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Villa Royal Ragdolls / Eillen Pickett's breed line infected with fatal FIP virus!

3 United States Review updated:

It has taken me several months to list this complaint, as I wanted to give Eileen the opportunity to be fair. She has chosen not to, and is motivated by money.

In November, 2004 I purchased a female blue point ragdoll from Eileen Pickett. In March of this year, she (Teia) began having seizures and I took her to the vet, where the blood work showed 1,400 titer for the FIP virus. My vet at that time thought it best that I make arrangements to put her down, as the virus was fatal, and she was already exhibiting symptoms (fever, loss of weight). I treated her holistically to try and make her time better. In June of this year, she had a seizure and died. After the diagnosis of the FIP virus, I contacted Eileen Pickett, and advised her. After my cat died, I contacted Eileen once again, and asked for a refund of my purchase price. She declined, and wanted to offer me a replacement cat, claiming that since I did not have an autopsy of the cat, it was impossible to prove that she was infected with the FIP virus. Teia was a year and a half old. I note other people who have listed a complaint, and I have actually corresponded by email with one person who also purchased a cat from Eileen that also died of the FIP virus. I want other people to be aware and warned not to purchase a cat from Villaroyal Ragdolls. The last conversation I had with Eileen was when she literally screamed in the phone to me. Obviously, her motive is money. I asked her to be fair. I spent over $2,000 on vet bills, medications and blood work. All I asked was that she refund my $750.00 purchase price so that I would be able to purchase another cat. She refused to refund my money, and have not heard from her since. She believed that my cat was not infected by the FIP virus. Healthy cats do not die at a year and a half old. I also gave Eileen permission to contact both of my vets, and I signed a consent for both vets to talk with her. She never contacted either vet. I was and still am devastated, not only for losing my cat at such a young age, but for Eileen's lack of caring. On a positive note, I have a newly adopted Ragamuffin kitten from a reputable breeder who gives a 5 year health warranty. The FIP virus does not always show up in a year, as in my case. I believe that Eileen Pickett is infecting the east coast ragdoll line, and is unwilling to be responsible for the pain and expense that she is causing her customers. Also, her so called cattery is filthy, and her cats are not socialized. It took me several weeks to acclimate my previous cat, as I believe that Eillen does not handle her kittens. My current cat is quite the opposite, as she comes from a home that socializes their kittens. I advise people to stay clear of Eileen Pickett's ragdoll cats. Reputable breeders do not treat customers like she has, and she should be banned from breeding.

Va
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Comments

  • Va
      4th of Dec, 2006
    +4 Votes

    It is sad that people are allowed to post anything they want on this site without the list administrator verifying accuracy. The rules state that nothing libelous is to be posted, but Annette Hinman Kozel apparently feels she is exempt from those rules. The majority of what she writes is false, beginning with the price she paid, additional symptoms, to my cattery being filthy. I have always had very high standards for the health and care of my cats. That is one of the reasons it is no problem for me to be a NYS licensed and INSPECTED cattery.

    Someone who has a legitimate complaint does not have to sensationalize or make libelous statements. When a person tells one lie, one has to look with scrutiny about everything that person says.

    Ms. Kozel stated to me in writing that she corresponded with Mark Pascazi. However, Mr. Pascazi has publicly admitted, one year after posting similar accusations in various places on the internet, that his cat is alive and well. My side of the Pascazi story is at http://ragdollcat.org/pascazi.htm Annette Hinman Kozel allowed interactions with me, which may have benefited Teia, to be affected by others' input, including the Piscazi's lie about their cat dying from FIP.

    Annette Hinman Kozel has been corresponding with a small group, including some Ragdoll breeders, who find amusement in attempting to destroy my reputation. They’ve stated that "sometimes you have to lie to bring someone down". Annette Hinman Kozel made a statement to me in writing "I will do whatever I can in my power to make it so that you no longer sell cats."

    Teia was born at the end of August, 2004. She left my care in late November, 2004. Teia had been out of my possession for one year and four months before she had her first seizure in April of 2006. She did not die until the end of June, 2006. From the information provided me by Ms. Kozel, Teia weighed over 13 pounds when she died. She was eating and did not have a fever. Teia's only symptom was seizures. While FIP can cause seizures, it is not likely that the cat would have lived for this period of time or maintained full weight had the cause been FIP, let alone in the absence of other consistent symptoms.

