Ragdoll cats are beloved for their beautiful blue eyes and smoke colored coats with adorable white paws. These beautiful cats can grow to be quite large for a domestic cat. They have loving and gentle personalities and get their name from the way they fall limp like a rag doll when being picked up. Not one to be street wise, this sweet feline is less likely to be fearful of a stranger. They are best kept as a pampered indoor cat where they are safe from the outside world.
History of Ragdoll Cats
Ragdolls didn’t come along until 1960 when cat breeder Ann Baker from Riverside, California developed the breed. She selected a female cat named Josephine who was solid white. It is unknown whether Josephine was seal mitted or black tuxedo pattern. She carefully selected cats that were the foundation of what would later be known as the ragdoll cat for their gentle and placid personalities. She also selected larger cats with long, beautiful coats. Strangely, Ann Baker made many odd claims regarding how the ragdoll cat actually came to be. She made claims that there was alien influence, CIA experimentation, and even human genes in the mix. However, these are all quite unlikely and simply claims with nothing to back them up.
This unique and exquisite cat was actually bred entirely of free-roaming cats in Ann Baker’s neighborhood. The original offspring of the first litter had beautiful physical traits as well as sweet personality traits that made these cats very easy to fall in love with. Their personalities are one that many people of all ages will find extremely endearing and hard to resist.
Soon other people fell in love with ragdoll cats and started to breed them. Choosing to go a separate way from Ann Baker, a group of people began the Ragdoll Fanciers Association. In 1993, the Cat Fanciers Association registered the breed and fully recognized them later in 2000. Many cat associations recognize ragdolls as full breeds as these cats are not outcrossed with any other breed.
Size of Ragdoll Cats
These cats grow to be on the larger side of domestic cats, with females growing to weight up to ten to fifteen pounds while males can weight up to twenty pounds.
While many cats won’t simply cooperatively be held by just anyone, Ragdolls generally will. They are known for the way they flop into the arms of most anyone who chooses to pick them up. They have a trusting nature and aren’t skittish. As many cat lovers know, some cats, when being picked up, will try to get away and meow in rejection to being picked up. Ragdolls get their name for how they sink into the arms of someone picking them up, even someone they aren’t familiar with.
Ragdolls love people and love being given affection. They are known to greet their people at the door when they arrive home and are eager to jump into the laps of their humans. They will retrieve small toys when thrown for them and eagerly bring them back to their human, waiting for the toy to be thrown again.
Ragdolls tend to actually be more interested in their human friends rather than other animals. They like to be where you are and be by your side as much as possible. The Ragdoll is a type of cat who will happily climb up next to you on the sofa just to cuddle and be next to you. He will then prefer sleeping next to you curled up in bed rather than off somewhere on his own or with other animals. Some breeds of cats are not very interested in being around humans, but Ragdolls are very much interested in humans and like to be where their special human is as much as they can. They are generally “floor cat,” and not known to jump high or look for the highest perch in the house where they can look down upon their territory.
Ragdolls are very docile and gentle cats. A very good and polite-mannered cat, he prefers to jump only as high as a sofa or a bed, unlike some cats who want to be as high as the room will take them. Because they tend to be trusting of strangers, it’s best to keep these cats indoors. These beautiful cats unfortunately attract people who want to steal them, so it is best to keep a watchful eye on a ragdoll and keep them safe indoors where they are away from harm.
Both full pedigreed and mixed-breed ragdoll cats have certain health issues they may experience in their lifetime. It is in the best interest of the cat to keep a watchful eye out for these health problems with regular checkups at the veterinarian to monitor for any signs of these illnesses and for prevention.
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a form of heart disease that some ragdolls may experience. There is a DNA test available to identify the the genetic mutation in cats. Ragdoll cats are also susceptible to calcium oxalate bladder stones and crystals in their urine. These can be extremely painful if they become stuck in the urethra and try to work their way out during urination. They must be monitored and your cat may be placed on a special diet to eliminate the development of more stones and crystals. Surgery may be required to help a cat with this issue.
Ragdoll cats also carry a genetic predisposition for FIP, which stands for feline infectious periotontis. This is a devastating viral disease in cats that in incurable and can end their lives before two years of age. There is wet FIP and dry FIP. Both types are incurable. Cats with FIP can appear healthy as kittens and then become very ill. Sadly, veterinarians don’t have a cure for this disease yet. Other cats in a household with a cat with FIP must be kept far away from the affected cat, as they too could acquire the illness. Bedding, toys, and food bowls must be sanitized thoroughly after a cat in the household has been affected by this devastating illness.
As kittens, Ragdolls are small and very beautiful. They will not reach their full adult size until three to four years of age. Their coat coloring may not show fully until they reach a few more months of age. Their beautiful blue eyes will remain closed until a few weeks of age. It’s important to allow their eyes to open on their own, never forcing them open. An ethical breeder will allow kittens to go to their new homes only at around twelve to sixteen weeks of age.
Keeping Ragdolls with their mother until this age ensures that the Ragdoll is in good health and has learned all the valuable skills they need to learn (such as using the litter box) from their mother. It also allow the kitten to develop important social skills staying with their mother and litter mates until twelve to sixteen weeks of age. They have also received the standard, basic vaccinations around this time in their life and it helps to ensure they are healthy and ready to leave their mother and litter mates at this time.
Care of Ragdoll Cats
Unlike many cats with long coats, Ragdoll cats don’t have a thick undercoat. This makes them less prone to matting. However, this doesn’t mean they don’t require a good grooming routine or regular brushing of their coat. A stainless steel comb should be gently used to comb through their beautiful coat at least twice a week. This will help to prevent any tangles, matting, or debris building up in the coat. It will also help to evenly distribute oil throughout their coat. A rubber curry brush should also be on hand to smooth through the coat after combing it. Pay particular care to the fur on both the front and back legs, as tangling and matting are more likely to occur in these areas. It is highly necessary to be gentle and be careful to avoid pulling or tugging on the hair while grooming. This will help your Ragdoll to look forward to brushing sessions so they can be a positive experience for your cat.
Hormonal and seasonal changes can affect the length of the coat, especially in cats who are not spayed or neutered. In winter, the coat will be the longest. However, spayed and neutered Ragdolls tend to have a full coat throughout the year because they don’t experience hormonal fluctuations that unaltered Ragdolls may experience.