Jannie – Ragdoll of the Week

Originally published Jan 14, 2019

It has taken me a while to be able to sit down and write the story of my beloved Ragdoll, since I’m still unable to come to grips with his terrible death on September 21, 2018. He was exactly 18 months old and was born on March 20, 2017.

I’ve always loved cats and especially since I became a widow the presence of a living creature in my life meant a lot to me. I had a Himalayan cat who died of old age about a month before I bought my Ragdoll.

Before I decided on the breed I scanned the internet and it was a toss up between a Main Coon or a Ragdoll but checking on the reviews of owners I decided on a Ragdoll.

I then checked on various breeders and found none close to where I live but then saw a write up of a breeder, called JESSICA PERRY, in Texas, and some of the reviews on her website were positive. I called her and she told me that she has kittens available that were born on March 20, 2017.

I paid a deposit for a male kitten. She said she charged $2000 for the kitten and that he would be sent by air when he was two months old. I paid for the airfare and picked him up at the airport on May 15, 2017.

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I decided to call him “Jannie”, after an uncle of mine whom I loved dearly. I brought Jannie home and for the first two days stayed with him in our bathroom and we bonded. I fell in love with him almost immediately.

He had the most beautiful blue eyes and were so affectionate. He would climb up on my chest and lick my chin and then give it a little nip.

At the beginning he was famished and ate at least three cans of Fancy Feast seafood and chicken a day, in addition to Purina One dried food and the skinny little thing grew rapidly into a beautiful kitten.

He followed me around the house from room to room, in effect almost became my shadow. He loved to play with toys that had little balls in them and was extremely active during the day and slept with me at night, cuddling up against my back.

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During the day one of the places that he liked to sleep in was my water basin. I guess he liked the coolness and could roll up in a little ball.

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I could not have been happier. He was a perfect companion and so loyal. I’ve always had cats all my life but nothing like Jannie.

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But then–During the first week of January, 2018, he suddenly changed. Instead of following me around the house, he tried to hide from me. I would find him underneath my bed or behind a cupboard during the day, lying in the dark.

He stopped playing with his toys and lost his appetite. I was greatly puzzled and whereas I usually do not take my cats to a vet because of behavioral changes, the sudden change alarmed me and made an appointment with my vet who saw him on January 8, 2018.

Dr Clark examined him and listened to his heart and looked up to me and said: “He has a very loud heart murmur. He has to be seen by a Veterinary Specialist immediately.”

Fortunately, Dr Paling, had an opening the next day in Charlottesville, Virginia, about a two hour drive from my home, and I had him in her office at 10 AM on January 9, 2018.

She did an echocardiogram (cardiac ultrasound) and her findings were as follows: “This shows that Jannie unfortunately has a heart condition called HYPERTROPHIC CARDIOMYOPATHY, OR HCM.

This condition is genetic, or HERITABLE, in Ragdolls. His HCM is unfortunately already moderate, and he is at risk for recurrent heart failure. He is also at risk for abnormal heart rhythms and for having a blood clot form in his heart that can go out to his body.” She immediately started him on a beta blocker to control his heart rate and rhythm.

She also took a sample to test for HCM and sent the sample to the VETERINARY GENETICS LABORATORY. Two weeks later the test came back Positive Homozygous. This meant that he had two copies of the mutated gene. He thus got a copy from each of his parents.

They may not have shown signs of the disease but were carriers, and every kitten born in that litter must have inherited either one, or two, of the genes.

I was absolutely devastated and immediately informed the JESSICA PERRY about these findings. In fact, I kept her informed about all the tests that were done on Jannie, including the genetic test results.

To my amazement the only response that I got from her was that I should inform her when Jannie was no longer alive and that she the would give me another cat. It just stunned me. This woman clearly did not value the lives of the cats that she sold. They were just “cats” or things, and the more and the quicker she bred them and sold them at $2000 per kitten, the better.

She obviously did not to care that there are millions of people out there, like myself, who value the lives of our pets, who grow fond of them, who bond with them, and they literally become part of the family. The most amazing of the whole affair is that a genetic test costs a measly $35, while the kittens are sold for $2000 per kitten. I did not want another cat, I wanted JANNIE.

I will make make the rest of my story brief: I gave Jannie the beta blocker every day, without fail. But then he became quite ill again, and I listened to his heart. I’m a retired physician but still have my stethoscope. He had developed an abnormal heart rhythm and had water on his lungs.

