Misty's Ragdolls

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  • How much are kittens? Pet kittens are $1000, show/alter kittens are $1200-1500, and show/breeding kittens vary but are usually around $1800-2000.  Occasionally I have adults available and they are usually half of the kitten price (around $400-600), but they may be negotiable to the perfect home. 
  • Do you have any kittens available? Usually the answer is no. My kittens are typically reserved before they are even born. If not, they are usually reserved shortly thereafter. It would be rare for me to have a kitten available to go home right away. But, if I do, they will be listed on my "available" page.
  • Why is your waiting list so long? All of the good breeders I know in Florida have waiting lists. In fact, if you find a breeder that has lots of kittens available right away, that is a red flag. You have to ask yourself, why would the good breeders have a waiting list sometimes months long and another breeder has kittens available right away they can't even sell? There is always a reason.
  • Which one is sweeter-boys or girls?  Some people have a preconceived notion that one sex is better than the other.  Typically people had some experience in their past and if it was good they want to get that same sex, or if it was bad they want the opposite sex.  Some people think that girls are temperamental or that boys might spray.  The truth is there is NO difference in the sexes as far as their temperament and I have NEVER had anyone come back to me and tell me their boy sprays.  You have to understand that Ragdolls (from good breeders) have been bred generation after generation to be super sweet.  So, all Ragdolls should be loving and really crave attention and want to be with their people all the time.  The only difference in the boys and girls is physical.  The boys will typically get a little bigger than the girls and they will usually have a longer, thicker, fluffier coat.
  • I currently have a boy, what sex should I get?  Or, I currently have a girl, what sex should I get?  I also get this question a lot.  The rule of thumb used to be that you should get the opposite.  So, if you have a boy, get a girl.  Or, if you have a girl, get a boy.  But, I don't think that is true with Ragdolls.  I have had kittens go into homes in all of the variations, and the kittens are always fine.  The adults don't always like the kittens, but typically it has nothing to do with sex.  It is more about the personality than the sex.  When cats are spayed/neutered early in life you are essentially making them gender neutral.  So, unless your previous cat was a lot older when they were fixed, you should be fine with either sex.
  • Do Ragdolls shed?  YES!!!  If you read somewhere or on some breeder's web site that Ragdolls don't shed, you have found a bad breeder.  They are just trying to say anything to sell a kitten.  Ragdolls, like all other breeds I know of (except the hairless cats) do shed.  Now, that being said, they may not shed as much as some other breeds.  But, they do shed.  How much will depend on a lot of things.  What you feed your cat is a big part of it.  If you feed a quality food, your cat is less likely to shed.  What temperature you usually keep your home will also matter.  Keep in mind your Ragdoll is walking around wearing a fur coat all day.  So, if you keep your home average or even slightly warm, it is probably hot to your Ragdoll and they will shed more often.  And last, the best way to combat shedding is brushing.  When you brush your Ragdoll you will get the loose, dead hair out right then and you can throw it away.  As opposed, to not brushing or not brushing often enough and then the hair just comes out a little at a time all over your home.
  • Do Ragdolls get along with other pets?  The answer to this is almost always yes.  I would definitely want to watch a cat with a bird or small pet (rabbit, gerbil, hamster, etc) because they might think of them as a toy and not an animal.  However, with dogs (big or small) or other cats, Ragdolls usually do great.  In fact, people usually worry more about introducing their kitten to dogs but I find that usually goes better than introducing your kitten to a resident cat.  Typically, as long as the resident dog or cat is not mean to the kitten, the kitten will love them.  You have to imagine, the kitten has just left it's home and it's mom and siblings.  So, they are going to be looking for a companion to play with.
  • How long do Ragdolls live?  Ragdolls have the same life expectancy as any other cat.  They typically live 15-20 years but could live even longer.  And of course that depends on many things-obtaining your kitten from a good breeder that makes health a priority, keeping up with vet care, and feeding a good quality food.
  • How much grooming do Ragdolls need?  Ragdolls don't need a ton of grooming but they do need some.  Again, if you found a breeder or site that said you do not have to groom your Ragdoll at all, that is a bad breeder or misinformed person.  That being said, for a long haired cat, Ragdolls usually don't need a lot.  If you do a five minute brushing every day, that should take care of it.  Or, if you can't find the time to do it daily, you may need 30 minutes per week.  But, by that time you may find one or two small mats that need to be removed.  Whereas if you brush for just five minutes per day, it will be easier on you and your kitten and it is unlikely you will find any mats.
