The ragdoll is a hybrid cat developed in the early 60's by the late Ann Baker of Riverside, California. While no one really knows just what breed the first queen named Josephine was, it is believed she was of a white persian or angora type, a ferral cat, which then was bred with a Birman cat (Sacred Cat of Burma) whose offspring were then crossed with a Burmese type cat to bring in a different blood line, creating what is now referred to as, the "RAGDOLL". Since then there has been various outcrosses to bring in the new colors of Red, Tortie, Torbie and Cream, as well as the lynx color/pattern. There is a history as mysterious, as is interesting, about the ragdoll breed. But for now, let's spend more time on what characterizes a ragdoll and why you will just love them.
Ragdolls are born completely white or cream. Eyes begin to open between 7 and 10 days to reveal the beauty of their blue eyes that remain blue as adults. Their color points start to show in 5 to 10 days. The traditional ragdoll was a pointed cat, with a long tail equal to body length and a muscular animal with strong bones. The body has a definite contrast to the points, the chest, bib and chin areas usually are lighter in color.
Ragdolls come in several colorpoints and patterns. The traditional colors are Seal, Chocolate, Lilac and Blue. The newer colorpoints are tortie, torbie, red, cream and lynx. The nose leather is seal, blue, lavendar or light pink and sometimes have a variety of coloring for the torties.
The traditional pattern was color pointed but now other patterns exist such as Lynx (tabby striping), Torbie,(lynx x red/color point) Tortie(seal or blue point x red point), Bicolor (an inverted "V" on face and high mitts on all 4 legs), and Mitted (mitts on front paws and back paws can go up to hocks). These patterns are identified and judged by their divisions.
The Solid Division are the colorpointed cats which come in seal, chocolate, lilac, blue, red, or cream with no white on the feet or hind legs.
The Particolor Division are bicolor and mitted patterned ragdolls. The bicolors have grown to be very popular and are shown successfully, obtaining ribbons for best of breed, and best of color. The ears, mask and tail are well-defined. The mask will have an inverted "V" which should be as symmetrical as possible and should not extend beyond the outer edge of the eye on either side. The nose leather and paw pads are pink on a bicolor ragdoll. The body chest, stomach, all four legs, feet and ruff are to be white. The white should reach above the elbow on the front legs and above the hock on the rear legs. Mitted patterns will have points except for the feet. A broken evenly matched white blaze of even dimension on nose and or between eyes is striking on some of the kittens. No white is acceptable for show on the nose, chin must be white. Front feet, white mittens evenly matched. Back legs entirely white extending no higher than mid thigh.
The Tabby Division or Lynxpoint has grown popular for the tabby style cat lover. The lynxpoint has stripes on the points, and also comes in all of the colors and patterns listed. Their nose leather and paw pads are either pink, seal or blue depending if bicolored, mitted or not. The nose lining is either roseybrown (chocolate), blue(gray) or seal color depending on their colorpoints.
The Tortie and Torbie Division are mixtures of the red or cream point ragdoll with a seal, blue, chocolate or lilac point ragdoll, ultimately creating a multicolored affect on face and paws of the new offspring. This coloring has an unpredicatable pattern due to the red gene factor, every kitten will have a pattern that will be unique to that cat only. This breeding makes this divison both unusual and interesting for many cat lovers and breeders alike.
Ragdolls will grow until they reach full maturity around 3 years of age. Their weight varies between 10 lbs. - 20 lbs. Males are generally 5 lbs. heavier then the females. They are generally large, floppy, laid back cats that have an ability to go limp while holding them, just like a child's ragdoll. That is how they got their breed name, "Ragdoll". However, for the record it has been my experience that not all Ragdolls flop in your arms this way but most of them do.
The ragdoll has stunning blue eyes which vary from lighter to darker shades. The fur on a ragdoll is rabbit like in softness and texture. Their fur length is semi-long and non matting requiring minimal maintenance. Ragdolls are considered low shedding compared to most cat breeds. A weekly brushing will minimize shedding and, be sufficient in keeping your cats coat smooth, silky and healthy. However, the more you brush your ragdoll the better. Ragdolls coloring will get darker up to the age of 3 when they are considered to be fully mature.
Ragdolls are very affectionate and playful. They love getting tummy rubs and will be offended if you don't rub it when offered. Their temperament makes them a desirable breed due to their gentleness and love of humans. Once you own one, you'll never want to be without one. These lovely cats will follow you everywhere, so don't think you'll ever be lonely with a ragdoll around. When I go to the bathroom they follow me, if I walk to the kitchen here they come, when I go to the laundry room there they are pouncing on the dryer door as I open it to put the laundry in. All our kittens have become like shadows of our existence. Actually it is quite adorable the way they have to be right where you are. Even when I load the dishwasher I have one or two sitting on the door watching me fill the dishes in the top rack. The inquisitiveness of these felines is so funny at times. Ragdolls give true meaning to the word, curiosity, another reason why I love these angels so much, they make me laugh. Their curiosity at times cause them to do the funniest things...if going to the bathroom and shutting the door, how dare I, all sorts of verbalizations of protest are spoken. When I look down in front of the door, I see kitty paws trying to capture my attention under the door, as to say, "hey what about me, you locked me out" in a nice meowy way!
Ragdolls are known for being non-aggressive cats and as such, must remain indoors. Because of their sweet-nature and mild temperament, it prevents them from being as able to protect themselves from the wild dangers, that outdoor life present. The heartbreak this would bring, if your kitten was stolen, attacked or accidently ran over by a car, cannot possibly be risked if you cherish your ragdoll! Unless you have a protected outdoor room or area specially built for a cattery, or outdoor area it is never recommended to raise your ragdoll outdoors. Indoor cats will remain in better health throughout their lives preventing costly vet bills later in life. Also keeping indoors will help to prevent parasites, fleas or worms from affecting your kittens health. I believe it is always best to keep your felines indoors even if they are a household pet, not pedigreed. In general, the Ragdoll is an extremely mild mannered type cat. Hhowever, there can be exceptions to this rule. When a whole male smells an unknown male in it's midst he could hiss or growl. A female with kittens around unwanted strangers or animals she may have in her residence may hiss, growl or swat to show her protection for them. These are not common characteristics they are more like circumstantial exceptions.
Ragdolls will bring smiles to your face, love to your heart and food to your soul. Our lives have been touched indescribably since these ragdoll angels have entered our home. It is our wish and hope...if you choose to adopt one, that you will feel the same way about yours too!
Please visit our little miracles page to see what we have available now!
For your interest here are a few books you may wish to purchase to learn more about ragdolls.
Ragdoll Cats : Everything About Purchase, Care, Nutrition, Health Care, Behavior, and Showing by Karen Leigh Davis
Guide to Owning a Ragdoll Cat by Sue Nelson and Gary Stroebel
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"RAGDOLLS ARE GOD'S LITTLE MIRACLES FROM HEAVEN"