Late winter and early spring this year turned into a time of goodbyes. You see, it is retirement time for a number of RagaMuffins. I hate this more than anything else about breeding. I love these cats. But, when they are done showing/ breeding, I want what is best for them. And for most of them, that is a loving household with fewer cats so they can be doted on even more. My preference is to retire them when still relatively young so the transition is a bit easier.
Do I have a magic number of times they will have kittens? No. I bred Gertrude five times. She only had one or two kittens until her last litter when she had four. I kept Smartie from that litter and spayed Gertrude. Smartie was the outstanding kitten I was waiting for Gertrude to produce. iCandy Gertrude Hawk never had problems keeping her weight on, took good care of her kittens and, frankly, could have kept breeding. But, there was no reason to other than to produce kittens to sell. Gertrude had a good life here. But, she has a wonderful life now.
Sugar Baby had two kittens in each of her two litters. I decided to keep Cherry this time around. Cherry has the fabulous coat I love and continues the line down from my Russian import, Meringue. iCandy Cherry Mash is the great, great granddaughter of Meringue (who lives with my brother). A plus is the fancy color that Cherry sports. Sugar Baby is spending her retirement as an only, much spoiled muffin.
Milk Dud had two litters. She was cycling a lot, which causes wear and tear on their bodies. Cycling frequently contributes to stress and weight loss in a queen. I ended up breeding her earlier than I prefer after her first litter because of this. Both her litters had more than my average of kittens. I kept Carob out of her second litter and Milk Dud went home to live with one of her sons.
Then, there was Toffee. Toffee was challenging to breed due her type B blood, the subject of a previous blog. She had two kittens, one of which was just what I wanted for my program. Cadbury will carry on Toffee’s legacy and Toffee went to be a special kitty for a woman looking for her first RagaMuffin.
GC BWR RW iCandy Pixi Stix was spayed. Pixi Stix is my diva. She was outstanding in the show ring and pretty much calls the shots here at home. I have two of her adult sons here at the house and her last kitten will be headed to another breeder soon. Pixi Stix will be six in July. She will head back to the show ring in Premiership class and stay here at iCandy.
AdoreMuffins Walnut sired some lovely kittens who have his amazing eyes while here. I kept both Cadbury and Cherry. He went on to a breeder friend to produce more excellent babies. Wilbur Bud will likely be retiring soon as I have a couple of his kittens and he would love to be the center of attention. Solo will be leaving to go live with a son from a previous litter. As much as would like to have a Solo baby, it wasn’t meant to be.
So why do I do this? The goal of a serious breeding program is to improve the animals. With RagaMuffins, I want to strive for the perfect cat (which doesn’t exist). I want consistent looks with each cat. I want a RagaMuffin to look like a RagaMuffin. Better yet, look like an iCandy RagaMuffin. I want to maintain the robust health of the breed. And I want the sweet loving temperament in every individual. An added bonus for me is a cat that loves the show ring. To continue improvement requires keeping kittens that will improve on something I feel one or both parents may lack. For instance, one of the parents may have more of a round eye than a walnut shaped eye. So, I try to breed for the eye shape that meets the RagaMuffin standard: walnut. When evaluating the kittens, I am going to be looking for the kitten with proper eye shape that still has all the qualities of the parent that I like!
Unless I want to become a hoarder, this means that as cats retire, they will go on to another home where they will continue to have love and attention. And, in most cases, more attention. It’s really hard to let them go. Every time.