vets try different solutions, and that my ragdoll suffered for a whole year, when all it was was a rampant case of pink-eye. So unless you have actual laboratory proof that your kitty has Herpes, I’d find a vet who’ll try something else.

    By the way, these vets were all within one practice, and had access to all the other’s notes & history.

    The behavior of my kitty changed appreciably after she got rid of the eye infection. I think just having painful eyes made her anti-social.

    Best of luck with your baby!

  12. Mumsie says:

    Wow, what a story. Sadly it all rang too true with me except my baby was a platinum mink Tonkinese (we renamed YumYum) that we adopted in 1996 as a birthday present from my husband. We too were naïve about the breeder (in St. Louis) who told me over the telephone that she had a small and temporary eye infection and that she was sending some antibiotics. I had found the breeder through the classified advertisements in Cat Fancy since there was not much internet presence then. The breeder lied about multiple things and was, in hindsight, trying to get rid of a problem animal in her cattery but we got the last laugh in the end. She had also told us that our girl was only 2 years old but we later found out that she was 4 when we pushed for the papers from the registering association. The breeder had conveniently “lost” them. The eye infection turned out to be herpes and we had never dealt with that before. When she arrived, the top of her little nose was all crusted up with black goo and we thought it was a scab. It took us more than a month to realize when it never changed or healed that it was thick gunk! We are still dealing with her herpes today, nearly 20 years later, in our retired Oriental Shorthair who contracted it from YumYum. Ironically we had always had moggie cats and she was our first purebred cat and she came to us ill. We learned a valuable lesson about the dishonesty of some breeders and the lengths they will go to at times. Never again will we be so trusting Little YumYum weighed about 5lbs and turned out to be the greatest little gal ever! She absolutely blossomed and became such a lap cat and so very sweet. She lived until 2008 (18 years) and I am sure was much happier with us than at that poor excuse for a cattery. We ended up with the best cat ever. We are keeping our OSH’s flare-ups under control with the L-lysine gel from Enisyl-F (best price is on Amazon). That is the only kind I can get her ladyship to eat, lol.
    Remember to never put any money down on any animal until you have met the animal and the breeder in person and checked out their environment. We learned more than once that breeders are generally not attached to the animals and that most are in it for the money so if you find one that is what they purport to be (interested in preserving and improving the breed, raises underfoot, etc…) then shout it to the heavens so the rest of us know who to call!

  13. Mumsie says:

    I forgot to add: a great big hug and a God Bless you! to all of you who love your fur babies so very much and a heartfelt thank you for never giving up on them. I agree with everyone above and say that I too feel absolutely convinced that Toby, Amos and others here are where they NEED to be. They are loved and that is an amazing gift that you are giving them. Never underestimate the power of your love.

    I am new to this site because we are researching and looking for a Raggie of our own (we are soon to be empty nesters) but we are willing to take our time and wait for the right one to come along. Our old gal (the OSH mentioned above) is 15 now and in declining health. I am researching for a great breeder and appreciate the references made above. If anyone knows one within closer driving distance to us in the Midwest (Missouri) please post them. I would really like to see them in person as I said above. I had contacted one in Joplin with a list of questions but she never answered me after 3 contacts on my part so that told me everything that I needed to know about her. Strike that one off the list!
    Please keep us posted on how your guys are coming along- I love happy endings ^.^

  14. Deedee Love says:

    Thank you Mumsie! It’s been a long time since I looked in on the post. My Toby gets L-lysine treats also but the goo still prevails. If he can be with me for 18 years it will be a blessing. I just hope he doesn’t suffer and his eye sight doesn’t decline too much. <> back to you. Deedee

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