Frequently Asked Questions
How do I choose my breeder, and why a Registered Breeder?
It is very important to make sure you are choosing the right breeder. Registered breeders must adhere to the code of ethics put in place by their governing cat council. These rules they have to follow include things like not selling a kitten underage (under 10-12 weeks) or un-desexed, they must not overwork their studs or queens, and they must take care of all their cats and kittens needs properly - including parasite control, correct housing facilities, vet trips when necessary, vaccinations, DNA tests, grooming and proper socialization. Registered breeders can only breed with the healthiest and best quality ragdolls, so we strive to improve the breed and produce large, healthy, happy kittens of good type and temperament, with show quality features that meet the breed standard. In saying this, not all registered breeders are REPUTABLE, so to be sure that you will not have problems in the future the best thing to do is to visit the cattery and make sure they let you see their cats and show you that they are in good condition and well socialized. At Saffireblu all of our breeding cats are genetically screened and tested negative for HCM (Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy), PKD (Polycystic kidney disease), FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency virus) & FeLV (Feline Leukemia Virus). Our kittens grow up in the house underfoot with our family, where they are up to date with their vaccinations and parasite control, and they get all of the love, attention and care that they need and deserve. We only send kittens to loving family homes where they can live out their lives in the lap of luxury, being treasured by responsible owners who love them as much as we do. You should make sure that your breeder is registered with a governing cat council, and make sure that they DNA test their ragdolls for common health problems like HCM & PKD. Don't be afraid to ask questions, whether it be about pedigrees, diet, products recommended, what you get with your kitten etc. Most registered breeders are there to help you throughout the cat's whole lifetime should you need advice, and they welcome any questions you have, but please choose your breeders carefully and trust your instincts.
What is a Backyard breeder and why do people say its wrong to buy kittens from pet shops?
Backyard breeders are unregistered and usually un reputable, they don't tend to desex their kittens before selling them, they don't have pedigrees so you are not getting a purebred, and they are just in it for a bit of money without having the kitten's best interests at heart - meaning they will most likely not be vet checked. Backyard breeders sell to pet shops, something that registered breeders are NOT allowed to do, we are also not allowed to advertise in the newspapers, so these are some warning signs. Backyard breeders are only contributing to the pre existing overpopulation problem with cats, as they sell so many entire cats, they don't check the families they go to and they don't follow up on how they are going, so think about the number of cats out there that are unregistered entires and potentially being bred. This is why you hear about so many stray cats, it is why the pet shop windows are always full, it is why animal shelters are so overcrowded, and it is why so many sick and unwanted kittens are being put to sleep every day. To give you an idea about backyard breeders, we are using our own bad experiences as we have bought 2 kittens from a backyard breeder, and 1 from a pet shop (we were naïve ok!). Obviously we cannot speak for ALL backyard breeders, as some may be doing the right thing, but at the same time we cannot say that ALL registered breeders are reputable so please choose wisely.
Coco & Chanel's Story (BYB) - Coco and Chanel are our much loved pets, we have spent a fortune on them, along with a lot of time and love to bring them around. We saw Ragdoll kittens advertised for $300, and we thought great, we will never afford a real Ragdoll so here it goes! When we went to pick them up, we didn't really know what we were in for. We were told that they were 8 weeks old and that they had their first vaccination at 6 weeks, however when we worked back the dates they were only 5 weeks old, so they couldn't have been vaccinated. At 5 weeks old a kitten should be still suckling from their mother. Their mothers don't only fatten them up and make them healthy, by feeding them colostrum (which gives them immunity for the first few days of life) and milk, they also teach their kittens how to socialize and use their manners and they really do need to be with their mums until at least 10 weeks of age. Coco and Chanel had already been completely weaned onto home brand dog food, they were living in an enclosure on a cold garage floor with no Mother in sight, and not even a bed for the kittens to curl up in. They both fit in one hand and were severely underweight and malnourished for their age, as their mother had most likely been put on a cheap diet as well so her milk wouldn't have been the best quality, assuming they even got to suckle from her. They were sold to us entire, meaning that it opened the door to more backyard breeders, but we did the right thing and desexed them later on once we did our research. They were riddled with fleas, and they had a parasite called Giardia which infects the small intestines. We had them to the vet so many times for testing and antibiotics, and they had severe, constant diarrhoea for at least the first 6 months of their life. These poor kittens had been through enough physically and medically, but this also took a toll on them emotionally. Chanel thinks that she is the alpha female in the house, and she doesn't get along with most other cats, we call her the Diva and she can be quite cruel to the little ones so we have to keep her away from kittens. Coco on the other hand gets along well with most other cats, but she is terrified of children, her fear is so severe that when we have children visiting we find her hiding behind the couch curled up in a ball screaming to herself, so we have to isolate her in a room for her own protection. This has happened multiple times, so these cats didn't learn how to socialize adequately as they needed to be with their mums for much longer, they are scared of many different situations. This is also obvious by the way they still suckle from Merlin to this day, this poor cat had to take on the mother role as Coco and Chanel needed this for comfort. We are so lucky that these girls survived and are now thriving.
