Tiffany Comes Home
Living with Ragdolls
Then There Were 2
Our First Litter
In My Experience...
Belle Comes Of Age
Preparing for the future
Our decision to begin breeding Ragdolls was not taken lightly, as we were aware that such a venture would require time, hard work and personal and financial commitment. We spent many hours discussing the pros and cons of breeding and all that comes with it and gave extremely careful consideration to the impact it would have on our lives.
Finding our girl, Cheham LucyInTheSky, Chloe, was just the beginning of the long road to prepare to become breeders. We became members of The British Ragdoll Cat Club (TBRCC) in December 2001 and attended two of their Genetic Teach-ins where we studied colour and pattern prediction, learnt how to assess the Ragdoll type, and became familiar with the Ragdoll Breeders Code of Ethics and the criteria to become registered breeders. We found the seminars very useful and greatly enjoyed meeting other new breeders, as well as the experienced breeders, who were so willing to share their knowledge with us.
The application for our pre-fix was sent to the GCCF in March 2002 and in June 2002 we became Velvetsky Ragdolls.
When we had originally contacted our dear friend Shirley Smith, with a view to finding a breeding girl, she had talked about a New Breeders Guidance Programme that she has written. We have many cat books that contain chapters on breeding, but having read them all we still felt we would benefit from more knowledge, so we took up Shirleys offer to spend the day with her, going through the course she has devised. We made the journey to Shirleys on 14th March 2002 and although we had not seen her since collecting Tiffany, back in January 1998, she welcomed us as if we had seen her only a week ago. It was wonderful to see her and all her gorgeous cats again, particularly Bow, Tiffanys mother, who has developed slight middle aged spread since being neutered and becoming a lady of leisure! We spent an extremely valuable day with Shirley and learnt more than we had from any of our books. Shirley gave us a condensed version of all her breeding knowledge, in book form, which we would be referring to many times over the coming weeks!
So by the end of March 2002, we felt we were as ready as we could be and now it was up to Chloe. At eight months old, Chloe was growing into a beautiful adult Ragdoll and had shown some less obvious signs of calling. During her first call Chloe had shown a keen interest in sitting in the litter tray and rolling on her back. Shirley confirmed that this was a sign that Chloe was maturing, so we watched and waited for signs of a stronger call. On 13th May 2002, Chloe left us in little doubt that she was calling. She began by following our neutered Russian Blue, Joshua, everywhere he went, chirruping gently and rolling on the floor in front of him. Within a day or two the characteristic, loud calling began, accompanied by Chloe paddling her back legs frantically, trying to attract Joshuas attention, but sadly for Chloe, Joshua was not at all interested in her display, in fact he seemed completely bemused by the whole thing! The call lasted for five days and then we had to wait again. Chloe did not let us down and started calling again on 2ndJune 2002. Poor Joshua! We spoke to Shirley to let her know that Chloe had now had two strong calls. The next call was the crucial one, when we would be taking Chloe to one of Shirleys stud boys, Hemlock Trails Tirawa (Terri Bear), a gorgeous American blue colourpoint. On 21st June 2002 Chloe began to show signs that she was ready to go to stud, so we arranged for her to be tested for FELV and FIV at our vets. With the results of these tests negative, we took Chloe to Shirleys the following morning, 22nd June 2002, feeling a mixture of apprehension at leaving our special girl and excitement at the prospect of a successful mating.
We arrived at Shirleys, with Chloe a little annoyed by the car journey so she was not in the best of moods when she was taken to meet Terri Bear in his five star stud house. Shirley began by putting Chloe into the girls quarters, so she could be introduced to Terri Bear when she was ready. Terri Bear sat patiently waiting, watching Chloe through the cat flap, while she sat hissing at him. Within 30 minutes Shirley decided the time was right to let Chloe out to meet Terri Bear properly. Chloe in her usual confident style walked out and investigated every corner the accommodation, while keeping a close eye on Terri Bear and hissing at him if he came too close. Shirley assured us that Terri Bear is the perfect gentleman and would wait until he was asked before getting too close to Chloe. We left Shirleys with Chloe strutting around leaving Terri Bear in no doubt who was boss! It felt strange to leave Chloe and was very quiet on the way home, but we knew Shirley would take great care of her for us and watch carefully for signs of mating.
All we could do was wait patiently for Shirleys phone call, the following afternoon. When the call came we were pleased to hear that Chloe and Terri Bear were now the best of friends and had been seen mating several times. We collected Chloe after five days and with her safely home we had to play the waiting game again. Three weeks later Chloe showed the first signs that the mating had been successful and her nipples pinked up. Over the coming weeks Chloe's appetite increased dramatically and she began to spend more and more time resting, rather than playing, preparing herself for the big day. All we could do for now was wait......