I rushed back to Dr. Paling and she did a follow up echo-cardiogram and she confirmed that his heart was much bigger and that he had heart failure. She increased his beta blocker and put him on two addition medications: A water pill to remove the fluid from his lungs and another to prevent blood clotting. The visit took place on June 5, 2018.

I gave him the meds religiously every day even though it was not easy to give three different medications to a cat who no longer would eat canned food. But I persisted. I wanted to keep him alive as long as possible.

The night before he died, September 20, 2018, was like all the previous nights. He slept with me and I watched that he ate some dried food. In the middle of the night I must have turned on my back but I woke up with Jannie lying on my chest and he was licking my chin and then gave it a little nip. I gently stroked my lovely Jannie telling him how much I loved him.

The next morning, September 21, 2018, I woke up and opened the door and he bounced out down the stairs ahead of me, as he always did. Then at the bottom of the stairs he suddenly collapsed.

I noticed immediately that is hind legs were both paralyzed and he gasped for breath. Oh how he tried to get up but could not and just groaned and groaned. He looked up at me with a pleading look in his eyes. I was in total shock. It was exactly 7:30 AM and I rushed him to my local vet. He was in the process of opening his office and immediately took care of Jannie, giving him a sedative and a pain killer.

Jannie  was in agony. He had both a stroke and was in severe heart failure. My vet then asked me to leave them alone, to go home, and to call him after about an hour, which I did but I could hardly speak. I knew what he was going to tell me and he did: “Helena, Jannie is dying. He cannot breath and is in agony. May I put him out of his misery?” I gave the permission for him to euthanize Jannie.

I wrote to Jessica Perry, telling her that my beloved Jannie died a horrible death, a totally preventable death, if she had the heart and sympathy and the care to test her breeders for this disease, HCM. I ended the letter with these three words: SHAME ON YOU.

But I doubt it made any impact. I noted that she kept changing her phone numbers and e-mail addresses. When I bought Jannie from her it was: www.RagdollKittens.com. Then later on it became: Kittens@ Ragdollkittens.com and then RagdollKittens.net/kittens. This is a breeder without a conscience.

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Hi, I’m Jenny Dean, creator of Floppycats! Ever since my Aunt got the first Ragdoll cat in our family, I have loved the breed. Inspired by my childhood Ragdoll cat, Rags, I created Floppycats to connect, share and inspire other Ragdoll cat lovers around the world,

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  1. I am so sorry for your loss! I am on a call and can barley keep from crying. And i agree with your last words: SHAME ON THAT BREEDER! I lost my ragdoll kitten when he was not even a year old and he was my first cat or pet. He was my little baby! And i understand your pain.


  2. Chance L Shoemake says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. I think that we may have experienced the same cattery. My heart is breaking for my baby Cynthia (Cymph). In January of 2012, I purchased a ragdoll from cholotaragdolls. I remember other kittens being listed on the site from dollnaveue. They also assured me that their cats were genetically screened. At the time I purchased cymph, I lived in San Antonio. I met a guy at a Mcdonald’s parking lot who was not the person that I had been communicating with. Cynthia looks JUST LIKE Jannie and she acts like him too. Because I was in school, and have worked from home since graduation, we are really really tight. Two days ago she stopped getting on my lap for snuggles. She has a cough that has gotten progressively worse and the vet mentioned HCM during the last visit. Hearing your story, I am so thankful to have experienced a life with Cymph for 9 years. She is the first pet I have ever had. I have no children, and I lived alone for 7 years until I moved in with my partner. She is the light of my life and my absolute best friend. My heart goes out to you. If anyone is reading this – Please pray/send good vibes to my baby.


  3. My cats are probably on this forum, one was Ragdoll of the week some time ago. Older photos of them are also found on the Internet (their names are Whitie and Khari).

  4. Have not been on this forum for a good amount of time but on my commute home two nights ago I opened an email and read about Jannie, Ragdoll of the week. Although belated, my heart goes out to Jannie’s owner (Jannie was such a sweet cat to have suffered so). I don’t recall or know where you are located but I got my Ragdolls (which were both born in 2012) from a responsible breeder in Long Island New York (Luvleedolls) (a small cattery). For any of you that may be interested you can Google Luvleedolls to ensure the site is still up. They do not ship cats, and are very concerned about what type of home their cats go to.

