Spotlight Breeder/Cattery #1!

Maria Federica GuagnanobulletInterview with Maria Federica Guagnano

Rome - Italy

Cattery name

30 years old

Year you started breeding

Why you started breeding
I read an article in a magazine (interview with a couple of American Ragdoll breeders ) and I fell in love with these cats' character. I always had dogs in my life and I coudn't believe that a cat could be affectionate and loving like a dog. So I was fascinated with this trait of the Ragdoll breed and wanted to discover if it was true or not... it was!

Favorite things you like about breeding:
I spend most of my day at home and I love having cats around me. I talk to them and they talk to me.
We're sharing our lives and they bring me a lot of joy.
I enjoy so much staying with young kittens and raising them.
See them growing and developing it's always something new and exciting for me!
I also like very much to know people of other countries and breeding Ragdolls is giving me this chance!

Least favorite things about breeding
First: Facing the death of young babies is always hearthbreaking and I think this is the worst thing in breeding. You plan and work hard to avoid this to happen but ...sometimes it happens the same.
Second: teaching pet - people about what is correct to do and what is not ( and the reasons why) is a little stressing, but it must be done for the breed's sake. I spend a lot of time at the phone or on pc, explaining things to people.

Your favorite things about ragdolls
Their outgoing, sweet, loving and extra social character! No other cats are the same and I could never breed another breed. When I'm at the vet or at a cat show and I see other cats' beahviour I just hate it. I hate to see other cats at show, screaming and scratching judges or even their own owners !
I hate to see other cats doing a, incredible mess at the vet just for a simple visit.
Ragdolls are purring even when the vet is taking their blood samples !
It MUST be this way and I cut out of breeding every baby who isn't so.
No matter how beautiful a kitten could be... without the Ragdoll character it isn't a true Ragdoll!
I feel very sad when I see a Ragdoll acting like any other cat ...

Favorite color ragdoll
I prefer blue point while my husband the seal point.
We're not breeding flames and torties and have only a lynx girl.
We prefer traditional lines.

Favorite pattern
I haven't a favourite pattern.
Gianluca likes the mitted most.

Theme of cattery
Our cattery is based on Tolkien's book. The cattery name is taken from "Silmarillion" book and all our kittens' names are from Silmarillion or Lord of the Rings.
Years ago no one knew this and often we were asked : " What the hell these names are from?" Luckly now the movies' trilogy at cinema helped people to get more informed about Tolkien :-)

Why you picked that theme
We're great fans of Tolkien's books and we ( me and my husband ) love all fantasy letterature.
We play fantasy role playing games with friends every week since Gianluca is a Game Master and uses to create thrilling adventures for us! It's so nice to play a completely different person once a week ! I'm currently playing a sorcerer - half elf girl :-)

I'm married with Gianluca Tarei who is actively breeding Ragdolls with me since from the start.
He co-owns some cats, for example the whole Vicky's line: Vicky, Daliana and Drusilla.
He completely loves our cats and it is only because of his help and trust that we reached our 10th year of breeding.Without his assistance I would have given up years ago.
All important decisions about the cattery are taken together.

Maria Federica GuagnanoDescribe yourself and your cattery
My cattery is my home.
I started breeding very young so I've changed a lot during these years and passed though different experiences. Some nice and some not.
I was still attending high school when I decided to breed Ragdolls ( when I read that fatal article!) and so I started to study everything useful 2 years before I was able to import the first kittens from USA. My Latin teacher wasn't very happy as I studied more for cats than Latin!
I 'm living together with my cats all day long and they're lucky to have me always there . I can immediately know if there is something wrong and this is extremely important for their health, temperament and also for their education.
I love them to be very well trained to civil living with humans.
I often have people at home and I want my cats to be social but not disturbing, so I spend a lot of time to teach them not to jump on tables, not to ruin carpets and curtains and so on.
I'm a severe mom!
Ragdolls are intelligent creatures and they would do everything for their owners if they are loved in the correct way.
Females are free throught the house while Jaggernaut and kittens are kept into a room.
This room is very big and divided into 2 sections. One is for Jaggernaut that unfortunately does spray! The other is for moms and kittens and there are also some very big nursery cages made in wood by Gianluca.
The other boy, Feanor, is free too as he is not spraying.
Luckly he is really slow in mating girls and we have no accidents with him :-)
We do have a big balcony where all the girls and Feanor go wherever they like. Door is kept open and there is a protection net all around it.
Jaggernaut is brought there once a day in the afternoon to have fresh air and sunlight. We had a small flat before and we changed it just for cats!
I love studying etology ( I read everything about that!) and especially cat - etology as I firmly believe that we must undertand cats' behaviour to know how to live properly with them.
The worse thing is to treat them like humans as they can get neurotic, depressed or very stressed.
The have different needs as they're cats, not humans!
It's important to know the way they think and I'm always looking at them with curiosity, studying them and even writing what they do and how they act in some particular cases.
I keep daily contacts with other breeders, friends and people asking for babies so all my day goes that way. With Gianluca's help I learnt to create our new version of the web site and update it personally every week or so.
My tipical day is: taking care of the cats, keeping contacts with people around them, cleaning up and do things to run the house. " Around 3 times a week we go out at night with friends to have fun.
I wish to have a baby in the close future, so I probably stop the litters for a year or so, and I 'm working on another project :a fantasy book that I'm writing from over 2 years and hope to see it published one day...

Do you show
Yes. More in the past as I wanted to promote Ragdolls in Italy and to get the breed known to people.
I show less now.
I don't particulary like cat shows as they're very stressful for me :-)
My cats usually aren't stressed at all at shows since, if they get bored, they sleep and solve the problem! Lucky them!
I feel more stressed because I don't like very much crowed places.
It's because of some health problems I had in the past.
Usually, after a 2 days of show, I finish with a terrible headache and must go to bed!
Anyway we're making 3 - 4 cat shows during the year. Mostly European cat shows ,so with the scoring system based on certificates.
I wish I could show more as I love my cats to be shown and usually theu enjoy it!
That's why I'm happy to sell show quality babies to other good breeders. If someone else can do good things at shows with my babies I'm more than happy since I probably woudln't have the strengh to do the same!
I showed a lot my very first cats imported in Italy and was a hard task, travelling all over Europe.
Jaggernaut, Ghibli, Melian and Feanor reached the highest score. Jagg is European Champion as well as his son Feanor. Ghibli, Melian and Mona are Grand Int Ch. and I'm starting slowly to show the youngest: Willow, Buffy, Drusilla, Halyssa. Hope to get them all at least at Int.Ch.
But I'm enjoying so much following my babies' success around the world :-)

If so, favorite things about showing
It's nice to meet people, other Ragdoll breeders. And to visit new places if you have the time to stay there one day more after the show :-)

Least favorite things about showing
First: My phisical weakness that makes me feel too much tired after the show!
Second: I hate to see exibithors fighting in a cat show and sometimes it happens.
Some people get crazy if their cat isn't winning and I really think it's ridicoulos.
It's only a cat show, after all!

Pictures and interview compliments of and copyright © 2003 Maria Federico Guagnano/Ragdoll International
May not be reprinted/published without authors express written permission.
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