I have loved kitties my whole life
Many ask how we got our start with ragdoll kittens, so here it is… (if you’d like the short version of the story just stick to reading what is written in bold. On the other hand, if you’re bored and can use a little entertainment, read on! ) If you have loved kitties your whole life like I have, then you will definitely relate!
I love kitties
Once upon a time, there was a little girl who loved kitties. That was me – Melanie. Here I am, before I could even walk, chasing after our Sammy.
And here I am again, a couple years doting on another! (Apparently my older brother must have been more interested in the cute little girl next door than in the cuddly kitty I was holding!)
And yes, I almost always sat this way. When I was 5, my ballet teacher told me that I would end up walking like a chicken if I kept sitting like that (I guess some things stick with you). Fortunately I don’t walk like a chicken, but I can still sit this way if I put my mind to it! My ballet teacher would also tell me to tuck in my “deary ear”. I had no idea that my ears were dear or how I could possibly tuck them in. In her mind I’m sure I was a complete failure at ballet, and at the ripe old age of 5 1/2, I retired from ballet. After learning French years later, I discovered that she was probably trying her best to pronounce the word “derrière” but even so, how does one tuck that in!? )
Tigger was my favorite kitty
I had many cats over the years, but my favorite kitty growing up was an orange tabby I named Tigger.
This is the chair I used to sit in after school and play my Winnie the Pooh record. I would listen to the story and songs over and over while eating mini marshmallows out of a little blue Tupperware bowl that I still have today. It’s one of my favorite childhood memories.
It’s no surprise then that I would have shared this choice spot and time with my beloved furry friend who (by no coincidence) had the same name as one of my favorite characters from the Disney story. A comfy outfit, a wonderful lapcat, mini marshmallows and a great story – now that’s hard to beat! I was livin’ the dream…
Tigger had kittens
What? Tigger’s a girl?! Tigger got pregnant and had a litter of kittens. Sadly, the dream ended when she was tragically hit by a car just 3 days after her babies were born. We bottle-fed her babies but they didn’t turn out to be as wonderful as Tigger so I don’t think we kept any of them.
I do remember it being a pretty traumatic thing for me though. We buried her next to one of the trees in our back yard and I made this sign for her:
This is my mom bottle feeding one of Tigger’s kittens.
Little did any of us know at the time that I would end up doing the very same thing many years later for various little ragdoll babies who need an extra boost!
Our gray cat Kizzi
A couple of years following Tigger’s tragic death we got a gray kitty and I named her Kizzi. I don’t remember much about this cat. But Kizzi got along great with our golden retriever (Brandy) who was the greatest dog on earth.
I loved eating the frosting in Oreo cookies so I’d eat the frosting and then throw the cookie to Brandy. Back then I didn’t know that chocolate is like poison to dogs. However, ignorance is bliss, because Brandy and I and Oreos got along real well!
This is my little sister helping me to make these little furballs comfy on Brandy’s back. Our family moved to Singapore for a year just a couple years after this photo was taken so we had to find a new home for Kizzi.
Living in Singapore as a child was an amazing experience. Unfortunately, I did not appreciate it when my parents forced us to go eat at the Hawker centers or visit the Buddhist Temples. All I wanted to do was just swim in our neighborhood pool. My dad would always say, “One day you’ll thank us!” And though I have thanked them before, here it is in writing and very publicly: Thank you Mom and Dad. The experience you gave me was incredibly eye-opening and worthwhile. I will always be grateful. 🙂
My Cat “Kitty”
The name I chose for my next cat was “Kitty”. She loved hanging out around my neck which was just fine by me. It seems as though my creativity for naming my beloved feline friends was seriously limited! In spite of my apparent lack of imagination at the time, however, Kitty was a fabulous cat! She kept me excellent company until it was time for me to leave home for college. If I had been allowed to bring her with me to my dorm room I would have!
Time passed; I grew up and got married…
…and after two years of marriage finally convinced my husband that I needed a cat.
Our first two “honeymoon” years included quite a bit of boo-hooing on my part over not having a furbaby to cuddle and love. Ron and I went back and forth and around and around. He had grown up on a farm where animals were kept outdoors and remained there for practical reasons. Cats were used to eat mice. Obviously I had other ideas. Finally we settled on a bird and got a cockatiel… indoors and contained. We named him Leche since he was mostly white like milk.
Leche the Cockatiel
If you are reading this, I imagine that we are of the same mind and you are probably thinking, “Yeah, right – as if a bird is any kind of decent substitute for a wonderful cat!” I agree, but it was the best I could do at the time.