    When she died, I asked Annette Hinman Kozel to have a necropsy done to determine the cause of death. Knowing this was needed to give accurate answers to Teia's illness, she still chose to have her cremated instead. Because Ms. Kozel refused to have a necropsy done, we will never know, but it has been my experience, that in cats, seizures are most often caused by toxins.

    In Annette Hinman Kozel’s opinion, my desire and right to request proper documentation per my contract equates to my not caring about the cats or the people I sell to. It also equates to caring only about the money. My wanting to know the cause of death, transformed, "the best cat she ever had" (in her own words) into an unsocialized kitten, caused my "so called cattery", WHICH SHE HAS NEVER SEEN, to become "filthy", and has caused Ms. Kozel to conclude that I "infect the east coast breed line", in addition to other fabrications.

    I told Ms. Kozel that if there was something wrong with the cat that was congenital or something that originated in my cattery, that I would replace the cat even though my contractual liability had long expired. She screamed at me that she would never want another cat from me, that Teia was unhealthy from the time she purchased her. If that was true, I do not understand why I did not hear from her for nearly 1 1/2 years.

    A 5 year warranty on her new kitten is wonderful. But warranty duration is not what this is about. This is about Annette Hinman Kozel’s refusal and failure to have the requested and required necropsy done and her repeated failure to provide me with Teia’s medical records which she promised she would send several months before the cat died.

    While it is nice to speak to the veterinarian AFTER proper documentation is in hand, the burden of proof remains with the buyer to provide documentation to the seller as to the cause of death. Supporting documentation is any breeder's right and is necessary for a cattery problem, if one exists, to be corrected. Annette Hinman Kozel refused to provide this.

  • Tb
      30th of Dec, 2017
    0 Votes

    @Valerie If I were a breeder, whether this women is being honest or not, I would want to speak to their veterinarian regardless, to see what they had to say in the event there was something in your lines of breeding, just in case.

  • Va
      4th of Dec, 2006
    -4 Votes

    Eileen Pickett lies ... and has more than just me as an unsatisfied customer. My cat dies at the age of 1 1/2 years. Other cats purchased from Eileen have also died. There is obviously something very wrong with her cattery. You reap what you sow . . . I have been honest, Eileen chooses to twist words around. And yes FIP is very contagious. She needs to stop breeding ragdolls.

  • Li
      9th of Dec, 2006
    +3 Votes

    Sadly there is nothing anyone can do about FIP. Even the big cats in zoos and on the fields of Africa, mainly the cheetah, die every day of this disease. You should have done your homework on this disease before slamming a breeder on this board.

    FIP comes from a virus that almost every cat has. The feline genome is the only species on earth that has a disease like this. So acting as if the breeder did this to you personally is wrong. Don’t you think that if there was something we could do as breeders to prevent this disease that we would? It is not like other diseases in that it does not come from unsanitary conditions. It comes from a common virus, the feline enteric corona virus. Every species has it’s own killer corona, Parvo for dogs, but there is a vaccine for that, SARS for people and you know about that one.

    The vaccine for FIP in cats has a huge controversy behind it. If given too young, it can cause FIP, if you wait, it is to late the kitten has already picked up the virus and it only protects agains two strains of the virus! It is not the virus that kills, it is the cats own immune system. The immune system attacks itself. The DNA when mapped for the corona turned out to have mutated differently in every cat, meaning every cat, even kittens in the same litter, had a different strain. The DNA for the corona had the largest RNA in the world! How is a vaccine going to counter that? You would have to make one for each and every cat.

    I would like to point out something, most cats, if they live alone with no other cats present, will clear the virus from their system within a year. That means no other cats sharing a litter box, or the cat going outside where it can come in contact with a shedder. If you have another cat, it may be a shedder of the virus, they never get sick, never look sick but they are deadly to other cats. Kind of like Typhoid Mary.
    If the cat was a year and a half, either it recently became exposed, or it had a poor immune system and was recently stressed allowing the virus to take over, or you could have tracked it in on your own shoes!
    Think about this, viruses are everywhere and this one is a particularly hardy virus, able to survive 66 days without a host, although a mild detergent can kill it!

