The Ragdoll Cat

 

History and Origin

 

The Ragdoll cat’s origin has been widely accepted that the breed originated in the USA in 1963

Anne Baker who used to be an established cat breeder, had a regular white long-haired Persian/Angora cat named Josephine. Josephine was mated with two male cats; a Birman and a Burmese.  The resultant litters were typical cats that were otherwise very common.  Sadly Josephine got injured when she was hit by a car.  Anne rushed Josephine to the University of California’s veterinary hospital.

Josephine’s next litters after she recovered turned out to have a different conformity; they happened to be unusually large, very docile, affectionate and a placid temperament.  The kittens exhibited a unique habit that caught Anne’s attention; that of going limp when held in the hands.  Noting the differences that the litters exhibited Anne decided to start a new breeding program with the sole intention of getting similar kittens.  Realising positive results, Anne named her unique kittens Ragdoll because of their tendency of going limp when picked up.

With her attention now focused on breeding Ragdolls, Anne set out to improve qualities of her unique kittens.  She identified two male Burmese-looking cats; a black cat named Blackie and a seal-pointed cat named Daddy Warbucks that had white feet.

While Blackie mated with Josephine to produce a brown/black Burmese- looking female that Anne named Buckweat, Daddy Warbucks mated with Josephine on another occasion to produce another female bi-coloured kitten that Anne named Fugianna.  This was the foundation of Anne Baker’s Ragdoll cat breeding program.

With her breeding program well established,  Anne did what many cat breeders would not dare to do.  She avoided breeding associations and registries.  She instead opted to set up her own registry, which she did in 1971 by establishing the International Ragdoll Cat Association (IRCA).  In order to maintain the high standards she had set in her breeding program, Anne prohibited other cat breeders who had bought Ragdolls from her cattery from registering their kittens with any other cat association or registry.  This did not go down well with some breeders.

A husband and wife team of breeders by the names of Denny and Laura Dayton wanted the Ragdoll breed to be recognised by other cat associations.  They therefore disagreed with Anne in 1975.  This is the team that made it possible for the breed to be recognised by such main cat registries as CFA and FIFE.

The first Ragdoll cats to be sold out of the USA were sold in 1981 to a Briton who introduced the breed to the UK, where it became to be officially recognised by GCCF in early 1990.  It is after this that the breed found its way to other regions of the world including Canada, Australia, South Africa and other European countries.

Main cat associations and registries do not recognise Ragdoll cats registered with Anne's IRCA.  Because of that many breeders left IRCA in 1994 to establish their own association. However, because Anne had trademarked ‘’Ragdoll’’ other breeders could not use the same name.  They settled for the name Ragamuffin as the name of their breed of cats.

Although Anne died in 1997, she had founded and established one of the loveliest cats ever to be found.  Although IRCA is still in existence, its membership is very small.  The current largest Ragdoll cat breed club in the world is Ragdoll Fanciers Club International (RFCI).

Myths Associated with Ragdoll cats

Like with all cat breeds, the Ragdoll has its fair share of myths.  One of the most common myths about the breed is that the breed does not shed.  In fact all haired cats shed.  It is only the degree of shedding that differs.  While long-haired cats shed a lot, shedding by short-haired cats is minimal.

Another myth that relates to Ragdoll cats is that they are very docile to the point where they remain susceptible to mistreatment's by their owners and other pets including other cat breeds.  Nothing can be further from the truth.  Ragdolls are cats just like other cats and react to situations just in the same way as other cats do.

The other bizarre myth about the Ragdoll cat breed indicates that the Ragdoll does not feel any pain.  The fact that Ragdolls are cats simply means that they are susceptible to disease, injuries and therefore pain.

These are just a few myths associated with Ragdoll cats.  They remain just that; myths that do not have any basis in truth.

Ragdoll Colours and Patterns

Ragdoll kittens are usually born white (unless they are mink in colour).  They get their colour and coat pattern as they age, and their full colour may not come in until they are 2 or 3 years old.

Ragdolls come in a wide range of colours and patterns, which are achieved through careful breeding.

Colours include:

  • Blue

  • Chocolate

  • Cream

  • Flame or Red

  • Lilac

  • Lynx (comes in each of the above colours and also in mink and solid)

  • Mink (comes in each of the above colours)

  • Seal

  • Solid or Non-Pointed (comes in each of the above colours except black takes the place of seal)

  • Tortie (seal tortie or blue-cream tortie)

  • Torbie (the word ‘torbie’ is a combination of ‘tortie’ and ‘tabby’ – and they are just like the seal or blue-cream torties except they have lynx striping in their pattern)

 

Patterns include:

  • Bicolour

  • Colour point

  • Mitted

 

If a Ragdoll cat carries the white-spotted gene, then the kitten may have a blaze (with mark on it’s nose)

 

Pros and Cons of Owning a Ragdoll Cat

Pros

  • It is very important that you carefully consider whether or not the Ragdoll cat is the right cat for you to have as a pet.  From the outset, a Ragdoll cat will suit you if you wish to have a large cat in the house, a cat that is otherwise non-aggressive. Unlike similar large cats, the Ragdoll remains docile and has a placid temperament.  It is simply a gentle cat.

  • In case you are looking for a charming cat that simply loves being in the company of people, then the Ragdoll is your best choice.  Not only is the cat welcoming to its owner but to strangers as well.

  • The Ragdoll cat is not only friendly to adults; it loves the presence of Children.  If you are out for a cat that your children will love to play with then this is the breed to go for.

  • Unlike other long-haired cats, the Ragdoll breed sheds very minimal hair, which makes grooming a very easy task.

  • Should you be out looking for a cat that will accommodate other house pets then the Ragdoll breed is the best breed to have.  This is so long as your other pets are also accommodating

 

Cons

  • There is really nothing to write home about cons of having a Ragdoll cat at home as a pet other than the usual cons of any cat.  You will of course be responsible for this pet and therefore have to provide it with the best food and treatment possible.  You should, however, be able to find living with a Ragdoll an enjoyable experience.