Merlin's story. Merlin is our pet shop cat - a domestic shorthair boy. We bought him at 7 weeks of age for $60, he was half price as 'people don't want kittens that are 7 weeks old, they aren't cute enough anymore'. This is what the pet shop lady said to us, and it is unbelievable, he should have been with his mother, not sitting in a glass box for half price! Kittens are still adorable at 14 weeks of age, and they have a much healthier and happier start too! Anyway, Merlin's main problem is psychological. He is completely temperamental and unpredictable, and he can be very dangerous at times. He has been on a long course of Prozac in the past multiple times to 'reset' his personality, as he was also not socialized well enough as a kitten. He was aggressive without reason, so this is most likely due to fear & confusion. The prozac did work and help him come round, but it was sad to see him so heavily drugged. You really do get what you pay for, so please don't let a cheap kitten sway you. With the above 3 cats we haven't had any ongoing support, and we have just had problem after problem so it costs a LOT more in the long run. Also we feel guilty for supporting the backyard breeders in purchasing these cats, this should not be happening and it should be spoken about more for public awareness. We absolutely adore our 3 companions though, and they really have turned around as much as they possibly can! None of this should have happened to these innocent kittens and we really feel sorry for what they went through.
Why are most stud cats kept outside?
Stud males must be separated from the females when not mating, entire males also tend to spray urine to mark their territory and to attract the ladies. So its not ideal for them to live inside as the odour is very pungent, unless of course you are fortunate enough to have a stud cat that doesn't spray (very rare!).
Do desexed cats spray?
Usually no. It is very uncommon, however environmental changes or stressful situations can cause this behaviour. If your cat urinates outside the litter tray, please take them to the vet and check that it isn't a health problem before assuming it is a behavioural problem. This may sound silly, but in the past it has been known for people to be scolding poor old cats with kidney problems! It most likely isn't a health problem but its better to be sure. Sometimes solving the problem is as easy as providing an extra tray! If cats wee or poop somewhere once and the smell hasn't gone, they will continue using the area as their toilet, so you must clean up using an enzyme based cleaner from a pet shop to get rid of the odour and bacteria - such as 'Urine Off'. If you need to completely retrain toilet habits then it is best to confine the cat to one room so they have less area and will be more inclined to use the tray.
Do Ragdolls shed their coats, and how do I groom them?
Ragdolls, like any other animal shed their hair seasonally, however with their soft rabbit like fur, it doesn't tend to knot or matt like some other breeds of cat, e.g. Persian. Ragdoll grooming is easy, all you really need is a slicker brush and a comb, and you can just brush them weekly or even fortnightly to keep them in prime condition, with very little shedding. This also helps you bond with your cat, and can prevent them from having hairballs. Most of our Ragdolls enjoy being brushed (Chanel in particular!) and they usually roll around on the floor purring madly. It is also a good idea to check their claws when you brush them, and cut them with claw clippers if they are getting too long. You don't want to cut past the pink bit (where the blood supply is), only chop off the see through tips, or they can bleed and get very upset - you should check if the claws need cutting fortnightly as they can grow very fast on some cats - if you don't want to cut them yourselves then your local vet will be happy to do so. Also keep an eye on their eyes, ears and mouths, and clean them accordingly. For ears and eyes you can use saline wipes, and for the mouth (doesn't usually need cleaning) you can always use a cat toothbrush and cat toothpaste from a pet shop if this is necessary, but good luck getting them to cooperate! We just tend to give our cats a chicken wing tip or chicken neck to clean their teeth, its much easier.
