The Ragdoll’s history began normally enough.
In the 1960s, cat breeder Ann Baker of Riverside, California developed the Ragdoll. Josephine, an Angora-type cat that was possibly feral, was bred with a Seal Point Birman. One of the male kittens produced was then bred with a Burmese, and the Ragdoll was born.
But the story gets stranger. Before Josephine was used to create the Ragdoll, she was hit by a car. After receiving treatment for her injuries at the veterinary hospital at the University of California, Baker noticed that Josephine had become docile, went limp like a rag doll when picked up, and was largely immune to pain. According to Baker, Josephine’s genes had been altered in the lab throughgenetic experiments performed by the government, and this strange claim was just the first of many to come from Baker.
Whatever happened, today the Ragdoll is the sixth most popular cat breed in America today.
Here are some interesting facts about the Ragdoll:
- Some experts argue that the Ragdoll’s gentle, floppy nature is a genetic mutation that is dangerous to the cat. In fact, some breeders in Great Britain have actually tried to breed away from that characteristic because of reports of Ragdolls approaching cars and vicious dogs and getting injured.
- The Ragdoll is a pointed cat and comes in 6 different variations: seal, chocolate, flame, blue, lilac, and cream
- Weight: 10-20 pounds
- Lifespan: 12-15 years
What are they like?
It’s true: when you pick up a Ragdoll, he’ll literally go limp in your arms!
But just because the Ragdoll is a relaxed, chilled out cat doesn’t mean that he doesn’t have a playful side. Especially when young, the Ragdoll can be a complete clown, and some Ragdolls never outgrow their inner kittens!
In reality, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more tolerant, easygoing breed than the ragdoll. They get along with other cats, dogs, and kids as well as any pet. They’re friendly in an understated way, often gently greeting newcomers and familiar friends alike, and they’ll follow their people around the house with puppy-like curiosity.
The Ragdoll is a relatively healthy breed with just a few known health issues:
- Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a form of heart disease
- Urinary tract issues, such as bladder stones
- Hairballs, due to a long coat
Right for you?
If a Ragdoll sounds like a furry bundle of joy, you’re right! But there are always a few things to consider when welcoming a new pet into your home:
- The Ragdoll is docile and lacks the will to defend himself. He should never be let outside.
- There are lazier cats out there, but the Ragdoll is not a high-energy cat. He can be playful, but he’s mostly cuddly, malleable, and quiet.
- Grooming is easy. The Ragdoll sheds, but not heavily, and combings once or twice a week will keep the Ragdoll free of mats and tangles.
- He might be the cure for your cat allergies, as many people who are otherwise allergic to cats easily tolerate the Ragdoll.
- It takes the Ragdoll up to four years to reach full maturity, which is longer than other cats. You might have to be patient when it comes to training.
If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian – they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.
Monday, December 15, 2014
7 Facts About Ragdoll Cats
The Ragdoll cat can be described in three words: big, beautiful, and friendly. With silky, medium-length fur that's similar to a Persian or Angora and the sizable body—and affable personality—of a small puppy, the Ragdoll is a favorite breed among cat fanciers. Here are eight facts about America’s second most popular cat breed.
1. THEY'RE LAP CATS.
Ragdolls thrive on human companionship, and, unlike some other felines, they love being held. In fact, the breed supposedly got its name because early litters of the docile, friendly cat became limp and floppy like rag dolls when they were picked up.
2. IT'S A RELATIVELY NEW BREED.iStock
Ann Baker, a breeder who lived in California during the 1960s, is credited with creating the Ragdoll. Baker took a domestic longhaired white female that was found running wild in her neighborhood, and bred her with another long-haired cat. The resulting kittens were the progenitors of the Ragdoll breed. By selecting for traits like a friendly personality and long, plush fur, Baker eventually produced the big, soft kitty we know and love today.
One of the cats in the original Ragdoll bloodline may have had Siamese-like markings, or Baker mated that first cat with Birman, Burmese, or Persian cats. However, since nobody quite knows which cat breeds Baker used to create the Ragdoll, the origin of the breed’s classic color-pointed coat (a term that’s used to describe a body that’s lighter than its “points,” including the face, legs, tail, and ears) remains a bit of a mystery.
3. RAGDOLLS HAVE BEAUTIFUL BLUE EYES (BUT COME IN MANY SHADES AND COLORS).
Aside from its plush fur and large body, the Ragdoll is known for its bright blue eyes and color-pointed coat. Ragdolls also come in a variety of shades, ranging from seal (brown) and blue to red and cream. Variations like tortoiseshell and tabby markings are also common. Ragdolls come in several patterns, including colorpoint (no white on their coat), bicolor, and mitted (meaning they have white “mittens” on their paws). They're born pale, and their coats gradually darken into their permanent hues as they grow older.
