If you are looking for the purrrfect mix between a stuffed animal and a live animal, look no further! Ragdoll cats are beautiful, even-tempered, and they are known for going limp like a doll when they are picked up and held. They have been nicknamed “puppy-cats” because they love to follow their humans around and cuddle them. Ragdolls have also been known to greet their humans at the door and learn tricks easily (like fetch and staying off of the counter).
Title Photo Credit: Cássia Afini via Flickr
The Ragdoll Look
Ragdoll cats are large cats weighing 15 – 20 pounds for males and 10-15 pounds for females. Their fur is very soft and semi-long. There is no dense undercoat which reduces matting and shedding. A true Ragdoll always has bright blue eyes. Ideally, there are no extreme features to the cat’s appearance.
There are a lot of possible color and pattern variations in Ragdolls. Like Siamese cats, Ragdolls are pointed – they have darker colors on their ears, face, legs, tail, and ears. There are 6 coat colors and 4 coat patterns are recognized by the major breeder associations.
No white on their bodies.
White front paws, white back feet and legs, a white belly, and a white chin.
All of the same white markings at the mitted plus a white chest, a white upside-down “V” on their foreheads, and even a splash or two of white on their back.
Mostly white with darker markings on the top of the ears, top of the mask, and the tail.
The “points” of a Ragdoll cat can be solid, lynx, tortie, or torbie.
The History of Ragdoll Cats
It can be a little bit difficult to get clear answers about the beginnings of the Ragdoll breed. The truth is hidden in a cloud of rumors and there are only a few things that can be certain. Sources agree that the breed was developed in the 1960’s in California by a woman named Ann Baker. Pretty much everything else is controversial.
Baker had a white, mixed breed cat named Josephine who had given birth to several litters of kittens. However, Josephine was hit by a car and survived. This is where all of the rumors begin.
Baker claimed that she took Josephine in for emergency care where she was used for some kind of government experiment and her genetics were altered. After Josephine was returned to Baker, she continued to have litters of kittens, but these kittens would go limp and had a more clingy personality. Baker claimed that the changes in the kittens were due to the genetic changes Josephine had undergone. Of course, there is no evidence supporting that any such experimenting had been done. Baker used Josephine and several local feral cats to create the Ragdoll breed through selective breeding techniques.
Eventually, Baker got other breeders involved in creating her breed. Rather than seeking to be recognized by existing cat breeder organizations, she trademarked the name Ragdoll and started an association of her own – the International Ragdoll Cat Association (IRCA). It wasn’t long before some of Baker’s breeders began feeling that Baker had become too controlling and strange and they left to start their own organizations for Ragdolls and gain recognition by organizations such as the Cat Fancier’s Association (CFA) and The International Cat Association (TICA).
The Ragdolls we know today were a product of the breeders who left Baker. A second group that left Baker created the Ragamuffin cat breed. The name Ragdoll was banned from use by anyone other than Baker until the trademark lapsed in 2003.
Health and Home
Ragdolls are generally great pets. There are no health problems known to be associated with this breed. They get along well with children – they don’t even mind playing dress up once in a while. They are calm, not very vocal (soft little voices), and mildly active. Ragdolls remain playful throughout their lifespan. In most cases, they are good with other animals too.
If you are looking to add a Ragdoll cat to your family, check out the adoptable kitties on Petfinder!