Kauffman Kats Ragdolls
Kauffman Kats originally started in 1992. My children were almost grown, and I needed to find something I really loved to do. I have always been crazy about animals, so it was natural for me to raise them.
In the “olden days”, when I was a child at home, every Sunday we would visit my Grandmother and have dinner at her house. In the summer, we would take a “Sunday Drive” around the area. My Grandmother didn’t drive, and neither did my maiden Aunt, so getting out to see the countryside was a treat for them. Of course in those days, we dressed up in our “Sunday Best”. Often times we would stop at a gas station, or vegetable stand, and my mom would get so upset with me, because if I saw a cat, or any animal, I would rush over, and no matter how dirty the animal was, I would pick it up to cuddle, and of course, get my dress dirty. She didn’t come down on me much, because both she and my dad were animal lovers. But at that time, they believed in one animal at a time, maybe two.
Growing up, we only had dogs, and of course I loved them and was more familiar with them. Several times growing up, my parents would get us a bunny, or even a baby duck once.
When I was still a child, I wanted to breed dogs. Unrealistically, I thought it would be fun to have two of every breed. Now I realize that would make me a “Puppy Mill”, and that is the last thing I would want to do now.
Then I got married and had 4 children, and had to fit animals into my busy life. We got married just before Dick went to Viet Nam for a year, and I stayed with my parents while he was serving. When he came home, he still had 9 months to serve, and was sent to Virginia. I went with him, and as soon as we found an apartment to rent, we went looking for a puppy. We came home with an adorable white toy poodle, and she was very important in our life as long as she lived, even when the kids started coming. A few years after we had her, we adopted a Cairn Terrier, and loved her dearly. After we lost our poodle to old age, we got a Cocker Spaniel.
I still love dogs, and really any animal, but have had to get smart about what to choose for our lifestyle. I never had a cat growing up, only dogs, so I had no experience with cats.
Between my 2nd and 3rd child, our neighbor bought me a Siamese kitten for Christmas. I loved her dearly, and she was great with the kids. At 14, she developed cancer of the jaw, and finally had to be put down. I didn’t do anything about replacing her, because our family had gotten very busy with one of our children being extremely handicapped and needed lots of attention and hospitalizations. So I just didn’t think about adding to our family.
So we went a year or so with just a dog. Then my youngest son, who was in 6th grade, came home from school and said that his teacher had kittens to give away. He begged me to go look at them. He said that he, being the youngest, had never had the chance to have a baby animal.
So of course I had to go look at the kittens. My life had settled down enough that I could pay attention more to my love of animals. We came home with a Manx kitten. I really enjoyed him, and found myself wanting another kitten when he grew up, so I haunted the humane societies till I found a grey longhaired kitten. Once I brought him home, I was sold on cats. However, I realized I couldn’t keep buying kittens, because they grew up, and while I loved the adults, I was really addicted to kittens.
So I visited a local cat show, and talked to breeders to see if that was where I wanted to go. The cat I fell in love with at the show, was a Somali. However, when I did my research, I realized that the Somali would not fit into my household. My husband never had any animals growing up, and so far had been agreeable to my animals, but I didn’t think raising such active animals would be a good way for me to start breeding. I did my research, and settled on the Ragdoll cat, and haven’t looked back since.
Ragdolls are very different from regular cats, especially if they are raised right. They are much calmer, sweeter, and very friendly, rather than being “standoffish”.
In the beginning when I started breeding Ragdolls, we had a terrible problem with HCM in the breed. HCM is a heart problem that limits the life of the cat. At the time, breeders tried to hide any losses from HCM. I refused to do that, and took a big hit for coming forward and admitting there was a problem. I replaced about 20 kittens that died of this disease, and was determined to eliminate it. Slowly, other breeders came forward and admitted they also had problems. I followed the progress of what vets were learning about HCM, and was thrilled to find that Dr. Mark Kittleson was able to prove that it was inherited. Then Dr. Kate Muers located the gene in Maine Coons and I asked her if she would study the Ragdoll. With lots of money raised from our dedicated breeders, and with the help of matching funds from CFA to the total of about $20,000 a year for several years, she was able to locate the gene in Ragdolls so we could eliminate it. It was a BIG progress for the Ragdoll breed.
I spent almost 20 years raising Ragdolls, and loved every minute of it. Eventually, my husband retired, so I gave up breeding. We had plans of doing lots of traveling in a travel trailer, and did so for a few years, but then things changed with our handicapped son (for the good in the end), but unfortunately constant travel was now out of the question. I tried many hobbies, like jewelry making, which I enjoyed, but never had a chance to wear, and then cooking, which I will always love, but I still missed my babies.
A few years ago I did purchase a Somali and I love her dearly, but know I made the right choice in breeding Ragdolls. One Somali is enough for a household.
