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).