On October 3, 2008, Floppycats.com had an Interview with Ryan Cross and Beth Miller of Angel Girls Ragdolls Cattery (Foundeded by: Nancy & V Hamilton). Their Ragdolls are SBT registered Purebreds with TICA and CFA. They are located, 20 minutes Northwest of Washington DC, USA. Their website is www.angelgirlragdolls.com.
To start off the interview, Ryan and Beth gave me some background information about Angel Girls:
We love to share information about Ragdolls and how we got so lucky to have these gorgeous cats in our lives! Nancy Hamilton started AngelGirls (TICA) and AngelGirl (CFA) from a labor of love and wanting to bring back chocolates and lilacs. We are friends and lovers of Ragdolls that over the years have helped her and developed a love from her infectious joy over this breed.
What we REALLY liked about her was that she truly believed the cats shouldn’t be caged, and that one should never have too many in one home, or it causes additional stress which leads to illnesses and infections. Cats are super sensitive to changes in environment and stress, and even a little left over dirty litter can be picked up on their paws, which they will lick, causing them to get sick.
How long have you been breeding Ragdolls?
Nancy began in 2001 with Anastasia, an award winning lilac lynx bi-color, who later proved to be a Blue with DNA testing! She spent a long time perfecting gorgeous lilacs and chocolates. We don’t even advertise the chocolates, as they are usually sold before they are even born.
How did you pick Ragdolls to breed?
Nancy spent a year trying to figure out the perfect pet for her young daughter. She wanted an indoor, affectionate animal that could be carried by a young child, and that would greet her at the door, but that did not require grooming, vacuuming, or daily walks during the working day. She found all of that and more in the Ragdoll breed. She loved the lilacs, but they were all but extinct, and from that, and her childhood wish to have been a vet, she got on a mission to save the lilacs…
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Do you show? Why or why not?
Nancy went to a few shows, but found that it stresses out the cats, so it is only done once or twice a year. We balance getting awards with what is best for our feline friends, and they basically don’t like being caged up all day through the whole weekend, and we notice that they shed a lot of fur. In addition, we have been warned that they can catch infections from other cats at the shows. So we go just to get the accolated that come from producing such gorgeous specimens.
What congenital defects are in Ragdolls?
Ragdolls are fairly healthy. They succumb to the regular afflictions that affect other cat breeds. Since Persian and Himalayan have been added to the breed to get longer, fluffier coats, they now can get HCM and PKD. We test for these however.
How are you breeding to avoid those defects?
We do more testing than any other breeder of Ragdolls we have met yet. We test all kittens we consider keeping in our program, and if they have any carrier traits, we stop using them and their parents. We also keep in touch with new families, and if any health issues arise, we investigate that in their parents as well. We do all of our testing in October of every year, so that we always know what is due. Other breeders are hit or miss, and with so many cats, lots of things get overlooked. Part of our price reflects the extensive testing, health visits and vaccines (intranasal only) that we give to our babies.
How large is your breeding operation?
We have two males and each is in a separate household so that they never feel the need to spray. We also searched for non-sprayers so that they wouldn’t have to be caged. There are six adult female breeders, and they are spread between our homes. We have a few young girls who we are watching to see if they may be breeders in the future as well. We move the girls around from time to time to stave off depression in the males, as males who are not neutered get depressed if they do not see new females from time to time. This arrangement has made a world of difference in the health and happiness of the boys, kittens, cats, as well as us! We each only have four cats to cater to, and Nancy is so knowledgeable about health and pet care that we feel we have an ideal situation and are well-organized. Also, if one person gets sick or goes on vacation, we have two people who can back us up. It relieves a great deal of stress that a lot of breeders have who dont have this arrangement.
Where do your cats spend most of their time?
Each cat has a favorite location, and we try to mention that in our web pages. Gabriella follows Nancy around the house. Duchess always wants to be by the patio door in the sun’s rays. Snow sleeps with Beth. Prince likes his cat perch…
Do you breed full time? In other words, do you have another job?
Nancy and Ryan have other jobs, and Nancy prefers being more of a resource and sounding board. Beth is a stay-at-home mom. This is a labor of love for us. With three people, there really isn’t any money in this after you take out cat food, litter, and vet costs. We just like seeing more lilacs and chocolates out in the Ragdoll world.
What sort of health guarantees do you offer?
The details are on our web page, but basically there is a two year health guarantee, and a full life genetic health guarantee. It is important for new owners to realize that getting a new kitten is like adopting a child, and sometimes children get sick, but you don’t give them back or ask the hospital to pay for their medicine! But genetic problems cause us to give full refunds. We do insist that people always behave courteously, or we quit assisting them, as this is supposed to be fun and enjoyable for us.
What happens if the kitten gets sick?
We have excellent vets who see all of our kittens. The typical scenario of sickness is one where they get a cold, or an upper respiratory infection. They pass in two weeks, but we use a lot of home remedies, like papaya juice, bee pollen, and also we sometimes use Interferon or Lysine liquid, which is what one of our vets believes helps ward it off.
Do you have any fun adoption stories to share?
Lordy! This one is kind of embarrassing. We sold one kitten, who is on our web page, to a professional singer in New York.
When she picked up the kitten, she picked up the wrong one, a girl instead of her boy. When she went to the vet, the vet told her she had a girl. She called us and ALSO wanted the boy now that she was attached to the girl. We were really embarrassed that we hadn’t checked (but they were both similar looking lilac color points). The girl she took we were planning on using in our breeding program, so we were lucky she wasn’t actually reserved, so she was able to have both.
What makes this kitten or cat “pet quality” or “show quality”?
