The other day on Facebook, I asked this question. "Do you think it's bad karma for me to post a blog post about a Ragdoll breeder notorious for adopting out sick cats?"
Thank you to those of you who responded. I cannot recommend Ragdoll breeders. Unfortunately, there are too many things to take into account. The best I can do is have a page on the site for Recommended Ragdoll Breeders and let the people (YOU!) with Ragdoll cats talk!
I get over 300 emails daily - from people asking for advice to Ragdoll cat owners telling me horrible things about breeders.
Of course, sometimes, I realize it is not the breeder's fault or the person that adopted the cat - sometimes, there are just unfortunate circumstances.
Let's take FIP, for example; my first cat, Skittles, died of FIP at two years old. It wasn't the breeder's fault - we now know it's a freak thing. Rags and Cosby came home together - Cosby died at ten months old of FIP, and Rags lived to be 19.5 years old - again, a freak thing that SUCKED.
Because I have yet to have a direct experience with the bad Ragdoll breeders I am told about - I cannot list them here. But, if you are wondering about a specific breeder, I can always tell you what I have heard if you contact me.
Ways to Find Out If a Ragdoll Breeder is Bad:
- Go to Google - search their cattery name plus the word "bad." For example, let's suppose I am a breeder, and my cattery name is "floppycats." So you would enter "floppycats bad" into Google.
- Go to Google - search their cattery name plus the word "sick."
- Go to Google - search their cattery name plus the word "complaint."
- Go to Google - search for the human owner's name and the cattery.
- Go to Google - search for just the cattery.
- Go to the Better Business Bureau and search for their name or any derivatives of it. For example, I would search for "floppycats," "floppy" and "floppy cats" if I were searching for my site.
- Go to TICA's site and search for the cattery name - if they are not registered there or with CFA, it could be a bad sign.
- Go to CFA's site and search for the cattery name -if they are not registered there or TICA, then it's not a good sign.
- Ask to speak to some of the people that have adopted from them.
- Visit Complaint Boards and enter the human name of the breeder and also the name of the cattery.
- Ask if people have had experience with a specific breeder on our Facebook page.
- Ask in our Ragdoll cat Facebook Group.
BEWARE! Ragdoll Breeder Scams
Apart from just bad breeders, you also have to watch out for scams - people who pose as Ragdoll breeders but are scam artists. Here are a few times we have encountered them:
Home-raised ragdoll kittens:
Sharon Fincher of HiFancy Rags weighed in on what to look for in a recommended breeder:
"The one thing I know of that will not be found on the TICA or CFA websites is 'HEART' If you do not have a heart, your animals will know it. The simple truth is that there is a world of 'good breeders,' as you say, out there. But, unfortunately, there are just about as many that I consider a bad breeder.
Then again, you will find those who, at one time, was among the best somehow turned bad. So my advice is that when new parents are considering a kitten, look at the reality of it.
After all, no matter what name they carry, they are cats. They have special needs, just as people do. You cannot just toss one in a room, and a happy family does it make! Not by a long shot! Do your homework on the breed you are interested in.
If you can, go to a couple of cat shows and learn from the exhibitors what to expect and do. It is not the kitten's fault it feels no love. They have their little quirks you are going to have to learn. They will teach you if you listen to them.
They do not understand when they are tossed from one home to another continually. They become angry and lash out as if to say, 'leave me alone. Good breeders will do a complete background check on the new parents.
Questions like do they have other animals? Do they treat them well? Do they take their animals to the vet when needed and keep vaccines up to date? How many children are in the home, and what are their ages? There could be an allergy factor you have to address. It is not easy by any means for either party. You cross your fingers, say a prayer, and hope you have made the right choice."
Sharon Shulby of Magnadolz Ragdolls also weighed in on what to look for in a recommended breeder:
UPDATED December 26, 2019:
"In looking for a Ragdoll, please advise people that, first off, Google the cattery and "complaints." If they have a history of scamming people, keeping their money, not delivering the kitten on the agreed-upon date, and selling sick kittens, watch out. What makes you think they'll be any better with you? You MUST do due diligence!