4. THEY ARE ONE OF THE LARGEST CAT BREEDS.iStock
According to the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA), male Ragdolls typically weigh between 15 and 20 pounds, and females between 10 and 15 pounds. That makes them slightly larger than other feline heavyweights like the Maine Coon, which can weigh up to 18 pounds, and the Norwegian Forest Cat, which can weigh up to 16 pounds.
5. RAGDOLLS ARE QUIET KITTIES.
Ragdolls are affable and quiet kitties. Thanks to this trait, Realtor.com named them as one of the best cat breeds for apartment living. However, this trait also has a downside: Your Ragdoll may not meow if it’s distressed or in pain—so make sure to treat it with care.
6. A RAGDOLL WAS THE WORLD'S LONGEST-LIVING "JANUS CAT."
A feline born with two faces is called a Janus cat—a name that’s inspired by the Roman god Janus, who is often portrayed as having two faces. The world’s most famous two-faced cat, Frank and Louie (also known as Frankenlouie) was a Ragdoll. He had two functioning eyes, a blind central eye, two noses, and two mouths.
Frankenlouie’s deformity was caused by a very rare congenital condition known as diprosopia. He wasn’t expected to live very long, but a woman named Marty Stevens rescued him from being put down. Frankenlouie lived for an astounding 15 years before he passed away in 2014. Thanks to his long lifespan, Frankenlouie is listed in the Guinness Book as the longest-lived Janus cat.
7. RAGDOLLS ARE "DOG-LIKE" CATS.
Ever wanted a pet that will play fetch with you, follow you from room to room, and sleep with you in your bed? If you’re allergic to dogs (or you’re just partial to cats), consider a Ragdoll. "They can be more like dogs than cats sometimes," one Quora user wrote. "My cats greet me at the door, follow me from room to room, cuddle up next to me on the couch and in bed, wait outside while I take a shower . etc., etc. They love stuffed animals and little toys which they will carry from room to room. One of them even plays fetch. If you are looking for a more independent animal, the Ragdoll is not for you they demand and need a LOT of attention and play."
Additional Source: The Cat Encyclopedia: The Definite Visual Guide
This article originally ran in 2016.
General Health Information for your Ragdoll
Obesity is a major disease that contributes to a surprisingly large number of illnesses and deaths in cats.
This revelation is more well-known and well-understood today than in the last few decades, but too many owners are still ignoring the dangers of extra weight on their pets. Excess weight is one of the most influential factors in the development of arthritis, diabetes, and other life-threatening diseases. Everyone knows—many firsthand from personal experience—how even shedding just a few pounds can result in improved mobility and increased overall motivation to be active. And the same is true for your pet.
Research suggests that carrying excess weight may shorten a pet’s life by as much as two years, and can cause the onset of arthritis two years sooner. Diabetes, an inherited disease, has a much higher chance of developing in overweight pets, and may never become a problem for a healthy-weight cat. The more obese a cat becomes, the more likely it will become diabetic. Hepatic lipidosis, or fatty liver, is another potentially fatal disease in overweight pets hepatic lipidosis can develop in as few as 48 hours when an overweight cat stops eating for any reason.
So how can we help our pets stay trim? Understanding your cat's dietary habits is key. The average cat prefers to eat about 10-15 times a day, just a few nibbles at a time. This method, free-feeding, works well for most cats, but boredom may increase the number of trips your cat makes to the food bowl. By keeping your cat playfully active and engaged, you'll help your pet stay healthy and have some fun at the same time! A string tied to a stick with something crinkly or fuzzy on the other end of the string, and a little imagination—you and your cat will both be entertained. Food puzzles, like kibbles put in a paper bag or under an overturned basket or box, may help to motivate cats with more food-based interests to romp and tumble.
For really tough cases of overeating, you will have to take a firm stance, and regulate your cat’s food intake. Instead of filling your cat’s bowl to the top, follow the feeding guide on the food package and be sure to feed a high-quality adult cat diet as recommended by your vet. Replace your cat's habits of eating when bored with extra playtime and affection. Cats typically adjust their desires for personal interaction by the amount of affection offered to them, so in other words, ignoring your cat means your cat will ignore you. By the same token, loving on and playing with your cat a lot will cause your cat to desire that time with you. A more active cat means a healthier, happier pet—and owner!