Why do kittens have to stay at Saffireblu until 12-14 weeks old?
Kittens need to stay with their mothers for this period of time so that they can learn everything they need to from her, eg. litter tray training, weaning, how to play and socialize with other cats and humans, & this also decreases the chance of the kitten having behavioural problems in the future. Our kittens also need time to recover from their desexing at 12 weeks, females in particular as their surgery is more intrusive.
Do I have to sign a contract to get a kitten from Saffireblu Ragdolls?
Yes. This is now common practice amongst most breeders to have simple contracts that cover the kitten's best interests, health guarantees and terms of replacement for the owner, what the breeder is responsible for etc - just incase anything should go wrong, and to ensure the cat is going to a home where they will get everything they need and will be kept indoors for their own safety.
Do Ragdolls get along with other animals?
Yes. Ragdolls are great family pets, they can get along with dogs very well and are even known to befriend birds and rodents! We have a kitten in Brisbane who is best friends with a bird, another who loves his Guinea Pigs and a kitten in Melbourne who is friendly with a rabbit! You must keep in mind though, that all Ragdolls are different and it just depends on their temperament, which usually is very adaptable. We have large pet dogs, and most of our cats are great friends with them but the kittens dont spend much time with them, although they are used to seeing the dogs through the screen doors.
Are Ragdolls good with Children?
We have had some kittens experience stress reactions when going to a home with young children, but we have also had some Ragdolls go to their new homes and they fit in perfectly - sleeping on the kids beds, greeting them at the door when they get home from school, letting the young kids push them around in a pram, walk them on a lead etc. It really depends on the child, and the kitten. As long as your children are gentle and you teach them how to handle the cat properly, and that the cat will need its own space at times then it should be fine, no matter what age your children are, ragdolls are naturally gentle giants and loving family pets. However if you think your child may chase the cat around and scream at it (quite common for excited toddlers lol), then it is probably too soon for you to adopt a Ragdoll, we have had kittens traumatized by this and it is sometimes just best to wait until the child is a little older (5 years +). Young children should be strictly supervised around any animal, but these soft creatures in particular as they are just so sensitive and they do not forget once they have been scared by a toddler.
What parasites are your kittens protected against?
Our kittens are protected against fleas and worms with an all in one top spot treatment (we use Revolution or Advocate for flea eggs, larvae and adult fleas, intestinal & heart worms). As they are inside cats, this is generally all of the parasite control they need.
Do you sell cats and kittens interstate or overseas?
Yes we do, we can help organize the flight arrangements if necessary, but all costs are to be covered by the buyer. With interstate travel for our kittens we usually go through APAT, we have found their rates competitive and their customer service great. With overseas travel we will contact multiple freight companies to find you the best deal.
What do you feed your cats and kittens, and how often?
We feed our Ragdolls Royal Canin biscuit, however we use a different product depending on age. Young babies are first weaned onto Royal Canin BabyCat, which we moisten with Biolac or Wombaroo milk replacer. Additionally they get weaned onto our homemade meat mixture and chicken mince. When our kittens leave us they are already weaned onto Royal Canin Kitten 36 which we recommend for all of our customers to use until they reach 1 year old. Our Adult Ragdolls are fed Royal Canin Mainecoon biscuit, as this large breed of cat has the closest dietary requirements to that of the Ragdoll. We have the biscuits down for our cats all the time as they do not tend to overeat, so they nibble as they please! We also feed our adult cats a home made recipe including Roo mince, Chicken mince, Beef mince, offal and many different supplements, they get this once to three times per day depending on needs. Our Pregnant and Lactating queens get fed much more often to meet their nutritional demands. If you would like a copy of our recipe please email us and we will be happy to send it to you.
Which litter do you use and recommend, how many trays?