    Researchers have been working on this disease for over 25 years with almost no progress.
    Check out http://orionfoundation.com/ and Dr. Addie’s site, the researcher who has studied this in the field ( i.e. catteries) http://www.dr-addie.com/ and the WINN Foundation thru CFA, at http://www.cfainc.org/

    I would also like to address the contractual agreement. If you signed a contract, giving your word that if certain things happened you would do certain things, then you should honor your given word. Breeching your contract means that the breeder does not have to do anything, you have already broken your agreement. The breeder has these in place to help you, protect you as well as herself. Get your necropsy done, FIP is notoriously hard to diagnose without one, take a replacement. You cannot diagnose a cat just because of a high titre count Not every cat will come down with FIP, every breeder suffers thru this at one time or another, you cannot breed cats without having it happen. Your breeder was just unlucky enough to have come across someone who is ignorant about the disease, is not honorable enough to stand by their given word in a contract, and is not sympathetic enough to want to do the right thing and work it out and someone who has not done their homework!

    This is a hugely kept secret in the cat breeding community, all breeders have hit it at one time or another. Stop taking this so personally! Work with your breeder.
    Let’s everyone work together to combat this disease and stop pointing fingers!
    Stop being part of the problem and start being part of the solution!

  • Ka
      6th of Oct, 2007
    +5 Votes

    I am writing to state I have a wonderful Bi-Color Ragdoll cat from Eileen Pickett.

    I got Joshua at 10 weeks old. His ambilical cord had wrapped around his paw and leg while in the womb, thus resulting in a deformed paw. All of his bones in his foot are fused together. He only has three toes on the one foot (one flops around like a loose mole) and his pad is not fully devolped resulting in heavy calising. The fourth toe grew up on his leg by his elbow and had to be removed.

    Eileen paid for everything including his neutering to insure he would have the best home he could get.

    That was my home...... He is now 5 1/2 years old. Picture perfect health and beautiful. He does not act handicapped at all.

    If she was out for money why would she take on the expense...rather than put him down?

    I have also been in Eileen's Cattery. Again just today 10/6/07 and I assure you....her life is devoted to caring for her cats. I am getting another kitten from her tomorrow without hesitatation. I am also not ignorant to animals and their needs.

    In society, you can't please them all. We all know there are some nut jobs out there...and the complainer is one of them. 75% of the people in the world are STUPID and IGNORANT. That's a FACT.

    If Eileen did not care about her cats... why would she be so reluctant to sell them to NUT JOBS...

    You will not regret getting a Ragdoll Cat from Eileen Pickett.

  • Ms
      18th of Nov, 2007
    +5 Votes

    I totally disagree with the complaints about Eileen Pickett. I visited her cattery to purchase a kitten and asked to see the cattery because I was so impressed with rag doll cats that I was curious to see all of her cats. She didn't expect to give me a tour. it was SPOTLESS! All the kitties were very receptive to my attention and I could easily see that they loved her and also they didn't hesitate to let ME pet and hold them as well. They are obviously ALL socialized. I recently adopted an older retired cat and Eileen was in contact with me until I no longer had any questions about my new kitty. She loved this cat dearly and offered her to me because she was sure I would love her and care for her just like she does. The kitty was 9 years old at the time and in perfect health AND very well socialized. She is still in great health and is such a wonderful affectionate gentle cat. Any complaints about Eileen not socializing her cats, or saying she is out for the money is pure baloney. And, like I said earlier, an unexpected tour of her cattery proved it to be spotless. She truly loves all her cats and would keep them all rather than ever-ever-ever risk them going to a home that is anything but very loving. Anyone who is ever considering a rag doll cat will be very happy and satisfied when turning to Eileen Pickett. She is a wonderful loving person!

