Monday, July 11, 2016

Cat Breeds: Ragdoll

The Ragdoll, though not an ancient breed, has been with us since the 1960s. Early in that decade a woman by the name of Ann Baker, a native of California, owned a pure white longhaired cat she called Josephine. She and one of her daughters, along with a seal matted male cat (who happened to be called Daddy Warbucks), are the very foundation of what would become the Ragdoll breed.

Though this gentle breed undoubtedly would not exist without the efforts of Ms. Baker, she was just a little on the eccentric side. She claimed that, during a period when she was in the hospital after a car accident, Josephine's genes were somehow altered. In her mind, this made the kittens born before the accident "normal" while the kittens born after exhibited the traits Ragdoll cats have become famous for. Whatever the truth of the matter, she did manage to select cats that furthered her breeding program.

But she couldn't do it all alone. The gene pool needed strengthening. To do this, she contacted breeders from across the United States, enlisting there help to help develop her breed. Eventually, however, her continued and worsening eccentricities encouraged most breeders to turn away from her. But this was not the end of the breed. Instead, the various breeders continued to develop the Ragdoll independent of Baker's influence.

Eventually, with the help of breeders from all across the country and the world, the Ragdoll became recognized by most major cat registries around the world.

The Appearance of the Ragdoll

Weighing in at up to 20 pounds, the Ragdoll is one of the largest of all domestic breeds. Because of their unusual size, they can take up to four years to reach maturity. In this four years they become large, long, sturdy, and quite hardy.

The eyes of this sweet natured cat must be blue to be admissible in competition, thought the occasional green or yellow does pop up. Round and large, these eyes give the cat a sweet and knowing expression.

This breed has a coat that is soft and silky and about medium in length. In general, there is little shedding associated with the Ragdoll, though they do drop hair in both the spring and fall. Despite their longer hair, they require little more grooming than a weekly brushing to help prevent tangles.

Coat colors are many and varied. A Ragdoll may be blue, chocolate, cinnamon, fawn, lilac, tortoiseshell, or even red and cream. You may also find cats with more tabby colouring, though this is more rare.

There are three acceptable color patterns. Colorpoint Ragdolls are marked like Siamese and have no white on their bodies. Mitted Ragdolls are similar, but they have white feet. The back legs have white all the way up to the hock and there might be a blaze of white on the chest. Finally, bi-color Ragdolls have much more white. You will find the white markings go much higher on the legs and there will be white patches on the back. The belly will be white and the cat will usually have seen white on the face. Most of these patterns are accepted by most cat registries.

The Personality of the Ragdoll

The most distinctive feature of this breed is that most of them for limp when you pick them up for a snuggle. It's a little hilarious and sometimes new owners think their is something wrong with their new friend, but it's completely normal.

Ragdolls tend to be relaxed and friendly, making them great family pets. Most adults will even allow themselves to be dressed up. They like children and other pets and can even tolerate a rambunctious dog if they have to. Kittens are bold and active, and even young adults might display these traits, but mature cats are not really interested in much activity. While they might occasionally chase a toy, they'd really much rather nap in the sun, so don't expect a rowdy companion.

If you're looking for a sweet feline companion who sleeps beside you most of the time, the Ragdoll might be for you.

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