My Ragdoll Cats

Meet Baby Grace
(born March 26, 2005)

Gracie came into this world 3 days before my most beloved angel, Sissy, died at the age of 15. I was devastated after my Sissy’s death and needed to find a new love right away to take away some of the pain. After much searching and calling, I located a breeder, Denice Thornton of Purrsonable Ragdolls, in Johnson City, TN, about 3.5 hours away from my home.

After two weeks of anxious waiting, I was on my way to Tennessee to pick up my new baby girl, “Grace”. I knew I wanted to name my new little girl, Grace. After I had discovered my beloved Sissy dead, I was in a terrible state of grief and panic. I kept hearing the voice of the Lord say to me, “my Grace is sufficient for you”. I clung to that promise and knew the name of my next little girl.

So, off I went with my husband to pick up Grace. When we got to the breeder’s home, we were heartbroken and disappointed to learn that “Grace”, the little bicolor girl we had picked out from the website, was an anti-social, mean little girl who did NOT want anything to do with anybody. She scratched me badly and refused any attention. Denice had told me that she didn’t think I would be happy with “Grace”, because she was not a people kitty. I was heartbroken, because I had been hoping to bring my new little girl home that day to help me deal with this still, terrible hole in my heart from losing my best friend of 15 years.

Denice’s house was bouncing with dozens of little Ragdoll kittens of different colors and sizes. However, I didn’t see any that seemed to interest me. Sadly, I asked Denice if she had ANY more kittens, and suddenly, she said, “you know, I do have one little girl who is just three weeks old. I keep forgetting about her, because she is so little and her mother, Chelsea’s only kitten.” I asked to see Chelsea, and my heart did a flip flop! Chelsea reminded me so much of Sissy – the way she walked, her sweet little face, and her delicate little meow. Chelsea was gorgeous, a perfectly marked blue bicolor with the deepest, round blue eyes I’ve ever seen. Denice was hoping that Chelsea would be a prize breeder; however, Chelsea was very small for a Ragdoll and her first litter only yielded one little kitten who seemed to be Chelsea’s clone.

When Denice brought Chelsea’s tiny little white bundle of fur out for my husband and I to see, my heart did another flip flop. She was perfect! She was so little for her age, and her little legs were not even unfolded yet. Her eyes were very dark blue like her beautiful mother’s, Chelsea. We held the little kitten, and we knew that she was special. I knew I had found my true “Grace”.

The bad news was that Grace was still only three weeks old, and we would have to come back when she was 12 weeks old to pick her up. That seemed like an eternity to a Mommy who was desperately hoping to bring a new little baby home to help deal with her grief. But God taught me that some things are worth waiting for.

So, we passed on the 12 week old kitten that we had originally intended to take home we named, “Grace”, and anxiously waited the next 9 weeks for our kitten that came to be nick-named by Denice as “Baby Grace”, because she was so small and had already registered the mean kitten as “Grace”.

So, we watched Baby Grace grow to 12 weeks over the internet. Grace was truly one of a kind. She was the first born of Chelsea through a difficult breeding between another first time “parent”, Cassanova Blue IV. Chelsea was one of those kitties that didn’t enjoy being a breeder and wanted little to do with all of the kittens in her house.

Denice told us how “unique” Baby Grace was. She told me that she’d never seen any kitten like Grace. She was “single-minded” and determined and a little “odd”. She was so little that the other breeder moms took special care of Grace and carried her around in their mouths from place to place to protect her. Grace had a hard time learning to walk and it took her weeks to learn how to use her little short legs.

While waiting for our little Baby Grace, I decided that she needed a little playmate to grow up with. After much searching for a little boy who would be the same age as Grace, fortune allowed me to find my darling, sweet Sonnie on my birthday through a website called Misty Dolls. He was perfect! He was a chocolate bicolor beauty with a funny face and wacky personality. And, he was only 6 days younger than Grace. Even better, I had him flown in to Atlanta from North Dakota on June 17, 2005 and was scheduled to pick up Baby Grace the next day in Tennessee. It seemed ideal that I would get them at the same time. I’ll tell you more about my sweet, angelic Sonnie in another journal!!

Finally, June 18th had come, and we were back at Denice’s house to pick up our perfect, amazing Grace. When we saw Grace in person, we had to gasp. She was stunning. She was the most beautiful kitten we had ever seen. Her fur was the silkiest and brightest white, and her round dark blue eyes were so much like her beautiful mother, Chelsea. Grace was perfect! She was the near clone of Chelsea. It’s another story, but we fell so much in love with little Chelsea at that time, that we ended up adopting her 4 months later. Denice didn’t want to keep breeding Chelsea, because she was so stressed as a breeder, so she gave her beautiful little cherub to us in October of 2005 at the age of 2 years to the day. Chelsea left us last year, 3 days after her fifth birthday. It was a great shock, and she was and always shall be our princess who blessed our lives for only 3 years.

