The Ragdoll cat 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 – just like that 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.’
We at Dolljavu Ragdolls have chosen to continue to breed the Solid and Mink Ragdolls. Only a few world wide choose to continue to breed as Ann did.
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 cat 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.
Size: Very large, males can weigh up to 9.1kg and females can weigh up to 6kg.
Physical Characteristics: A large, powerful, imposing and distinctively marked cat of striking appearance, with a medium-lengthed silky coat.
Head: Medium to large, wide and flat between ears, with well-developed cheeks tapering to a round broad muzzle and firm chin. The medium-length nose should have a gentle break.
Ears: Medium sized, broad at base with a slight tilt forward, rounded at the tips with slight tufts.
Eyes: The eyes are large, oval and slightly slanted. Eye colour is always blue, the deeper blue the better.
Body: The body is long and muscular with a short, strong, heavy-set leading to a broad, well- expanded chest.
Legs: These are medium length with the hind legs slightly higher than the front. There is longer hair (britches or knickerbockers) on the hind legs.
Paws: Paws are large, round and firm with tufts.
Tail: The tail is long and bushy and slightly tapered towards the tip.
Voice: Ragdoll are not usually very talkative (unless they are hungry!) but when spoken to they tend to answer you. Rather than just the traditional meow they have a range of sounds which include chirps, squeaks growls and trills.
Coat: The medium length coat is dense with a silky rabbit like texture. It is shorter on the face, shoulders and longer on the neck. It parts as the cat moves. They shed considerably less than other long haired cats.
Ragdolls cats are available in 3 patterns
Colour point: these have darker colour points on their ears, face mask, tail and legs with a lighter variation of the same colour on the body which is sometimes called saddling. The less saddling the better for the show ring. Colour points should have no white on them. The colour points also get a spot of colour on their underbellys
Mitted: Mitted Ragdolls have similar markings to the colour point except in addition they have white mitts on their front paws (just over their toes) and white boots on their back legs (extending to about mid thigh). The also have a white chin – just like the have dipped their chin in milk! The white extends to their chest and runs down their belly and lower abdomen in varying widths. Mitteds may also have white markings in their nose or forehead and this is referred to as a blaze.
Bicolour: Bicolour means two colours. These ragdolls have the darker points on their ears, tail and facemask but they have an inverted white “V” of varying heights and widths over their nose and mouths. Their backs display the saddle with a lighter variation of the same colour and their chins, chest, belly, front and back legs are mostly or all white.
Tortie: comes from the word tortoiseshell and is their colour mixed with splashes of red or cream
Lynx or Tabby: barring that is distinct and separated by lighter background colour according to the chosen patterns as above. They also have a paler ‘thumbprint’ in the centre of the ears and a fine line drawn around their mouths.
Pointed Ragdolls are born all white. It can takes up to two weeks before their colours can be predicted with any accuracy and often a chocolate or lilac can take 3 to 4 weeks. They have fairly good colour by age 8 to 10 weeks but are slow maturing and can take up to 3 (or maybe longer) years to reach full colour and weight maturity.
Coloured Ragdolls are born with their colour.
Mink Ragdolls are born with their colour but it still takes many weeks before their colour can be defined accuratly.
The traditional colours are:
Seal: which is a dark brown and
Blue: which is like a slate grey
Chocolate: a lighter shade of the brown seal and
Lilac: a lighter shade of the slate grey
Red: a soft marmalade orange colour
Cream: a pale near white colour to a light pinkish cream
Are the lynx patterns and tortishell