  • Ho
      15th of Jan, 2008
    +4 Votes

    FIP COMES FROM A CORONA VIRUS AND IT IS DOCUMENTED THAT THIS VIRUS IS USUALLY HARMLESS. OCCASIONALLY IN A VERY SMALL NUMBER OF CATS OR KITTENS IT MUTATES INTO FIP. IT IS MY UNDERSTANDING THAT ANYONE WITH OTHER PETS IN THIER HOME COULD HAVE ANIMALS WITH THE VERY CONTAGEOUS CORONA VIRUS FROM TIME TO TIME. sOME ANIMALS CAN BE CARRIERS WITHOUT OUTWARD SIGNS.

    WHEN UNEXPECTED THINGS HAPPEN BUYERS SOMETIMES HAVE A TENDENCY TO PUT ALL THE BLAME ON THE BREEDER. PEOPLE WHO BUY PETS MUST BE WILLING TO TAKE THE RISK AND RESPONSIBILY FOR THE UNEXPECTED ONCE THE BREEDER CONTRACT IS EXPIRED. IF A CAT DIES OR GETS SICK AFTER A CONTRACT AND ALOTTED TIME BY THE STATE BETWEEN A BREEDER AND BUYER HAS EXPIRED, THEN IT'S NO LONGER THE BREEDERS RESPONSIBILITY. IT REALLY DOESN'T MATTER IF THE ILLNESS CAME FROM THE BREEDER OR IF THE ANIMAL GOT IT SOME OTHER WAY. I DO NOT KNOW WHY BUYERS OFTEN DO NOT UNDERSTAND AND REFUSE TO PAY ATTENSION TO CONTRACT THEY SIGNED AND AGREED TO.

    THERE ARE SOMETHINGS THAT BREEDERS DO NOT HAVE CONTROL OVER. SOMETHINGS JUST HAPPEN THAT NO ONE EXPECTED. IF ONE BUYS A PET AND THE CONTRACT DOESN'T NOT COVER PAST A CERTAIN DATE THAT THE BUYER MUST EXCEPT THIS CONDITION WHEN UNEXPECTED THINGS HAPPEN.

  • Pe
      16th of Jun, 2008
    +4 Votes

    I was stunned to read this complaint. I am sure everyone in business has complaints, but this one is ridiculous. Eileen sold me the most wonderful Ragdoll cat EIGHT years ago, and she is in good health and happy. When she passes on from old age, I will not hesitate to purchase another Ragdoll from Eileen Pickett. I don't think breeders should be responsible for the health of a pet after a year.

  • He
      22nd of Oct, 2008
    +3 Votes

    EVERY BREEDER AT ONE TIME OR ANOTHER WILL HAVE A SICK CAT. YOU PURCHASERS ARE STUPID AS HELL TO THINK IT CAN BE CONTROLED 100% IT CAN'T. BREEDERS CAN ONLY BREED HEALTHY LOOKING CATS AND TESTING DOES NOT ALWAYS HELP BECASUE A CAT CAN BE NEGATIVE OF SOMETHING AND 2 WEEKS LATER GET SICK.
    THIS SLANDER SHOULD NEVER BE ALOWED HERE NO BREEDER IS SAFE FROM A SICK CAT. BREEDERS BRING CATS IN AND OUT OF SHOW HALLS THEY BUY CATS FROM OTHER CATTERIES THAT ARE FLOWN IN ANY CAT COULD BE HIDING A VIRUS AND THEN SPREAD IT THE THING IS IS HOW THAT BREEDER TREATS YOU DOES SHE DISCOUNT OR OFFER ANYTHING IF THE CAT IS SICK? I GET SO TIRED OF SEEING SLANDER ON OTHER BREEDERS I AM A BREEDER MYSELF .

  • Lu
      27th of Oct, 2008
    +3 Votes

    I was outraged to read this slanderous article about Eileen Pickett. She has devoted her life to her cats and carefully screens perspective buyers through a questionnaire in order to make "perfect" matches for her "babies". She has gone out of her way to accomodate my husband and myself. We were going to pick up Angel on the way home to Connecticut after our vacation in Chicago. I became ill with a very bad respiratory illness and had to return home a week early. I called Eileen to see if I would be able to pick up Angel early. She not only accomodated our early arrival, but delivered her on a Sunday to the motel we were staying at, to make it easier for us and most likely, so an ill person would not be around the other cats and kittens. Angel is the healthiest, happiest and most sociable cat one could ever wish to have in their family. She is gorgeous and extremely smart. Eileen has been "on call" for me with every question I have, always giving the best of advice and always showing the love she still has for Angel. It angers and upsets me to think someone would try to cause suspicion and fear towards someone who is so selfless and works so diligently for her cats.

