Stanlee – Ragdoll of the Week

Stanlee - Ragdoll of the Week
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Stanlee – Ragdoll of the Week

Before I, Okie, married my husband, Ted, I already had two rescue kitty children, a ginger tabby boy named Smiley, who lived to be 19 years old (2012), and a mixed girl named Taco Bella who lived to be almost 20 years old (April 2013). Four months later in August, I pushed the idea of a puppy onto my husband. My logic was this: “If you think I’m going to live the rest of my life with just you, then you’re just crazy.” He gave in, but not to a puppy, rather to getting another two rescue kitties. Instead of getting rescue cats again, I asked him for only one very special kitty. I reminded him of the Animal Planet’s Cats 101 that showed the Ragdoll, nicknamed the “puppy cat”. I figured if he wouldn’t let me have a puppy, then he should buy me a cat that acts like one.

We found lots of Ragdoll breeders online, but to our avail, none had kittens available. Until we finally got a lead on a breeder in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania. We called her and she had a Seal Color Point male. We asked her to email a picture of him. And when she did, we were instantly smitten by the kitten. She said he’d be only $500. So we accepted the price not realizing then, but knowing now, that her price was very low and that this should have raised a huge red flag, but only to the experienced buyer.

Stanlee - Ragdoll of the Week
chilling with his Momma

We drove up to Blue Bell, just outside of Philadelphia, in just five hours. Jean Levito, the hobby breeder, lived in a townhouse and had, I think, at least four adult Ragdolls for breeding. Our kitten was about 9 weeks old; he had no shots and was not neutered. We stayed just a little while at her house and on the road we again back down to Virginia. Our kitten was amazing in the minivan. We’d taken the extra seats out so he’d have a lot of space to run around during the ride. He played a little but mostly laid in the litter box I brought along. But little did kitty know, he wouldn’t have much need for litter once we got home.

Now home, I showed kitty where to find the litter box in the bathroom and once he used it, I quickly took it away and put him on the City Kitty filled with flushable litter setup on the toilet seat. I watched many YouTube videos and read lots of reviews before deciding on this product and I was ready and determined to have a litter-free home. So I watched him and I watched him until he finally hopped up onto the toilet and used it. From then on, he had no problems using the toilet all the way to the very last step. No litter and not one accident. Yes, he is amazing and the story behind his name is a little amazing too.

Even before driving to PA to get our kitten, I’d come up with an amazing name for him and of course it had to be husband approved. My husband is a huge Pittsburgh Penguins fan and with hockey comes the Stanley Cup. He’s also a huge Marvel Comic movies fan, all of which are inspired by comic creator Stan Lee. Blend these together and you get Stanlee, also known as “Puppy” to his mommy and “The Bubbies” to his daddy. I always enjoy telling this story, but know now that the rest of the story isn’t so happy.

Stanlee - Ragdoll of the Week
Is every moment a Kodak moment…NO

A kitten with fleas is not a good thing and these fleas of course led to worms. To the vet we went for him to get treated and then put on a monthly dose of the pricey Revolution. Know that Stanlee received all his vaccinations, boosters and rabies shots and was neutered early on. If fleas and worms were all I had to worry about, then I’d be very happy, but this was not to be.

As early as December of 2013, Stanlee, not even 6-months old, started sneezing. A few days go by and the sneezing gets worse. It’s obvious that he’s trying to clear the green snot that’s clogging up his nose, making it hard to breathe. To the vet we go and after a shot of antibiotic, a shot of steroid and hefty vet bill, we’d head back home. He does get better, but in another month or so, he starts sneezing again. And to the vet we go…again. This time blood work proves Stanlee has feline herpes, a disease he’s stuck with for the rest of his life. Because it’s very contagious to other felines, Stanlee would have to stay an only child. It was so sad seeing him suffer so much with the sneezing and congestion month after month and as far as the vet knew, this wasn’t a disease that was going to kill him. Sadly, it would be something else.