We us Ozpet litter which is a natural product which doesn't clump, is very cost effective, it neutralizes odour and it is completely biodegradable. Please DO NOT use the crystal type of litter as this is highly dangerous to kittens, it is a major choking hazard! The general rule is that you should have one tray for each cat, plus a spare. This helps to avoid kittens and cats getting confused, caught short or just being picky about their litter trays. Some cats tend to use one tray for 'number ones' and one for 'number twos', and they can be very fastidious. Depending on how many cats you have, the litter may last a week or maybe even just a few days, it really just needs changing when you see that the litter is absorbing a significant amount of urine, and may start to break down. You should always flush the solids down the loo or throw them in the bin when you find them, as cats do not like going to dirty trays and will go elsewhere.
Two Ragdolls or one?
This really depends on the personality of the kitten you buy. Generally, two cats settle into their new home environment much faster, and we strongly recommend two cats if you are at work all day as ragdolls are very sociable and need to be kept entertained! Most Ragdolls settle in fine on their own, but they need company most of the time, whether It be humans, a dog or another kitten. We always give a second cat discount to our customers to try and keep some costs down, as two Ragdolls cost quite a significant amount. Please just think this one over seriously before you buy, as you could have a very lonely and distressed kitten if you make the wrong move, or you could have two exuberant kittens wreaking havoc! They are so entertaining to watch together and very addictive, just warning you!
What will my kitten come with?
We send our kittens away with all relevant documents including pedigree, vaccination card, desexing certificates, microchip info, our recipe & kitten info sheet, weight chart and lots of information about caring for your new kitten. You will have ongoing support from us for the cats whole lifetime. You also get a complimentary kitten pack with 6 weeks free pet insurance (PetPlan), food samples (Advance and Royal Canin), litter sample (Ozpet), worm/flea sample (not always available), a framed photo of your new family member, a CD of all pictures taken since birth, lots of toys and a blanket, kitten packs can be subject to change, but we always spoil our kittens and customers so don't worry. If you live interstate or overseas we can still send you a kitten pack but it will cost $5 - $10 to get it to you. Your kitten will have been vet checked thoroughly atleast twice, vaccinated once (10 wks old), worm and flea treated, desexed, micro chipped in your name, QFA registered in your name, and spoilt rotten!
What areTraditional Ragdolls?
Traditional Ragdolls trace back to the original 4 cats used by Anne Baker, they have no outcross to other breeds (or only authorised outcross if they have tabby/lynx markings). TR Ragdolls have no outcross at all, they are very pure Ragdolls and have good pedigrees, so they can be a little pricey!
What is involved with showing my kitten/cat?
Showing your Ragdoll can be quite fun, and it is great to get some feedback about your baby. As breeders we show our cats to make sure we are meeting the breed standard and producing good kittens, but many owners of desexed cats enjoy attending local cat shows too. Basically you just have to bath and groom them very well (we recommend Aloveen oatmeal shampoo and conditioner!), cut their claws front and back, and take them to the show! Eyes and ears must also be clear, their coat should not be shedding too much and they should feel plush and not greasy. Cat shows usually take up most of the day, so it is best to bring some ice bricks for your cat to lay on in their cage to keep cool. They also need some food, water and a litter tray, you may like to bring a chair for yourself (there aren't always enough), a camera, a pen to write results and lunch/lunch money. Show cages always need show curtains, which you can purchase at the shows. It is best to come and see a cat show before entering one, to see what you need, what your cat should look and behave like, what the judges are looking for etc. They get each cat out of their cage in turn and examine things like presentation, grooming, conformation, temperament, eye colour and shape, head shape, profile and body balance - ie is the tail and legs in proportion and other things like colour and markings. There are usually three rings in a show, meaning you have three different judges, so they all examine your cat and look for different things (its personal preference). They play with the cat with a teaser toy to get their attention and examine the expression, cuddle them and then put them back in the cage. It is very interesting!
Are desexed male Ragdolls most affectionate?
We have heard some people say this, and desexed males certainly can be very affectionate, however it really just depends on the cat. All personalities are different, and our desexed girls, entire girls and our entire boys all have lovely natures! We find it very hard to recommend a gender as they are generally all as affectionate as each other, Ragdolls usually crave attention and they all like to be cuddled. So we don't know what truth there is to this, It is really just up to you! If you would like to come and meet both male and female Ragdolls to help make the decision just give us a call.
Do you sell Accessories for kittens?
Yes, we do not always have these on hand but we can order certain products for you. This includes things like carry crates and litter trays.