  • Ga
      4th of Mar, 2009
    -4 Votes

    I live in France and had also problems with Eileen Pickett. She sold me a female too little and sterile for a high price and I seen since the arrival from these female that I have corona virus on my cats. I don't know if it's this female who have but now that I read this complaint, I doubt. More, Eileen Pickett don't seems to replace the female.
    Marie Claude Gardrat

  • Cl
      5th of Mar, 2009
    Best Best Advice +5 Votes

    I have 2 beautiful highly socialized (now) cats from villaroyal ragdolls. Both are healthy and seem happy.
    Eileen has always been forth coming with information and their breed lines. I feel badly for you that you have had a negative experience, but mine has been very rewarding and positive. It's disappointing to hear that you $ investment is more important to you.
    Cliffster

  • Cl
      5th of Mar, 2009
    0 Votes

    not a complaint

  • Bi
      19th of Apr, 2009
    +4 Votes

    It seems to me that Ms. Kozel is a nutcase and if her vet really have been saying:"the blood work showed 1, 400 titer for the FIP virus. My vet at that time thought it best that I make arrangements to put her down" he also must be nuts and should quit being a vet!

  • Ja
      16th of Aug, 2009
    +2 Votes

    I bought 2 ragdolls from Eileen 16 years ago. When they both were 11 years old, a so called cat expert overdosed them with a shot of ivermectin. From that day on their health went downhill. 7 vets, all from Rochester, ny, all given an ample time with both could not diagnose them. Having blood work done every month, ultra sounds, holistic vets, every one of them were incompetent. If it wasn't that I was knowledeble on vitamins and herbs, they both would not have lived this long. How do you know that she didn't pick it up when she was spaded in the hospital. I have all their blood work and notes all these years. Any vet that is excellent won't stay in this small town. I don't trust any vets here. They probably had the same teacher, probably from Cornell. Both girls just died. I will buy another ragdoll from Eileen on the way to another state hopefully soon. There were many mistakes done on both girls you wouldn't believe how much. Eileen is not your problem!

    Janet Barone

  • Dl
      2nd of Dec, 2009
    +2 Votes

    I am a proud owner of a Ragdoll named "Bella" from VillaRoyal and Eileen Pickett. She is the most beautiful cat with a personality to match which comes from the way she was bred and the way she was raised prior to me receiving her. Eileen Pickett has been wonderful to me and my family. Considering I was new to owning a kitten, Eileen answered my many questions and emails no matter how many times I had a question. She was extremely helpful and knowledgeable no matter what the concern. I have emailed her with questions a year after owning my baby and she promptly gets back to me every time. Which in return showed me how much she cares about her litters. She not only cares about who they wind up with but what happens to them after they leave her, which in my opinion, makes for a very good breeder. I have stayed in touch with Eileen, sent her pictures of my Bella which she enjoys seeing because she gets to see how they are doing once they leave her. I would not listen to any negative articles you may come across because they are most likely disgruntled people who are looking to get a Ragdoll for less money or for free because they are very pricey, but well worth it! Eileen Pickett is one of the best breeders I have come across and I was so pleased with my purchase that I am now talking to Eileen about my second one!

  • Ko
      10th of Feb, 2010
    +1 Votes

    I purchased my ragdoll Alex almost 6 years ago and other than him being prone to URI's he has been in perfect health. I also completely disagree with the statement Eileen does not socialize her kittens. Alex was completely trained and had no problems adapting when I brough him both to the new enviornment or with my other cats. My history goes quite a ways back with Eileen as my mother has purched cats from Eileen back when she was breeding presians. When Alex became sick with the upper resp., Eileen was available day & night giving me guidence & advice and I couldnt have gotten through it without her. It is heartbreaking when you loose a pet and I understand the anger you have for it happening but I think you are directing it at the wrong person. Noone can guarentee the health of an animal down the road. Soemthimes unfortunte things happen and I truly feel for your loss but I personally vouge for Villa Royal as a busniess and Eileen as a breeder and higly recommend anyone looking for the perfect addition to their familY!

