Wendell – Ragdoll of the Week

WENDELLAs most people say, I decided on a ragdoll after carefully researching the various breeds. I used to have two Maine Coons, and although they’re also wonderful, I wanted a different breed. I guess I was still drawn to the “gentle giant” thing. When I first saw Wendell as a kitten, the breeder explained that he was “mismarked,” as his blaze wasn’t straight. But I’ve never been attracted to the norm, anyway. It was love at first sight. That blaze was symbolic of a lightning bolt, as kitten Wendell was a wild one! He would tear around my apartment in a literal blur, spinning and slamming toys along the way. He enjoyed stalking visitors, climbing legs (I warned guests about shorts), and running up and down my legs under the cover at night. (I’d just wince and bear it.) He loved to rub noses, and occasionally he’d take mine gently between his teeth. He had big lynx ears; those feral-looking tufts are still there.

"Wendel" Photo: Phil Marino © 2002
“Wendel” Photo: Phil Marino © 2002

A friend of mine, who works as a photographer for The New York Times, photographed Wendell as a kitten. Two of the photos from this shoot wound up in Workman calendars, one in the 365 Kittens a Year (2004, I believe), the other in a 365 Cats 2014 Page-A-Day Calendar a few years later on the date March 18, the birthday of my other ragdoll, Fitzgerald. (Happy coincidence!)

After Wendell was neutered, he calmed down quite a bit. Per “standard” ragdoll behavior, he’ll go limp in my arms when I hold him, and he’ll usually come when called. He races to me when he hears his name in a whisper or if I hog-call him: “Huh-WEHHHN-dell!!!” His arrival is always preceded by a “Here I am” trill. He loves being petted, especially under his chin and at the top of his chest, and he’ll purr loudly and endlessly. He loves ear rubs and tummy rubs. He has a rather large

"Wendel" Photo: Phil Marino © 2002
“Wendel” Photo: Phil Marino © 2002

snout, and he loves it when you rub a finger up and down along the length of his nose, something he’ll instigate himself. He has a very throaty, trilly purr, almost as if he’s doing musical scales in ascending, then descending order.

But in no way does he fit the ragdoll mold. His temperament can best be described as sugar and spice. He is the primo alpha kitty, very independent, and sometimes he isn’t in the mood for affection. Although he’ll usually be in the same room as I am when I come home from work, he is not a lap cat. If I’m home during the day, he’ll often seek solitude in the far reaches of my apartment. And just as often as I notice his absence, he’ll seek ME out, which means a lot more to me than his being available at my beck and call.

Wendell in sink
Wendell in sink

My boyfriend and I are wary when he gets into the licking mode, as three or four licks on the hand are  sometimes followed by his teeth around the wrist. I think of that commercial where the owl couldn’t wait to bite into a Tootsie Pop: “How many licks does it take…?” But my boyfriend put it best: “It’s when you go to the doctor’s and you’re prepped for a needle with the gauze pad of alcohol—dab, dab, dab, dab, OUCH.” He’s still one of the fastest cats I’ve ever seen—when he chooses to be—and excels at Bergen Turbo Scratcher (a.k.a. the ball in the circular track) and feather wand. He is fascinated by paper, especially small pieces—like the strips that you remove from the Netflix envelopes—which he’ll chew up and sometimes eat (when I’m unable to stop him). He’ll sit fascinated as I balance my checkbook, eyeing the statement and canceled checks. One time he even made off with one.

1463315_10202016673451060_191007777_nWhen he was about six months old, I bought Fitzgerald from the same breeder, and Wendell immediately took to him, showing him the ropes. He’d often—as he does to this day—chase after Fitz and/or instigate tussles. At one point I took Fitz to the vet for fear he was getting whaled on a daily basis. But the vet was quick to point out Wendell’s “battle scars,” showing he got back in return, which made me feel somewhat better. By the same token, Wendell has always been very “mature,” when it comes to his brother, as if he understands the age difference. Until today, whenever I engaged them in play, Wendell will sit back and wait for his turn. Wendell is extremely protective of Fitz. When guests and neighbors are making a big fuss over Fitz, Wendell will hover nearby, watching him guardingly, every once in a while looking up at me as if to say, “Are you seeing this? Is this okay?” He is just as photo 1protective of me, watching from across the room when I have visitors, especially people he doesn’t know.

