Friday, January 12, 2007

Top Ten Cold Weather Tips

Brrrr…it’s cold outside! The following guidelines will help you protect your companion animals when the mercury dips.

  1. Keep your cat inside. Outdoors, felines can freeze, become lost or be stolen, injured or killed. Cats who are allowed to stray are exposed to infectious diseases, including rabies, from other cats, dogs and wildlife.
  2. During the winter, outdoor cats sometimes sleep under the hoods of cars. When the motor is started, the cat can be injured or killed by the fan belt. If there are outdoor cats in your area, bang loudly on the car hood before starting the engine to give the cat a chance to escape.
  3. Never let your dog off the leash on snow or ice, especially during a snowstorm—dogs can lose their scent and easily become lost. More dogs are lost during the winter than during any other season, so make sure yours always wears ID tags.
  4. Thoroughly wipe off your dog's legs and stomach when he comes in out of the sleet, snow or ice. He can ingest salt, antifreeze or other potentially dangerous chemicals while licking his paws, and his paw pads may also bleed from snow or encrusted ice.
  5. Never shave your dog down to the skin in winter, as a longer coat will provide more warmth. When you bathe your dog in the colder months, be sure to completely dry him before taking him out for a walk. Own a short-haired breed? Consider getting him a coat or sweater with a high collar or turtleneck with coverage from the base of the tail to the belly. For many dogs, this is regulation winter wear.
  6. Never leave your dog or cat alone in a car during cold weather. A car can act as a refrigerator in the winter, holding in the cold and causing the animal to freeze to death.
  7. Puppies do not tolerate the cold as well as adult dogs, and may be difficult to housebreak during the winter. If your puppy appears to be sensitive to the weather, you may opt to paper-train him inside. If your dog is sensitive to the cold due to age, illness or breed type, take him outdoors only to relieve himself.
  8. Does your dog spend a lot of time engaged in outdoor activities? Increase his supply of food, particularly protein, to keep him—and his fur—in tip-top shape.
  9. Like coolant, antifreeze is a lethal poison for dogs and cats. Be sure to thoroughly clean up any spills from your vehicle, and consider using products that contain propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol. Visit the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center more information.
  10. Make sure your companion animal has a warm place to sleep, off the floor and away from all drafts. A cozy dog or cat bed with a warm blanket or pillow is perfect.


Monday, October 16, 2006

Ragdoll Safety ... Halloween Take Special Care of your Ragdoll
It's almost time for Halloween; do you know where your cat is? Mischief is afoot on All Hallows Eve, and sometimes, innocently caught up in this mischief are cats, especially black cats.
Black cats are looked on by some people as a witches “familiar” It was believed long-ago that the black cat was actually a demon in disguise and if you destroyed the life of a familiar, you were granted peace within the rest of your life.

As the centuries passed, this notion was replaced with the one that a “familiar” was a psychic companion to the witch and provided a definite link to her. Upon destroying this link, you thus robbed the witch of her power. There are still some misguided people in the world today that believe this way.

There are other problems associated with this holiday that pose a danger to your cat. The unexpected loud noises of children banging on your door at night and showing up in costume is liable to send the most relaxed cat into a near panic attack. It is best to isolate the cat(s) into a room far from the front door, and leave a radio playing softly or a television on to distract her from the festivities.

Plastic bags that candy comes in are especially alluring to young kittens, and if a bag lands on the floor, a kitty could pounce on it get trapped inside and suffocate if you don’t happen to notice her in time. The candy itself poses another danger, especially chocolate- as it is very toxic to cats and should be kept out of reach at all times.

If you do not contain your pet, you face the following threats to her safety: She could run out the front door and into the street. She could get so scared that she injures herself in her haste to escape the scary costumed children. If you are having a party of your own, a well-intentioned guest could accidentally let her outside where she will be confronted with all these costumed and noisy children and then she could bolt. If you are having a Halloween party, make sure the room she is in is strictly off limits to all the guests. Provide her with food, water and a litter box until the party is over.