  • Do you ship?  No, because of a recent APHIS/USDA ruling, no breeders are allowed to ship unless they are registered breeders with APHIS.  There may still be a handful that do it.  But, they are taking a big chance and could lose everything if they are caught.  That is not a chance I am willing to take, nor would any good breeder.  You might wonder why breeders don't just register with APHIS.  The reason is that it is impossible for good breeders to meet their requirements.  Their requirements are meant for businesses/kitty mills.  They include things like you have to be home and available for surprise inspections during the day.  Believe it or not, most breeders do not make any money, or at least not enough to live on, from breeding.  So, they have regular everyday jobs and cannot be home all day every day.  Furthermore, it would not be in a breeder's best interest to have visitors like that.  These people would be coming from another cattery (in fact they may have visited several that day) that may or may not have some sort of diseases or illnesses that they would then transfer to your cats and home.  In addition, the rules they have are not meant for homes.  They are meant for kennels.  They include rules such as there cannot be anything in the area that cannot either be thrown in a washing machine or sprayed down with a high powered, hot water spray gun.  So, that means-no couches, no beds, no cat trees, no walls (unless they are concrete), no carpet, no ceiling (again unless it is concrete), etc.  Obviously these rules are ridiculous for good breeders that raise their kittens in their home.  In fact, any breeder that could abide by these rules is a HORRIBLE breeder.  This is one of those rules that was well intentioned but in reality all it did was make it so that good breeders cannot ship kittens.  That being said, you are still welcome to fly here and pick up a kitten and I can meet you at the airport (Tampa International).  I do not charge anything for this and it is usually not much more expensive than shipping your kitten would have been.    
  • What are the red flags I should look for when trying to find a good breeder?  There are lots of different things that make up a good or bad breeder.  But, here are a few of the most widely agreed upon issues.  Hopefully this will help you avoid the bad breeders and find your perfect Ragdoll family member. 
      1. One of the first things I would look for is if the breeder shows their cats. I know you probably don't want a show kitty. But, that doesn't matter. The reason you want your breeder to show is because that helps prove that they really care about the breed and are really trying to improve the breed and are not in it to try to make money. Showing costs a lot of money and you don't win anything when you win. You simply win ribbons, bragging rights, and titles-no money. So, someone that is just in it for the money, would not want to "waste" money showing their cats.
      2. Another thing you want to do is make sure their cats have been tested for HCM. HCM is a heart condition that used to be prevalent in Ragdolls. But, thankfully, scientists and doctors discovered the gene that causes HCM several years ago. So, now there is a genetic test that you can use to test your cat to make sure they do not carry that particular gene. If the parents don't have that gene it would be impossible for the kittens to have it. So, as long as you go with a reputable breeder, HCM is no longer a problem for Ragdolls.
      3. You should also do a simple internet search using both the cattery name and the breeders name to make sure you don't find any negative reviews or complaints out there about the breeder. For example, if you were researching me, you would search "Misty's Ragdolls" or "Misty Matthews" Ragdolls. Although I can save you the time and tell you that you won't find anything negative out there for me. I take my responsibility as a breeder seriously and I can honestly say there is no one out there that has not been happy with their kitten they adopted from me.
      4. Good breeders typically belong to several cat clubs. They usually belong to one or all of the following cat registries: TICA, CFA, and/or ACFA. And they usually belong to one or more of the following Ragdoll clubs: Ragdolls International, Ragdoll Fanciers Club Internation, or Ragdoll Fanciers Worldwide Club (and possibly some others). The reason you want your breeder to belong to one of those clubs is because if that club received a lot of complaints about the breeder, they might kick the breeder out. Or, if nothing else, you have a 3rd party that you could go to with any complaints if something major happened.
      5. Breeders also have to sign a "code of ethics" agreement to belong to most of these clubs. These are a collection of rules and ways of doing things that the vast majority of breeders have decided is the right thing to do. So, you aren't simply relying on what one breeder thinks.
      6. One of the first things on that list is not letting kittens go to their new homes until 12 weeks of age. There have been lots of studies done on when the perfect age is for kittens to go to their new homes and 12 weeks is the consensus. Good breeders will keep kittens this long because they know it is best for them. The bad breeders usually want the kittens gone as soon as possible so they can save money on food and additional vet care. Those breeders may let them go home at 8 or 10 weeks old. Afterall, if you are feeding premium food that could easily save them $100 on food plus they could probably skip one set of vaccines that a good breeder would include. The problem with this is that the kittens need those extra few weeks with mom and their siblings to learn things-self confidence, weaning at the appropriate age, how to play properly, good litter box habits, what is ok to scratch, how to play with humans, etc. If your kitten goes home early you will probably have some social, behavioral, temperamental, or health problems.