  5. katana.bluebird says:

    Well, this breaks my heart.

    My cat’s breeder had the same thing happen: she started in the business and got a beautiful Queen from a fairly reputable breeder in the south. She took her cat to her own vet and the vet said “Well, this cat has a murmur…” My breeder said “No! We have papers to say she doesnt have HCM.” and the vet said “There are dirty vets and dirty breeders out there. Im so sorry. You cannot in good conscience breed this animal . She didnt, and now double checks the genetic testing with her own sources, but that cat is still alive. She goes to all the shows, and my breeder tells her story. She’s a beautiful cat, but this shouldnt have happened to her.

    Your last words to that breeder were right: SHAME on that woman. When youre in this business, you are dealing with living beings.

    But also, please be aware that if you ever decide to source out another breeder, please meet them first. Even this poor animal coming to you as skinny alarmed me. Please, go local if possible.

  6. This breaks my heart. My face is wet and my nose is running. How horrible for her. I pray she finds peace and that it is with another cat, be it a Ragdoll or a rescue.

    Heartfelt condolences.

  7. ABarletta says:

    Oh does my heart ache for you! You will never get over this trauma, but it is nice to see people offering to help you through this time. We had a lovely long-haired kitty, Sebastian, who we adopted from a shelter. We were pretty sure he was a raggie, but really no way to verify it. We had Sebbie 7 years when we brought him to the vet for a teeth cleaning. Our vet is extremely cautious and not only took Seb’s bloods, but an xray of his heart. He always does that with older cats before procedures. Seb was with us 7 years and was about 2 when we adopted him. Long story short, Sebbie was diagnosed immediately with cardiomyopathy. We were dumb founded. For six months we gave that cat five meds three times a day. When he refused to take them, I drove miles to have special compounds made to make the meds easier for him to take. He lasted six months, but we knew he was going to leave us at any time. And our vet did advise us that his end could be like the one your sweet Jannie suffered. In the end, Seb’s little veins just collapsed. Nothing we gave him hydrated him, not even the fluids the vet administered daily. So we let him go. You will always have a little hold shaped like your precious kitty in your heart. But you gave him a lovely life while you had him. And, you were probably the best person to have him. So, so, sorry for your loss.

  8. It took me a while to respond to Jannie’s story because I was upset, tearful and then I became absolutely enraged. I wanted to write unprintable things about JESSICA PERRY and it took me some time to calm down…

    How could such a sweet darling boy be sick? It doesn’t seem possible and yet it happened… His baby kitten photo broke my heart into a million pieces and if he were mine I would have been completely besotted with that cheeky face at first sight…

    I’m so sorry this happened to you, but so glad that Jannie had you there to take the best possible care of him. No one could have done better than you at caring for his needs…

    My heart goes out to you and your beautiful boy Jannie

  9. alicemariner says:

    I’m so very sorry for your loss and especially for the pain your poor kitty went through because of this GREEDY, UNSCRUPULOUS CRIMINAL! She should be reported to animal abuse authorities in Texas. Actually, she probably already has been since she’s seemingly “on the run.” I hope she’s tracked down and punished as what she’s doing should be considered murder. Thanks for allowing me to vent my anger. I sincerely hope you can heal from this horrible experience and can find another kitty to love. You can be sure your beloved pet is with the angels.

  10. I don’t know if Jessica Perry actually breeds or if she’s just a cat broker. I think she makes all the arrangements for multiple breeders all over the country who sell kittens to her for a very cheap price and she handles it from there. I believe she started in SC, then LA and now TX. She was Elegant Rags, Lovely Rags, Love Ragdolls, etc. and every time the complaints piled up online the name would change and she would move. I know there are a lot of people trying to get her operation shut down. She has been selling extremely unhealthy cats for years and never doing anything to make the situation better.

    I’m a breeder in NC and I would very much like to hear from you and see if you’ll let me offer you a healthy, happy kitten at a very reduced price. Also if you don’t want another kitten I do have a retired 4 yr. old boy who is neutered that I will give to you. My website is http://www.raggymay.com and my heart just breaks for you.
    Big hugs and hopes that you can fill your mind with happy memories of your beautiful Jannie.