So, this is how we met our beautiful Baby Grace, whose pictures have traveled all over the world through my calendars, buttons, t-shirts and other gifts. Grace is a treasure. She is truly special.

My husband and I suspected that Grace was a little brain damaged and had a hard time with normal things that kittens could do, like jumping and meowing. Through many, many hours of patience and tons of love, Gracie has learned how to jump and run like the wind and enjoys being held by her Mommy. Gracie sleeps snuggled next to Mommy’s head every night. She is very unique and quite a little odd-ball!

She is incredibly smart, despite her minor disability. I think she is somewhat of a “savant”. She has a memory like no other I’ve ever seen in a cat and her intelligence in certain areas surpasses that of many humans I know! However, she is awkward and odd in other areas. She does her own thing. She makes up her own games. She adores new things and craves constant “newness”. She gets a little depressed if she is not constantly learning and investigating new things! She is the most nosey little girl! She gets a weird thrill out of running into the forbidden basement and quickly looking all around while purring loudly, before her Mom or Dad snatches her up and takes her back upstairs! Similarly, she loves to go on trips (even the vet!), as long as there is something new to look at or do.

Gracie did not turn out to be the kitty I was hoping for (the second clone of my beloved Sissy, who was perfect in every way). She did turn out to be more than I ever imagined. God taught me that He can bless me in ways that I could not imagine and that His will and plan for me may be different than my wishes, but He always knows best. Gracie does what Grace wants, and nobody can force her to do otherwise. But, Baby Grace adores her Mommy and her Daddy, and she chooses of her own free will to love us and be near us. That makes it even more special. Gracie has learned to meow, but she saves it for “special occasions”. The more love we shower on her, the more love she returns, and the more she overcomes any disability she was born with.

Grace is our beautiful angel, and we treasure her quirky oddness and spend many hours laughing at her antics. She melts our heart with her sweet, tiny squeaky meow. She is so silly, too. God chose not to give me the identical “clone” that I wanted of my beloved Sissy, but He gave me exactly what I needed. He taught me how to love and accept a little odd girl, just the way she was, and over time, He has transformed her into the most majestic and unique cat in the world, that fills our lives with love and laughter and more joy than we could have hoped for. She is truly one of a kind!

Introducing Sonny Bear!
(born April 1, 2005)

Yes, my sweet Sonny is an April Fool's baby, and that says it all about him! Sonny is the happiest, silliest, most innocent, playful little guy we've ever seen! He is always looking for a game and relishes playing practical jokes on his brothers and sisters.

Sonny was my first "Internet kitty." After my beloved Sissy died, I began my search for a pair of kittens to ease the grief of losing my best friend. I found sweet Baby Grace who would be ready to pick up in mid June, and I was panicking because I could not find a suitable brother for her . Ideally, I wanted both kittens I would adopt to be from the same litter, but since Grace was an "only child," I began scouring the country for a brother for her of the same age. My husband and I both preferred the bicolor patter at that time, and we wanted a chocolate or a seal since Gracie was a blue bicolor.

In 2005, I think Ragdoll cats were at their height of popularity, and there was a lot of demand, hence the supply was low. As soon as I found a kitty that I thought I liked, I would call only to find out he was no longer available.

I began pouring over ragdoll cat breeder's websites in Georgia and nearby or neighboring states within a 2-3 hour drive time. After no success, my search grid quickly expanded to a 6 hour driving radius into states like Florida, South Carolina, and North Carolina. When I began to look in Texas -- sheer panic set in. I was worried that I would not find a little brother of the same age for Gracie. I wanted them both to come home at the same time so that neither one would feel jealous or intimidated by the other, and they would bond as brother and sister. It became obvious that I was going to have to consider shipping a kitten in from another state. Sigh.

After a month of searching, I became discouraged and did what, perhaps, I should have done from the very beginning -- I turned to the Lord for help. It seems an obvious solution now, but back then, it didn't occur to me that the Lord of the Universe would be interested in helping me find a little brother for my Baby Grace. On the morning of my birthday, I finally prayed and turned over my little problem to the Maker of the Heavens and Earth. I prayed something like, "I give up, God. I can't find a little brother for Gracie. If you want her to have a brother, please help me."