We explain this in detail on our web pages. A show quality kitten is more likely to win awards in a show, based on our knowledge of the Ragdoll profile and qualities. They have characteristics that are closely in line with the breed standard. They do not have any mismarks, and are usually large and well-boned. A pet quality kitten isn’t an unattractive kitten at all. But we cannot keep them all and take them all to shows! We sell a lot of kittens we think are GORGEOUS as pets… We also do not want to sell too many breeder kittens, as we can not be certain of what kind of life they will have in their future home.
Do you keep some of your cats for your own?
We get very attached… What are you going to do? So, we keep some of the girls around long past when they stop breeding. We only have the females have about three litters before we spay them. Anastasia is still here, and I doubt Gabby is going anywhere…
How old is your oldest cat?
Anastasia was born in 2000?… (we guess without looking it up.) So she’s eight years old, and not breeding anymore.
What is your favorite Ragdoll look?
Nancy likes the lilac color, and her favorite pattern is mitted with a blaze. (We attached one of our boys who is a lilac mitted with blaze of ours.) Ryan likes the tortie girls, and Beth likes seal color points.
Do you raise your cats underfoot?
Absolutely! Other people say they do, but we don’t really believe it. We always encourage people to buy a rescue first, and then second, try to buy a kitten from a SMALL cattery. That gives you the best bet for a healthy future family member.
Please look at all of the detail and background information we give on our pages. Nancy has been very extensive. We explain all of the colors and patterns in detail, and also give a complete explanation of the Ragdoll history. We doubt you could
get as much information on other web sites!
Do you send photos of the parents before you adopt a kitten? Or do you post the parents on the website?
We post all of the parents on our web site, and we think this is VERY important, as some breeders have TONS of cats and you never know who parented who. Being able to see the parents of your new family member gives you a good idea of what your baby will look like, and it gives you a picture of their health as well. It also ensures that your baby is not inbred to a close relative.
Do you send the kitten’s pedigree when you adopt a kitten?
We send a five generation pedigree with every kitten.
Will it be a problem if one requests, and wants to pay for, the CatGenes DNA testing before one accepts a kitten?
We WISH everyone wanted to get DNA testing and color testing and HCM testing done before accepting a kitten! It is too pricey for us to do it on everyone, but we do it on the kittens we keep! We think the HCM testing is more important than the DNA testing, as HCM can shorten a Ragdolls life span, but any testing is a good thing.
Can people interested in purchasing one of your cats visit your cattery?
Nancy used to have “adoption” parties at her house where she had champagne and appetizers and her house was open all weekend long. Unfortunately, not everyone was respectful, and meeting people you only know through the internet can be dangerous and scary. Our Angels live in our homes, so it is a risky proposition for any woman to give out her address. Because of this, Ryan usually does the meeting with folks.
If a possible adoptee cannot visit your cattery, are you willing to talk to your adoptee on the phone
Anyone who has made a deposit gets our phone number and talks to us at length so that we are assiting them in getting the exact right family member for their home. Also, we offer references which include people who have been in our homes and bought kittens from us, which they can contact prior to purchasing or making a deposit.
How do you honor your health guarantee? There is no legal binding issue there, so that’s why I’m asking.
Our health guarantee is the best there is. We require a vet to either speak with us, or send us a letter letting us know that there was a genetic reason for illness, and then we either provide a new kitten, or give a refund minus the deposit. Strangely enough, we have had people fake deaths in order to get refunds, so we do require proof, but the only other thing that would cancel someone’s health guarantee is if they chose to be rude and either slander us or take legal action instead of coming to us first.
What if a kitten gets adopted and the customer is unhappy with a kitten, what do you do?
We have had people adopt kittens and then want to return them due to their own situations, and we have given full refunds, and partial refunds depending on the amount of time that has gone by, and honestly, how kind they were in their dealings with us. Truly, being nice pays off when you are dealing with us.
How are your kittens registered?
All of our kittens are registered with either TICA or CFA, or both.
Are you capable of including the kittens maturing pattern since birth?
We know before a litter is even born exactly what patterns are going to emerge. When a kitten is born, they are all white, but within two weeks we know what color and pattern they are. We also know that they have a growth spurt at 4 months which creates a gangly look, much like our young human teens at about 12 and 13… At one year of age they are still not fully grown, but you can tell the size and complete color of every Angel.
What vaccination brand do you use? And what vaccinations are given, when?
On our web site, we give our entire vaccination schedule and brands, which includes three rounds of 3 in 1 intra-nasal vaccines by HESKA. We don’t do shots anymore, and spend the extra money on the nose drop vaccines. We also do monthly drops of Revolution to ensure we do not have parasites, and Revolution covers the longest list. And all kittens see a vet to get a health guarantee before going to their new home.
What are the kittens fed?
We have spent a lot of time researching the best food, as food is fuel, and helps determines a kittens future health. We feed everyone Royal Canin. The young ones get the dry kitten food, and the adults get the nursing and vitamin-enriched formula. We also give everyone wet food morning and night from Instinctive Choice, which is a premier wet canned food that we buy off the internet. It contains no by-products, corn, wheat, dairy, artificial colors, or chemical preservatives, and is protein dense, which the cats just LOVE! It contains organic chicken, turkey, chicken liver and shrimp, as well as containing Vitamins A, B, C, E, folic acid, iron and copper. We also only use filtered water in our homes.
Most importantly, buy a kitten from a Rescue Site, or from a SMALL breeder. Once someone has more than eight cats, it is hard for us to imagine that they can be taking the best care of them all. We recommend getting a kitten from someone who doesn’t cage their cats. Caging is cruel.
Floppycats.com has interviewed the following Ragdoll breeders. If you would like to read their interview, please click on any of them below.
If you are a Ragdoll breeder and would like to be interviewed, please contact Floppycats.com about Questions for Cat Breeders. Or you can always just answer the 15 questions listed above and e-mail them to Floppycats.com.