Together with the Maine Coon, the Ragdoll is one of the largest cat breeds. Widespread throughout the world, they have a kind and gentle disposition and make ideal companions.

Origins of the ragdoll

Ragdolls are actually a pretty new breed of cat compared to others. They were developed in the 1960s by Ann Baker, a cat breeder in Riverside, California. Ann bred a domestic longhaired white female called Josephine, who happened to be injured in a road accident. She was bred to other cats that came into Ann's ownership, with Ann later realising that Josephine's kittens were very cuddly, passive and placid.

The ragdoll kittens grew to be quite big, fluffy cats, who, according to Ann, had magically non-matting fur! The most recognizable thing about these cats was that they were extremely 'floppy' while being picked up, hence the name of the breed: 'the Ragdoll'. Ann thought that these traits were passed on to the kittens from Josephine because of her accident, and that these traits could be passed on to future generations of Ragdolls.

In truth, it would be impossible for Josephine’s accident to affect any future generations of Ragdoll kittens. Additionally, while Ragdolls are certainly big, fluffy cats, they still do require some form of grooming. Ann also claimed that these cats had an unusually high pain threshold, but it’s likely these cats feel pain like any other breed!

Ann started registering the Ragdoll breed in 1965, and then went on to sell them. In 1971, she founded her own registry, the International Ragdoll Cat Association (IRCA).

Physical Characteristics of the ragdoll

Ragdolls usually stand out to people with their large size, bright blue eyes and white, long, fluffy fur. They are amongst the largest cat breeds and some can weigh up to 9kg! Their face, tail, and ears are darker than their light-coloured body. Radgolls don't reach their full size until they are three to four years old.

The Ragdoll's coat is very silky and moderately long, but shorter on the face. It then goes into a ruff around the neck, shortens on the shoulders and lengthens on the tail, looking a bit like a feather. Their coat comes in different patterns, such as bi-colour, van, mitted and colourpoint, and in six colour variations, including, seal, blue, chocolate, lilac, red, and cream.

Mitted Ragdolls have white feet, a white chin and belly, and sometimes a white spot on their face that can look like a star. Bi-colours have more white than mitted ragdolls, which can be seen on their chest, belly and back, as well as a white 'v' shape on their face. Vans have the most white out of all of the Ragdolls and finally, colourpoint ragdolls have no white fur at all.

Health

As we know, any cat can develop a health problem. Ragdolls are usually healthy, however, there have been a number of reports of Ragdolls developing bladder stones or a heart condition called 'hypertrophic cardiomyopathy' (a common form of heart disease that causes thickening of the heart muscle).

It is important for Ragdolls to have plenty of food available as they can have a lot of growth spurts. Talk to your vet about giving your Ragdoll kitten or teenager enough food during these stages, and when they reach their full size (usually after 4 years old) reduce the amount of food to keep obesity at bay.

Character

Ragdolls are one of the most popular cat breeds out there, not just because of their looks, but for their amazing personality. These cuties are known to be one of the most docile cat breeds, they have a relaxed and chilled temperament. While their ragdoll-like behaviour is what everyone expects when getting one of these beauties, it is important to remember that every cat is different, so it is possible that one Ragdoll is less 'floppy' than another.

Another reason for the Ragdoll’s popularity is their love for their owners. They also love to socialize with other people, whether they are house guests or complete strangers. But above all, Ragdolls have a strong bond with their owner and like to follow them around the house. They are known to be great companions and don't tend to bother their owners with much.

A lot of cats love to climb, whether it is climbing up the furniture or up a tree. Ragdolls, however, with their docile behaviour, tend to prefer staying on the ground and aren't really bothered in seeing who can climb the highest.

Ragdolls enjoy playing and have often been compared to dogs because of this. They actually enjoy playing fetch and also get along well with dogs. So if you have a family with a dog, and you would like to maintain a good relationship between a cat and a dog in the house, then a Ragdoll should fit right in!

These beautiful fluffy felines are also amazing with children and like interacting with little ones. Sometimes children can get too 'eager' when playing with cats, which most cats don't appreciate. Luckily, this is not the case with the ragdoll!

If you have a busy household, it shouldn't bother a ragdoll. They are quite content just relaxing on the sofa and enjoying their own company. Long play schedules aren't needed with this independent cat breed.

Do you own a Ragdoll?

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