Interview with Ragdoll Breeders Craig and Linda Nelson of Catillac Cats

Last Updated on July 14, 2021 by Jenny

"Eldorado Sport Coupe" (Ellie) is a Female, seal tortishell lynx point mitted with blaze.
“Eldorado Sport Coupe” (Ellie) is a Female, seal tortishell lynx point mitted with blaze.

Craig and Linda Nelson are owners and operators of Catillac Cats in Salem, Oregon.
Their phone is 503-851-5994 Linda, and 503-551-9147 Craig (Please see their website for phone hours)
Their website is

Craig and Linda Nelson are members in Ragdolls Of America Group Club and CFA Northwest Region 2 and CFA Mentors & CFA Mentoring

How long have you been breeding Ragdolls?

Registered our cattery name in 2001. Our first litter was born in 2003.

How did you pick Ragdolls to breed?

Three years of researching the breed, and communications with Ragdoll cattery owners regarding the Standard for the breed, health, pedigrees, genetics, and by photos.  We studied cattery management, the Ragdoll standard for show and registration in TICA, CFA, ACFA registry associations, and how to properly breed the Ragdoll genetic, for three years before we even received our first foundation breeders.  

Do you show? Why or why not?

Catillac Cats Ragdoll
Catillac Cats Ragdoll

Yes, as we can, and as we feel we could have Ragdolls nearest the Standard who could fare well with Judges.  We show because it’s a fun thing for us to take part in, and because we want to know how judges feel about those we bring, and because it helps us feel like we’re part of the Cat Fancy in general and part of the world of breeding and showing cats.  It also gives us a chance to talk to other people who are showing, and to take part in the excitement and fun of showing, and to talk with people visiting the show and hopefully be of some help to people no matter what capacity of cat ownership, or interest in showing they may have.  

What congenital defects are in Ragdolls?

Catillac Cats Ragdoll Kittens
Catillac Cats Ragdoll Kittens

The Ragdoll breed is not known to be prone to congenital defects.  Congenital means: abnormalities of the body present at the time of birth.  

How are you breeding to avoid those defects?

Regarding any defects, the only helpful tools available for many years came from communication shared, studying pedigrees, ultrasound of organs, and/or culling to eliminate problems.  We and others can test every potential Ragdoll considered for breeding, prior to mating it.  This is an integral part of CatillacCats health protocol.  A DNA Genetic Test became available for the Ragdoll Breed in 2007 and became part of our health protocol.  We Certify DNA Test by blood draw sample, and we have a certified cardiologist ultrasound their heart, liver and kidneys for abnormalities, and we blood test for FeLV/FIV, all before mating them.  

How large is your breeding operation?

Small.  We’ve not used more than two males at any time in our program.  We’ve not used more than three females at any time in our program.  We generally produce 1-3 litters a year.  

Where do your cats spend most of their time?

Linda Nelson of Catillac Cats
Linda Nelson of Catillac Cats

With us in our home on free roam.  Catillac Cats is a small totally inhome program.  We have no children living at home and so our entire home is dedicated to us and our Ragdolls.  

Do you breed full time? In other words, do you have another job?

Yes, along with husband Craig has a career.  

What sort of health guarantees do you offer?

A contracted health guarantee for five busines days from date of possession along with a replacement guarantee to the 2nd year birthday against life threatening Congenital (meaning acquired during uterine development), Hereditary (meaning passed from parent to offspring), Genetic (meaning to the particular Ragdoll individual) defect, when conditions and terms of the contract agreement are upheld by the buyer.

What happens if the kitten gets sick?

Catillac Cats Sadie
Catillac Cats Sadie

If it is living in our home, we naturally take it to our vet and then continue any regimen from our vet and take it back for recheck.  We’re also prepared for isolation from the others here if ever necessary.

Do you have any fun adoption stories to share?

Yes.  We hope you will enjoy input and photos from some of our owners, located on the last page of our web site “Previous Models” at All adoptions are special to us because we feel every one of them is our precious baby, and new owners become part of our extended family if they choose to stay in touch with us.  The Ragdoll is, in our personal opinions, truly a magical precious breed of cat.  

What makes this kitten or cat “pet quality” or “show quality”?

