Meet the New Cuteness

About 10 years ago, my wife had just adopted Ripley, and we were thinking of getting a kitten next, and we thought it might be fun to get a purebread kitten. We weren’t sure what breed we wanted, so we did some research on the web and at cat shows. Eventually we settled on the Ragdoll breed, and began to contact a few local breeders to learn to learn how the adoption process works and to get an idea of the difference between breeders.

What we learned — and this will shock you — is that some cat breeders are a bit nuts. They all had lots of special rules we were supposed to follow once we got the cat, not all of which seemed, uh, entirely grounded in reality. I remember one even wanted the right to take back the cat if they thought it was being abused. (Taking back an abused cat makes sense, but they wanted to make the determination themselves, rather than, say, a neutral veterinarian.)

That turned us off the idea a bit, and somewhere along the way we got a kitten from a shelter, Buffy. (I didn’t have the camera back when she was a kitten, sorry) Then, a year or so later, we were visiting the Orphans of the Storm shelter (where we had adopted Ripley and Buffy), and we stumbled a cat with more hair than I’d ever seen before. We picked him up and played with him and brushed his hair — which really needed it, there was an awful lot of loose hair stuck to him — and put him back in his cage. But he just sat there, looking at us with those big blue eyes… So we took him home, and he became my favorite cat, Dozer.

Sadly, Dozer passed away a few months ago. He looked like a purebread blue bicolor Ragdoll, and he probably was. You can’t really tell if a cat is purebread without the breeding history, but Ragdoll breeders are a fairly protective bunch, so there aren’t too many fakes out there. (Unlike, say, Persians.) Based on our experiences with Dozer, my wife and I decided that we must always have a Ragdoll cat.

After a period of grieving, we began looking at web sites for Ragdoll kitten breeders, trying to decide what kind of Ragdoll we wanted. My wife fell in love with the blue lynx pattern, and we found a couple of blue lynx kittens at Dr. J’s Perfect Dolls. Last Friday, we met with Jennifer Woll, DVM, and took home a kitten. Check out the expression on his face in this shot:

Dr. Jennifer Woll With Our New Kitten
Larger ImageDr. Jennifer Woll With Our New Kitten

As usual, we had some trouble coming up with the name. Because he’s so cute, it’s tempting to name him “Nermal,” but he’ll eventually grow up, and “Nermal” is a silly name for a grown-up cat. We could also name him “Joel,” after the kitten in The Closer, but that too seems like a silly name for a full-size cat.

My wife likes “Roark,” after Eve Dallas’s love interest in the In Death series by J.D. Robb, which would also tie in nicely with my libertarian leanings because of the link to Howard Roark in The Fountainhead. On the other hand, “Roark” sounds a bit pretentious to me, and I’m not really a Rand fan. Alternatively, we could name him “Dallas” after Eve Dallas and also after the captain of the Nostromo in Alien.

For now, he’s Hotch, named after Aaron Hotchner, the character Thomas Gibson plays on Criminal Minds. Among other things, it has the advantage of being a single syllable, which means it might be possible to train him to respond to it.

It could happen.

[Update: We renamed him “Beezle” (includes video of him playing).]

Anyway, we have the kitten locked in the master bathroom for a few days as part of the process of introducing him to the rest of the household. He’s a bundle of energy, so I thought it would be amusing to setup the video camera to record his activity until it ran out of space, then I could edit it into a fun highlights video. As it turns out, however, all that energy is just for show. With no one watching, he just slept for an hour and a half.

I managed to salvage something, however, by compressing the video timeline. Here’s Hotch asleep for an hour and a half, shown at 50 times normal speed:

If you haven’t had enough, here’s the whole set of photos of Hotch.

6 Responses to Meet the New Cuteness

  1. Hi!
    Beautiful kitten. We just lost our older Ragdoll and we have a 12 yr old female still at home. We have made a deposit on 2 kittens and will hopefully pick them up this weekend. Ragdolls are wonderful!
    Glad you are having a great experience. We are excited to meet ours. We have a 6hr ride. Did you have to travel?
    Greatly enjoyed the video!
    Congratulations on your ragdoll baby!

  2. Hi,
    I have decided I want a rag doll. My problem I have is everyone wants you to pay 700 and up for a spayed/neutered kitten. I feel that if I am spending that much money I should have a choice. I don’t plan on breeding it but what if I wanted a baby to my cat later? I understand they are trying to keep the breed as pure as possible but why do they get the say? Then like you said some places want the right to take the animal back with no refund. Its confusing to me. Any help would be appreciated.

    Shelley

  3. It’s not just about keeping the breed pure. It’s also about keeping the cat population from growing so fast that many are abandoned.

    Of course it is also about discouraging competition by limiting the number of Ragdolls being born. The breeder who created the Ragdoll line originally tried to control it with detailed breeding contracts that severely limited what other breeders could do without her permission. In some ways, it’s a sort of intellectual property protection on Ragdoll DNA.

  4. Hi! I found your post while researching Dr Woll. We have an 11month old ragdoll from Jennifer and she is in good health. However, I’ve found some horror stories about Jennifer on some websites and they’ve got me very concerned about the future health of our kitten. If you don’t mind me asking, how has Hotch’s health been?

    • Hello anonymous,
      I know better than anyone the lengths that Dr Jenn goes to in order to make sure her kittens are as healthy as can be and that the adults are also cared for to the best of her ability. The website you mentioned and the horror stories listed on there, to put it as nicely as I can, are garbage. She has been breeding these cats for close to 20 years and she continually looks for ways to improve the quality of her cats. So over 20 years of kittens and there are less than a handful of complaints. Unfortunately kittens and adult cats can get sick and bad things can happen but Jenn tries everything she can to minimize this risk. Please do not worry, and just enjoy your kitten and also trust that Jenn stands behind her work with these kittens. And I stand behind her as I am married to her.
      Thanks
      Bob

  5. Beezle is now just over 2.5 years old, and he’s been the most vigorously healthy cat we’ve ever owned. He does tend to play aggressively — a common problem with cats adopted early — but the other cats have kept him in line, and we know a trick or two ourselves. (He’s not mean, he’s play-fighting: He doesn’t attack hard enough to break skin with teeth or claws.) My dentist adopted two of Dr. Woll’s cats shortly after we did, and I just confirmed with her that she hasn’t seen any health problems with either of them. Personally, I’m not worried.

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