It is important to keep your children safe during this holiday, but equally important is the safety of your cat. Please heed these warnings and have a safe and happy Halloween.

Written by Mary Anne Miller
Visit me at

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Ragdoll Safety... Christmas Take Special Care of your Ragdoll...

Unfortunately for some of our animal friends, the holiday season also ends up being a time of stress and emergency visits to the vet as bowels become obstructed with tinsel, chocolate left out by careless children or adults proves poisonous, and turkey bones found in the trash get lodged in intestines. Take some extra precautions to ensure that the holiday will be safe and fun for the animal members of your family.

  • Don’t let long, skinny pieces of plastic or string dangle within your pets’ reach. Cats and kittens seem to find shiny tinsel especially appealing but, if they eat it, the thin pieces can cause their intestines to bunch up, and can even cut through the intestinal wall! Either result could be fatal, and would at least mean a trip to the veterinarian’s office.
  • Be careful of where you leave light strands, loose wires, and electric cords, which can all be a serious hazard to your pets. Some animals, especially kittens, may chew cords and put themselves at risk of serious burns or electric shock.
  • As you deck the halls, trim the tree, or light the menorah, remember that animals don’t understand words like “breakable” or “family heirloom.” Rambunctious kittens & cats, have been known to topple many an ornament and knick-knack, and sometimes even whole Christmas trees. You can help prevent breaks and mishaps by keeping weighty ornaments close to the floor, and valuable ornaments high on the tree or on a shelf, out of reach for curious mouths, noses, and wagging tails. Also, make sure Christmas trees are tethered to a nearby wall if you have animals fond of climbing.
  • Keep in mind that some plants and greenery like Holly, Ivy, Poinsettias, and Mistletoe can be very toxic to an animal that ingests them. Check a full list of toxic plants before bringing any decorative plants home.
  • Kids and adults both enjoy celebrating with fireworks, horns, bells, and whistles. But to the sensitive ears of our pets, these can all be extremely frightening. If you anticipate that fireworks or noisemakers will be within earshot of your cat or kitten, make sure your they are in a safe place away from the noise.
  • A house full of visitors can mean a lot of stress for pets. All animals need attention, but too many unfamiliar faces, smells, and petting hands can be frightening and stressful especially for a young kitten. If you expect to have many guests coming and going over the holidays, try to provide your cat or kitten with a quiet room away from the action where they can have privacy and feel safe. Let visitors know the room is off limits.

Visit me at

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Ragdoll Safety... Antifreeze Take Special care of your Ragdoll...
This time of year more than any other time we must be aware of the fatal risks of antifreeze when combined with our cats. This is not just a precaution for outside cats as often our Ragdolls slip into the garage where it may have puddle on the floor or we may even track it into the house on our shoes. Though antifreeze keeps our car engines purring in the winter, exposure to our cats could end their purring forever. Emergency veterinary care is essential with hours of the cat ingesting as little as one teaspoonful. But even with treatment right away, chances of survival are limited. In most brands of antifreeze the active ingredient is called ethylene glycol as sweet smelling and sweet tasting liquid that cats are attracted to.

There are two stages of antifreeze toxicity.

  • Stage one is when the antifreeze is first ingested. The cat will appear to be intoxicated and will be disoriented and show a lack of coordination. Staggering like a drunk while the ethylene glycol is being absorbed into the bloodstream thorough the gastrointestinal system. In about an hour after ingestion the cat will appear to be back to normal or at least improved but actually the second stage of toxicity poisoning is starting.
  • In stage 2, the ingested ethylene glycol starts to be metabolized in the liver. Within 12 hours of ingestion severe acidosis results where acidity in the body fluids may cause sudden death.

Some cats may survive stage 2 where the acidosis will cause lethargy. But if left untreated by a Veterinarian stage 2 will produce calcium oxalate that will eventually become deposited as crystals in the kidney. These crystals will cause renal failure in an untreated cat within 30 hours of the ethylene glycol ingestion.

