The Ragamuffin (often spelled RagaMuffin) is a breed of domestic cat, a variant of the Ragdoll, that first made its appearance in 1994. Ragamuffins are notable for their friendly personalities and thick, rabbitlike fur.
In the 1960s a regular non-pedigreed white domestic long haired cat named Josephine, who had produced several litters of typical cats, was injured in a car accident and taken to a laboratory at the University of California. After she recovered, her next litter produced exceptionally friendly kittens. When the subsequent litter produced more of the same, Mrs. Ann Baker (an established cat breeder) purchased several kittens from the owner, who lived behind her, and, believing she had something special, set out to create what is now known as the (original) Ragdoll.
Around 1975, after many of the original Ragdoll breeders left, Ann Baker in an unusual move, spurned traditional cat breeding associations. She trademarked the name "Ragdoll" for a new line of cats unrelated to the original Ragdoll and set up her own registry—International Ragdoll Cat Association (IRCA)—and imposed stringent standards on anyone who wanted to breed or sell cats under that name. The IRCA Ragdolls were also not allowed to be registered in other breed associations.
In 1994, a group of IRCA breeders decided to leave and form their own group because of increasingly strict breeding restrictions. Owing to Ann Baker's trademark on the name "Ragdoll", the group renamed its stock of IRCA Ragdoll cats, Ragamuffins. While the preferred name was Leibling cats, the name Ragamuffin was put forth as an alternative by one of the group founders. The name stuck. In the spirit of bettering the breed's genetic health and personality, the group outcrossed to Persians, Himalayans, and domestic longhaired cats, which increased the distinctiveness of the Ragamuffins. The group did allow some out crossing to original Ragdolls as well (which ended in 2010 for ACFA-recognized Ragamuffins). Only cats with at least one RagaMuffin parent and an ACFA-accepted outcross currently qualify to be called Ragamuffins. CFA Ragamuffins may only have Ragamuffin parents.
The cost of buying a pedigreed Ragamuffin has been typically higher than for its Ragdoll relatives by several hundred dollars. Pet quality kittens start at around $1,000.00.
The first cat association to accept the breed at full show champion status was the United Feline Organization (UFO), and while some major cat associations still refuse to accept the Ragamuffin as a recognized breed (primarily because of its close association with the Ragdoll), it was accepted into the American Cat Fanciers Association (ACFA) and finally the Cat Fanciers' Association (CFA) accepted them into the Miscellaneous class February, 2003 and advanced to Championship Class in February, 2011.