Ragdoll Ancestry

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The Ragdoll Cat

Ragdoll Ancestry is relatively short compared to other breeds of cat. The Ragdoll breed was developed by an American breeder (pictured below) called Ann Baker in the 1960s. Since then, Ragdolls have grown in popularity and breeders can be found worldwide.

Image shows Ann Baker holding a Ragdoll.

History Of Ragdoll Cats

The very first mother of a Ragdoll was named Josephine and was owned by Ann Baker of California. Josephine was a non-pedigree Persian/Angora type cat with pure white long hair. After being involved in a car accident, Josephine had to be taken to a medical centre for treatment. However, on her return Ann suspected that her genes had been altered. Ann’s suspicions where based upon the results of subsequent litters from Josephine. The kittens produced, notably Blackie and Daddy Warbuck, had a docile temperament and went limp and relaxed when picked up. Believing that these traits were desirable in cats, Ann set about creating the foundations of the Ragdoll.

Ann was extremely selective over the future males who mated with Josephine and the Ragdoll cats produced thereafter. Breeders were tied in by contracts and operated on a franchise basis as to protect the new breed. They were forbidden to be registered with any other breed associations and could not be sold under any name other than ‘Ragdoll.’

Denny & Laura Dayton

Some breeders struggled to cope under Ann’s eccentric ways and eventually broke free from dealing with her and the International Ragdoll Cat Association (IRCA) she set up. Denny & Laura Dayton were two such breeders, who were responsible for two Ragdolls called Buddy and Rosie (known as Rosebud collectively). After going it alone, the Daytons set about getting the Ragdoll recognised by various cat associations, a difficult task given the spectacle surrounding the creation of the breed. Many found Ann’s tale of genetic modification fanciful and to be taken seriously the pair had to invest much time and money in gaining recognition.

The tide turned for the Ragdoll at a Cat Fanciers Federation Show in Ohio, when 10 Ragdoll owners show cased the best examples of the Ragdoll. Winning in all pattern categories, the Ragdoll was triumphant and given Championship Status. This consequently generated much demand for the Ragdoll and lead to the introduction and mainstream acceptance of the Ragdoll into the UK.

Ragdoll Traits

The Ragdoll comes in various different patterns and colours. There are 60 which are recognised and further details of these can be found here. I am hoping to populate this with real life photos of Ragdolls around the world.

In my experience, the softness, thickness and moulting of fur is dependent upon the Ragdoll. My two Ragdolls, Marie and Angelo have very different fur coats. Marie is a Colourpoint Tortie female and her fur tends to matt easily and has a frizzy appearance to it. Whereas Angelo, a Blue Mitted male has thick fur coat which hardly needs brushing and rarely moults. Upon further research, this seems to be down to the amount of longer guard hairs an individual has. On inspection, Angelo’s coat does appear to have more prominent longer hairs than Marie.

A Ragdolls blue eyes come from the same gene that is responsible for the point colouration. The more intense shades of blue are favoured in cat shows and my breeder actually considered keeping Angelo for his startling blue eyes. Interestingly, albeit a tad morbid, when a Ragdoll dies the blue of their eyes goes grey. Almost as if a light has been switched off. Sadly, this was one of the last memories I have when my boy Toulouse died in my arms.

Ragdoll Cat Temperament

Known for their loving affectionate nature the Ragdoll makes the ideal family pet. They are docile, calm and floppy, characteristics descended from the Persian and Birman breeds. Their limpness has given rise to the theory that they are pain resistant. This is unfounded and many breeders have tried to move away from this feeling that it might not be in the best interests of the cat.

The Ragdoll breed today is still tightly controlled. Upon purchasing Marie and Angelo, I had to sign a contract agreeing not to breed them with any other cats. It also stated that I would get then neutered and that upon receipt of neutering I would get a certificate for each.

Author: Sam Wonder

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  1. The Best Family Pet - I Love Ragdolls - […] desired traits in cats, Ann developed the breed and even trademarked the Ragdoll name. My post on Ragdoll Ancestory …

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