These adorable Ragdoll boys are Dickens and Purrcival, aka Purrcy, and they have been delighting us for about 4 ½ years. They are littermates born on December 1st 2014 and we have been their lucky human parents since they came home in February 2015. Dickens is a seal lynx bicolor pattern and Purrcival is seal lynx mitted pattern. They are both very large kitties with Purrcy weighing in at 21lbs 6oz and Dickens at 18lbs 11oz. Even though they are littermates, they are very different from each other in looks as well as personality. Purrcy is stocky and muscular while Dickens is long and lithe. Dickens has very long straight fur hanging down on his sides, and a long tail constantly waving like a kelp frond. Purrcy’s fur is very dense, sticking out from his body, and he gets an enormous mane in the winter. His tail is shorter than Dickens’ tail, but very strong and always curled up at the tip. Both like to play but Dickens often takes breaks to lounge and watch Purrcy run and climb and pounce on toys.
When we first decided to get a Ragdoll kitten, it was several months after a kitty I was very close to died. He had been with us for almost 19 years and I was so sad after his passing that although I’d had cats most of my life I didn’t want any more. My husband had wanted a Ragdoll for years after befriending one that lived next door, occasionally mentioning how they seemed to be special cats. Eventually I started wondering why they were considered so special and began researching Ragdolls online. I still didn’t really want any more cats of our own, but I enjoyed reading about them and watching loads of videos. After a while I realized I was checking Floppycats.com regularly to see the new posts and I thought maybe I did want a Ragdoll cat after all. Then came the searching.
At first I looked for rescued Ragdolls and those in need of rehoming, but I didn’t find any anywhere near us. My husband thought a kitten would be fun and so I started looking for kittens. I found several relatively nearby catteries online, but after reviewing their websites, I didn’t care for a couple of them. There were two, though, that I thought looked like they were well-run by people who sounded like people I’d like to meet. So, I sent out emails. And never got responses. One website had a phone number, and I called and left messages, but didn’t get return calls. By then, I really wanted a Ragdoll, too, so I was very disappointed, and started searching the web for catteries further away. That’s when I found 5-Star Rags in Hollister, California, which is about a 3-hour drive one way from our house. Karen was accepting deposits on a litter of seal lynx kittens that had been born recently and there was one mitted kitten left (Purrcival). I sent a detailed email about our home and how we cared for our cats, and then waited anxiously until she approved my application.
I had read about how it was often better to have two kittens so they could play with each other and that two weren’t much more work than one. We decided we’d get two, but she didn’t have two available from that litter. There would be another litter ready about a month later, though, and she was willing to keep this kitten an extra few weeks until one from the other litter was ready. We were set for kittens close in age, but from two different litters. Then she decided not to keep Purrcy’s bicolor brother as a breeder and offered him to me instead of the kitten from the second litter. I had already fallen in love with his adorable face in the group picture and said yes immediately. So, Dickens got to come to our house too.
It was many years since I’d had a kitten and I read everything I could find on how to be ready for your kitten. We kitten-proofed the house as much as we could, bought bitter apple to help with chewing, and got the spare bedroom ready to be a kitten nursery. I had been researching raw feeding for a while before we decided to get the kittens and I was very interested in it. On the 5-Star Rags website I saw a small note stating that if you were interested in raw feeding, she’d be happy to wean the kittens to raw food since she mostly fed raw to her cats. I told her I was interested, but very inexperienced in raw feeding, and she said she’d get them introduced to it and could help me with any questions. It’s been successful – they are completely raw-fed and I highly recommend it.
Finally it was time to go pick up our kittens! Karen scheduled people so there were no overlapping pickup times, and we had lots of time to meet our new kittens and ask all the questions we could think of. We drove down to Hollister, stopping for lunch on the way, and arrived in the early afternoon. My only previous experience with purebred cats was when I was about 10 years old and my parents decided to get a pair of Siamese. One Sunday afternoon we went to the cattery and they picked out the two kittens they wanted and brought them home immediately. I had been a little worried about getting the Ragdolls since we hadn’t actually seen them in person, but there was no need. Both kittens were as adorable in person as they had been in the pictures and videos she sent us, and we were instantly smitten with them.
They were tiny enough to fit in the same large carrier and they slept most of the way home. As we brought them into the house they were both looking out the door of the carrier with great interest and didn’t seem to be afraid at all. We took them into the spare room, closed the door, and sat on the floor playing with them. Karen had included a tote bag for each of them with toys, canned food, a bag of kibble, and a frozen container of her homemade raw food. They didn’t care for the kibble at all, so I just gave it away, but the canned food and raw were what they were used to eating and we had no trouble getting them to eat. Later I found out their mother didn’t like kibble either, so I didn’t feel bad them not wanting it. We made good use of the toys right away and several of the mice lost eyes and ears almost immediately. A short wand toy with Mylar on the end was such a favorite that we just had to shake it and they’d come running from wherever they were.