      7. Good breeders also ask you lots of questions when you contact them for a kitten. I really care where my kittens go and I want to make sure that both the kitten and the new owner are happy. So, I have quite a few questions I ask when people contact me about kittens. If the breeder doesn't have questions for you or tries to push you into taking a kitten right away those are definite red flags. They are big signs the breeder is just in it for money. And when breeders are just in it for money they don't see the kittens as cute, little, adorable, living, loving, babies. They see them as little sacks of money walking around on four legs. And so they get treated like "things" and given the bare essentials (if they are lucky) and not nearly enough attention to grow into happy, lovable, well adjusted family members.
      8. This brings up another issue-you should contact the breeder (by phone or email) and you should be happy with the breeders responses to your questions. You should never feel pressured. And you should simply get a good feeling that the breeder cares about their kittens and that they seem fair and honest. I can't really tell you exactly what to look for but it's the type of thing you should just be able to feel.
      9. Another thing that is usually on those "ethics" contracts and that most breeders have agreed is the right thing to do, is having the kittens spayed or neutered before they go to their new home. All of the breeders I know have this done. Again though, it is an extra expense for breeders, so the bad breeders typically do not have it done. This is also another thing you need to remember to take into account when figuring out how much a kitten is going to cost you. If your kitten is not spayed/neutered when they go home you are looking at an additional $100-300 to have it done by your vet.
      10. Another thing you can ask a breeder is for their vet's information so you can call and get a reference. A good breeder with nothing to hide will have an excellent relationship with their vet and should have no problem providing this to you.
      11. Another question you might want to ask your breeder is what type of food they feed. A bad breeder is typically going to use less expensive food. Personally I use one of the most expensive, well reviewed foods, but I believe it is worth it. I have also done probably well over 100 hours of research on various food and health related topics. I believe part of being a good breeder is keeping up with those types of things.
      12. A good breeder also sells their kittens with a contract and includes a health guarantee. I do give a longer health guarantee than most breeders. I give a 5 year health guarantee with all my kittens but typically breeders just give 2-3 year guarantees. So, I wouldn't count someone out or say they were a "bad" breeder because they only give a 2-3 year health guarantee. Two or three years is typical. If they only give 1 year or even less, that is a red flag. In fact, in the state of Florida, breeders have to provide at least a one year guarantee. Anything less than that is breaking the law.
      13. Also, a part of every good breeder's contract is a clause saying that the kittens are not allowed to be declawed. Declawing is an inhumane practice where vets remove not just the cat's nail like people used to think, but they cut through bone and remove part of the toe. This can cause lots of problems with your kitten-both health and behavioral-so no good breeder allows it.
      14. Also in the contract, will be something saying that the cats are not allowed to go outside. Ragdolls are very trusting and don't have "street smarts" other cats might have. They will happily lay in the road as a car comes along and runs over them or a dog runs up to them and bites them. They would be gone before they even realized there was something to worry about.
      15. Another thing you should look for is to make sure that the breeder only breeds traditional Ragdolls in the normal colors. A breeder that breeds mink, solid colors, solid white, etc is usually not a good breeder. They are just trying to cash in on the fact that they can call these cats "rare" and charge more for them. But, these cats are actually not purebred Ragdolls. They must have some sort of other breed in their pedigree to get those colors. Those breeders will tell you they don't but it would be impossible for them to have those other colors unless there was some other breed in the background with those colors. In fact, those colors are not even registerable in CFA and you cannot show them in CFA or TICA. They could have papers with TICA but that is because TICA is a genetic registry. That means they WILL register mixed breed cats. I could breed one of my Ragdolls to a Persian, or Bengal or anything else and I could register them with TICA as Ragdolls. So, simply because a cat has "papers" doesn't mean they are purebred like these breeders will try to convince you.
      16. Finally, if at all possible, I suggest a home visit. It is great to speak with someone on the phone or over emails and I feel you can get a general feel of a person this way. But, you never know for sure until you visit their home and see their cats/kittens in person. As mentioned above, it is unlikely that a good breeder would have kittens available for you right away. But, they may have kittens that have already been reserved that you could still see and interact with to get an idea of what your potential kitten would be like.

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