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The "Ragdoll" is a breed of cat best known for its docile, sweet, placid temperament. An unusually large, muscular, semi-long-haired cat with a soft and silky coat the texture of rabbit fur, it has striking blue eyes and a distinctive colorpoint coat. Its name derives from the cat's tendency to go completely limp and relaxed, conforming to the shape of the space made available to it, like a ragdoll would. With a friendly, easy-going temperament and seemingly little fear, the Ragdoll is only suitable for indoor living as, oddly, it has no instinct to defend itself against attack..
The history of the breed is rather odd. The Ragdoll originated in California in the 1960s, with a woman named Ann Baker and a regular, non-pedigreed, Angora-type long-haired white cat named Josephine. After producing several litters of "average" kittens, Josephine was injured by a moving car and taken to the vet hospital at the University of California, where she was nursed back to health. After healing, Josephine produced litters that were fathered by several unidentified "Birman" cats. Both Josephine and her kittens seemed to have developed a more docile and relaxed temperament after the accident, and some of her kittens showed Siamese-type point coloration. Josephine also seemed to have become immune to pain.
These developments led Ms. Baker to concoct several fanciful theories about Josephine. One theory she put forth was that a secret government genetic experiment had been performed on Josephine during her treatment at the U of C. Another claim she made was that the new litters of kittens were so relaxed specifically BECAUSE their mother had had a car accident while pregnant. Yet a further theory she espoused was that alien or human genes had somehow gotten mixed into Josephine's breeding process, and had altered the genetics of subsequent litters. Needless to say, none of these theories appeared to have any basis in fact whatsoever, but it WAS true that Josephine's kittens were being born with unusually placid good natures, and with the tendency to go totally limp when handled.
These qualities seemed so desirable that Ms. Baker purchased several kittens from Josephine's owner, who lived behind her, and set out to create anew the breed called Ragdoll. Breeding very selectively, Ms. Baker produced "Blackie," an all black Burmese-like male, and Daddy Warbucks, a seal point with white feet. More breeding with these two males created a bi-colored female named Fugianna, and a brown-black Burmese-type female named Buckwheat. All contemporary Ragdolls are descended from the matings of Daddy Warbucks to Fugianna and Buckwheat. (www.wikipedia.com)
Along with creating fanciful stories to explain Josephine's unusual change in temperament, Ann Baker took an unusual approach to establishing the name "Ragdoll." Instead of registering it with the traditional cat breeding associations, she trademarked the name, set up her own registry – the International Ragdoll Cat Association (IRCA) – and enforced very strict standards for anyone who wanted to breed and sell cats under the name of Ragdoll. The breed essentially remained in her "possession," until a rebel group broke rank with the IRCA, with the goal of establishing mainstream recognition of the breed. Today, the Ragdoll is accepted by all major cat registries.
Ragdolls display a distinctively docile, affectionate, relaxed, almost "floppy" nature, with high intelligence too. The extremely relaxed temperament of some individual cats has led to the myth that the breed is pain-resistant, but this myth has no basis in fact, and the cats should never be treated as if they feel no pain. What IS true is that the breed appears to have no "fight or flight" response, and has been reported on occasion to approach fast-moving cars and vicious dogs, with very unfortunate results. This tendency explains further why these cats should remain indoor cats, only going outdoors for short periods of time with the owner's supervision.
The Ragdoll is one of the largest domesticated breeds of cat, with a large frame, a sturdy rather squarish body, and relatively short legs. Full-grown females can weigh between eight and fifteen pounds, with the males being substantially larger: from twelve to over twenty pounds! The same genes that produce the vivid blue eyes are also responsible for the lovely point coloration. The breed has a plush coat that is comprised mainly of long guard hairs and not much undercoat, so there is little shedding and matting, making the grooming care of these cats simple and easy.
"Pointed" coat coloration means that the extremities are darker than the rest of the torso, like the Siamese. There are three different patterns for the point coloring of Ragdolls. "Colorpoint," with the points on face, ears, tail, and legs being dark, with a light torso, is one. "Mitted" cats have points that are darker than the torso, but front feet with white "mittens" and back legs white to their hocks, with a white blaze between the eyes, a white "belly stripe," and a white chin. "Bi-colored" cats have points, but they are obscured on all four legs by white that goes up to the knee or chest in front, and to the top of the back legs. They also have an inverted "V" on the face, with a white abdomen, and sometimes with white patches on the back.
