Colour: White, Lilac, Brown, Red, Cream and Tan with Blue and Brown Points
A controversial new American breed that acquired its name because, when held, it goes limp and becomes completely relaxed and floppy, like a feline ragdoll.
Domestic Breed. A controversial new American breed that acquired its name because, when held, it goes limp and becomes completely relaxed and floppy, like a feline ragdoll.
Appearance: A large, long-haired cat similar to a Birman except for certain details of its colouring and its heavier body.
Legendary History: This cat is unique in that it is a recent breed with a legendary history. All other breeds that can boast a legendary beginning are ones which have an ancient origin 'lost in the mists of time', to quote a well-worn phrase.
The Ragdoll myth can only be traced back to the early 1960s, when a pregnant white Persian-style cat called Josephine, belonging to Californian Ann Baker, was involved in a road accident, She broke her pelvis when struck by a car, and it was claimed that this injury resulted in her subsequent offspring being abnormally limp and having no reaction to physical pain.
Genetically this was nonsensical, but the story was re-told endlessly and was believed by the gullible. Ann Baker reinforced the myth when she tossed one of her Ragdolls across the room for television cameras. As a result, the breed became notorious overnight, and many cat organizations rejected it on the grounds that it was vulnerable to abuse. If the kittens showed no response to being hurt, they were clearly at risk. The legend - which appealed to the romantic and created a wide interest in the breed - also worked against it in the world of serious pedigree breeding.
Factual History: As far as can be ascertained, this breed resulted from a 1960s mating between the white 'Persian' female Josephine and a male Birman. There is a certain vagueness about this, however. Some authorities think that the female may have been more of an Angora than a Persian, and that a sable Burmese was also involved somewhere in the early stages of the making of the Ragdoll.
According to Ann Baker, two of Josephine's sons, called Blackie and Daddy Warbucks, which were sired by different males, are to be considered as the 'founding fathers' of the Ragdoll breed. The mitted Daddy Warbucks (the epitome of the Ragdoll breed) was mated with one of Blackie's daughters to produce the kittens that were to become the first 'official' Ragdolls, called Tiki and Kyoto.
The female Josephine may well have been involved in a road accident, but that event would have had no effect whatever on the genetic constitution of her offspring. The fact that they and subsequent generations were all remarkably relaxed when being handled, can only be due to what might be called an intensifying of the 'docility factor' already present in the foundation stock. Both Persian and Birman breeds are well known for their gentleness and, by bringing these two breeds together, Ann Baker, the originator of the Ragdoll, accidentally created an abnormally mild-mannered cat.
There is, however, a great difference between a cat that is tolerant of manhandling and one that is unable to experience pain. In reality the Ragdoll is an attractive breed that is genetically sound and ideal for urban, indoor living. It is excessively good-natured and makes an ideal and undemanding companion. As soon as this was realized its popularity soared and it was gradually accepted by more and more cat societies.
Californian cat breeders Denny Dayton and his wife were responsible for developing the breed and worked hard to acquire championship status for it, which they eventually succeeded in doing. In 1981, the Norwich cat breeder Lulu Rowley purchased four Ragdolls (called Prim, Proper, Lad and Lass) from the Dayton cattery and introduced the new breed to Britain, where its numbers have since increased rapidly. By the winter of 1995 there were an estimated 3,000 Ragdolls in the country.
During the 1990s, three variant breeds have been developed from the Ragdoll Cat: The Cherubim, the Honeybear and the Ragamuffin. The Ragamuffin is already making headway (see separate entry, above), but it remains to be seen whether the other two will eventually also gain official recognition.
Personality: This is the most docile of all cat breeds. Whatever its true genetic history may prove to be, it cannot be denied that the Ragdoll is the most relaxed, mild-mannered cat in the world. To its supporters this is extolled as a virtue of the breed, but to critics it is seen as the creation of a 'living soft toy'....a 'cushion cat'...the 'denigration of the spirit of the cat'.
It has been reported that Ann Baker does not consider the British Ragdolls to be true Ragdolls, because they are not sufficiently 'floppy'. According to her, the 'flop-factor', which was strong in her original stock, has been diluted in the British-bred animals. (Some authorities have voiced their opinion that this is an advantage rather than a shortcoming.)
GCCF: There are three basic pattern-types: Colourpoint, Mitted and Bi-colour, and four colours: Seal; Blue; Chocolate; Lilac. The three pattern types have been defined as follows:
Colourpoint: Dark points on mask, ears, tail, legs, feet.
Mitted: Dark points on mask, ears, tail, legs. Feet are white.
Bi-colour: Dark points on mask, ears, tail. Legs and feet are white.
1995. Wallace, L. et al. The Definitive Guide to Ragdolls. Available from: Ragdoll World UK, 60 Knottingley Road, Pontefract, West Yorkshire, WF8 2LD, England.
British Ragdoll Cat Club. Address: 1 Glyn Way, Threemilestone, Truro, Cornwall, TR3 6DT, England.
International Ragdoll Cat Association (IRCA). Established by Ann Baker, with strict rules about the future breeding of the Ragdoll Cat.
National Ragdoll Cat Association. Address: 9 Tadmarton, Downhead Park, Milton Keynes, Bucks, MK15 9BE, England.
Progressive Ragdoll Breed Cat Club (formed in 1993). Address: 85a Burrows Road, Kensal Green, London, NW10 5SJ, England.
Ragdoll Club (formed in 1992) which publishes a quarterly magazine, The Ragbag. Address: 38 Faraday Road, Beechdale Estate, Walsall, West Midlands, WS2 7ER, England.
Ragdoll Fancier's Club. Address: 7320 Normandy Drive N.E., Cedar Rapids, IA 52402, USA. or 15700 Riley Street, Holland, MI 49424, USA.
Note: There is also a breed publication called Rag Sheet. Address: 18977 48th Avenue, North Loxahatchee, Florida 33470, USA.
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