What is a Ragdoll Cat? [are ragdoll cats good pets?]
If you want an easy-to-care-for lapcat, look no further than the Ragdoll cat. It is one of the largest cat breeds, with a beautiful coat, and is known to be very loving to its owner.
Ragdoll cat breeds are beautiful, long-haired cats that were first bred in the early 1960s. This very popular cat is well-known for its affectionate nature. Ragdoll cats do suffer from a few health issues but they are easy to screen before breeding. They make great family pets and are relatively inexpensive and easy to find.
Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about the fabulous Ragdoll cat breed!
History of the Ragdoll Cat
The Ragdoll cat is a popular cat breed despite being fairly new, created in the 1960s by Ann Baker, a breeder outside of Riverside, California.
She created the Ragdoll by breeding her white cat, Josephine. Josephine was well-known for having kittens with sweet temperaments.
So Ann Baker started carefully selecting cats from various long-haired breeds such as Himalayans, Burmese, Birmans, and Persians.
Blackie, a solid black male cat with Burmese characteristics, was mated with Josephine, and they had a cat named Buckwheat.
There is some confusion about whether Daddy Warbucks was the child of Josephine or just another cat that Ann Baker used to breed.
However, Daddy Warbucks’ offspring became the first official Ragdoll kittens according to many people who follow the breed.
All of the current Ragdoll cats are direct descendants of either Daddy Warbucks and Buckwheat or Daddy Warbucks and Fugianna.
Wild Claims About the Ragdoll Cat Origins
However, Baker made some interesting and unfounded claims about the origination of the Ragdoll cat breed.
She claimed that Josephine had gone to the University of California’s veterinary hospital and was experimented on by the government.
Ann Baker even claimed that the breed had a variety of genes including alien and human. Of course, these claims were untrue.
As other people were beginning to breed Ragdoll cats they began to distance themselves from Baker and her claims.
Ragdoll Breed Registration
Ragdolls were originally not allowed into any registry associations. So, Baker created her own association and called it the International Ragdoll Cat Association (IRCA).
Eventually, breeders branched off from the IRCA to try to get registered with mainstream associations.
They also wanted to bring the breed away from Baker and her eccentricities both in the strict rules about breeding Ragdolls and her wild claims.
One of the dissenting groups formed the Ragdoll Fanciers Club International in 1975. Eventually, the Cat Fanciers’ Association granted the Ragdoll breed registration in 1993.
The International Cat Association (TICA) and the American Cat Fanciers Association also recognized the Ragdoll as a breed.
Ragdoll Cats Become a Fade
Denny and Laura Dayton saw a newspaper article about this amazing new breed called the Ragdoll.
They fell so in love with the cat they contacted Ann Baker and bought two cats from her for breeding purposes and started to run advertisements offering Ragdolls kittens for sale.
The Daytons are credited with helping the Ragdoll cat boom in popularity.
What do Ragdoll Cats Look Like?
Ragdoll Cat Body Shape
These beauties are sometimes called “gentle giants” because Ragdoll cats are one of the larger cat breeds.
As classified by the Cat Fanciers Association, Ragdolls have large and broad, modified wedge-shaped heads.
Their muzzles are rounded, with males sometimes displaying jowls. All purebred cats have rounded big blue eyes.
Their ears are medium-sized and rounded at the tips. They are muscular cats with heavy-boned bodies that are proportionate to their heads.
Their hind legs are longer than their forelegs. Their paws are tufted and their tail is plume-like.
Ragdoll Coat Pattern
You may be curious why these cats are called Ragdolls, well, the Ragdoll name comes from their rag-like fur.
Ragdoll cats have a semi-longhaired coat with long, silky fur along most of their bodies. Interestingly though, the Ragdoll has shorter facial hair than the rest of their body.
These coat patterns are classified into four main categories:
What is a Colorpoint Ragdoll Cat?
A colorpoint Ragdoll is the most common pattern that you will see.
They will have coloration on all of their extremities (ears, tails, paws, and face) while the rest of the plush coat is rich cream or white.
The most common combination is the chocolate colorpoint Ragdoll, which is a rich dark brown.
Ragdoll cats have the Himalayan temperature gene, which means that in colder climates, the points will be darker while in hotter climates they will be lighter.
These points can also have patterns on them, such as a lynx pattern which has darker spotting.
The mitted Ragdoll pattern differs only slightly from the colorpoint. These get their name from the mittens on their feet. All four paws must be white to be a true mitted Ragdoll.
One of the most striking colorations is the blue mitted Ragdoll which has a blue or slate gray on the ears, face, and tail.
Mitted Ragdolls can sometimes have a star-like pattern on their noses. For show cats, this needs to be symmetrical.
Bicolor Ragdoll patterns are determined by the inverse V-shaped mask on the Ragdoll’s face. There will usually be some splashes of color along other parts of the body.
Bicolor Ragdolls have some point coloration, but they have a long white area from the underside of the chin to the underside of the tail.
Show-quality cats have either minimal white or maximum white coats.
A van Ragdoll has mostly white all over its body with coloration on the upper part of its face. These are also considered a minimum bicolor.
They are the lightest colored of the Ragdoll patterns. No matter what color pattern you choose for your pet, you will be assured of a loving companion.
Ragdoll Cat Colors
Ragdoll kittens are born white, but as they mature they start to show their color patterns. Each of the patterns sports many different colors:
- Chocolate (the most common)
- Lavender, and many more
Are Ragdoll Cats Good Pets?
