With a lot of positive support, the Ragdoll breed are fast learners, and can imbibe positive behaviors like making use of the scratcher, and promptly retrieving things for its owner. They are equally fast at picking up tricks and are regarded as everyone’s best buddy; they are known to genuinely love the family that adopts them, both the children and other house pets which they easily blend with.
By nature, the Ragdoll is sweet, always eager to loosen up and enjoy a good cuddling session. In fact, they are the typical lap cat, so loving that they don’t miss an opportunity to welcome their owner at the doorstep. Animal lovers who are on the lookout for a friendly feline companion is not likely to find a more suitable breed than the easygoing Ragdoll. Continue reading for further information on this cat breed, including their characteristics.
History of Ragdoll Cats
There is a lot of debate and controversy surrounding the history of the Ragdoll which has remained a mystery until date. First, it is rather difficult to decipher the exact species of feline that was used in the crossbreeding project, and secondly, because of the rift between the rising population of Ragdoll keepers or owners and the recognized initiator of the breed.
Consequently, the precise feline breed that constitutes the Ragdoll is not known. One thing that is certain is that Ann Baker is the recognized breeder who started with the Ragdoll project in 1963, but before then, a tamed, longhaired, street-smart feline with a light-grey coat called Josephine was already in existence. This non-pedigreed cat belonged to the Pennels who were Ann Baker’s neighbors. Nobody is sure of its origin, but speculations are that it is either a kind of Persian kitty or Turkish Angora feline, although the Ragdoll Historical Society listed Josephine as a White Angora.
Josephine is not an indoor kitty, rather, it is a free-roaming cat that loved to wander in the neighborhood, meeting, and intermingling with different kinds of male house cats and tomcats, and in the process, produced litters with very unique traits. According to Baker, Josephine’s kittens were very friendly and loving with docile and easy going temperament. In addition, the kittens had the rare ability to immediately go limp and completely relax when picked up. This trait is in sharp contrast to most felines that become edgy or stiffen their bodies once you pick them up.
Upon seeing the exceptional traits of Josephine’s litters, Ann Baker went ahead to ask the Pennels for a male Birman cat which she borrowed. However, the pedigree of the cat remains a mystery as no one can categorically say whether it is actually a Birman or just has a close resemblance to a Birman. And as they are non-pedigree kittens, their historical roots are not certain. However, the matting between the supposed Birman male and Josephine resulted in a couple of kittens – one was a, seal point male with white feet named Daddy Warbucks and the other, a Burmese-looking male completely black in color named Blackie.
Another round of mating using Blackie, Daddy Warbucks and Josephine resulted in a cat called Buckwheat sporting dark brown coat and another called Fugianna with bi-color coat and longer fur. The exact process of the mating is not clear cut, but according to Ann Baker, the four kitties Daddy Warbucks, Josephine, Buckwheat, and Fugianna, were all involved in the creation of the Ragdoll breed of feline.
Subsequent matting involving Buckwheat – (the female kitten from Blackie and Josephine) and Daddy Warbucks (its uncle) took place in 1965. The products of the inbreeding were a couple of solid-colored kittens and another two pointed ones. The later were named Tiki and Kyoto while the former were dubbed Mitts and Gueber. Tiki came with a seal colored point while Kyoto was a seal mitted male kitten.
By December 1966, Fugianna, Daddy Warbucks, Tiki, and Kyoto were registered by Anna Baker as the first Ragdolls worldwide. She excluded the solid-colored cats to ensure that the breed will be all set. With more selective inbreeding, Baker’s breeding stock continued to increase, and by 1969, she started selling. Two kittens that were purchased by Laura and Denny Dayton were named Rosie and Buddy.
Quick Facts About the Ragdoll Cats
- Though the breed was initially created by Ann Baker, the standards were established by the Daytons alongside the Ragdoll Society.
- Talking about body weight, the male Ragdoll’s weight ranges from 15 to 20 pounds while the female comes five pounds lighter and some inches shorter than the male.
- Its name of Ragdoll came from the cat’s unusual manner of going limp like a rag when it is picked up. The kitty’s usual posture is to settle down on its back in someone’s arms while they cuddle it like a baby.
