The Ragdoll is a beautiful breed of cat that possesses blue eyes and a distinct “colourpoint” coat. They were first developed by a breeder in California in the 1960’s with a cross between a domestic longhair and various other longhaired cats of unknown ancestry that she either owned or found. The breeder, Ann Baker, started selectively breeding her female cat, named Josephine with male cats that she chose for their gentle, placid personalities, large size and long coats with “points” seen on Siamese cats. The result was the ragdoll as we know it today.

Rag Doll CatsAnother interesting point that led to Josephine being used as the breeding queen for Ragdolls, is that whilst recovering in a veterinary hospital managed by a Californian University, her owner claimed that Josephine was subject to secret government genetic experimentation, which resulted in her being relaxed when picked up and immune to pain upon her recovery. It is interesting to note that in the sixties, genetic experimentation did not exist at such a level. The breeder also claimed that some were bred with skunks to create the tail characteristics, and that Ragdolls were in fact created by aliens! This bizarre behaviour later led to unusual occurrences between breeders, and for a short while they were even called “ragamuffins” as Baker owned the rights to the name “ragdoll”. It wasn’t until 2005 when the trademark was not renewed that the ragamuffin once again became the ragdoll.

In reality, the name came from the newly created kittens and cats due to their notable “collapsing” into the arms of anyone that holds them even strangers. This docility though, has made them vulnerable to accidents as they have been reported to nonchalantly approach cars and vicious dogs which has resulted in them being injured. This fear of injury has resulted in some breeders trying to breed the “limpness” trait out of the breed. It is wise to ensure that these cats remain an indoor cat for these reasons.

Ragdolls are extremely friendly and enjoy human company so much that they will greet you at the door, follow you around the house and leap into your lap whenever the possibility arises for a snuggle. They often learn to come when called and are even known to retrieve toys that are thrown for them.

Although they are extremely docile, they are by no means inactive or dull. They love to play, and respond so well to positive reinforcement using food treats that they can be trained to perform tricks. They do not display strong hunting instincts ,but are happy to lounge around which makes them the perfect indoor feline companion.
Ragdolls are extremely easy to live with and prefer nothing better than laying on your bed or sofa if a lap is not available. They have a small voice that they will use to remind you of feed time and request affection, but they are not excessively vocal.

The ragdoll is one of the largest domesticated cats, and possess a solid large frame and proportionate legs. They range in size from 3.6kg to 9.1kgs. Although the breed has a semi-long plush coat, it consists mainly of long “guard” hairs, and the lack of dense undercoat results in reduced shedding and matting. This does not mean they can go without grooming. Their coat needs to be combed twice weekly to remove loose dead hair that can cause tangles, ensuring that legs are included in this process especially where the legs meet the body where mats are more likely to occur. Unlike most cats, Ragdolls love the attention they receive during the grooming process.

Ragdolls can live up to 15 years, but do have a tendency to some health issues which has resulted in their life span being more closely averaged to 10 years. They have a high rate of urinary problems that can be fatal, mainly kidney/ureter issues but also lower urinary issues as well. There is extensive research being done on these issues, so hopefully this is something that will be reduced in the very near future.

They also have a predisposition to cardiomyopathy or “big cat syndrome”. This is a progressive condition that is usually fatal within 12 months of diagnosis.  Ragdolls, as with all cats, are also prone to gingivitis, but is most usually due to poor diet and is easy to prevent with correct diet and annual veterinary visits.

They are a beautiful cat.  The coat can come in 6 different colours:  seal, chocolate and flame, plus the corresponding diluted colours known as blue, lilac and cream.

These colours include the tortoise shell patterns in all colours and the three patterns. It is interesting to note though, that all kittens are born white, with good colour being visible at 8 to 10 weeks, but full colour and coat are not present until 3 to 4 years of age. The patterns are as follows:

  • POINTED: where one colour is darkened at the extremities including the nose, ears, tail and paws.
  • MITTED: this is the same as pointed but with white paws and abdomen. They may also have a white blaze (which is a white line or spot on their face) This variety must have a belly stripe that extends from chin to genitals and a white chin.
  • BICOLOUR: described as having a white inverted v on their face, white abdomen and some may have white patches along their back.
  • LYNX: a variant of the bicolour type having tabby markings
Ragdolls are extremely friendly and enjoy human company so much that they will greet you at the door, follow you around the house and leap into your lap.  What a wonderful cat!
* Article sourced with permission of Just For Pets.