There are six predominant colors of Ragdoll: seal (with brown points), blue (with gray points), flame (with orange points), and pastel shades of the same colors, producing chocolate, lilac, and cream points. There is also the “tortie point” – a blending of any two of these colors, and always female – and the “lynxpoint,” with the classic striping of a tabby only appearing on the points. Like Siamese, all Ragdoll kittens are born white, and gradually darken to develop their early color at 8-10 weeks of age, and their full color at 3-4 years.
These cats are very beautiful, with a coat that is "yummy" to the touch, and a temperament that is very soothing. As they are placid in temperament, they make great companions for owners who may be less active, such as older folks. They are known for getting along beautifully with other pets, and are great cats for households with children, as they almost never scratch, and are so relaxed that they can endure the rigors of being handled by small children.
Breeder Paula, of "Love Ragdolls," was a terrific source of further information. Totally in love with her breed, as most breeders are, she raved about the Ragdoll's wonderful personality. She said that these cats will follow you around, greet you at the door, watch TV with you, and take an interest in any activity you are performing, without being irritating and intrusive, as some breeds can be. "Personality plus" is how she characterized the Ragdoll.
Among other comments Paula made were, "They are here to keep the couch from floating to the ceiling," and, "They are here to adore us and for us to adore them." She emphasized how they can be easily trained to come when called, fetch, walk on a leash, and follow hand signals. They like everything and everyone, and are happy to be introduced to guests. Paula believes that the Ragdoll is quite likely the very best breed for children and the elderly, since they are slow-paced, non-aggressive, and sweet-tempered. ("Under-motivated" was one way she characterized them!) They rarely use their claws, thus are considered to be "soft-pawed." They should never be de-clawed, since there is no need for this.
Content to just hang out and enjoy your company, the Ragdoll is a very easy breed to maintain. Once-a-week brushing is adequate, and the cats often relish the process. They are not prone to any particular genetic diseases, and the only health tendency of any concern is that they are somewhat likely to develop allergies. They have super-sensitive noses, and can react badly to strong scents like pot-pourris, for example.
Ragdolls are quiet cats, unlike many other breeds such as the very vocal Siamese and Bengal. They will let their needs be known at mealtime, but they never make a lot of noise. They love to snuggle and sleep with you, but will not disturb you in your sleep.
With an average lifespan of fifteen to eighteen years, the Ragdoll makes a marvelous addition to any household that wants a beautiful, relaxed, and loving feline companion. However, Paula warned, Ragdolls are "like potato chips" – it is hard to have just one!
Southern California's trusted breeder. Supreme Grand Champion cats produced. Home raised, large beautiful cats. Member of R.F.C.I. All kittens registered CFA, TICA, ACFA & ACA. 100% Health Guaranteed. All colors & patterns including Lynx Points available. San Diego, California
Beautiful rabbit-soft family raised kittens are litter box trained, TICA registered, vet certified healthy, neutered, shots, dewormings, Feline Leukemia/Feline Aids negative, Two-year guarantee, NYS certified breeder PD103. Spencerport, New York
TICA registered kittens raised under foot, excellent health/temperments, parents DNA tested negative for HCM, FelV/FIV negative, altered, vaccinated, dewormed, vet checked, 3 year genetic guarantee. Babylon, New York
Home-raised with lots of LOVE. Parents scanned neg for heart & kidney health & all adults DNA tested "Negative" for HCM . TICA registered, spayed/neutered, with 2 kitten shots, worming & health guarantee. Each Kitten is a Work of Art! Hesperia, California
Kittens Available Fall 2012 To Spring 2013! Accepting deposits. Blue, seals & torties. Health guaranteed. Home-raised with tender loving care. First shots & worming. Call now for your next family member. All cats are for sale. Newhall, California
South Georgia (Thomasville) near Tallahassee, Florida. Ragdoll kittens, beautiful, docile, affectionate, TICA registered, well socialized, home raised with children & dogs. 2-year health guarantee. Thomasville, Georgia
Seal point, seal mitted and blue Ragdoll kittens available now. Small in-home cattery, raised under foot. We selectively breed for great personalities. All kittens are TICA registered. Health guarantee. French Lick, Indiana
Reasonably priced. TICA Quadruple Grand Champion Lines. All colors & all patterns available. Gorgeous babies available now & taking deposits on newborn kittens. Shots & heath guaranteed. Raised with children. Shipping Available & Delivery offered! Denver, North Carolina
Family raised TICA Mink and Traditional Ragdoll babies available. Bred from Champion lines for size and temperament. Beautiful eyes and bunny like fur. Spoiled daily from birth. Health Guarantee! Troutman, North Carolina
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