Section 2 – SEMI-LONGHAIR – Group 1
The name “Ragdoll” is derived from the reported tendency of individuals from the original breeding cats to go limp and relaxed when picked up. The Ragdoll is a large affectionate, semi-longhaired cat with beautiful blue eyes. One most popular breeds in the cat fancy. It has an easy, laid-back temperament and in general loves interaction with people and other animals.
Anne Baker, a breeder in Riverside, California developed the Ragdoll breed in the early 1960s. A pure white longhaired cat of Angora appearance named Josephine is the matriarch of the breed, along with a seal mitted male named Daddy Warbucks and a solid black cat named Blackie. Daddy Warbucks described as being ‘seal mitted with a white nose blaze and white tail tip’ and he was bred to a daughter of Josephine named Buckwheat and her half-sister Fugianna. These cats are the foundation of the Ragdoll breed. In the spring of 1981 the first Ragdoll cats were imported into the UK by Pat Brownsell (Patriarca Ragdolls) and Lulu Rowley (Petit-Lu Ragdolls) from the Blossom-Time cattery in the USA – the Ragdoll had arrived in the UK.
The Ragdoll cat has a medium length coat of silky texture. They are not a cat with extreme type. All Ragdolls have beautiful blue eyes and come in three patterns: colourpoint, bi-colour, mitted. The recognised Ragdoll colours are seal, blue, chocolate, lilac, red and cream, along with the tortoiseshell and tabby patterns. Colourpoint Ragdolls have classic markings like the Siamese with no white anywhere on the body, Mitted Ragdolls have white feet in the front looking like mittens and white to the hock on the back legs looking like boots, along with a possible white blaze on the face and sometimes a white tail tip. Bi-Colour Ragdolls have white extending higher up the legs than on the mitteds, sometimes splashes of white on the back, a white underside and an inverted white V on the face. They may also have a white tail tip. The Ragdoll cat can take up to four to five years to fully mature and whilst every kitten is always cute, the fully mature Ragdoll can quite simply take your breath away. They go from cute kitten, to awkward teenager, ugly duckling into a beautiful swan. The most outstanding feature of the Ragdoll cat is their blue eyes, a beautiful retroussé nose and their smile – they have an expression like no other cat.
The one major characteristic identified by Ann Baker as setting the Ragdoll apart from any other breed was its astonishingly equable character and gentility. I think you can dismiss the floppiness which gave them their name as pure hype, and the assertion that they have a low pain threshold is positively dangerous. Clinical tests have proved absolutely conclusively that the Ragdoll is no different in its physical responses and attributes to any other breed of cat. What is certain, however, is that the way any kitten of any breed is reared contributes enormously to the socialisation of that kitten. Its human family is every bit as important as the mother cat in this respect. Frequent loving handling encourages trust; playing games with the kitten encourages him to regard you as something much more than the provider of food and litter trays. Gentility, playfulness, an almost canine fidelity and a sort of absentminded sense of humour are some of the fascinating traits of this sweet-natured feline. They also happen to be alarmingly beautiful. (extract from an article by Alan Edwards, former president of The British Ragdoll Cat Club and international judge).
The Ragdoll is one of the largest of the cat breeds and takes up to four years to reach full maturity. Fully developed males often tip the scales at upwards of 6kg, with the proportionately smaller females weighing between 4kg and 6kg. These gentle cats have long, substantial bodies with sturdy boning to match. Their coats do require regular weekly maintenance and they do moult so extra grooming during these periods is essential. A Ragdoll’s coat will mat if left unattended. Exercise through play is also essential to keep them fit and healthy.
Ragdolls can carry a gene that leads to a form of heart disease (hypertrophic cardiomyopathy) that can lead to heart failure at an early age. In 2007 a DNA test became available to breeders to identify the one known defective gene that can cause HCM in the Ragdoll. Since then breeders in the UK have been working hard to remove this gene from the gene pool.