Also, ascertain if the parents have been tested for FIV, FeLV, and HCM. And the breeder can prove it to the prospective parents. Any breeder who wants to send your kitten home at under 12 weeks old isn't doing right by you or the kitten. They get three vaccines at 8, 12, and 16 weeks. I prefer that my breedings are fully vaccinated before they leave here.
Also, younger kittens don't have that time with their parents and littermates to socialize. This is VERY important for the well-being of your kitten. If the parents aren't registered with FIFe, CFA, or TICA, your kitten can't be registered either. And there's no guarantee that the kitten is genuinely a purebred RD.
The price of RD has significantly increased since I wrote what's posted below.
Pet quality kittens go for $950-$1750; show quality can go for $1250-$2500, and breeders? Well, let's say the sky is the limit.
What I can tell your readers, again, is that if they do their homework before buying a RD kitten, there shouldn't be a problem. Good luck!"
From August 17, 2012
"I don't care for the statement that 'if a breeder is not certified by TICA of CFA, this is not a good sign. I've found many good breeders who aren't 'certified' by either group. A few reasons could be simply because the breeder can't afford it or doesn't want to do everything CFA/TICA wants the breeder to do.
I'm a member of CFA and TICA, and my litters are registered in both organizations, but I'm not certified. I'm in the process, but it is costly and time-consuming. I would remind people that this is like a wedding. It must be a match between the breeder, buyer, and animal, with honesty, open communication, and truthfulness on the part of humans.
I would tell anyone looking to 'adopt' a Ragdoll that they should understand 'adopting' a Ragdoll from a breeder isn't like getting a free kitten from a box at the grocery store. Even the SPCA charged $125 when I 'adopted' a cat from them. We like to be politically correct and say 'adopt' when we should say 'sale.'
As a breeder, I screen potential parents. If I get a call from someone who wants a cat right now-it's a birthday present for my_____(child, spouse, friend, whatever), I tell them I have no available kittens. I want this kitten to be something other than a spur-of-the-moment, last-minute, gotta-have-a-gift decision. I also don't sell kittens as last-minute holiday gifts.
If you want to bring a kitten into your home, Christmas Day stuffed into a stocking is perfect for a Norman Rockwell painting. Still, it probably isn't in the kitten's best interest. So instead, give a stuffed cat and bring the kitten home after there's less chaos in the house. Wait until the holiday festivities are over, the family has left, gift wrappings disposed of, decorations packed away, and food and beverages cleaned up.
I've lost sales, and that's ok; I must do what's in the cat's best interest, safety, and well-being. But, unfortunately, I don't get returns when the novelty has worn off!
Please tell your readers that a contract is just that. It is a legal and binding agreement. I review the contract with the buyers and have them initial every paragraph. It says that the buyer needs to take the animal to their vet within 72 hrs.
That's non-negotiable. If your vet feels this kitten has something that makes it 'not fit for sale,' you must return it, and I will replace it or refund your money at that time. If this is done within 72 hrs, it's less likely that the buyer will want to keep the kitten and still get a replacement or a refund. (I've NEVER had a kitten come back like this!)
Please don't call me and complain about a problem six weeks later! I guarantee my cats for a year to be free from genetic problems. I will replace a kitten (with a necropsy report) for even longer. However, if your cat has been injured or exposed to another sick cat, and yours is now ill, please don't expect me to pay your vet bills.
I'm particular in my contract regarding how to care for the cat. I specify what to feed it, how to introduce it to your home, AND how/when to add other animals. If the buyer doesn't follow the contract, what do they want from me?
My 'pet' quality cats are just that. Pets. They are NOT showing and/or breed quality. They are de-sexed before leaving me. The blue slip reflects this. Please don't ask me to change the blue slip.
You certainly can show an 'altered' Ragdoll, but don't complain when they don't win. They won't. That's why they're 'pets.'I cannot return your purchase price after the cat leaves my home because you've changed your mind, your living situation, or whatever.
