How do I get a Dixie Willow kitten?

The process of getting a Dixie Willow kitten starts with email and phone conversations.  We will ask a number of questions about your home and family, children, other pets, activity level, lifestyle, travel, visitors, etc.  Do you plan to show your kitten?  Would you like to certify your kitten as a therapy pet?  Is your home more like “Grand Central” with kids coming/going, sleepovers and get-togethers?  Do you want a kitten who will travel with you and enjoy new places?  Do you spend quiet afternoons with a good book and want a calm lap kitty for company?  All important considerations.

As a breed, Ragdolls are very social and people-oriented.  However, not every Ragdoll kitten is perfect for every family.  Some are best for an active household with other pets and children.  Other Ragdolls prefer to live in a quieter home with laps readily available for napping.  Some Ragdolls insist on being underfoot – a great trait if you want a “Velcro kitty” but really dangerous for a home with an older person who might trip and fall.

We want each kitten to go to a home that’s perfect for him or her….and we want each family to get a kitten that’s perfect for their particular home.  If you have a color/pattern/gender preference for your new kitten, we hope to meet that.  Please understand that personality is the MOST important factor in matching a kitten with his/her new family. We won’t place a kitten into a home that we don’t think is well-suited for that kitten.

Reservations, deposits and waiting list?

We accept a limited number of deposits for upcoming kittens.  The waiting list deposit is $200 and guarantees your place “in line” for a kitten.  This also determines the order in which new homes choose their kitten.  Once kittens have arrived and are old enough to evaluate (generally 6-8 weeks), we will work with you to choose the best kitten for your home and family.  When a specific kitten has been identified and reserved for you, a $250 deposit is due.  Once you have chosen a kitten, the $450 deposit is non-refundable.  If you should choose to delay getting a kitten for some reason, the full $450 deposit is transferable to a future kitten.  The balance (price minus deposits that have been paid) is due when you pick up your kitten and must be paid in cash.

PLEASE NOTE:  The initial $200 Wait List deposit is refundable ONLY if we are unable to identify a suitable kitten for your family within a specified time frame (usually 9 months).  If you would like to reserve a spot on our Waiting List, please be sure that now is the right time to add a kitten to your family.  And be prepared to wait several weeks or even months for your kitten.  When we accept a Wait List deposit, we are committed to finding the perfect kitten for your family – you should be just as committed to the process with us.

What is the price of a kitten and what does it include?

Our pet kitten prices are $1500 – $1800.
Show quality (“Show Alter”) kittens start at $2200.

The price for Pet and Show Alter kittens INCLUDES spay or neuter, microchip, all age-appropriate vaccinations, health/genetic guarantees, and a Tennessee health certificate.  We also provide a “new kitty” gift bag for each kitten with general information, food and toys your kitten likes.  

We seldom place breeder kittens, and then only with established breeders that we know well.

What about health and genetic guarantees?

Dixie Willow kittens are guaranteed to be free of all parasites as well as negative for FIV and Feline Leukemia.  We have a 2-year guarantee against genetic issues other than HCM.  We have a lifetime guarantee against genetic HCM.

At what age can I get my kitten?

Just like children, kittens mature at different rates.  We don’t have set rules or ages, but prefer to monitor each kitten individually and make decisions based on his/her development.  We never release a kitten before 12-13 weeks and it’s often more like 14-15 weeks.  There are certain things a kitten has to master before going to its new home – eating regular food, litter box and scratching post just to name a few.  Plus, kittens have to be spayed or neutered and allowed to recover before going home.  Boys can often leave a little earlier than girls for a couple of reasons:  They’re bigger and ready for neutering sooner, and the neuter isn’t an invasive procedure like spay so the recovery time is minimal.  Girls will have a few stitches that need to be removed about 10-14 days after surgery.  We often keep the girls until the stitches are removed by our vets, but may occasionally allow your vet to remove them at your “well kitty” checkup.  It just depends on the circumstances.

Why can’t I get a younger kitten?  I want one as young as possible.

We hear this a lot, and often accompanied by a concern that an older kitten or young adult won’t “bond” with his/her new family.  This is a myth with no basis whatsoever.  Most people have had multiple pets in their lives – did you ever having trouble loving or bonding with a new one just because you had a previous pet?  Ragdolls are social, interactive cats and perfectly capable of loving many people in their lives, regardless of age. We’ve placed kittens and cats at various ages and never had a single one fail to bond with their new family.

Often, older kittens will actually acclimate more quickly to a new home than a younger one.  Older kittens have more confidence, have been exposed to more sights and sounds, and are generally braver in exploring new surroundings.  As an example, I recently delivered a 6-month old boy to his new home a few hours away.  Before I left, he had met his new 150-pound doggie brother and begun to play, and taken a short nap on the sofa while laying on his back in full “Ragdoll flop” mode.

People assume an older kitten is a “leftover” that no one wanted, but there are several reasons why a breeder may have an older kitten available.   Sometimes with a first-time Ragdoll Mom or Dad, we like to keep the kittens a little longer so we can watch them grow and see their personalities develop.  Other times, a breeder may keep the 2-3 nicest kittens as show/breeders prospects then choose the best one when they’re a little older.  So the other kitten(s) that become available then may actually be among the nicest kittens born.