Then, PRESTO! On the morning of my birthday, I began my daily ritual of surfing through pages and pages of Ragdoll cat breeders, weeding out the questionable ones, in search of a little boy. Then, just when I thought I "reached the end of the Internet," I came across a site I never noticed before: "Misty Dolls" out of Harvey, North Dakota. I decided to take a quick peek, and on their kitten page, I was greeted by a bright eyed-beautiful seal bicolor little boy who stole my heart with his "funny face." The listing claimed he was "available," but I had gotten my hopes up too many times before, only to find out the "available" kitten was -- not. I quickly emailed and then followed up with a call inquiring about this charming little boy. It wasn't long after that I received a return phone call from Misty Sabbe, the breeder and a practicing veterinarian. I was overjoyed when she said he was available and was the perfect age to come home the same time as I would get Baby Grace.

God gave me a wonderful birthday present that year -- my Internet kitty, Sonny.

Sonny was due to arrive the evening before we were to drive up to Tennessee to pick up Gracie. We were so nervous, checking his flight progress every step of the way, and raced down to the airport Friday night to pick up our new little boy. When we peeked in the carrier to get our first glimpse of him, we found a little violet-blue eyed angel peeking back at us. He had an enormous head poised atop a small, but lanky body on what appeared to be a pencil-neck pedestal. Immediately he made me smile, and I exclaimed to the seemingly shy little fella, "Hi, Sonny! I'm your Mommy!" I resisted the urge to take him out then and there and hold the tiny, awkward little boy in my arms.

It wasn't long before we had him in his new home, and with the video camera recording, we documented his first entrance into the Mitchell family. It was then that he had stolen our hearts for a lifetime! As soon as I picked up baby Sonny, he purred and snuggled up close to my face. I remember saying, "Aw! You are a little honey bear," and from that moment on, his new nick name became "Sonny Bear."

My husband and I sat on the floor of our bedroom, enthralled by this silly and wildly playful little kitten. It was the first time I had a kitten in over 15 years and my husband's first venture into being a "cat Dad." Sonny melted our hearts with his sweetness and what came to be known as his "funny face." To this day, when Sonny is playing, as is most often the case, he gets this little boyish look of rapture and joy on his sweet bicolor face, and his eyes light up with a slightly devilish glow. His funny face.

Funny Sonny had his Dad and I in fits of laughter until tears came rolling down our faces, thoroughly delighted by his silly antics. He was a bundle of energy and lived to play, to pounce, to prowl. He was always on "go" until he literally fell down and collapsed into a well-needed nap. We had a hard time getting him to slow down enough to eat. He was very thin and lanky, and his huge sized head was cartoonish.

Sonny adored his "big sister" Grace (only 6 days older than him) from their first meeting. With his tail straight up in the air, as it has since remained, Sonny bounced over to Baby Grace, and I imagined he said in his squeaky little boy voice, "Hi! I'm Sonny. Wanna play?!" And play they did. They played, and played, and played, and then played some more. Poor Baby Grace couldn't get a moment's rest from her wild-eyed brother who continually ambushed her in playful attacks beckoning, "chase me, Gracie!"

After about three days of baby Sonny literally bouncing off the walls, I began to worry that perhaps I made the wrong choice with him because he was so hyper active and crazy. My fears were quickly washed away by the tears of laughter that continually ran down our faces while we watched our two new babies play. They were an "odd couple." Sonny was smaller than Grace, and Grace was small for her age, so that's saying a lot. Sonny was long and lanky and very thin. Grace was short and round and quite the little butter ball. Eventually, some of Sonny's wildness was replaced with his intense sweetness. He was the sweetest, most innocent little creature we had ever seen. Saying we adored him would be an understatement. And he adored us, especially his Mommy. He would follow me everywhere and panic when he didn't see me in the room. He would cry with his squeaky little voice until he caught up with Mommy, and all was well. How much happier could I possibly be!

Eventually Sonny's body caught up with is head, and he grew into one of the most striking beauties we have ever seen. His fur is soft like a bunny and he is mostly light chocolate colored, except for his dark brown ears. He has a magnificent plume of a tail that is always straight up in the air. His eyes turned out to be a lovely light lavender blue that reflect all of the goodness and sweetness in the world.

He is our gentle giant. Even as a wild kitten, Sonny never put out his claws in playing. Even when he would lye in wait under the bed for Mommy's toes to get ready to get in bed, he never scratched in his boyish delight at attacking the "toe monster."