- The breed’s kittens come in white color, but with age, their full color begins to show. This may be from two to three years. The patterns and points usually start manifesting after ten days, but the feline comes in three distinct color patterns: mitted, color point and bi-color.
- Colorpoint Ragdolls are born with pointed patterns or markings which may come in the form of solid, lynx, tortoiseshell, as well as a combo of tortoiseshell and lynx.
- Mitted Ragdolls come with belly strip, white paws, and chin strips.
- Bi-color Ragdolls are distinguished by an even distribution of both solid and white color.
- Though there is a fourth color pattern known as Van, it is rather rare and seen as sub-kind of the bi-color pattern. white flecks of a darker color characterize this pattern, and they are mostly found around the tail, ears, and top of the mask.
- The usual color points in the Ragdoll breed is majorly seal; however, you can also see blue, chocolate, cream, red as well as lilac, but these are uncommon.
- The natural eye color of the Ragdoll is blue, and their fur is characterized by rabbit-like texture, It doesn’t shed much neither does it tangle or mat.
- Life expectancy in this feline is usually 17 years, but one particular Ragdoll lived up to 19.5 years, though the breed’s minimum lifespan is 12 years.
- Ragdolls are generally considered to be healthy and robust cats. However, like many domestic cats, Ragdoll may also develop heart disease HCM (hypertrophic cardiomyopathy). In this disease, there is a thickening of the heart muscle and an enlargement of the left ventricle. The disease is hereditary and always fatal. For Ragdolls there is a genetic test, which provides information on whether the animal has the predisposition to develop HCM.
- Coming to rankings, the Ragdoll is ranked number 2 after the Bengal in the worldwide list of the most popular breeds by the ICA or The International Cat Association and The Cat Fanciers Association.
Things You Should Know
When it comes to taking care of a Ragdoll cat, the following information will provide further assistance.
Although the Ragdoll is a strong breed, it is not completely free from diseases that can affect the feline population. The kitties often show signs when they are sick.
Any change in appetite or signs of listlessness should be investigated. Once the eyes are observed to look worn out rather than the normal gleeful, rounded eyes and the cat is emitting pitiful meow, appearing sluggish, then something is definitely wrong with your feline companion. Some of the diseases to look-out for include;
Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy – Apart from the Ragdoll this is a malady that ails the entire feline population. It weakens the heart’s natural ability to keep pumping blood and can cause failure in organs like the kidneys, brain, lungs, including the heart.
Other major Ragdoll diseases include; pneumonitis, feline distemper, cystitis and feline viral rhinotracheitis. You can also see intestinal parasitism, constipation, the flea as well as mite infestation.
As aforementioned, the Ragdoll breed is not an ordinary domestic feline; it is rather special and deserves to be fed with the best cat food available. According to a book titled ‘The Lovable Ragdolls’ by Laura J. Dayton, the breed should be fed with a special diet known as Feline Zu-Preem, In its absence, C/D Feline Prescription Diet is recommended.
If both are not available, and you prefer homemade food for your kitty, Dayton recommends two parts of lean sirloin, comprising of one part of kidney and the other of heart with liver and beef melts coming in ½ part each. Ground the ingredients and bake in the oven, shaping it like a meatloaf.
This particular recipe emphasizes the true nature of kitties as they are obligate carnivores, needing animal proteins in very high quality as the major source of their macronutrients and calories. Remember that the plant-based amino acids are not as complete as the one found in animal protein. However, cat parents whose preferences run to plant protein should add supplements of amino acid to complete the cat diet. Recommendations are that amino acids supplements are surplus to requirements when you have the perfect cat food that is already suffused with the correct quantity and quality of amino acids as well as many other essential nutrients that are best for your Ragdoll.
This does not mean that plant food sources are not good enough for the Ragdoll. Apart from best quality meats, Dayton still went on to recommend ingredients like; strained baby meats, rice, hard-boiled whole eggs, cottage cheese, cooked vegetables and potatoes. But any potato you must give has to be seasoned using gravy of plain meat. The aim of these additional diets is to provide variety for the Ragdoll, but it cannot take the place of the key meat-based as well as high-animal protein meal, which is more important.