Can I get a pet kitten that isn’t spayed or neutered?

No.  EVERY pet or show alter kitten is spayed or neutered by our vets prior to leaving for its new home.  This has always been our policy for several reasons.  First and foremost, we know the kitten leaving our home is as healthy and ready for his/her “forever home” as possible with no surgery looming in the future.  Scheduling surgery for a pet is a very easy thing to put off.  Unaltered cats can begin hormonal behavior as early as 6-8 months and may start “calling”, marking territory or trying to escape your home.  Lastly, spay/neuter is very safe, but it’s still a medical procedure with inherent risks.  Should anything go wrong during surgery or an unknown problem be discovered, we want that to happen on our “watch” not yours.  Ultimately, we want you to go home with a healthy, happy kitten who’s 100% ready for a lifetime of love and attention.

What to do after getting a kitten?

We require new owners to visit their personal vet within 72 hours.  This visit serves two purposes – 1) it allows your vet to meet your kitten under the best of circumstances, and 2) it gives you an independent assessment of your kitten’s health.  This visit should be nothing more than a “well kitty” check since your kitten will have had age-appropriate vaccinations, be spayed or neutered and be microchipped.

Is shipping available?

Unfortunately, shipping is not available for Dixie Willow pet kittens at this time.  You are welcome to pick up your kitten from our home, we can arrange a public meeting place within a reasonable distance or we can deliver your kitten to you.

NOTE:  Due to the current COVID-19 situation in Tennessee and our immediate family including multiple high-risk individuals, ALL in-home pickups are suspended for the time-being.  We will be happy to meet you or deliver your kitten(s) for a fee.  Hopefully, things will get back to normal for all of us soon – thanks for your understanding until then. 

In-home pick ups are only scheduled in the afternoons and on weekends.  Please note that while our Ragdolls are an integral part of our lives, picking up your kitten does not include open access throughout our home.  You’ll meet your kitten’s littermates, several older furkids, etc., but we don’t offer “tours” or introductions to other kittens/litters.  Private areas are just that – private.  This includes family bedrooms and room(s) dedicated to our cats.  Children are welcome, but must be supervised, behave appropriately and remain with you at all times.  Apologies for the bluntness, but to our surprise it’s become necessary to clarify this.  

We may also transport your kitten(s) a farther distance for a fee.  We have occasionally arranged to transport kittens and coordinated it with a trip to visit family or friends.  Or we may have more than one kitten traveling to the same area.  If so, the trips can be combined and save everyone some money on delivery.  So if you live elsewhere in the US and are interested in a Dixie Willow kitten, ask whether a trip to your area might be possible.

Delivery is a great option for anyone who doesn’t like to drive longer distances.  There are other potential advantages to delivery.  We regularly travel with pets so already have all the necessary items, especially for longer trips.  Delivery also gets your kitten into your home earlier in the day – after we drive there instead of after you make a round-trip.  Lastly, it seems easier on the kittens.  Traveling with someone they know as well as exploring new surroundings and meeting new family and other pets with their “first parents” right there for encouragement can ease the transition for your baby. 

If I’m getting a Dixie Willow kitten, can I come visit him/her?

Yes, if you are getting a kitten from us, you are welcome to visit your kitten approximately 2 weeks after he/she has had the first vaccinations and as long as there aren’t any younger unvaccinated kittens or pregnant Moms.  These visits are BY APPOINTMENT ONLY and usually scheduled on the weekend.

Can I come and just visit your Ragdolls even though I’m not getting a kitten?

The simple answer is “no”.  Keep in mind that while our Ragdolls are strictly a hobby, they are also an integral part of our home.  We have work, family, and other obligations just like you do and having an open-door policy isn’t practical.  In today’s world, it’s also not safe.  Would you welcome into your home people you don’t know who found you online?  

We certainly understand that many people haven’t ever met a Ragdoll in person and are fascinated with this wonderful breed.  Since several of our cats are therapy animals and/or actors, we often take them to local stores, parks, events, etc. in order to acclimate them to unusual sights and sounds.  So if you’d like to meet a Ragdoll cat or older kitten, we can easily arrange a public meeting during one of our regular outings.

If you don’t live near enough for a public meeting, we may be able to meet you at a cat show.  There are shows in Nashville, Knoxville, Atlanta, Birmingham, the Carolinas and various other places.  Feel free to contact us to see if we are planning to attend a show in your area.
. .

What if something changes later on and I can’t keep my Ragdoll?

Occasionally, life throws you a curve ball and heart-breaking decisions have to be made.  We understand that.  At any point in the future, if you find that you cannot continue to care for your Dixie Willow Ragdoll we want to be notified.  We will help in whatever way you prefer and won’t pass judgment.  Ultimately, we all just want what’s best for your kitty.  This has happened a few times in the past and we’ve done everything from putting the families in touch with each other and the process happening entirely between them…to taking a cat back into our home for a period of time until a perfect home for him came along.  We often have a short list of people interested in adopting an older Ragdoll so may already have a perfect home waiting.