Dental disease is one of the most common chronic problems in pets who don’t have their teeth brushed regularly. Unfortunately, most cats don’t take very good care of their own teeth, and this probably includes your Rag. Without extra help and care from you, your cat is likely to develop potentially serious dental problems. Dental disease starts with food residue, which hardens into tartar that builds up on the visible parts of the teeth, and eventually leads to infection of the gums and tooth roots. Protecting your cat against dental disease from the start by removing food residue regularly may help prevent or delay the need for advanced treatment of dental disease. This treatment can be stressful for your cat and expensive for you, so preventive care is beneficial all around. In severe cases of chronic dental infection, your pet may even lose teeth or sustain damage to internal organs. And, if nothing else, your cat will be a more pleasant companion not knocking everyone over with stinky cat breath! We’ll show you how to keep your cat's pearly whites clean at home, and help you schedule regular routine dental exams.
Like all cats, Ragdolls are susceptible to bacterial and viral infections such as panleukopenia, calicivirus, rhinotracheitis, and rabies, which are preventable through vaccination. The risk of your cat contracting these diseases is high, so the corresponding vaccines are called “core” vaccines, which are highly recommended for all cats. In addition, vaccines are available to offer protection from other dangerous diseases like feline leukemia virus (FeLV). In making vaccination recommendations for your cat, we will consider the prevalence of these diseases in our area, your cat’s age, and any other risk factors specific to her lifestyle.
All kinds of worms and bugs can invade your Doll's body, inside and out. Everything from fleas and ticks to ear mites can infest her skin and ears. Hookworms, roundworms, heartworms, and whipworms can get into her system in a number of ways: drinking unclean water, walking on contaminated soil, or being bitten by an infected mosquito. Some of these parasites can be transmitted to you or a family member and are a serious concern for everyone. For your feline friend, these parasites can cause pain, discomfort, and even death, so it’s important that we test for them on a regular basis. Many types of parasites can be detected with a fecal exam, so it’s a good idea to bring a fresh stool sample (in a stink-proof container, please) with your pet for her twice-a-year wellness exams. We’ll also recommend preventive medication as necessary to keep her healthy.
Spay or Neuter
One of the best things you can do for your Rag is to have her spayed (neutered for males). In females, this procedure includes surgically removing the ovaries and usually the uterus in males, the testicles are surgically removed. Spaying or neutering your pet decreases the likelihood of certain types of cancers and eliminates the possibility of your pet becoming pregnant or fathering unwanted litters. Both sexes usually become less territorial and less likely to roam, and neutering particularly decreases the occurrence of urine spraying and marking behaviors in males. Performing this surgery also gives us a chance, while your pet is under anesthesia, to identify and address some of the diseases your cat is likely to develop. For example, if your pet needs hip X-rays to check for dysplasia or a thorough dental exam to look for stomatitis, these procedures can be conveniently performed at the same time as the spay or neuter to minimize the stress on your cat. Routine blood testing prior to surgery also helps us to identify and take precautions against common problems that increase anesthetic or surgical risk. It sounds like a lot to keep in mind, but don’t worry - we’ll discuss all the specific problems we will look for with you when the time arrives.
Ragdoll cats are a relatively new breed in the cat world. Unlike some other cat breeds, their origins involve some stray cats.
Beginnings of the Breed
The Ragdoll actually originated in California in the early 1960s. Ann Baker, of Riverside California, bred a white stray female she found with other cats that were mostly strays to achieve the very calm and gentle temperament that is so well established in the breed today.
Why These Cats Are Called Ragdolls
Ragdolls get their name from one of the key characteristics Ann Baker was breeding for. When these cats are picked up, they tend to go rather limp in your arms, just like a stuffed, cloth rag doll toy that flops without support.
They tend to vocalize more than the average cat. Mine tend to be vocal when trapped in a room on the ‘wrong side’ of a door! Much depends on the individual personality of the cat.
The easy going Ragdoll will get along nicely with other household pets, given some time to transition. They seem to enjoy the presence of other pets, whether another Ragdoll, another cat or even a dog. Or a hamster. Or a gerbil. You get the idea.:)
REMEMBER: There are no guarantees that your Ragdoll cat will have each and every desirable trait which the breed is known for. They may not have what YOU deem is a perfect personality to meet your expectations.
I am a believer that a cat will develop much of their personality from how they are treated and from their environment.
If you are leaving your Raggie alone for 10 hours each day, don’t be annoyed with him if he seems withdrawn and hides from you every now and then.
They are much like children. For the best results, they need to be nurtured and coddled to bring out their best.
If you are in search of a beautiful, long-haired cat, with presence and personality plus, then a Ragdoll cat, would be an excellent choice for you.