In the early 1960’s, Ann Baker created the Ragdoll cat breed by breeding a white female Persian to a male Birman. She then introduced a female Burmese into the breeding program, which created the origin of the Ragdoll.
In 1971, Baker founded the IRCA organization, which had very stringent “rules” for owners of her cats. The IRCA still exists, but Ragdoll cats produced by the IRCA are not accepted in any major association.
A husband and wife team bought a pair of the original IRCA Ragdolls and realized that this breed needed to be standardized and accepted by cat fancy associations, so they worked on an extensive, selective breeding program, which originated the standard Ragdoll cat breed.
Ragdoll Fanciers’ Club International (RFCI) was formed to promote the breed and set specific guidelines for Ragdoll cat breeders.
Ragdoll cats are now accepted for registration in all cat registering associations.
Appearance: Ragdoll cats are large and heavily bodied. They have broad chests and large hindquarters. Males weigh about 12-20 pounds, and females weigh about 10-15 pounds as adults.
They have a medium to long coat with a bushy tail and longer fur around the neck and hindquarters. It’s said that their fur feels like rabbit fur.
Like Siamese cats, Ragdolls are pointed in coloration that darkens as the cat ages.
There are three accepted patterns and four colors of Ragdoll cats.
- Color-point: dark points on the ears, tail, face, and feet, with a lighter shade body.
- Mitted: Dark points with a lighter body and white mitts on the front paws and boots on the back legs and feet. This point generally has a white chin, white stripe on the stomach, and a white ruff.
- Bi-color: Dark points on the ears and tail. The mask has an inverted ‘V’ running between the eyes. The body forms a saddle on the back and the rest of the body is white. Bi-color cats tend to have a pink nose and paw pads.
There is sometimes a fourth pattern, that is called Lynx, where the cat has tabby markings on the legs and tail.
The four colors are generally seal, chocolate, blue, and lilac.
- Seal: Dark seal brown points with a light tan body.
- Chocolate: Milk chocolate points with an ivory body.
- Blue: Dark gray points with a pale gray body.
- Lilac: Pinkish-gray points with a frosty white body.
Temperament: Ragdoll cats are generally very docile and “floppy.” Breed standard states that the cat breed much appear affectionate, intelligent, gentle, easy to handle, and relaxed.
Ragdolls can be quite vocal. Many owners claim their Ragdoll cat will actually follow them around like a puppy.
They can be quite people oriented, being good with people of all ages, to include children. They’re also good in multi-pet families, and in families who like the look of a long-hair cat, but don’t really care for all the grooming that Persians and other long-hair breeds require.
Although mostly docile, they do like to be in the middle of all the action.
Health: Ragdoll cats can live between 12-15 years. This is a fairly hardy cat breed without many breed-specific illnesses.