While we were waiting for our kitties to get old enough to come home with us we spent quite a while thinking of names for them. A couple of years earlier we’d taken a wonderful vacation to Italy and we finally settled on grand Italian names: Michelangelo and Leonardo. Then we met the kittens and the names didn’t fit at all. My sister kept asking me what we were going to call the kittens and I had to keep telling her we didn’t know. Previously names had just come to me when I adopted my cats and in the end, we had to just wait until we got to know the boys a bit. We tried name after name and it took us several weeks to finally come up with names that fit and they would respond to, but when we did, we could finally send their papers in to complete the TICA (The International Cat Association) registration process.
We thought we’d kitten-proofed the house but every few days we’d discover something we hadn’t thought of, and there would be a mad scramble to put things out of the way, or coat something with bitter apple to stop chewing, or block off an opening we didn’t know they’d be able to fit through. It’s hard to believe now, but they were tiny enough that we could hold one in each hand and carry them both at the same time. It was hectic for a few weeks, but lots and lots of fun too. We enjoyed having kittens so much that I thought we could probably achieve world peace if everyone could just have a pair of kittens.
The boys have grown up now, but they are still playful and we look forward to coming home to them every night. They don’t run around the house as much as when they were kittens, but even now, when I go out to the kitchen in the morning, they run ahead of me and do sideways slides on their furry feet, banging into the cupboards. They are also a great help with housework and supervise activities such as laundry, loading and unloading the dishwasher, making salads (Purrcy loves to sample the spinach leaves), and even vacuuming. We have a Miele vacuum that is relatively quiet and Dickens goes from room to room with me, making sure it behaves. Purrcy isn’t quite as fond of vacuuming, but he specializes in checking laundry by nesting in the basket, preferably right after it’s come out of the dryer.
Purrcy also has a favorite hiding spot in an old bathrobe of mine. Ever since he was a baby he has liked to go under my robe, usually when I’m wearing it and especially if I squat down so he can make a cave. I have to balance while trying to get out of it and then go find another one to wear. Finally I received another as a gift and I could surrender that one to Purrcy. Now it usually hangs over the arm of an upholstered chair in the living room making a tunnel that’s perfect for running through or hiding in. A very fun game is getting a human to toss a ping pong ball to the kitty hiding in the robe tunnel. Purrcy could be a world class soccer player if there was a league for cats.
Both of the boys find the water in the shower/tub interesting to look at, but also a bit worrisome. When they were babies they both fell or jumped in several times, but they were never really happy about the wetness of it. Now Dickens loves to play in the bathtub when it doesn’t have water in it. One of the best games is when I toss him one of the SPOT Kitty Fun Tubes. These are woven plastic tubes that remind me of the wicker finger trap toys we had as kids. They come with a small packet of catnip in each one, but even when the catnip has gotten lost, they are fun toys. They are easy to bat and toss around, and if the bath rug happens to fall into the tub while we’re playing, that’s even better.
I finally know why Ragdolls are considered so special. Purrcy and Dickens have never become lap cats and they don’t really like to be carried much, but they are the most people oriented cats I have ever known – they love to play, talk, groom, and just be with us. They are also extremely sweet with lovely dispositions and regularly ask for petting and combing. And they are gorgeous. I’m so glad we have them in our lives.
Some supplies I can recommend, all of which I first saw on Floppycats:
- Black Hole Litter Mat and the Litter Lifter Scoop
- Zen Clippers – I have the #2 size, but may need to get a #3 for Purrcy’s claws
- Felix Katnip Scratching Beam – perfect for scratching and playing with toys that go under it
- JW Pet Company rotating comb – perfect for combing their long fur
- Lilly Brush Be Forever Furless Pet Hair Remover (Excellent!)
- Necoichi Cat Scratcher Bowl
And favorite toys:
- SPOT Kitty Fun Tubes (like plastic finger trap toys) – these are especially fun in the bathtub
- Cat Dancer 101 Interactive Toy
- Ping pong balls, especially the one that was stepped on and dented – erratic movement now!
- Various catnip filled toys – Yeowww! Bananas, and toys from Cat Faeries and Triple T Studios
Foods they especially like:
- Vital Essentials Frozen Raw
- Stella and Chewy’s Frozen Raw
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