The Ragdoll Cat Breed
The Ragdoll cat is a hybrid breed. Hybrid means it did not occur spontaneously in nature and was developed through human intervention. It takes years of selectively breeding certain types of cats until you reach the desired product. The Ragdolls exact origins remain a mystery and many breeders surmise that it was achieved by crossbreeding Perisan, Birman and Burmese. In fact the earliest matings took place among mostly feral cats of unknown ancestry. There are some fairy-tale stories which have been embellished over time and makes it difficult to separate fact from fiction.
One thing about the Ragdolls history we do know for sure is that the late Ann baker originated the breed in Riverside, California in the early 1960's. Ragdolls today can be traced back to the original bloodlines she developed.
All Ragdolls are pointed cats, which means they have colour on their ears, face, legs and tail, with a much lighter contrasting body colour. Along with the pointed gene comes those beautiful blue eyes, which vary from pale blue to deep blue. They are a large muscular breed with a long body and beautiful long bushy tail to balance this. Their coats are bunny soft and semi-longhair which does require regular grooming (weekly) but not as often as Persians. Some say a Ragdolls coat is non-mating, and they do not shed, this is not true, although all ragdolls have a lovely soft coat they do still vary slightly in texture.
Ragdolls are striking cats and certainly get more beautiful with age. They have a sweet temperament that captivates you, many owners can not stop at owning just one!!
Please remember that your Ragdoll will only be as good as the breeder, the Ragdolls temperament is largely down to how well your kitten has been socialised. Choose your breeder wisely. You can find cheaper supposedly purebred 'Ragdolls' but this sadly is often not the case and as with all pedigrees there are many back yard breeders that just see pound signs!!
Ragdoll cats are a beautiful breed with large, blue, slightly oblique eyes and super soft fur. Some people claim they are non-matting, this really does depend on the individual cats fur texture, some do still matt. They don't require daily grooming like Persians but I would say once a week and its always a good idea to get your kitten used to this from an early age. They have semi-long fur which is longer around the neck, they have sturdy legs, medium sized ears rounded at tip, and a long bushy tail. Some people falsely claim that they do not shed, the DO shed, although I would say this also varies between cats. Ragdolls are pointed cats, which means their points i.e; ears, feet, tails and noses are a colour. This colour can be masked by a white pattern as in Bi Colour and Mitted. They are all born white and their colour comes in on their points over time until around 2 years. The body colour is usually paler and for showing, the paler the better.
The Ragdolls colour can be:
Seal and the dilute of this colour Blue
Chocolate and the dilute of this colour Lilac
Red and the dilute of this colour Cream
Females can also be; Seal Tortie, Blue Tortie, Chocolate Tortie & Lilac Tortie
Coat usually reaches its full colour by the age of 2, although can still vary through the seasons and old age.
The Ragdolls standard 3 patterns are:
Colour Pointed - ears, nose, tail and all feet have colour.
Mitted - ears, nose, tail have colour but have white socks on front feet, white boots on back legs and little white chins (can have white blaze on nose).
Bicolour - ears, tail have colour. Colour on face is masked with white pattern in the form of an inverted V. Front and back legs are also white.
Body colour on all three patterns is a paler shade of point colour.
There are some other patterns like High Mitted, Mid High Whites, and Vans but the three above are the standard show patterns for Ragdolls.
Tabby is also available in all the above colours and patterns
The Ragdoll is one of the largest domesticated cat breeds with a long sturdy body, large frame and proportionate legs. They are slow growing, reaching full maturity around 4 years of age.
A fully grown female weighs from 8 pounds (3.6 kg) to 15 pounds (6.8 kg).
Males are substantially larger, ranging from 12 pounds (5.4 kg) to 20 pounds (9.1 kg) or more.
The genes for point coloration are also responsible for the blue eyes of the Ragdoll.
For me and many others Ragdolls are a truly wonderful breed. They have a stunningly beautiful appearance and are exceptionally trusting, loyal and have a loving disposition. They are friendly and adapt well to most situations. A captivating breed which will most definitely steal your heart.