If you can no longer keep your Ragdoll, the contract states the cat will be offered back to me. If I can rehome the cat, I will give you the $ received from the new owner. (Usually under $300)I don't take deposits, as I've had too many people change their minds for various reasons. Meanwhile, someone else has expressed a desire to buy that cat; the cat has missed out on a forever home, and the first family then wants their deposit back.
Now, the cat is older, and the price has dropped. It's a cash-and-carry process. (Of course, you'll get a receipt!) I don't have to worry about a check bouncing, payment being stopped, credit cards being refused, reversed, or whatever. Too many breeder friends have been cheated, lied to, and had cats stolen from them.
What kind of treatment can I expect for this precious animal if they're dishonest with me? Please don't ask to take the cat home at eight weeks old. I know they're 'cute,' but they shouldn't be away from the family for several more weeks. I don't care if it's a birthday/holiday present.
They need socialization until 12 weeks. Also, they are still receiving immunizations/spay/neuter/registration. Remind your readers that if the breeder doesn't show/copy genetic testing for both parents, ask to see it. If they don't have it, go to another breeder!! You can get a 'darling' RD kitten from some breeders for $350, but there's been no HCM, FHP, or FLV testing on the parents.
You could be setting yourself (and your cat) up for a short lifetime of heart problems, leukemia, and other diseases AND heartache!!" Pay me now or pay the vet later" A Ragdoll kitten, pet quality, from a responsible breeder, should run $650 up to $1,000!!
I will NOT bad mouth my fellow breeders! Some potential parents spend weeks kitten shopping at every local breeder, like the 'looky-loos' at a real estate open house. Then, they want to tell me how imperfect someone else's kittens are. Sorry, I don't play that game.
Some of my best friends are fellow Ragdoll breeders, and I have nothing but good things to say about them. If you call me and tell me that you want a specific color/sex and I don't have one, I will even send you to one of them because I know what they have!
If a Ragdoll has never owned you, I can (and will) spend weeks educating you on their care/feeding of them. You can call anytime for anything you're concerned about. Unless I'm in a show ring/driving, I will answer the phone and your questions.
Please remember NEVER to declaw your cat. Most people need help understanding what declawing does! In my contract, is a clause with a $1,000 fine per toe for any declawing. (The money is donated to several rescues that I contribute to). If you're not willing to spend time training your Ragdoll not to claw your leather couch, please don't get one!! (Couch OR Ragdoll).
The kittens know how to use a scratching post, litter box, and food dish when they leave here. So when you get them home, please show them where these things are!
The breeder should have both parents. Some don't have Kings, but ASK!! I show potential parents of both Ragdoll parents even before they see the kittens. 'The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.' Realize Ragdoll Kings can be 20-22# and Queens up to around 12-14#. Then, there is the lighter end (15# Kings and 8#Queens).
Remember, the Ragdoll is the second largest domestic breed (second only to the Maine Coons). So, your little 4# kitten may become a BIG boy!! A Ragdoll isn't a good choice if you want a cat that isolates and does its own thing. Usually (and I always say usually because there's always that one that doesn't fit into all of the breed's characteristics), Ragdolls want to be with you/the family.
They WANT to be in your lap and at your side. So involved with everything that's going on in your home. They think they're dogs, come when called, fetch, and will wait by the door for your return!
Please understand, I'm NOT being 'mean,' 'controlling,' or 'neglectful' when I tell you that Ragdolls are indoor cats!! And if you tell me that your Ragdoll will be allowed outside, you won't be going home with one of mine! If outdoors, they will be stolen, picked up as strays, or victims of other animals/cars. You can always install a 'catio,' an enclosed patio if you have a burning desire for them to be outdoors and still be safe.
I even have mixed feelings about walking them on a leash. Too many diseases are transmitted on the streets! Please don't be offended when I have you remove your shoes before you come into my home. Again, too many diseases are transmitted on a shoe! My cats are not caged (unless it's a new Mamma and babies), and they have the run of the home.
When potential parents enter breeders' homes, tell them to take a minute and breathe! There shouldn't be a 'cat box odor.'
The Ragdoll should come to greet the PP. If everyone runs and hides, this isn't a good sign. That means the cat needs to be socialized correctly.
