Sharon Bailey is a registered Ragdoll Breeder with QFA and her prefix is “Cherishme Ragdolls”. She and her family and fur babies live on the Sunshine Coast QLD.
How long have you been breeding Ragdolls?
Although I have owned many cats in my youth. I registered with QICC in 2007 as a registered breeder of Ragdolls. Then bought my first Ragdoll not very long after. A seal mitted princess. We quickly adopted another 2 in the following months and had our first litter of Ragdoll kittens the following January. I take a lot of pride in keeping our cats in peak condition. All of our cats and kittens are fed on premium foods, mostly fresh meats.
How did you pick Ragdolls to breed?
I was originally looking at breeding the Orientals. Having owned a pedigree Tonkinese in my teenage years. I had decided to attend a cat show to meet with a few breeders and select who we would choose to buy our first kitten from. Only once I arrived at the show, I was awestruck when I looking in the Longhair rings… especially around at the Ragdolls. As I have a young family, it was decided that the lovable more docile pace of the Ragdoll was suited for our family.
Do you show? Why or why not?
We do show our cats. I take great pride in learning from comments off judges and other breeders just how well we are doing in getting our cats to the Ragdoll standards. We have been quite successful and thoroughly enjoy the day out with our cats and fellow breeders. Of course we only show as our cats as they enjoy lapping up all the attention.
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What congenital defects are in Ragdolls?
Ragdolls are able to be born with HCM and PKD inherited defects. These are defects which are easily able to be avoided by testing parents and only breeding with clear cats. Choosing the best of the best as your breeding queen & stud is also vital. Any obvious external defects, wrong shape or kink tails should not be bred with.
How are you breeding to avoid those defects?
We DNA test all of our cats through Animal DNA Labs in Melbourne. It is cost effective, and very quick and simple. There is no excuse for not checking for these genetic markers.
How large is your breeding operation?
We are definitely small scale. With only 4 adult girls and 2 working stud males. Though we have kept a promising young kitten from this past litter. What I like to do, is have our girls retired into their loving forever homes by the time they are 3-4 years old. That way they have a long time with the families that can lavish attention on them 1 on 1. I love all of my cats. But the time I give to each of them is not the same as what they get from a home that only has them as a pet. A queen may have 2 or 3 litters before I retire her. But it is extremely hard to move them to their last forever home. I can’t keep them once retired. As much as I want to. But they have done so much for me and I pay to desex them and give them away to a loving home.
Where do your cats spend most of their time?
Generally, all Ragdolls should be just inside only cats. And yes, ours spend 95% there time indoors. And the majority of that time our cats are curled up on our beds asleep. However, on weekends, we quite often take our cats outside on the lawn to play.
Do you breed full time? In other words, do you have another job?
Yes, breeding is full time. No matter if you have another job or if you are a stay at home mum. I do however work as a receptionist for a local firm as well as being a full-time carer for my cats. When our girls are due to have their kittens, I do take leave from work to be there for them. We only have a few litters per year, so this is minor impact on my work life. Lets just say all my “me time” involves my cats. But I truly would not have it any other way. Quite a lot of time is spent with each individual kitten, and we do become very close. I welcome and recommend new owners to come and bond with their kittens in the weeks prior to home time. I also put together a comprehensive folder with photos from birth til home time of each individual kitten. It’s a nice keepsake for the new owners and something they can add to over the years if they choose to.
What sort of health guarantees do you offer?
Because we are very careful in the selection and genetic diversity of the cats we breed with, I offer replacement or refund for any kitten bought from me that was found to have any genetic disorder or defect. We provide new owners with 6 weeks free insurance from pet plan. But this is to cover for major accidents if you kitten is injured during transport or a fall. If our directions in regards to diet and living conditions are followed, there should be no foreseen problems arising from the transition into their new home.
What happens if the kitten gets sick?
If your kitten was to get sick in the first few weeks of your care. We always recommend to contact us immediately. Depending on what the problem may be, I would recommend professional treatment to be sort. In the past few years though, the only experience with sick kittens is when people have not continued with the diet that the kittens have grown up on. They don’t handle immediate change of diet well when adjusting into their new home. Informative care sheets are given with what types of foods and quantities are included in new owners kitten folders that they take home.
Do you have any fun adoption stories to share?
Yes. Actually, there was a family who came and bought a kitten from us 2 years ago. Their eldest daughter desperately wanted a kitten for her 10th birthday. And they have just been back to pick up a second new family member. Another of the kids has now had their 10th birthday and had asked for a Cherishme kitten too.
What makes this kitten or cat “pet quality” or “show quality”?
Individual markings and overall body shape, tail length etc. The nature of a particular kitten can be quite different too. Even though Ragdolls are generally all very loving and placid. Some are definitely more so than others. Quite obviously though, many show quality kittens are still desexed and placed in loving pet homes.
Do you keep some of your cats for your own?
Of course. It is a great honour showing cats that you have bred yourself and having them do well. The hardest part is letting any of them go to their new homes though, we spend so much time with them in the 3 mths before they are ready to be independent little cats for their new families. But to see the joy that they bring their new owners is how we can get through it.
What is your favorite Ragdoll look?
ahhh… as far as colour & pattern goes, I really love my mitted cats. But a well marked bicolour has a very splendid regal look too though. As far as colour….. I love them all. From the soft grey tones of the lilac & blues, to the rusty reds, to the dark brown colours of the seals.
May I speak with three people that own your cats?
But of course. Having placed kittens in homes all around Australia, I have no hesitation in giving details of any of them. I can’t post comments from everyone, but have a page on my website with the latest photos that some of our kitten owners have sent in.
Do you raise your cats underfoot?
Definitely. The more contact that they have in everyday household noise and interaction the better. We are lucky to be able to have designated rooms to allow the mums to have their babies in peace and quiet. Once the kittens have opened their eyes and are moving about, then we relocate the family to our living room where they get constant attention by our whole family.