Laid back, friendly, and sociable, Ragdolls are a good choice for households with children or dogs.
Riverside California cat breeder Ann Baker developed the Ragdoll breed in the 1960s. The first Ragdoll kittens were the offspring of a homeless long-haired cat that Ann adopted and named Josephine.
After Josephine suffered a car accident, Baker believed that the doctors who treated her had performed genetic experiments, and that this was the reason for the unique temperament of her offspring. However, this theory does not have widespread acceptance. It’s more likely that Josephine was born with an unusual genetic makeup that she passed along to her kittens.
Josephine’s kittens had exceptionally good personalities, and seeing their potential, Baker carried on her breeding program to establish the Ragdoll as an official breed. An astute businesswomen, she also took the unusual step of trademarking and franchising the Ragdoll name so that she could receive royalties from the other breeders who sold them.
Ragdoll Cat Appearance
Ragdolls come in several patterns, with ear, face, and tail markings in blue, chocolate, seal, lilac, cream, or red. These markings may be solid, tortie, lynx, or torbie (a combination of lynx and tortie). Body colour ranges from ivory to light milk chocolate, and some Ragdolls also have white “mittens” and “boots,” as well as a white “V” on the nose.
Ragdolls have big paws, bushy tails, large blue eyes, and dense fur. They are usually large and strong, topping the scales at 15-20 pounds for males and 10-15 for females, with anecdotal reports of males reaching up to 30 pounds. Slower to mature than most other breeds, ragdolls don’t achieve their full coat colouring until they are approximately two years of age, and they don’t reach their full size until they are four human years old.
Because their coloured points develop in response to temperature, ragdoll kittens are born nearly white and the colours on their faces, ears, and tails develop over time. Colder environments cause darker point development, while warmer environments lead to paler points.
The Ragamuffin is a breed that also originated from Ann Baker’s Josephine. However, Ragamuffins are available not only in the traditional Ragdoll point colours but also in other colour shades and tabby, and their eyes may be colours other than blue. The Ragamuffin has similar personality traits to the Ragdoll.
Ragdoll Cat Personality
Ragdolls are gentle, good-natured cats that are inclined to “flop” in a person’s arms. Most are even-tempered and laid back. There is a myth that ragdolls are impervious to pain, but this is untrue, as anyone who has ever accidentally stepped on a Ragdoll’s tail can attest.
Ragdolls are affectionate cats that are very interested in people. Many like to greet their owners when they arrive home, follow them from one room to another, and sleep in their beds with them. Many ragdolls can be taught to come when they are called and some even learn to play fetch. They usually choose one particular human as their favourite, though they tend to be affectionate toward many different people. Most get along well with children and dogs.
Ragdoll Cat Care
Due to their long, thick coats, Ragdolls should be brushed with a steel comb regularly to prevent tangled fur and hairballs. They should not be left alone as they are very sociable. If there are no humans at home for several hours each day, a second kitten should be adopted along with the Ragdoll to provide company.
Adopting a Ragdoll Kitten or Cat
Adopting two purebred kittens can be quite expensive (typically around $800 to $2,000 USD per kitten, depending on breeder, whether the kittens are classified as pet quality or show quality, and other factors), and Ragdolls don’t care which breed of cat they spend time with. Adopting a kitten from a local animal shelter is a cost-effective way to ensure that both cats have a friend in the household.
If you’re interested in adopting an adult ragdoll, do a search for Ragdoll rescues, as there are Ragdolls available from time to time.
- Bellavance, Isabelle, & Ferreira, Mindy. (14 June 2008). “Breed Profile: Ragdoll.”
- Davis, Karen Leigh. (1999). Ragdoll Cats: Complete Pet Owner’s Manual. Hauppauge, NY: Barron’s Educational Series.