PP should realize this isn't a business; it's a passion for me. I'm doing this to enhance the breed and build a better, stronger, more perfect Ragdoll. I'm not doing this to populate the world with Ragdolls so that everyone who thinks they'd like one can have one. (I'd like a mansion in Malibu, too)
There's a phrase, "if you want to make a small fortune as a Ragdoll breeder, start with a large fortune!!" So true! When you figure in the cost of the vet, the immunizations, the Queen's food, the time spent working with the kittens (assuming all goes well at birth), the registration paperwork, and the de-sexing, breeders don't make money!
Have your potential parents ask if the breeder shows the cats. Don't get me wrong, showing is only for some. I wouldn't necessarily rule out a breeder simply because they don't show. For me, showing is an integral part of my breeding program.
The cats are judged on breed standards. The shape of the eyes, head, color of the eyes, body structure, color, length of their tail, placement of their feet (for hip problems), coat texture, grooming, breath, AND personality. Not all cats like to show. Therefore, not all cats SHOULD be shown.
Many will show up for a while, then decide they don't want to do this anymore, especially when they get hormonal. So, I must pay attention to the signs they give when it's time not to show that cat any longer. But, at a show, breeders can find out if the cat has an imperfection they need to be aware of before they breed. Or that cat shouldn't be bred. It can be the sweetest cat, but it may be best not to reproduce if there's an imperfection.
I encourage potential parents to attend a cat show. Talk to the exhibitors. Look at their cats and the breeder. See how they interact with the cat, the other exhibitors, AND the general public! See how they react after the ring. How did the cat do? How does the breeder treat other people who beat or lose their cats?
Since a cat lives for up to 20 yrs, it HAS to be a match between potential parents, breeder, AND cat! Come to my home; spend some time with the kittens. It's said that 'you don't pick a cat, a cat chooses you. Please think about allergies. If you suspect you're allergic, visit and see what happens. If you react, try taking something (Zyrtec or the like) and try again.
It drives me batty when I hear stories about people who take a cat home and call three months later wanting to return it because they're allergic. Potential parents need to understand that responsible breeders spend HOURS with every kitten from every litter! Some don't work outside of the home, and they spend even more time with the kittens.
You must ensure that every kitten 'gets a seat at the table, even 'the runt;' every kitten is kept clean, the birthing box is clean, and fresh food/water/litter for Mamma cat. Touching, rubbing, interacting with the kittens, introducing them to the litter box and their first solid food, playing with them, and teaching them how to play! Understand that a little piece of me goes with every kitten that leaves me. I aim to have them in homes where they're wanted 'forever,' loved, cherished, and valued!
Many breeders have cat sitters. When the breeder is gone, someone is in attendance at the house. My kittens have someone with them 24/7. I also have an alarm system and 'kitten cams' installed throughout the house for safety, security, and entertainment!
I know a breeder in Redondo Beach who (2 weeks ago) had her home broken into. 6 Turkish Van 8-week-olds and 2 Turkish Van 12-week-old kittens were stolen!! Heavens! I'd lose my mind if that happened here!
There is a myth that Ragdolls don't shed, and don't need much grooming because they don't have an undercoat, making them perfect for folks with allergies. This isn't true. I know of NO responsible breeder who would tell you that! They DO shed! I spend time every night brushing the coats and teeth of every cat here!! It's comforting for them, helps keep their coats looking good, and provides human interaction. So critical for ALL animals!
Please don't call and ask for a 'cheap one because I'm on a limited budget/fixed income.' While I discount a second kitten going to the same household or repeat family, I can't justify putting a financial burden on someone who's already strained. Realize that ANY animal is expensive and will need vet care, immunizations, food, and litter for perhaps 20 yrs.
You could foster an animal or volunteer at the shelter or local rescue. I forget the annual amount 'they' say it costs for an animal. It has to be over $2,000 per cat! Having said all this, I'm not as mean as I may sound. But my priority is the cats' health, happiness, well-being, and safety. I dislike people who mistreat cats (or any animals) or can't tell me the truth. I don't like people with agendas!"