I’m Amanda, a single mother to a very busy 10 year old, Braydon. All my life I wanted to be an “animal nurse.” Growing up we always had pets. A pair of goldfish I won at the fair, a dog or two, a horse, a parakeet and of course ALWAYS at least one cat! When I was younger I read every book and magazine I could find about cats. My cats have always been my closest friends, the ones I could always entrust with my deepest secrets. Honestly, my cats are what helped me through the toughest times in my life. I know you can relate otherwise you probably wouldn't be reading a bio about a cat breeder in eastern Iowa. 😉
In 1998, at the age of 15, my childhood dream started to become a reality - I started working in a veterinary clinic where I lived in northeast Texas. When I graduated high school I went to Texas A&M for animal science while continuing to work and “climb the ladder” at that up-and-coming veterinary clinic. I eventually moved back home to Iowa continuing my career as a veterinary technician.
I had always dreamed of breeding – reproduction was always my favorite subject in my college classes, and who doesn’t love babies?! I used to joke that one day I’d be an OB-GYN for pets. In 2011 I was recruited by a cat-only clinic here in Waterloo. Admittedly, I missed seeing the (good) dogs and puppies, but I definitely don't miss walking them multiple times a day in nasty weather, dealing with aggressive dogs, and the numerous, all-hours-of-the-night emergencies. Cats don't get themselves into as much trouble as dogs do! 😸
When the opportunity arose to acquire breeding Ragdolls I jumped on it! So in 2013, this wonderful journey of breeding these magnificent cats began. I've since expanded my breeding program, and thus Macushla (Irish for “my darling”) Ragdolls was born. My focus is solely on the health of my breeding adults and the quality of the kittens. Each female is only bred after she has received a clean bill of health from my veterinarian and has fully recovered from her previous litter, but no more than twice a year. For this reason there are many times when I don't have any available kittens. Between my limited availability of kittens and wonderful word of mouth referrals, most of the kittens in my litters are sold before they are even born.
I’m often asked what sets Macushla (pronounced muh-coo-sh-la) Ragdolls apart from other breeders. One of the biggest appeals to a Macushla kitten is that these cats and kittens are raised in my home. By necessity my daddy kitty has his own bedroom. He spends almost all of his time in his cat tree watching out the window at squirrels, birds, cars, people, dogs and anything else that may go by. My girls sleep with me at night, either on my pillow, by my side, or snuggled up under the blanket. They are free to roam the house and are often on my heels wherever I go. The nursery is my bedroom and once the kittens are big enough to learn to climb the baby gate, the whole house becomes their playground. This allows them to become familiar with “real life” experiences. They’re taught how to appropriately interact with every-day life situations. This also gives me the opportunity to learn each kitten’s true personality to help better place kittens in homes where they will shine. The kittens are handled, kissed, and cuddled from the very second they are born. Braydon provides extra love, socialization, and lots of playtime! The end result is very social and affectionate kittens who adapt well in pretty much any environment.
My passion for what I do is the other defining characteristic of Macushla Ragdolls. When done properly, breeding is not a prosperous business venture. The cost of medical care, both routine and non-routine adds up quickly as does all the other costs associated with raising cats – litter, food, distilled water, bedding/towels, toys, cleaning supplies, etc. I provide the best care possible for my cats because I believe that healthy and happy breeding cats produce the best kittens. (You’d be shocked at my vet bills, especially considering that I get a generous employee discount!!) Because all of the cats and kittens are literally macushlas I am particularly selective when it comes to their purr-ever homes. The thought of one of my babies not being properly cared for hurts my heart, and I do everything I can to ensure that doesn’t happen.