A veterinarian can do a blood test to reveal ethylene glycol in the cat's system. Once that is detected and verified, immediate therapy is needed to stop the metabolism of the ethylene glycol by using an enzyme called alcohol dehydrogenase. The cat must get drunk on ethanol (pure alcohol) given intravenously. This is not a easy treatment because the cat must be kept drunk for up to 36 hours. This treatment allows the cat's system to metabolize the ethanol and then the ethylene glycol has an opportunity to be excreted from the cat's kidneys.

The sad fact is that most cases of antifreeze poisoning goes unnoticed until well into stage 2. However, at any stage of toxicity, a poisoned cat's chance of survival increases when an owner takes the cat to the Veterinarian for immediate emergency treatment. It is now possible to buy pet safe antifreeze at some stores though it does cost a little more. The product has been reformulated so it is not attractive to pets and they are less likely to ingest it..

Visit me at

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Ragdoll Beginnings... Ragdoll Myths... Ragdoll Description..
THE RAGDOLL IS A HYBRID BREED .. The Ragdoll Cat did not occur spontaneously in Nature. The earliest breedings took place among mostly feral cats of unknown ancestry. It developed through human intervention, the results of years of selectively breeding certain types of cats to achieve a desired outcome. The Ragdoll cat of today can be traced to the original bloodlines where Ann Baker of Riverside California started it all in the early 1960's

RAGDOLL BEGINNINGS .. In the early '60s a woman in Riverside, California, by the name of Ann Baker created the RAGDOLL breed.....She was a breeder of Persian cats, mostly blacks, before she started working on Ragdolls. Josephine, the cat that started it all, was a white, long-haired cat who belonged to Baker’s neighbour Mrs. Pennels. Like many cats in the area, Josephine was half feral and she often produced kittens. The following is taken from the book The Definitive Guide To Ragdolls by Lorna Wallace, Robin Pickering and David Pollard, published by Ragdoll World UK.

...At the time Ann had been borrowing one of Josephine's older sons to sire progeny in her Black Persian breeding program. This son had the appearance of a Black/Brown Persian and she named him Blackie, and it was one of her visits to borrow him that she saw Blackie's brother. He appeared most impressive and in Ann's words had the appearance of a “Sacred Cat of Burma”. Having already established the owner's trust, she was also permitted to borrow this cat to mate with her own females. She was most taken with this son of Josephine and named him Raggedy Ann Daddy Warbucks. What Ann clearly states is that Blackie and Daddy Warbucks are both sons of Josephine, but with different sires who were unknown and undocumented. In the IRCA booklet it would appear to indicate that Blackie's father was a black cat from the East, that appeared more Persian than Burmese. During detailed questioning, Ann confirmed that no-one had ever seen the father of Daddy Warbucks, and he was the only kitten in that particular litter of Josephine’s. This being so, makes it difficult to take the origins of the breed further.

...Ann Baker's breeding program consisted of a handful of Ragdoll breeders contracted under her. She was paid a royalty fee for every kitten sold. In 1966 Ann Baker registered Daddy Warbucks, Fugianna, Kyoto, and Tike as Ragdolls in the National Cat Fanciers Association. Tiki and Kyoto were registered with Ann Baker being the Owner and Breeder. Daddy Warbucks and Fugianna were registered to Ann's neighbor's the Pennels as Owner but Ann as the Breeder. By 1969 there were only 65 Ragdolls registered with NFCA and Ann was the only Ragdoll breeder.Today the Ragdoll is still a relatively new and unknown breed, but the number of Ragdolls and Breeders is growing very rapidly and are becoming very much in demand.

