The Ragdoll breed history is shrouded in myths, theories and stories.  An accurate history is difficult to establish.  The creator of the breed was Ann Baker.  Anne was a breeder in Riverside California in the early 1960s.  To say Ann was interesting is probably an understatement –  they say there is a fine line between genius and insanity – but who can deny that a wonderful breed was created.

It is believed that the mother of the breed was Josephine.  Josephine was a white Persian/Angora type cat.

She was a farm cat and belonged to Ann neighbour Mrs Pennels.  Josephine and her offspring were wild but one day Josephine was hit by a car.  She was found and taken to a local university hospital.  Ann noticed that the litters from Josephine after the accident were now different from those born prior to the accident; instead of being wild they were very playful, loving & relaxed; they seemed to crave human attention; the kittens became limp when handled like a child’s rag doll toy & it was this that gave Ann the inspiration to call her ‘new breed’ the ‘RAGDOLL.’

Josephine had subsequent litters and produced Blackie – a black/brown Persian and a Daddy Warbucks – a mitted cat that Ann said looked like the Sacred Cat of Burma or a Birman.  Both these cats were sons of Josephine but they had different fathers.  Ann also had a daughter of Blackie & Josephine, a black self female called Buckwheat. Ann describes Buckwheat as being similar to a Burmese cat but with thicker fur.   Ann was also given another daughter from Josephine though her sire was Daddy Warbucks. Ann called this daughter Raggedy Ann Fugianna.  Fugianna’s possessed a wide inverted ‘v’ on her face so she was the first Bi colour.

It was after this that Josephine became very protective of her litter and fought with the farms dog.  The owners husband was not happy and gathered up Josephine and her current babies and had them destroyed – the founding Queen of the Ragdoll dynasty was gone.

Following the tragic loss of Josephine, Ann was left with the three essential cats; Daddy Warbucks, Buckwheat & Fugianna. Ann then mated DaddyWarbucks to his half sisters, Buckwheat & Fugianna.  Both Coloured and Pointed kittens were produced.  It was here that Ann decided that she would split the resulting kittens from each female. Those kittens from Buckwheat were termed “the Dark Side” whilst the kittens from Fugianna were termed from “the Light Side.”

In the summer of 1965 Daddy Warbucks & Buckwheat had a litter and produced four kittens, two were colour pointed & two were black coloured kittens.  One of the coloured kittens had white mitts & resembled its father whilst the other kitten looked like its mother. These two kittens were named Gueber & Mitts & once matured became parents of kittens that would be registered as ‘Experimental Persians,’ Ann later changed this name and then called them ‘Ragdolls Tu.’  The two colour pointed kittens were a male seal mitted named Raggedy Ann Kyoto & a female chocolate colour pointed named Raggedy Ann Tiki & Ann registered both Kyoto & Tika as ‘Ragdolls.’

Ann Baker advertised widely and campaigned continually to promote her new breed.  Early publicity spread like wild fire and the breed quickly became an object of controversy.

Anne made statements about the ragdolls and over time they became more and more strange.   Some myths included

Josephine ‘underwent’ some kind of ‘genetic alteration’ whilst in the hospital

Ragdolls had human genes in them or another was skunk genes

They were immune to pain

There was a link us and space aliens

Ann was passionate about her breed to say the least.  There was another couple who were to become passionate about Ragdolls as well.

In 1969 Laura & Denny Dayton discovered the ragdoll breed through a newspaper advertisement.  This advert led them to the home of Ann Baker and after seeing the cats Laura & Denny agreed to buy a pair, a male & a female. This was the beginning of Blossom-Time Ragdolls.  Laura and Denny Dayton believed in order for the breed to success it had to be made legitimate and be acceptable by Cat Fanciers.  Denny became the originator of the most reputable and highly respected Ragdoll registry called RFCI – Ragdoll Fanciers Club International.  The Dayton’s also worked very hard to have the breed recognised by TICA

The Ragdoll breed today is known worldwide and has become one of the most popular breeds of feline.  It is with thanks to all those who worked so hard to get the breed recognised that we can now enjoy this wonderful companion.