  • Vj
      20th of Jul, 2010
    +1 Votes

    I have bought several Ragdolls from Eileen Pickett over the years, and have referred several people to her who bought Ragdolls from her. All of the cats were beautiful, extremely healthy and loving, and all that could be wished for. Eileen has always been willing to help with any questions I had. Even though it had been five years since I had bought my cat from her, she spent a lot of time helping me in regard to what turned out to be a harmless fatty little lump on my cat's thigh. When it comes to being incredibly knowledgeable about health, you could not want anyone better than Eileen. I was a breeder myself for about twenty years, and wrote the breed standard in CFA for the Ragdolls when they were accepted for Provisional status in the 1990's. I have known a great many breeders. I buy my (show quality) pets today from Eileen.

    V J Meriwether Wilkie

  • Cl
      31st of Aug, 2010
    +1 Votes

    I bought a ragdoll from Eileen 5 yrs ago and she was and still is perfect. All of my emails to Eileen were answered promptly, she sent pictures on more than one occaision. Mocha was very clean as was her carrier and her health has always been purrfect! I would certainly recomend her and look forward to purchasing another ragdoll from her in the future.

  • Gd
      21st of Nov, 2010
    +1 Votes

    I disagree with any negative comments made about Eileen Pickett’s cattery. I purchased my Ragdoll, Pearl, from her over two years ago and she is the best cat I have ever known… ever. I personally drove from Connecticut to Eileen’s house outside of Rochester NY to pick up my cat, and another buyers cat, and transported them back to Connecticut. All conditions I saw were sanitary and Eileen was a very nice, well mannered, and courteous woman. I doubt she would ever yell at someone over the phone.

    As for Pearl, I have never had any health problems, sociable issues, or behavior problems. She is the sweetest cat and literally sleeps in my arm every night. Every day when I come home she is there to greet me at the door and meows around the house following me till I pick her up and pet her. Furthermore, she is absolutely BEAUTIFUL and when my friends or family stop over they are constantly telling me that they’ve “never seen such a beautiful cat.”

    As to the reason why this woman’s cat died at such a premature age I can probably guarantee that it was because of something SHE did and not any virus. Possibly the food she was feeding her cat? Many commercialized foods that are in pet stores are full of toxins that overtime can cause serious health problems or death in a pet (Research the topic if you don’t believe me). If you follow Eileen’s instructions and feed the cat the RIGHT food, get regular vet visits, and give your pet plenty of attention I’m sure you’ll have a wonderful healthy cat from Eileen that you will love for not a few years, but many.
    Furthermore, Eileen is not in the business of breeding cats to make money and she definitely does not just give them away to anyone. I had to go through a very extensive application process and phone interview before she agreed to offer me one of her babies. Also, when I was leaving her house with the cats, I could tell that she was emotionally upset to see them go. Secondly, breeding cats is not a cheap endeavor and if anyone knows that much about breeding any kind of animal, it’s not about the money it’s about the animals.

    There are many cat breeders out there, especially for Ragdolls, and the breeding world is full of politics. Eileen is by far the BEST breeder I found with the BEST reputation with the MOST beautiful cats after I researched the topic for over two months. I could never believe anything that someone might say negatively about Eileen and her cattery and would offer up a personal referral for anyone wanting to purchase a Ragdoll from Eileen. Her cats truly are the greatest and I plan on purchasing another from her in the future when the time is right.

    G. Danforth from Connecticut

  • Di
      27th of May, 2011
    +1 Votes

    I also have to disagree with any complaint made against Villaroyal Rags. I have been lucky enough to buy three babies from her at different times, all are have the most perfect temperament and health.
    I have since moved to the UK and wish I could source a breeder with a bloodline as close to type as hers, though there are breeders over here who boast that their bloodlines orginate from Villaroyal stock!

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