  • Ragdoll name comes from its tendency to go limp when held, likened to picking up a soft bundle of rags or to holding a child's ragdoll toy. Actually, this tendency to go limp in your arms may be attributed to their docile, gentle and trusting nature, rather than any physical or genetic factor.
  • Ragdolls DO feel pain. It is a myth that the Ragdoll cat is insensitive to pain. If you accidentally step on a Ragdoll kitten or cats tail, it will cry as loudly as any other cat.
  • Ragdoll Cats DO shed. All cats shed but the Ragdoll is considered a low shed. In the Spring and Fall you can expect a little more shedding as they adjust their coats to the season.
  • Ragdoll are NOT hypo-allergenic. It depends on type of allergy the person has. Dander and protein shed in the saliva is the major cause of allergies. Some can tolerate a Ragdoll, others cannot. Be sure to visit a cattery and if you are ok there after a visit of about an hour you will have a good chance of being ok with one. You may have to vacuum more often and bath the cat monthly.

RAGDOLL DESCRIPTION .. The RAGDOLL's disposition and personality are what makes them a truly unique cats. They are large, quiet, playful, placid, relaxed, very loving and respond well to children and other pets. Ragdolls and dogs do especially well together if the dog is well mannered. Children should be watched around a Ragdoll kitten, but most Ragdolls raised with children will tolerate being “lugged” around the house and be happy to be played with.
RAGDOLLS are slow to mature physically obtaining full maturity between 3 and 4 years of age. Altered adult males may reach 12 to 20 pounds; females will weigh about 5 pounds less.

The Ragdolls fur is rabbit-like, medium long with LITTLE shedding. Remember, all animals, including humans do shed their fur, so expect some shedding in the spring and fall. The RAGDOLL requires little or no routine grooming. During shedding season, be sure to watch for some tangles under the armpits in some Ragdolls. All pointed RAGDOLLS have beautiful blue eyes.

At this time, the only Ragdolls that are accepted for Championship in the show halls, are blue-eyed pointed Ragdolls. The solid color Ragdolls is considered experimental. The solid color Ragdolls can be registered, but have not been accepted as to the “Standard”, by the majority of the breeders. Therefore, the solid Ragdolls cannot be shown towards any titles.

Visit me at

    Saturday, September 23, 2006

    ADOPTING A RAGDOLL ... What you need to know Before you purchase your kitten and things you should be aware up front.

    1) The first thing is to ask if your kitten is a pure Ragdoll. Some breeders are out-crossing to other breeds to bring in new colors and patterns. While this is fine if it’s done honestly, the customer should be told if the cat is less than the generation that brings it back to full Ragdoll. The price should reflect the generation of the out-cross. The kitten should be at least 4 generations away from the outcross before it is considered a full Ragdoll.

    2) Are the Parents and Kittens registered? Ask what cat association this breeder is a member of to ensure that they are true registered breeders. In North America the most popular are:

    Cat Fancy Association (CFA)
    The International Cat Association (TICA)
    Canadian Cat Association (CCA)

    Don’t be Shy!! Look them up on the internet and give them a call. If there are no registration papers then a BIG RED FLAG should be raised. Why are they not registered you ask? Breeder says she can sell them for less if they are not registered. This is not true. Registering a LITTER of kitten is under $20.00 so this is NO excuse. Chances are they are breeding illegally. They bought their cats from a Ragdoll breeder with a contract to spay or neuter their cats by a certain age. Usually by 6 or 7 months. They have broken that contract by breeding their cats. This was a legal and binding contract that they signed and they could be prosecuted by the breeder. Do you really want to do business with this dishonest person? What else are they being dishonest about? The health of the kitten maybe. What happens when your have problem or questions and need help. They probably won't answer the phone or emails.

    3) If you find a breeder whose asking price is much lower than the rest of the breeders around their area, again DON’T' BE SHY. Ask why it is lower. If kittens are offered for less than average price, it could be because the breeder is cutting corners in order to outsell the competition, or they have produced too many kittens. They may have to lower their prices to attract people, and so the people will overlook the conditions the cats are raised in. BUYERS BEWARE. If it sounds to good to be true then it usually is! You get what you pay for!!!