Recently I took care of a litter of kittens a friend found in her shed, that were in rough condition because mom hadn’t been around for several days. This friend took in the kittens and bottle feed them and did a great job. She thought they might have to give up a planned vacation because of the kittens, but all she had to do was mention it to me, and I was begging her to take care of them. I had a ball. But they were WAY different from Ragdolls. My arms and legs were covered with scratches, from their usual play. They were not mean, and were very loving, but Ragdolls are just way more calm and most of the time their claws never come out when they play. This is what we look for in breeding them. We keep the most mellow and gentle cats.
I know the latest trend is to adopt, instead of shop. There are so many good pets out there that have been given up on, but when you adopt, you don’t know what you are getting. Why did the person give up the animal? What was the problem that made them give the cat up in hopes that someone else would take the animal and correct the problems they couldn’t handle. I had two wonderful random bred cats, but that was just luck. I hate the thought that someone would take a chance on a shelter cat, knowing that they could abandon it if it didn’t suit their lifestyle. I hate the thought that cats will be put down by the shelters if they don’t get adopted right away. Spay and neuter is the only way to go.
There are two different ways to think about shelter cats. It’s nice that the cats or dogs can get a second chance, but people abandon them thinking that they will find new homes. How many times does that happen? Most shelters only keep them for so long, and then put them to sleep. If people knew what a slim chance there is for rehoming their pets, maybe they would think twice about dumping an animal at a shelter. It really breaks my heart.
Breeders breed towards a “Standard” and certain things that make a breed. Random bred cats are a “guess” as to what they will be. Many are wonderful, and deserve good homes, but you never know what you will get.
After the kittens I ”kitten-sat“ for left, I realized I needed to get back to breeding Ragdolls again, but on a very small scale. I had fun with her kittens, but they were so different (much more active) from Ragdoll kittens. I missed the Ragdolls.
So I decided to go back to breeding on a very limited basis. My 2 females are from Laura Oravec, of Angelheart Ragdolls (angelheartragdolls.com). I will breed only two litters a year. Laura has been a good friend for a number of years. I mentored her in the beginning of her breeding, and I know she is a wonderful and caring breeder. She is everything a breeder could be.
As we are retired, my husband and I have all the time in the world to spend with our cats, and to give the kittens the most loving attention to make them perfect pets. At this point in my life, I’m not interested in showing my cats, but with my years of experience in showing, I know what the Ragdoll Standard is, and will always breed towards it.
I have been involved with the RFCI Club since the beginning of my breeding, and joined other Ragdoll clubs, over the years, I’ve been on the breed committees in TICA, which works on the breed standard, and I wrote the RFCI breeder booklet for new breeders. I am always up to date on what is new in Ragdolls and cat health in general. I just couldn’t get away from caring about cats even though I was “retired”. I’m a Life Time Member of the RFCI for all my work to help the Ragdolls.
I was a past president of RFCI, and editor of the RI newsletter, which was one of the best and most informative breed news letters created. Unfortunately, after I quit, they stopped the newsletter for that club.
I also showed Ragdolls, and did what ever I could to promote the breed. I ran the education program of several Ragdoll Congresses, including the most successful and informative one in 2008.
I did enough showing, been on breed committees, and have given enough breed seminars to know and recognize good Ragdolls that fit the standard.
However, being older, I just want to go back and skip all the hoop-la, and spend my time raising the best and most social kittens I can. In all my years of breeding, my favorite thing was raising the best possible pet kittens. I enjoyed getting to know the people interested in my cats, and welcome them visiting their kittens, and of course sent out lots of pictures of the babies as they grew up.
Having been a larger breeder in the past, and being responsible for the kittens I produce, I feel every breeder should only breed to the standard, and only breed enough kittens they can sell. There are too many random breed kittens and cats out there that end up in shelters. Responsible breeders spay and neuter any cats they sell to stop over filling shelters.
My kittens will only be sold already spayed or neutered. No exceptions.
I do still help out at a local cat show once or twice a year. You can usually find me at the table welcoming people and selling tickets to visit the show.
I want to let you know that any cat you get from me will be raised in the best situation, with the most attention, to be a loving and happy Ragdoll, with all the knowledge of over 20 years of breeding and showing have given me.
It will be around the Fall of 2018 that I have my first kittens, but I will be starting a waiting list. I have many happy customers that I can list as people who would recommend me. Even people way back before we found the mutation for HCM will tell you that I will replace any cat who dies of any inherited problem that could come from my lines. I believe that anyone willing to pay the price for well raised and genetically sound kitten, should not lose a kitten or young cat to even something like cancer in the first year or so, If you buy a kitten from me, I expect it to live a normal life if you follow my advise given to you in my contract. I am not in this for the money, but for my love of Ragdolls. GOOD BREEDERS DO NOT MAKE MONEY FOR BREEDING. We just love what we are doing.
I really hope my past customers, who might want another kitten will be able to find me again. I also hope I can reach new customers who are looking for healthy, and well socialized Ragdoll kittens.