We noticed right away that Sonny had an affinity for all things "pink." His favorite toy was a little pink mouse that he preferred over all other colors of mice. He would toss Pink Mousey into the air, bat her, smack her, and slobber on her until her little pink fur began to come off. One day Pink Mousey disappeared, which saddened sweet Sonny. We searched diligently all over the house and under every dresser and appliance we could get under, but could not find Pink Mousey. Over the next four years we lived in that house, we often puzzled over where Pink Mousey had gone. It wasn't until recently when we were moving that we found Pink Mousey, or what was left of Pink Mousey, under the heavy armoire in our bedroom. She only had one tiny scrap of pink fur left on her, but we both recognized Sonny's beloved Pink Mousey.

We quickly noticed how smart Sonny is. He's a very bright boy, full of curiosity and bounding with energy. I decided to teach Sonny a new game. I call it "Helwo!" It's a cross between peek-a-boo and hide-and-go-seek. Sonny was intently watching me go up the stairs one day, with his little boy, funny face on, and as I turned the corner out of his site range, waited a moment and darted back down, peeking around the corner and exclaiming, "Helwo!" and then waited for the chase to begin. To this day, "Helwo!" is still his favorite game, and he will howl incessantly until we play it with him, almost every night.

Our Sonny is now almost Six years old, and he is still a playful little boy who enjoys running and jumping and chasing as much now as he did when he first timidly tip-toed out of his air travel crate and into our hearts for all times sake. He is a treasure and a joy, and I am blessed to be his Mommy!

My Beloved Sammy
(Born February 14, 2007)

Sammy is a Momma's boy and the most loving "little" fella I've ever seen. I wonder if being born on Valentine's Day had anything to do with it? He is my chubby cherub, coming in just a smidge under 20 pounds.

Sammy is a blue bicolor and a full brother to my other sweet boy, Sonny -- although, they couldn't be more different. Sammy came to us, because we desparately needed a "toy" for our super playful Sonny. Sonny was bored -- and didn't hesitate to let us know it. His sister, Grace had grown up and had little interest in being Sonny's playmate -- at least not to Sonny's insatiable lust for playing. Gracie had outgrown her tom-boy ways and had become a lovely young lady, the carbon copy of her beautiful mother, Chelsea. Gracie enjoyed having her prima donna mother around, and at two years of age, she would much rather prance around to show how her freshly groomed angel silk hair, bounced delicately when she ran, than wrestle with her big chocolate brown brother. Our bored little boy needed a brother.

We conjured up the perfect solution. We would go back to the breeder that we got Sonny from, and see if his parents happened to have a little boy available.  Well, we were excited to find out that Sonny's mother was expecting any day, and we were even more thrilled when Sammy was born on Valentine's Day. 

We decided on the name, "Sammy", because we wanted to name after Sonny.  "How is that", you ask?  Well, "Sonny" is the nickname for the Biblical name "Sampson", which in Hebrew is "Shimshon".  "Shim" = "Sam" and "Shon" = "Son".  So in essence, both boys are names "Sampson", but we call them by "Sonny" and "Sammy".

Well, Sammy turned out NOTHING like Sonny.  Sammy is a "lover", where Sonny is a "player".  Sammy fell madly in love with his Mommy from day one.  He would follow me around and never let me out of eye sight.  If he couldn't see me, he would start to "panic cry" until he found me.  He's still always with me and sleeps with me every night, on my pillow, as close to me as he can get.

Sammy is known as "Sheriff Shimmy" in our house, because he keeps law and order.  He keeps the rest of the gang under control and doesn't hesitate to discipline one of the Rags that may be a little too wild or out of control.  He's an odd "little" fella and fits right in with the rest of my "oddballs".  One of the quirks of his personality is that he put on an air of being a "big tough guy" when at heart, he's a giant marshmallow!  Sam is my most loving of all of my Rags.  He loves to spend "special time" with Mommy.  Private naps with just him and me are his favorite.  He's very private in his love and affection and feels self-conscious if anyone happens to see him in an intimate, loving moment.  When Sam and me are alone, he coos and cuddles and does "silly things" that no one else has ever seen.  When Jeff or the other cats are around -- he's all "Mr. Tough Guy" -- all business, not willing to show his true, loving nature for fear of feeling vulnerable or weak, I suppose.  So Sam and Mommy have several "private dates" that I cherish in my heart and will treasure always.

My Zoey Love
(Born November 3, 2007)
Zoey came to us after we lost our beloved Chelsea, Grace's mother in 2009.  We contacted Chelsea's breeder to ask if he had any kittens, and he told us he had one adult that was about to turn one year old who was Grace's half sister from her father, Casanova Blue.  He told us that she was rather squirelley and liked to run real fast and do "matrix" moves off walls.  Zoey immediately reminded us of Grace, and we thought we had to adopt her, even though she wasn't a kitten.  We had also made arrangements to adopt another Ragdoll kitten about the same time, and her story comes next!

