History of pets: Ragdoll Cat
Quick Ragdoll Cat Facts
- Ragdolls are a relatively new breed in the kitty kingdom.
- Ragdolls were “created” in 1963, their origin credited to Ann Baker, a breeder from sunny California, USA.
- The cat believed to be the original but unregistered Ragdoll, is a white cat named Josephine.
- Ragdolls are often referred to by their pet name, “puppycats” because of the way they follow their owners from room to room.
- The Ragdoll is one of the largest cat breeds around.
Ragdolls take their name from a defining characteristic. As Ann Baker, the original breeder explained that her cat was so comfortable and relaxed when being held that she went as floppy as a ragdoll.
The catalyst for this new category of feline was Josephine, a white, longish haired female cat whom, together with a black-and-white stray tom, produced a unique litter of kittens. The litter consisted of a solid black male, a bi-colour, seal point female and a longhaired brown male, becoming the predecessors of today’s Ragdolls.
Over their evolution, these cats have become well known for their easy going temperament, large size, non-matting coat and unique appearance. Ragdolls became recognised as a pure breed in 1966 when Ann Baker registered kittens Kyoto and Tike as the first Ragdolls in the American National Cat Fanciers Association (NCFA).
The first Siamese cats to appear in Western Europe in the late 1800’s were a gift from the King of Siam to the English consulate general in Bangkok. The first Siamese cats in western cat fancy societies were named Pho and Mia, a breeding pair brought to England in 1884 by Owen Gould. The kittens from Pho and Mia were exhibited by Gould’s sister at a London show in 1885.
In the late 1890s and early 1900s, Siamese cats eventually made their way to the USA from Britain, France, Japan, and Siam. The Siamese remained rare until after World War II, when they quickly grew in popularity. The cats we know today come in two types: show and traditional.
Characteristics of the Ragdoll
Ragdolls have medium to long coats which come in: frost, blue, chocolate, seal, red, lilac, blue-cream and cream, with bicolour, mitted and pointed patterns – which they get from their part-Siamese ancestors.
Their beautiful blue eyes are quite a sight to behold, but it’s their disposition and personality which make them a pawsitively popular. Ragdoll cats tend to be quiet, playful, placid, relaxed and loving and get along well with people, making ideal pets for those living in an apartment.
Reaching full maturity between 3 and 4 years, this breed is slow to mature physically. As adults they usually weigh between 4.5 and 9kgs and have a longevity of 7-12 years.
The Ragdoll keeps its cute, kitten-like playfulness into adulthood and old age, enjoying a good game on occasion.
Being responsible for a Ragdoll
These friendly felines make great house or apartment cats as they adapt well to the indoors. Though they can be easily leash trained, Ragdolls should never be left outside unattended as once they experience the outdoors they’ll probably try to sneak out whenever the doors are opened, especially with children in the house.
As for maintenance, the Ragdoll needs interactive exercise and room to play to stay in shape, and if need be walked on a leash (as mentioned above, they can be easily trained). Their coats should be brushed daily, to keep knots and tangles at bay.
Ragdolls are generally healthy, but bladder stones and a heart condition known as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, are among the afflictions that have been reported in the breed.
If you’re interested in owning a Ragdoll cat, why not try adoption. You can call your local animal shelters or vets to see if there are any in need of a fur-ever home.
If a talkative, intelligent pal who’s always keen to hangout and gets along with people of all ages, as well as other pets, then this is the breed for you. Consider adopting a Siamese with the help of this Facebook group dedicated to networking and finding homes for Siamese and Siamese crosses in South Africa, or find a reputable breeder near you.