I really want to have wonderful babies to share with people. I believe that the happiest kittens are those that go into pet homes, and that is where I want all my babies to go. I love raising the kittens and having the pleasure of being with them their first 12 weeks.
As I said, my kittens will be spayed and neutered and have all the kitten shots before you get them. I will give you a written contract with the things of over 20 years of knowledge in breeding I feel are correct, and I will stand behind them. You will be free to read it, and any other information I will print out for you about bringing the kitten home before you commit to buying a kitten.
In the past, I have written many articles about Ragdolls, and raising them, and even genetic lessons. Rather than printing them here, I would recommend you going to the RFCI Club site (rfci.org). It is very complete, and I wrote most of the information myself on breeding, preparing your home for a kitten and how to introduce a new kitten. I am proud of the information on the club website, and hope you take advantage of it. I would also recommend Laura Oravec’s website (angleheartragdolls.com). Laura has several articles I wrote on her website.
I am always available by phone, or email, and I do encourage visits when I have kittens. Ragdoll kittens do sell fast, so I will have a waiting list and first picks will come in the order of a down payment of the kitten after I have met you and approve of you as an owner. I will always update this website on the possible color and pattern of kittens I could get in a breeding, and post pictures of each litter. My husband has a really good camera, and lots of experience taking pictures of kittens.
In twenty years of breeding, I have come across many situations where I wish I hadn’t sold a kitten to a particular person, and I don’t want to repeat those experiences. Some examples are:
A young couple buys a kitten, and absolutely loves it. Then they decide to have a family, and suddenly, the cat is not as important, and after they have the baby, they decide they don’t want to bother with a cat. Sometime it’s even before the baby is born.
I had two different experiences with this. One was when I rehomed a retired breeder to a couple who were a little older, and I was under the impression they would not be having children. Well, I was wrong. When the baby was just a few months old, they told me I had to take the cat back because the baby was allergic to the cat. Well, babies that age do not have animal allergies yet, so I know the cat was just not that important to them. I took her back because I was afraid of what they would do with her, and she was one of my favorites. I was so sad to see that when they returned her, she was declawed on all four feet. A no-no for me, and it is in my contract.
I had another younger couple call and said they had to bring the cat back because she was tearing up every piece of paper in their house, and SHE taught their new puppy to do the same. They brought the cat back, and when they walked in the door, I could see the woman was pregnant. So I kept the cat for a full month in our study, which is where my husband and I did all our paperwork, and she never chewed up anything. I found a new home for her, and her people reported that she never chewed up any paper in their house.
So, forgive me if I am very careful about selling a kitten to young couples with no children, or even single people. Single people often get married to people who don’t like animals, or are even allergic to cats. I rehomed my first Ragdoll to a wonderful young lady, who loved her dearly, and kept her for several years, but then got a job as an activity director on a cruise ship and couldn’t take her along. So she came back to me.
I’m looking for permanent homes for my babies. If you have several children, that’s fine, but be sure to bring them to visit, especially if they haven’t been around cats before. Some people don’t know that their child is allergic to cats. So do bring your whole family to visit to make sure there are no allergies. It’s so sad when they bring a kitten home, love it, and than have to bring it back because one member of the family is allergic. It’s heart breaking for everyone.
So, please be prepared to answer lots of questions from me, Ragdolls are very popular, so they sell easily. I won’t sell a kitten to someone who does not answer my questions and is not willing to come visit my cats with their whole family. These are my babies, and I only want them to go to the best families, and I will be picky about that family. How you react to the cats and kittens when you visit, tells me a lot about where my kittens are going.
I remember selling a kitten to a family in Michigan early in my breeding career. They never had the chance to visit my cattery, and just “ordered” a kitten from me. We have family in Michigan, so I dropped off the kitten on our way to visit them. When I brought the kitten in the house, there was the mother, father and two teenage daughters. NONE of them wanted to hold the kitten when I held him out to them. Of course, a month later I got a call that they could not keep the kitten, and I had to find a new home for him. Thinking back, I should have walked out of that house with the kitten still in my arms when I saw how they reacted, but it was early in my breeding days, and I hoped for the best. I know better now. I found a wonderful Michigan home for that kitten in a few days, so it worked out.
I am a responsible breeder who cares about the kittens I produce, and with over 20 twenty years breeding experience, I think I know what to look for in homes for my kittens now.
I won’t have many kittens a year, but what I have will be well loved, and have the best habits for litter box training, and be very friendly. I also train my kittens to use scratching posts, and not your furniture. My kittens are let into our normal lifestyle as soon as they are litter trained, usually at about 6 weeks. They have the freedom of the house, and are never in cages after 3 weeks of age. My kittens have the experience of living in a normal house, not just in a “cattery” situation.
We always have lots of company, with friends, our kids and grandkids, and their friends who love kittens, so they are exposed to lots of people, noise and activity, which makes them easier to transition into your family home with no problems.