Catillac Cats Sampson
Catillac Cats Sampson

“Show Quality” are ones we personally feel have the best potential to come nearest the Standard for the breed and/or who have the best potential to mature to nearest the Standard, and who could have the possibility of doing well in show halls, receiving Ragdoll Breed wins, and/or All Breed wins (competiting against other breeds being shown), and be awarded titles (Champion, Grand Champion, Regional, National).  They are also ones we would consider for breeding.   “Pet Quality” are those we feel might not be close enough to the Standard for breed type, or who might not mature to close enough.  They are also ones we would not consider for breeding.  Quality is the opinion of the cattery owner and naturally may differ from one person to another.  All our pets are spay/neutered prior to release and the cost is included in price.

Do you keep some of your cats for your own?

We have kept some spayed/neutered pets at different times.  We will adopt them out however, if we feel they would be happier living away from our breeding program.  It’s never easy for us to place those we hoped to keep and love forever.  However, we know we must always keep the best interest of each Ragdoll as our number one priority.  Every Ragdoll in our home is our precious magical baby, whether it was born here, or brought in from another program to be a foundation for our program.  We remember and miss every one of them, and we’ve been successful in placing every one of them with wonderful owners and great environments.

How old is your oldest cat?

Catillac Cats Shasta
Catillac Cats Shasta

Our first pair of foundation breeders were born in 2001 and 2002, are still alive at this writing.

What is your favorite Ragdoll look?

Love that baby-faced/baby doll face look!  

Do you raise your cats underfoot?

Yes, Catillac Cats is a 100% totally inhome program and our Ragdolls do not live a caged life! 

Do you send photos of the parents before you adopt a kitten?

Catillac Cats Tippy Deville
Catillac Cats Tippy Deville

Our web site page called “Show Room” is where parents to our kittens are featured with photos.  We will always email more if requested.

Do you send the kitten’s pedigree when you adopt a kitten?

Yes, copy of our  “certified registry pedigree”.

Will it be a problem if one requests, and wants to pay for, the CatGenes DNA testing before one accepts a kitten?

No not at all.

Can people interested in purchasing one of your cats visit your cattery?

Yes, always. We schedule people to visit when kittens have received at least their first FVRCP vaccine in the series of three.

If a possible adoptee cannot visit your cattery, are you willing to talk to your adoptee on the phone?

Yes, and by email.

How do you honor your health guarantee? There is no legal binding issue there, so that’s why I’m asking.

When a buyer upholds the requirements in the contract, we naturally honor our guarantee.  The contract “is” a legal contract that can be upheld in court.  We know this by reports from cattery owners who’ve unfortunately been forced into court.  We personally choose to do what we can to please a buyer and if that’s not possible, then we choose to use a third party mediation process.  We’ve been successful in pleasing every buyer and we work very hard to keep it this way.  We remain available to owners with suggestions and recommendations, emotional support, and will research to find answers whenever possible.  We rely on owners of our Ragdolls to keep us informed of concerns, as it could be important help to our program and the breed as a whole.  We are very dedicated to the Ragdoll breed and cat ownership in general, and constantly research any area, and share helpful info on the pages of our web site and personally to people.

What if a kitten gets adopted and the customer is unhappy with a kitten, what do you do?

We remain available to owners with suggestions and recommendations, emotional support, and will research to find resolutions to problems if necessary too.  We also help with rehoming if that ever becomes necessary for an owner.  We’ve been successful in helping rehome, and to this writing, have had three only.

How are your kittens registered?

We personally register every litter, every breeder, every individual kitten in CFA.  All are registerable in all the Cat Fancy Registry Associations.

What vaccination brand do you use? And what vaccinations are given, when?

Our Veterinarian vaccinates all of our Ragdolls for FVRCP using a modified-live type injection vaccine.  Kittens generally receive 2 of the 3 kitten series prior to being released.  A yearly booster aginst FVRCP is given for life.  Rabies is a killed type injection vaccine given once to a kitten 12 weeks or older in age, and then boostered a year later, and then boostered every three years after that for life.

What are the kittens fed?