More tears ensued and the wonderful man I married relented! And see how happy he is!
Our kitty Cheerio
We found our sweet girl at the Humane Society and named her Cheerio because: 1. we already had Leche, and milk and cereal go together, 2. she made me feel cheery and 3. we liked the British expression.
It was the perfect name for the perfect cat.
Cat Toilet Training
We knew we also wanted to have a baby (the human kind). Since I had agreed to be the pooper scooper and didn’t want to risk getting toxoplasmosis, I set about toilet training Cheerio.
This is done by putting plastic wrap over the toilet bowl and then the seat down on top of that. Unscented litter is then put on top of the plastic. Once she learned that this was her “litter box”, we made a small hole in the plastic wrap. Then, we gradually increased the size of the hole until she was successfully using the toilet just like a person. It was fabulous!!!
Our amazing cat Cheerio had been successfully using the potty for a few years by the time we had our own firstborn princess. Sarah and Cheerio became best friends right from the beginning!
Cheerio was the only “sibling” Sarah knew for close to two decades.
She was truly an angel kitty who gave superb hugs and who tried to steal my Diet Dr. Pepper!
Cheerio lived 19 1/2 years
When Cheerio was about 16 years old I took her to the vet for a regular checkup. He took one look at her teeth and said, “Her teeth look bad…how old is she?” He then looked at her chart, saw how old she was and declared, “Wow, 16!? This cat is a Methuselah! Her teeth look great!”
Our sweet Cheerio passed away at 19 1/2 years old and she left an enormous hole in our hearts. We understand and empathize with those of you who have suffered such a loss.
Now that you have a pretty good idea of who Cheerio was, I’m sure you can understand our reasoning when we thought, “Wow…the only way we could ever come close to replacing Cheerio will be with a Ragdoll.” (not that you can ever replace a loved one)
As our daughter and Cheerio grew up and older together, Sarah had a subscription to Cat Fancy magazine – this is where we first learned about Ragdolls. And even though Cheerio had come from a shelter, she certainly exhibited Ragdoll-type behaviors and even physical features with her rabbit-like fur.
Back then we didn’t know much about buying a purebred Ragdoll. We just happened to get lucky when we found one for sale nearby.
The previous owner of our new kitty had discovered that she was allergic to cats and had to rehome her newly acquired ragdoll baby.
We named her Lady Meringue.
Lady was still intact when we adopted her so I contacted the breeder and purchased the breeding rights from her. We found a different breeder from whom we purchased our first king and thus began our journey as Ragdoll Breeders!
Because of my exposure to cats having kittens as a child, I thought it would be wonderful if our daughter could have a similar experience at least once. Ron had learned a long time ago that Happy Wife = Happy Life so he didn’t squirm too much when we ran this past him haha!
So that’s how we got started breeding these beauties!
Life carried on… Lady Merengue had kitties… and our little princess grew up and went away to college.
In spite of having more kitties to love, we just failed miserably at being “empty nesters”. We decided to fill the nest back up again and we had 3 more babies of our own!
Our 3 Youngest Children
You will often see our 3 young children featured in videos and pictures with our “chatons“. They love their furry playmates!
In the videos you will hear that we are speaking mostly French. This is the only language I have ever spoken with our oldest daughter and I only speak French with our 3 young children also.
I began learning French in high school and continued studying it in college. During my college summers I taught at a French immersion language camp in Minnesota where I really became fluent. Later on I lived in France for about 15 months.
French and Russian
Our first daughter was homeschooled using the French government’s homeschool curriculum (Cned). During this experience she was required to study two foreign languages. Although she could have chosen English as one of her “foreign” languages, she opted for German and Russian. I sort of skated by when helping her with the German. But teaching her Russian was far to challenging to just “wing it.” I poured many hours into trying to learn Russian so that I could help her through the courses.
We were fortunate enough to live in the Tri-Cities where there is a Russian bilingual education program for primary children. With my degree in Elementary Ed I signed up as a substitute teacher for these children and became friends with one of the teachers and her family. This teacher’s daughter has now been babysitting for us since our second daughter was 6 months old. She speaks only Russian with our 3 youngest children as does Sarah who gained a love and passion for the language over the last 8 or so years.
So that’s it. That’s our story!
Thank you for reading and getting to know us. We look forward to getting to know you and hope to welcome you into our big circle of ragdoll lovers!