    4) No kitten should leave its breeder’s home before 12 weeks of age, and with at least one shot but usually two. By not taking a kitten before it’s 12 weeks old, you will be getting a much better and well-adjusted kitten. Also, the kitten’s immune system will be stronger, and the adjustment to it’s new home will go smoother. Kittens need to be with their littermates until this age. Kittens have to learn to be kittens, and it is better for them to do that at the breeder’s house, with their siblings and Mom, than to do it with you and your children. Breeders know how to train the kittens for the best behavior towards people.

    Kittens go through stages of kittenhood that are important

    • The first three weeks, they don’t want anything to do with people, and are happy just to be with Mom. Most breeders will handle them at this age anyway, to get them use to it.
    • The period of 3 to 6 weeks is a fun time. The kittens are thrilled with people, and want to climb all over you, they are learning to use the litter and of course the all-important scratch post.
    • Then comes the 6 to 10 or 11 weeks of age. At this age, they are either sleeping or flying through the house. This is the age they need each other the most. Getting a kitten at 8 weeks will NOT make the kitten bond with you more than at 12 weeks. You will just be depriving the kitten of a very important learning experience. It is much cheaper for the breeder to let kittens go to their new homes at 8 weeks of age. Kittens between 8 and 12 weeks eat a tremendous amount of food, because they are growing fast. So, if the breeder is feeding them top quality food, as they should be doing, the food $$’s add up and take away any profit that might be made from the litter.

    4) You should never buy a kitten or cat without a health guarantee and contract. This protects the buyer as well as the seller. Read the contract carefully, so you know what is expected if you need to have your kitten replaced. Most breeders require an autopsy report if a cat has to be put down. This is a sad thing to have to have done on a cat you just lost, and we do understand that. However, if we are to breed healthy cats, we have to know what problems we are dealing with. The vet’s "best guess" is not good enough. We need to know for sure what the problem is, and if it could be passed on to more cats and kittens. Make sure you get at least a two-year health guarantee on the kitten for any genetic or heredity defect. Many things don’t show up until the cat is a year old. Click here for my sample Contract and Health guarantee
    Contract and Health Guarantee

    5) Try visit the cattery you are getting your kitten from. This is not always possible, but it is worth the effort if you can manage it. If you can’t visit, ask for references and do call the people who have been there. Breeders can tell you something over the phone or email, but you won’t know if it is true or not, unless you visit, or talk to someone who has been there. When you do visit, look for overall cleanliness, and make sure the litter boxes are clean. Many breeders will not let you handle young kittens, but they should be willing to show you where they are raised even if it is a peek in the door of the kitten room. You have to remember that breeder cats do not look as beautiful as they would be if they were spayed or neutered. Males often have more important things on their mind then food, and can be on the thin side, with half the coat they would have if they were neutered. The females are usually in different stages of "beauty". They usually start looking good again with all their weight, and starting to get back their coats, just about the time they are ready to be bred again.

    Visit me at

    Friday, September 22, 2006

    Rag-A-Bye Ragdoll Catttery ... Where we are Located.. Information on the Ragdoll breed and how to adopt a Ragdoll cat or kitten.

    Rag-A-Bye Ragdoll Cattery is located in Windsor Ontario Canada, just across the river from Detroit Michigan. I have been breeding Ragdolls since 1999 and breed only the traditional Ragdoll in Seal and Blue colors.

    While visiting my site you can learn all about my Ragdoll Cats and Kittens. I have pictures of all the Mom's and Dad's as well as pictures of kittens from their previous litters. There is also a spot to see the pictures that the families have sent me as their kittens grow into cats.

    I occasionally have adult Ragdoll Cats up for adoption. These are adults that have retired from my breeding program and are looking for a family to love them to pieces.

    Come for a visit and learn all there is to know about this wonderful breed.

    Visit me at