What health problems should I be aware of?
There are many health problems that can affect any animal. The main ones for Ragdolls as previously mentioned are the HCM (heart condition) and PKD (Kidney disease). If you make sure your breeder has tested their cats for this with all negative results then that is a great start, but these diseases aren't always just congenital. They still can contract and develop later on in life for any number of reasons, but the safest bet is to have a kitten that's parents were DNA tested negative for this as it minimizes the risk. The other main diseases to worry about are FIV (Feline AIDS) and FeLV (Leukemia). Feline AIDS and Leukemia are contracted through cats fighting and biting each other, so it affects catteries and stray cats in particular. As Ragdolls are to be kept inside, there isn't much of a chance of them catching these diseases, unless you have another cat that wanders outside and meets up with stray cats. We have also tested our Ragdolls for FIV & FeLV, all with negative results, so we are trying to produce the healthiest kittens possible with the best chance of a long happy life. These tests add up to be very expensive with the number of cats we must test, but we have now tested everyone and it is so worth it for peace of mind! We don't recommend vaccinating against either FIV or FeLV as there are many adverse side effects that could occur. This is why we only use the F3 vaccine and recommend this to our customers! From Saffireblu your kitten will come to you vaccinated with F3, vet checked twice and genetically screened clear of HCM & PKD, FIV & FeLV too, and as long as you keep the kitten inside, keep up with parasite control, annual vaccinations and vet checkups then your baby should live a long and happy life! :)
What do I need to know about Feline Stress Reactions?
Some kittens take over the house in their first day and are so confident that hardly anything bothers them, although all kittens are different and adjust in their own way, it could take up to 2 weeks. Kittens can have stress reactions after the ordeal of travelling to the vet, then to a new home, (especially if by plane), they may miss their siblings and family etc. Stress reactions can show in many different ways, the kitten could have a bout of diarrhoea, they could get slight discharge from their eyes or nose, they may go to the toilet in the wrong place, they could shake (quite a rare reaction), they could be aggressive (although being ragdolls this is highly unusual), or they could just run and hide. You just have to learn to understand your kittens natural behaviour and help them settle as best you can, by talking gently to them, stroking them whilst they sleep, introducing them to their food and litter areas straight away, and also letting them have their own peace and quiet. Ragdolls are a very sensitive breed of cat and they don't adjust instantly to change, they really do need their own time to get used to their surroundings and get into their daily routine. If you are ever worried about your kittens health in the first week you can take them to the vet to be checked, but remember they have all been thoroughly vet checked before they leave us and what your cat may be experiencing could be purely down to stress. Please if you are ever worried about any sort of reaction in the first week let us know, and we will try to give you some helpful advice. If you think your kitten may be stressed, you could try a product called Feliway to help calm them down (spray on their scratching post or bed etc), also if they have an upset tummy due to stress we recommend using the tip of a teaspoon of slippery elm powder (from health food shop) through their meat to help regulate bowel habits and improve the health of the digestive system. Also a drizzle of colloidal silver (also from health food shop) in their water will help boost their immune system and overall health as it is a natural antibiotic, antiviral and antibacterial.
What are Solid and Mink Ragdolls?
Not many people know about these Ragdolls as they are still not an accepted colour or pattern in most cat federations. There are only a small handful of breeders around the world that produce Solids and Minks. Mink Ragdolls carry the Burmese gene, which helps create a darker coat colour which they are actually born with! They also have a smoother coat texture and more aqua/green coloured eyes, rather than the blue eyes on Ragdolls that are born pure white. The main feature that tells apart a Mink Ragdoll is the coat colour, as it is much richer and uniform all over the body, so if they were a blue point, their whole coat would have the dark blue colour through it, not just on the points, they can also come in other patterns.
Solid Ragdolls are not always blue eyed, their coats also have a much more intense colour which is 'solid' all over as their name implies. Solids still come in the usual patterns of mitted, point & bicolour, but they have different coat colours like black for example. Basically it is a Ragdoll cat with the same temperament, but it doesn't look like a trademark Ragdoll!
Both Solids and Minks are still rare in Australia and are not accepted by our cat councils as a 'Ragdoll' which is why we don't breed them, and of course we prefer our Ragdolls with 'Saffireblu Eyes'!!