We feed high quality/premium canned only, and rotate foods generally every three months.  We’ve been feeding canned only, since eliminating all dry kibble after extensive research.  Felines are exclusive carnivores and must have meat every day, whether canned, raw, or a combination of those, and/or combined with a little dry kibble even, but their system requires they eat meat every day.  We’ve been only very successful and pleased with results of feeding canned.

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5 thoughts on “Interview with Ragdoll Breeders Craig and Linda Nelson of Catillac Cats

  1. Lara Berman says:

    Hi Linda, I’ve just read your article after looking at links for kitten names. We are adopting a ragdoll kitten from a breeder in Pretoria (we live in Cape Town, South Africa). We are so excited and can’t wait for his arrival. (My son’s suggestions for names aren’t great: Bruce Lee/Blizzard). We have two other cats, a red persian male and an exotic shorthair female, who although she was the runt of her litter, is very assertive and precious. We’ve always had 3 cats at a time but our Tom (Persian & Siamese mix) and Pashi (British Shorthair) passed away from old age. I’m concerned how the dynamics will change when the new kitten joins the ‘gang’. Is there anything I should or shouldn’t do when he arrives? Lara

    • Linda Nelson, Catillac Cats Ragdolls says:

      Hello Lara :`)
      Hopefully, your seller will have some helpful tips and even some articles to share with you regarding “Acclimating” or “Introducing A New Kitten” to not only a new home and environment, but to a home like yours with cats/dogs already established in your home. Following slow acclimation techniques have not failed any of our new owners, the new kitten/cat, pets already established in the home, and all people in the family. You can find acclimation or introducing a new kitten help sites, articles, all on the internet. You can search for scent exchange techniques too, something you start a week prior to bringing your new kitten home. All your efforts are geared to keeping stress to the new kitten, all pets already living in your home, and all humans in your home, to the minimum. It will also give the new Ragdoll baby kitten time to bond with you and family members first. The kitten is already used to being around other kittens/cats and will now need to bond to and trust all of you for it’s care, affection, play, love, safety. A week or two of slow acclimation can be well worth the time and effort. Best of success to all of you. Thank you for loving cats!

  2. Beth says:

    Thanks for your detailed answer, Linda! I’ve had two beautiful Ragdolls, both mitted seal points. Gizmo was rescued as a kitten in Las Vegas, living in an alley, and given to my daughter (1984). I found Moosie here in South Dakota through Shelter Pals Newsletter (2000). They looked almost identical but had quite different personalities. I had ten wonderful years with each of them and was heartbroken when they passed away. I discovered Jenny’s site while Moosie was on “kitty hospice”–seeing pictures and videos of Raggies here is a special treat. Someday I hope another Ragdoll who needs a good home will come into my life. Currently I have four very pampered felines, all rescue foundlings, who I dearly love. Thank you for loving cats, too 🙂

  3. Linda Nelson says:

    Thank you for “liking” and for the comment :`). I hope sharing some genetics of the breed here, will be of some help to anyone. The “ticked tabby genetic type stripe” is the desired type for Ragdolls with the Lynx Stripe coloring. The lynx striped Ragdolls in the interveiw are “ticked tabby”, having produced that type here. All our Ragdolls are the “pointed”, born all white, all blue eyes only, and we’ve bred and produced “pointed” only. The “M” you speak of on your orange cat is seen on red and cream colored cats, regardless of mogie or purebred. Red and cream colored cats show stripes on the cat, including the “M”, though it could be “ghost stripes” only, and even if they do not have the actual lynx stripe gene. My husband and I are equally knowledgeable in the genetics of the Ragdoll breed, and, as long as our program is operating, we will continue in every area, expanding our knowledge. It’s nice to hear you think our precious Ragdolls are gorgeous :`) . Thank you for loving cats! :`) Linda Nelson of Catillac Cats

  4. Beth says:

    I was so delighted finding this in my inbox today… such gorgeous Raggies!!! Someday I know I’ll have another; he or she will need a home and I’ll be waiting.
    I notice some of the beautiful kitties in this collection have faint mackerel stripe markings rather than the standard Siamese color points. My Baby Mew is a long-haired orange/white marmalade cat with the famous “M” on her face. She’s a Moggie (mongrel) but I’ve always felt she is a Ragdoll in disguise because of her sweet nature and cuddliness. Hmm… I wonder?

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