Fluffy Ragdolls make low-maintenance pets


PAT STECKMAN, a cat fancier and breeder of Ragdolls, is also a member and officer of many local cat clubs, one of which is holding its first major cat show this weekend.

On Saturday and Sunday, the Balticats Cat Club, member of the International Cat Association (TICA), is holding its first solo All-Breed Championship and Household Pet Cat Show, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day at the Stoney Creek Democratic Club, 8123 Fort Smallwood Road, Riviera Beach.

In 10 show rings, an estimated 150 cats will be judged during the two-day show.

Steckman owns the T.L.C. Cattery. Her breed, the Ragdoll, is a beautiful, muscular cat with one feature that sets it apart from most cats: when a Ragdoll is picked up, it just flops and relaxes all of its muscles, making it similar to picking up a floppy rag doll.

Originated in California in the 1960's, three breeds predominate in the Ragdoll -- the Persian, the Birman, a long-haired cat known as the sacred cat of Burma (now called Myanmar), and the Burmese, a short-haired cat whose ancestors lived in the temples of Myanmar as far back as the 15th century.

The breed's colors are a light cream background with blue, chocolate, seal and frost markings.

The Ragdoll's coat is long but not as furry as a Persian.

"They look and feel exactly like a rabbit and are very easy to keep. Their fur doesn't mat, yet when they shed, the hair comes out in clumps, which is also easier. I call them a low-maintenance cat," says Steckman, who lives in Dayton -- near Columbia -- with her parents, Mary and William Steckman.

Steckman, who works for L. Holloway and Brother Company, a produce broker in Jessup, has 15 Ragdolls, including kittens, in her T.L.C. Cattery.

She is vice president of the Balticat club as well as show RTC manager for this weekend's show. Also, she is vice president of the Maryland Feline Society and show manager of that club's Household Pet Cat Show being held Oct. 20 in Baltimore. And she is treasurer of the Potomac Area Cat Enthusiasts (she's manager of that club's November show). For any details of these clubs or shows call Steckman at 988-9422.

The Balticat Cat Club has approximately 15 members and meets once a month. For those interested in meeting dates and locations, call Steckman or the club's president, Charlie Myers, at 577-9477. Or call the club's corresponding secretary, JoAnn Genovese, at 850-0574.

Admission to the Balticat Cat Club Show this weekend is $4 general and $3 for seniors, students with ID and children age 12 and under.

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