Another recommendation from Dayton advocates commercial food for the breed, but you have to go for the canned or wet kitty food as it comes with a considerably higher content of protein on a dry matter basis when you compare it to kibbles.
Feline diet that is rich in omega-3 fatty acids is also recommended for the Ragdoll as it goes a long way in reducing skin problems, preserve the good health of the Ragdoll’s smooth-silky coat and aid in improving its immune system.
Because of the Ragdoll’s large size, supplements are recommended for the joints. Fresh and clean water should be provided on a regular basis. The best feline food for the Ragdoll should be the plain but healthy and verified type. It is not about the cat parent’s preferences but about the kind of diet that is best for your Ragdoll companion. Cat owners should desist from imposing their choice of diet on their pets. You Ragdoll should never be fed with anything that may be considered toxic or harmful even when they are a sumptuous treat for the owner.
Ragdolls have the natural propensity to consume food like the canine population, wolfing it down with haste. Besides, this tendency can lead to cat obesity as they would usually overfeed themselves. As a result, their feeding should be supervised or better still, introduce a portion control measure. There are people who prefer to make use of slow feeding pet bowls.
Try keeping to a regular feeding schedule; the best option is to maintain the same feeding time, or thereabout on a daily basis. If refrigerated, the food should be warmed to room temperature or better still, take it out and give it a chance to warm up naturally.
Ragdolls are distinct from other felines as their docile temperament makes them rather easy to train. The breed ought to be housebroken, you can teach them to answer your call as well as train them on how to walk on a leash which might seem a bit against the nature of the feline population, but Ragdoll is not an ordinary cat, it can easily get acclimatized to the leash with the right motivation.
The leash is rather important as the breed is strictly reared indoors. It prevents it from wandering outside to contact any cat disease that might be going around, or perhaps encounter unfriendly dogs that can harm it. It also stops the cat from being hit by moving vehicles and prevents them consuming toxic substances.
As the Ragdoll is a big cat, it needs a bit of exercise, and you can achieve this with the leash. Besides, Ragdolls are likely to be snapped up by cat-nappers as their beautiful coat, and spectacular looks tend to attract attention.
The cat’s litter box should be large and always clean, and if you want good health for your Ragdoll, frequent vet visits are necessary. Always check the ears and eyes for foul odor, abnormal discharge, and signs of irritation. Regular inspection of the paws are also necessary, and any scratches or cuts should be promptly treated.
With its dense, soft coat of medium to long hair, the Ragdoll seems at first glance like a stuffed animal. They tend to have large frills on their face, giving it the look of a bib. In the face itself, the coat is short but it is medium to long on the sides, abdomen, and buttocks. At the front legs, it is short to medium length.
The coat of the Ragdoll should be combed twice weekly; the fur does not mat or tangle as it comes with the texture and feel of a rabbit hair. Consequently, using hairbrush is not the best as it turns the cat’s coat into a tightly curled fur. Rather, make use of normal stainless-steel comb with teeth that are medium in length, this way. Its naturally smooth coat will be retained while you get rid of loose hair. The teeth should be brushed two times a week with cat toothpaste, even the nails should be trimmed bi-weekly, and the ears checked, and cleaned once a week, or bi-weekly.
According to breeders, the Ragdoll breed is known to be calm, docile, and floppy in nature. They are known to be extremely gentle and good natured. Even if they are rather quiet cats, you can never get bored with them because they are playful by nature. And despite this playfulness, you do not have to worry about your home. Ragdolls are attentive cats that move smoothly and elegantly also in strange dwellings.These half-length haired cats are friendly, balanced, curious and affectionate. The breeders are of the belief that they inherited these traits from the Birman and Persian breeds. The extreme tameness gave rise to the myth that the feline is resistant to pain.
As for their care, they are also a gentle lap cat – very undemanding to handle. They have been dubbed dog-like cats, puppy cats as well as cat dogs because of their inborn friendly nature, especially with the kitty always ready to follow their human family everywhere and constantly on the look-out for physical affection. For a beloved person they follow at every turn and are also suitable for children.