    1. A year ago I lost my 16 year old Carly (not a ragdoll) to cancer. I was totally devastated. When I decided I was ready for another cat, I knew I wanted a ragdoll. Fortunately, I found Edie from Raggymay. We talked in depth about my situation, discussed my getting a kitten vs a retired cat, and personalities. I felt so comfortable to know that I would be getting a healthy, social and loved cat. It was obvious from our conversations that she loves her cats, wants to stay in touch with her new owners and know how her cats are in their new homes. To my absolute delight, she trusted me with eight year old AJ, her newly “retired” handsome boy. He is the love of my life. Edie and I talk on the phone, and through email all the time, and I send her pictures of his recent antics. I hope Jannie’s owner will follow up with Edie if he/she is thinking of getting another ragdoll. My heart broke when I read Jannie’s story because I know how much it hurts to lose a pet. But I also know how wonderful it feels to open your heart and provide a loving home to another sweet soul. I miss my dear Carly, but I thank Edie every day for my sweet AJ.

  11. Balling my eyes out reading this story about beautiful Jannie (who looks just like my Phoebe). What a despicable breeder, only interested in money (and that was a huge amount to pay). Imagine the number of kittens that this breeder has sold, all possibly with this awful disease. As a cat lover and ragdoll owner, I am outraged by these backyard breeders, they are scum. The main thing is that you loved your boy and you gave him the best life possible. Hugs to you.

  12. OMG, Jannie’s Mom, what a horrifying and tragic end your GORGEOUS BOY met on that dreadful date in September! Please, please, please accept my truest and deepest heartfelt sympathies and condolences! I am just OUTRAGED by the irresponsibility of That Awful Breeder and her disgusting attitude and unconscionable ways! SHAME ON HER is RIGHT!!! And you had your heart broken into a tiny million pieces and that your precious baby boy had to suffer so very much because of HER ACTIONS! My heart goes out to the other owners of his brothers and sisters (as well as those beautiful, innocent kittehs) who surely must be suffering with HCM, too! 🙁 <3 <3 <3

    I am very touched and happy by the fact that you DID have a short but intensely happy and loving time with your boy for a few months until the day he got so sick and suffered his stroke, etc.. <3 <3 <3 Please take comfort in the fact that YOU gave Jannie The Best Furever Home and most love possible and you took excellent care of him (especially after discovering he had HCM!)! YOU DID WHAT A MOTHER DOES…YOU LOVED WITH EVERY OUNCE OF YOUR SOUL & YOU DID WHATEVER WAS NEEDED TO CARE FOR HIM THROUGH HIS ILLNESS.

    Wish I could give you a BIG SWEET WARM HUG & FOREHEAD KISS for all you have been through! Glad you have some sweet Jannie memories to hold in your heart furever! <3 <3 <3

    Wishing you comfort and peace and hoping you find the day when you may be willing to try again with a new Ragdoll breeder (a reputable and dependable one who truly lurves her cats and kittens and is more concerned with their health and well-being than profit first!). <3

    Big hugs & lots of love & blessings and prayers!

    Patti & Miss Pink Sugarbelle <3 <3 <3

    1. lovemyfluffyprince says:

      My heart is breaking reading your post. To lose a Ragdoll that you love is a tragedy in itself but when it happens because of someone else’s greed is gut-wrenching.
      I am so sorry for your loss. You were an amazing mother to Jannie, giving him the best of care and all your love right to the end. It may have been brief, but you will remember your time with Jannie as a gift that you will carry with you forever.

  13. Patricia Bain Holland says:

    I am so sorry for your loss, Can’t keep from crying as I also lost my beautiful Dusty at 18 months from FIP 5 years ago and my heart still aches. Jannie was such a beautiful boy and I know you will never get over the pain of losing him. Yes SHAME ON THE BREEDER

    1. Harry Haff says:

      We have a Ragdoll, Zelda, who has a profile somewhere here. We saved her from her first family who were going to have her put down because she meowed!
      Too many breeders are like the one described here. Growing up I got a dog when I was 8 and Sporty lived 15 years. The house was empty without him so I got my mother another beagle for her birthday about a year later. Manfred was the product of severe inbreeding from a breeder that had a fairly good rep. But his inbreeding was so severe that he had virtually no kidney function. HIs two best friend were a local orange kitten who lived down the street and even the birds would not fly away when he was in the backyard. But he died at just 3 years old.
      The comment from the breeder: “Well, he wasn’t a show dog.”

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