Zoey is a beautiful Blue Mitted Ragdoll with a charming blaze and amazing turquoise blue eyes.  Zoey had been a show kitty and achieved the title of Champion as a kitten before her breeder retired her, because she hated showing.  So Zoey joined our family in October of 2009.

We naturally assumed that since Grace and Chelsea (her mother) had such a strong bond that Grace and her sister, Zoey would get along great too, right?  WRONG!  It couldn't have been a worse disaster.  When we introduced Zoey to Sonny and Sammy, they did the normal hissy fits but then started to get along fine.  When Zoey saw Grace, she decided that sweet, Baby Grace was going to become her punching bag and her sworn rival in the cat household.  Poor little Baby Grace tried to be a dear, but Zoey attacked her continually for about a week and a half.  Grace, being autistic, was confused why anybody would want to attack her, and finally after about 10 days, Grace decided she had had enough!  She went on the offensive and let Zoey have it... and have it.... and have it.   So, they went at each other almost constantly for several months.  I was fearful that I was going to have to give Zoey back because I didn't think Grace and her would ever tolerate each other.  Slowly, over the months, the fighting turned into nasty looks and hisses and an occasional catty slap across the face.  Now, they can sleep on the same bed, eat out of the same dish, but they give each other a wide berth when passing in the halls!  It's not perfect, but at least the fur stopped flying!

Zoey is a very sweet and tender hearted kitty.  Most "bullies" are often very insecure and only strike out at others to assert their dominance.  I have Zoey her middle name "Love", because she is so full of love.  She has become one of my best companions and lap kitties.  She has to be held and cuddled for at least a solid 30 minutes in the morning to fill her "love tank" back up from the previous night, and she is with me throughout the day on my desk or in my lap.  She is a very sweet girl, and we are very happy that she came into our lives.

Zoey's official cat show name is "Zoey Zoomin'".  She loves to run and play.  She's the fastest kitty I've ever seen!  She has a beautiful, sweet, musical meow that is more like a chirp, and the most tender, pleading eyes.  I adore loving on her and making her feel safe and secure.  She loves most any game, but her favorite it to play with the laser light at night.

The Sassy Lass!
(Born September 29, 2008)
Sassy is one of the dreamy-eyed cats that has the face of an angel that every little girl hopes to own.  She's got the sweet, innocent doe-eyed look down -- in spades!  Buuuuutttt.... don't let that angel face fool you -- she's a little devil at heart!

Sassy is a Tortie Cream and Seal Bicolor Ragdoll cat.  She's my wild "red head".  Finally at 2 years old, she is just now, beginning to settle down and act like a lady!  She has been one wild little girl since the day we brought her home.  Now don't misunderstand, there's not an ounce of intentional malice in this little girl.  She just can't help her naughtiness and crazy playfulness.  It's the red head in her!

I convinced Sassy's breeder to let me have her a couple of weeks early and I would have her spayed when she was six months old.  Thus, I was able to pick Sassy up at almost 10 weeks old.  I flew up to Philadelphia to pick the little angel up.  She was so tiny and so angelic looking with her cool blue doe eyes.  She melted me right there and then and continues to melt me to this day! She was so small, I was nervous about introducing her to the other cats, but finally after about 3 days, we did the "meet-n-greet".  Sonny, Grace and Zoey were mildly interested in her, but when my humongous 20 pound Sammy saw her, he went nuts. I was actually afraid he would think she was food and eat her!  Sammy whimpered and cooed to see the new baby, and when he finally got close (with Mommy's supervision), he fell madly in love!  He immediately claimed Sassy as his baby and wouldn't let any of the other cats play with her or even get close to her.  My big clumsey male became the most gentle and loving "Mommy" kitty you can imagine.  Sam was so fascinated with tiny Sassy that he couldn't sleep for 2 days because he couldn't take his eyes off her.  He played ever so gently with this little girl, cooing like a kitten and making the sweetest love sounds you've ever heard.  They became best friends and remain so to this day.

The day that they were handing out brains in the kitty factory, Sassy thought they said "trains" and hid behind the door.  That's my polite way of saying that Sassy is as dumb as a box of rocks.  I'm constantly shaking my head and saying to her, "poor dumb thing".  My husband says she is not so much "dumb", but incredibly naive and innocent.  Maybe that's the case.  But her nick name is "Bubbles", as in Bubble Head.  She more than makes up for her lack of smarts with her darling doe-eyed look that captured Sammy's heart when they met.

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful story Audra. It shows how much you love your Raggie fur babies.