In December 2014, I started noticing Stanlee getting on and off the toilet more than normal. Being proactive, I tracked his business by placing a pan in the toilet bowl to catch his urine. Because he wasn’t peeing hardly anything, I called the vet for an appointment. He was given an antibiotic shot and other medication. On another visit he was given a $160 shot for pain, an ultra sound and more meds – $450 later. From December to this year June, Stanlee never really seemed to get any better. On Saturday, June 6th I monitored his visits to the toilet and the amount of urine in the pan – so many visits and no urine. I woke on Sunday, June 7th and rushed to the toilet to see if any urine was in the toilet – nothing. I yelled to my husband that we needed to take Stanlee to the emergency vet right away – and so we did.

Stanlee - Ragdoll of the Week
Head butt from Stanlee

Stanlee laid in my lap the whole way to the hospital – something he’d never done. The doctor knew right away that Stanlee was suffering from Feline Idiopathic Cystitis because of his full batter and lethargy and a blood sample showed extremely high potassium. This was a horrible situation to be in because the vet said emptying Stanlee’s bladder with a needle could cause it to burst or sedating him to enter through his urethra could cause heart failure due to the high level of potassium in his blood. Something needed to be done, so all we could do is leave him in their hands. It was later that week that my husband was able to pick up our baby. Stanlee was in a small white box placed in a white paper bag. (Tears pour down my face writing this.) On June 8th, I called and left Jean Levito, the breeder, a message about our kitty; she’s not called back – no surprise. Our handsome Seal Color Point Ragdoll Stanlee, our boy, would have turned two years old on June 29, 2015. This makes him a perfect choice for “Ragdoll of the Week”.

Thank you for letting me share the story of our beloved Stanlee.
Ted & Okie Sidehamer
Newport News, Virginia

Do you have a Ragdoll Kitten or Cat?  Consider submitting your kitty!  Ragdoll of the Week submission guidelines

Stanlee - Ragdoll of the Week
I bought this vase years ago at a thrift store never knowing I’d one day have a cat to match it
Stanlee - Ragdoll of the Week
I want those birds outside
Stanlee - Ragdoll of the Week
Really, Mom? Do I take pictures of you on the toilet?

Stanlee - Ragdoll of the Week 2

Stanlee - Ragdoll of the Week 2


Stanlee - Ragdoll of the Week
A pencil portrait of Stanlee. A 2014 Christmas present from my husband.
Stanlee - Ragdoll of the Week
Grandparents Ted Sr. And Tina to the left, Okie, holding grandkitty, Stanlee, and Ted Jr. to the right


Stanlee - Ragdoll of the Week 2
This is my good side
Stanlee - Ragdoll of the Week 4
I have a business called Okiedokie Face & Body Art – I’m a face painter – so my
husband challenged me to paint my own face to look like Stanlee, so I did.
Stanlee - Ragdoll of the Week 4
I have a business called Okiedokie Face & Body Art – I’m a face painter – so my
husband challenged me to paint my own face to look like Stanlee, so I did.
Website | + posts

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. Teresa Reid says:

    So very sorry for your loss of your beloved Stanlee. He was gorgeous and such an amazing boy who even learned to use the toilet. So great of you and Stanlee! So sorry for everyone having to go through all that suffering and sadness and the breeder being so irresponsible.

    I, too, live in VA and understand your need to have a Ragdoll kitten and not being able to locate one. When I was looking for my first Ragdoll baby, got sucked into the same trap you did as far as having an irresponsible breeder. She sent me photos and I asked her point blank about Gracie’s eyes that looked weepy. She made the excuse that it was because she had just received her vaccines and so I bought that twice. We picked her up the day after her 12 week shots and she was soooo sick sneezing and coughing. I called the breeder only to be told that again it was because of her shots. Her entire first month was spent going to and from the vet just as you did and she was so sick with feline herpes that she didn’t enjoy anything. The herpes virus finally resolved, although just as you said, will be with her for life. But, the good news now is that it is dormant thank God and my other kitties aren’t bothered by it because their immunities are strong and not compromised. That breeder, thank God, is now out of business and hope that yours is too so that won’t happen again to anyone else and no more kitties have to suffer.