Wendell is now 12, and he and I have our routine. Mornings he’ll jump on the toilet, whose lid is always closed. (That’s because he once threw himself in during one of his kitten rampages, only to fly right back out.) At first he’ll watch me putting my makeup on, but it’s not before long until his meowing (a rather loud, piercing RAH) begins. That’s because it’s time for his “wah-wah,” which he’ll only drink if it’s in his special cup. Bedtime he’s right beside me, usually stretching out horizontally till I’m relegated to the very edge of the bed. He is king of the castle, often found on the top tray of the cat tree in my bedroom, in his favorite sleeping position, stretched out on Wendell3 3_13his back.

So that’s Wendell, part lion/part Tazmanian devil. You might not see it in the photos, but Wendell has a very human expression, and is very much an individual. He may not be the stereotypical ragdoll, but (like all of them) he is indeed special.

Wendell closeup

photo 5




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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. Dementia Boy says:

    Wendell makes me laugh!! His face is VERY expressive. There’s something curmudgeonly about it, definitely regal and upper class. The asymmetry of his blaze gives him an artsy, cultured look. He just needs a Yeowww!! catnip cigar to complete the persona.

    William, my old guy, also “purred the octaves,” ending in a trill. Beautiful song.

    May you have many more happy years with calendar boy =)

  2. Wendell and Fitzgerald are adorable 🙂 Thanks for sharing!!!

  3. Breeders will always tell you why your ragdoll isn’t perfect. Truth is they are perfect to you! I am glad Wendell found you. Lovely story, thanks for sharing.

  4. Wendel and Fitz are addorable,and I totally get the behavior pattern of Wendell sounds like my MURPHY and he also loved to kick his nephews butt,but was very protective of him if I was trying to wipe his nephews butt and thought I WAS HURTING HIM,HE WOULDfollow us in the bathroom,yelling at me like Mom leave him alone,so what if he got a little poo on him,very protective,and they are best buddys when Murphy feels like it.And just like kids nephew CEASAR copys everything big uncle Murphy does.Anyhow loved your story,totally get it.And Wendel and Fitz are great,many more happy Ragdoll years too you.Lisa Murphy and Ceasar.

  5. Non-straight blazes rule! Wendell grew up into a beautiful boy. I love the picture of the two of them in the cat tree- I would give anything to have my two get along like that. They have an armed truce, at best. Thanks for sharing Wendell with us.

  6. Thank you, everyone, for those sweet comments. They made my—and Wendell’s—day! Laura

  7. Thanks for such an enjoyable read! Wendell’s story is cute, funny and amazing! Oh, he’s a beauty! I just lurve the difference colors on his face and the patch of white from his little blaze is gorgeous! He just looks like such a fun & interesting kitty! What a great life he has had with you so far! Fitzgerald is also very beautiful! Lurved the story!

    Congrats on having two awesome Raggies! 🙂

    Big hugs!

    Patti & Pink Sugar 🙂 <3

  8. What a beautiful boy. Love you story and how you describe Wendell. He siunds like a dream come true. Wishing a lot of happiness and long life ahead.♥

  9. what a wonderful story and what awesome names for your beautiful cats. wendell sounds like a fun and funny cat. he is certainly gorgeous.. uneven blaze..pfftt who cares? thanks for sharing your story.

  10. Hey, I have a Blue Bicolor male Ragdoll too! His name is Nico, he has a sis named Anya (who’s a Blue Mitted). Your Ragdolls are very handsome guys and Wendell’s story made me laugh. 🙂

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