Ragdolls are well known for their gentle temperaments and being very affectionate cats that will actually follow you wherever you go.
They enjoy repeating actions that make you happy and can be taught tricks and behaviors with some reinforcement.
Ragdoll cats are not very talkative and have smaller, sweet meows. They also are not big fans of heights and prefer to stay low to the floor.
Ragdolls are great around children. The only problem may be with the size of the cat; it may be difficult for your children to support the cat’s weight with some help.
Ragdolls are also great with other pets. They are so sweet and gentle that they make a great first-time pet. They are also recommended for seniors.
Are Ragdoll Cats Hard to Care For?
Ragdolls are very easy to care for. They need typical cat supplies such as a litter box, quality cat food, water, dishes, cat toys, cat trees, and beds.
They also need regular vet visits, nail trimming, and dental care. However, due to the Ragdoll’s large size and long fur, you may need to take into consideration a few extra needs.
Ragdolls may need a little extra space than a regular domestic cat to roam and house. They also do not like to be left alone for long periods of time because of their sociable nature.
Ragdolls don’t matt as often as other cats, but it’s important to brush their fur two to three times a week with a steel comb. This will help prevent tangles.
Ragdoll kittens need to be introduced to brushes early on. It is very important that they are comfortable with brushing.
Long-haired cats need frequent brushing to keep the undercoat from matting, and if left unchecked, they could have to go to a groomer to get the matting shaved.
Ragdoll Cat Lifespan
Ragdoll cats can live between 13 and 18 years or sometimes even longer depending on how healthy they are.
What Health Issues do Ragdoll Cats Have?
Most selectively bred cats have certain illnesses that they are at a higher risk of developing. Ragdolls are generally a healthy breed.
Here are a few diseases that Ragdoll cats are susceptible to.
Inherited feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a heart disease that can be inherited by Ragdolls. This disease is characterized by a thickening of the left ventricle wall.
This thickening causes the cat’s heart muscle to have to work harder to pump blood.
Most cats who have this disease show very few signs; however, labored, open-mouthed breathing and lethargy can be a sign that the disease has progressed to congenital heart failure.
Many breeders will screen for this health issue with a simple DNA test. They can make sure that their breeding cats are free of the gene that carries this disease.
Feline mucopolysaccharidosis is a genetic disease that causes the cat to improperly process the molecules in sugars.
Since breaking down and processing sugars is key to the growth and development of many organs in the body, this can lead to retardation and deformities.
It can also cause malformation of vital organs.
This disease often leads to early death. There are few treatments. The ones available have to be performed early and at great expense.
Even then, they only make the cat’s quality of life better but don’t cure the disease. Cats with this genetic disease should not be bred.
Polycystic Kidney Disease
Ragdolls are also predisposed to getting Polycystic Kidney Disease. This illness involves small cysts on the kidneys. They are usually present at birth.
They get larger as time goes on and more form until the kidneys are overwhelmed and kidney failure occurs.
Symptoms of this disease are lethargy, excessive thirst, vomiting, drooling, and enlarged kidneys. Only cats who have this disease can pass it on to their young.
Ragdoll cats, just like all cats, are susceptible to periodontal disease so proper dental care is very important to keep your cat healthy.
Ragdoll Cats are a Healthy Breed
As long as you are getting your cat from a reputable breeder who has screened their breeding felines for genetic mutations, then you will probably have a cat that is relatively healthy.
However, even Ragdolls who are free from genetic mutations may be more prone to FIP (Feline Infectious Peritonitis), bladder stones, and obesity.
It’s important to get your cat checked by a vet when you first adopt her and to keep up with regular vet check-ups.
Related Ragdoll Cat Breed Questions
How do you breed a Ragdoll cat?
The process of breeding Ragdolls is complicated. The cat breeder needs a combination of Persian, Himalayas, Birmans, and Burmese cats.
However, many of these cross-breedings may result in genetic mutations and difficulty in reproducing without the help of vets and animal sciences.
The simpler approach is to have a Ragdoll male and breed him with a female Himalayan or Birman. Then, their offspring are bred with a Persian to create the modern Ragdoll.
How to adopt a Ragdoll cat?
Ragdoll cats are sold by breeders around the world. It is important that you find a reputable and experienced breeder.
Because of their mixed breed history, having a breeder who knows to screen for diseases and use healthy cats as the sires is vital.
Always make sure to get an agreement between you and the breeder in writing. You should also make sure that you meet the cat in person.
The breeder should be certified and have documentation of vaccines and deworming.
How much do Ragdoll kittens cost?
The price you pay will depend on whether you are going to buy a show cat or not.
You can get a show-quality Ragdoll kitten, which will cost between $2,000-5,000 in the United States and even more worldwide.
Or choose a cat that has minor, cosmetic flaws which will go for between $400 and 600. The more experienced breeders may be more expensive.
What are puppy cats?
Puppy cats are simply cats that tend to act like dogs in some ways. Ragdoll cats are famous for being puppy cats. As we mentioned above, they will even follow you around like a lonely puppy!
Ragdoll Cats Make Wonderful Family Pets
An interesting and wild history, a silky, long-haired cat, and a sweet disposition make the Ragdoll cat breed a perfect cat for adoption.
Whether you are looking for an easy-to-care-for companion or a champion show cat, this blue-eyed beauty is the perfect addition to your family.