    Don’t know if you are still looking for another sweet Ragdoll buddy or not, but would gladly recommend Angel Girls Ragdolls here in Virginia. They are near Washington, DC, but will meet you half way if need be. They have so many gorgeous babies. We got our youngest who just turned 3, Illaria Rose, from them, and they did everything right. They are very responsible people and they most always have kittens. You can check out our FB page to see how Illaria looks if you like at: http://www.facebook/heartofgrace1

    Again, am so very very sorry for your loss and all you and Stanlee went through.♥♥♥

  2. Patti Johnson says:

    Oh, Okie, thank you for sharing your love story with Stanlee with us. I am so sorry for your tragic loss of your precious boy. How dreadful and heartbreaking. But, I also can tell from your story how very much you and your family adored and cherished this special and very handsome boy! Bless your heart for doing what you could. I can certainly understand how angry, sad and betrayed you must feel with the breeder. BIG HUGS

    Lurve the name “Stanlee” and lurve the beautiful pics of your baby boy! He was such a character! What a beautiful face he had! And how smart was he to take to that toilet training instantly! Wow! Amazing!

    I hope that one day you’ll be able to find a better breeder and take another chance on a beautiful Ragdoll. I think Stanlee would want you to do that when you are ready.

    Big hugs,

    Patti & Miss Pink Sugarbelle 🙂 <3

  3. Judy Lynn says:

    I was sad to read the story about Stanlee. We lost our Ragdoll, CocoPuff, to FIP when he was only 14 months old. After reading about what causes that, all points led back to the breeder. I never figured out how because her breeding area seemed very clean. When I called to tell her about why our baby boy died I was met with hostility, so that gave me pause. I only wanted to inform her, not accuse her of anything. At any rate, my heart was, and still is, broken losing this little guy I loved so much. If anyone could tell me what signs to look for when choosing or purchasing a Ragdoll kitten from a breeder I would love to know. Two years ago, I found a rescue Ragdoll who was over a year old–maybe that’s the key. I haven’t found too much about FIP, but it was such a heartbreaking experience, I wouldn’t want anyone to experience it.

  4. Susan Siems Hathcoat says:

    I am so very sorry for your loss of your beautiful baby Stanlee. I recently lost my 17 yr old baby and long for another sweet raggie. I hope you find a new baby soon.

  5. Dear Okie,

    I am awfully sorry for the misery you and your family went through! I cried with you when I read the ending of sweet Stanlee’s story. He was such a handsome boy and so smart!

    Thank you for rescuing Smiley and Taco Bella! I hope you won’t give up on rescues OR Ragdolls… you really can have the best of both worlds. Although rescue kitties don’t come with all the bells and whistles, they too can bring many years of joy as you already know. When you’re ready to open your heart and home again, please check Ragdoll Rescues, Petfinder and shelters in your area. I strongly believe that you will meet another Ragdoll to love!

    No new kitty can ever replace the ones you’ve lost, but each one is special in its own way. (I’ve had two Ragdoll boys. They looked just alike and were entirely different. Both were rescues and both were amazing. They lived in the lap of luxury with us and our other rescue kitties. I hope to meet another Raggie who needs a home someday.)

  6. that is so sad and i hope that you call out that breeder all over the place. there is NO excuse for that. it’s too bad there are such rotten and irresponsible and plain old nasty people out there. so sorry for the loss of your stanlee.

  7. says:

    Stanlee was beautiful, the story so tragically sad. I lost a Siberian Kitty to FIP, from a virus aquired at the breeder’s, who also had too many breeder cats and apparently weak stock as a result. it’s horrible, and then they just ignore you. I’m glad that Stanlee had such loving parents for his brief time here.

    Sadly, the experience teaches you a lesson you didn’t want to learn.

    I am deeply sorry for your supreme loss.

  8. Sherry Hyden says:

    When I began reading your story I never dreamed it would end with such sadness. I am truly sorry for your loss. Stanley was a gorgeous kitty and so loved. Its obvious you made his short life enjoyable, bless you!

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