Growing up, I spent summers with my father who operated a sports-fishing boat out of San Clemente, a sleepy little seaside town midway between L.A. and San Diego before former President Nixon put it on the map so-to-speak.
I revisited San Clemente in 2006, at the height of the real estate bubble in California and saw the little adobe house my father used to own for sale for $1.35 million. Apparently most homes in San Clemente were considered worth at least a million dollars at that place in time. It somehow made me proud, that my humble roots were now so valued.
That segues into finding out my feral cat may be a Ragamuffin, which, according to Wikipedia “is an expensive breed, and costs can range from $900 to $1200 per kitten.” It makes sense if you understand that domestic pets are frequently abandoned out in the backcountry by people, rather than paying fees to have the animal(s) put up for adoption and/or put down. One letter of outrage to the editor appeared in the local paper about a mother cat and her litter of kittens being dropped in the river in a wire cage and drowned.
And it makes even more sense when I discovered that the Ragamuffin is an offshoot of a breed introduced in California in the 1960s by Mrs. Ann Baker. She trademarked the name “Ragdoll”, 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. In 1994, a second group decided to leave the IRCA and form its own group because of increasingly strict breeding restrictions. Since the name ‘Ragdoll’ was trademarked, the group renamed its stock of Ragdoll cats Ragamuffins.
Ragamuffins are a muscular, heavy breed of cat not reaching full maturity until approximately four years of age. The physical traits of the breed include a rectangular, broad-chested body with shoulders supporting a short neck. The head is a broad, modified wedge with a rounded forehead and a nose dip. Ragamuffins come in all coat colors and patterns. Fur length is slightly longer around the neck and outer edges of the face, resulting in the appearance of a ruff, and increasing in length from the top of the head down through the shoulder blades and back, with the coat on the sides and stomach being medium to medium long. Although the coat is thick and plush, it does not readily mat or clump and is easy to care for. Ragamuffins are bred to be sociable, intelligent, affectionate, cuddly companions that are playful throughout their lives.
That perfectly describes my cat, Smoke, except that she’s feral so I am the only one who sees her sociable, affectionate, cuddly companion side. It’s like finding a wonderful treasure at a yard sale. It’s nice to know, but it doesn’t matter because you have no plans of ever cashing it in.