Of course they all have their own little personalities, some are more needy than others, some maybe shy, some quiet, some very vocal, some naughty, some are lap cats, but most just want to be near you. They adore a tummy rub and if yours flops in front of you, you know what they want! Some are more like dogs than cats and will play fetch for hours, they are affectionately know as 'puppy cats' .
Most people that own a Ragdoll often go on to get another, then another, then another.... Its hard not to become addicted!!
I can not stress enough that in order to get all of these wonderful traits a good reputable and ethical breeder is the key!! They need to be socialised properly in a loving family environment. The hardest part of buying a Ragdoll is finding the right breeder, please do your research properly.
Always visit your breeder first, maybe even before the kittens are ready to be viewed, that way you won't be tempted to say yes to a kitten because you feel sorry for it!
Top Tip! When you have chosen your breeder wisely and you go the that all important viewing to choose your kitten, why not let the kitten choose you! Sit on the floor and play with them, see which kitten comes to sit on your lap when he or she is tired and it will be a match made in heaven! :-)
Due to their docile nature and inability to fight when attacked these cats should be kept indoors most of the time. Ragdoll cats are relatively inactive cats so will be happy to be left indoors.
Having said the above some Ragdolls are not as content as others to be inside all the time, they may constantly bolt through an open door or jump through open windows!! Can be vary scary. If your Ragdoll is like this I think its a good idea to let them have some outside time. This can only be done supervised of course and be prepared because it is hard to take back what you give!! They may become stressed and want to go out more and more! In these cases I recommend an outside enclosure or a fenced in garden with cat secure netting and brackets along the top (this can also stop other cats from getting in).
Remember each cat is different and requires different things. Some like to sleep, wash and eat all day long! Some are busy (naughty) all the time, they simply want your attention, individual playtimes are essential for any indoor cat!
Please remember when you get your Ragdoll it is a kitten!! It will run and charge about, be full of mischief.
The older you cat gets its obvious they will slow down a bit, some more than others!
When you pick up your kitten it should of finished its course of vaccinations against Cat Flu and Enteritis, not all breeders like to give Leukemia as standard but could be arranged if necessary. It will of had at least 2 Vet checks and be the picture of health. No breeder should let a kitten leaves his or her care if it is unwell for any reason.
It is always advised to continue feeding the same food as the the kitten has been used to at the breeders home to avoid tummy upsets. Having said that it is not uncommon for your kitten to have an upset tummy during the first few days as it is stressful for them although they may not show it! If you have any concerns contact your breeder for advice. A good breeder will always be there for much needed advice especially in the early days.
I always recommend you use the same litter as the breeder to avoid and bad habbits forming. The litter will be familiar and your kitten will feel more at home and relaxed.
It can also bed an idea when you visit your kitten to take a small blanket or bed which he or she can then take home with them when its time to leave, it will have the familiar smell of their nest and it will be a reasurring place for them to rest.
Ragdoll cats usually live healthy, illness free lives but of course there are some illnesses which are more common than others. Heart disease and kidney disease is associated with Ragdoll cats although this is also commonly associated with around 4 breeds.
HCM (Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy)
I cannot stress enough how important it is that your breeder has had breeding Queens and Stud boys DNA tested and that results are 'normal' for the MYBP3 gene. Any reputable breeder like myself should be able to show documented evidence of this. I strongly advise against buying a kitten from any breeder that cannot prove they have tested for this!
For more information about HCM please click here
PKD (Polycystic Kidney Disease)
Again this test is extremely important and it is essential your breeder has had DNA tests done on all Queens and Studs and can prove results to be 'normal'.
It's a hereditary kidney disorder, which implicates that there are already cysts present at birth and usually in both kidneys. These cysts are cavities filled with fluids that originate from normal kidney tissue. In kittens these cavities are in the majority of cases very small (1 to 2 mm). As the animal matures these cavities will become larger (even larger than 2 cm) In one kidney there can be as many as 20 to 200 cysts present.
For more information on this disease please click here
Some have been known to pass away sooner as with any cat but on average theres no reason why it should be the same as any other cat 15 - 20 years.
A cat is a big responsibility and needs a loving forever home, so please be 100% committed.
Things do happen in life which are out of your control and if forever reason you feel you cannot look after your cat anymore, please contact the breeder first.
A good breeder will always help and feels a responsibility to the cat it has brought into this world.