The Ragdoll breed or Ragdoll cat is a long-haired cat of semi-foreign type. The Ragdoll was accepted as an official championship breed in the Cat Fanciers Association (CFA) in 1972 and is loved by many respected Ragdoll breeders for its calm and affectionate demeanour.
A Ragdoll kitten is born white and then develops into a pattern that often darkens with age. Ragdolls come in three patterns: colourpoint (with legs, tail, face and ear tufts resembling the Siamese), mitted (similar to colourpoint but with white paws), and bicolour (white with coloured patches). Ragdolls are known for their unique stance or “freeze” when picked up. Ragdolls are not only very intelligent but also extroverted, making them one of the most popular breeds in the world today.
The Ragdoll breed is believed to originate from Barbara and Andrew Hoy, who owned a Persian cat called Josephine (affectionately known as “Joe”). When their daughter Christine was born in 1960, they acquired another Persian kitten named Curio. Curious about her docile nature, Andrew began to experiment by testing various combinations on Joe and Curio. He discovered that when he held the kittens in certain positions—chest down with bottom higher than the head—the cats became unresponsive or “laid out” into what Ragdoll fanciers call Ragdoll mode. Ragdolls are very placid and love to be picked up. Ragdolls will even go limp in your arms when you pick them up or put them down, hence the name Ragdoll.
The Ragdoll is large with medium boning. Males typically weigh 10-12 pounds (4-5 kg) and females 8-10 pounds (3-4 kg). The head of the Ragdoll is round, broad, and slightly modified with a slight break at muzzle level. Ears are medium-sized, wide at the base tapering to rounded tips; set widely apart on top of the head with outer edges directly above the eyes when looking straight ahead. Eye colour ranges from blue through aqua to green; some breeders are attempting to introduce chocolate Ragdolls. Ragdolls have a long, rectangular body on proportionate legs. The Ragdoll has a soft, dense undercoat on a medium length, coarse outer coat. Ragdoll kittens are born white and develop their full colour at around six months of age; bicolor Ragdolls may be blue and cream or seal lynx point with chocolate points and aqua eyes.
One unique feature is the Rag doll’s tail: it is extremely large and very thick where it joins the body; thinning to the tail tip which often hangs down when the cat is in repose. The plumed tail resembles that of a raccoon. Some breeders dock the tails of pet quality Ragdolls; although it is not standard practice, Ragdoll fanciers who oppose this argue that the bobtailed Ragdoll does exist.
The Ragdoll’s expression should be sweet and gentle, with large, round eyes outlined by medium-thick dark blue or nearly black eye rims. Ragdolls have short faces with wide-set ears and large, expressive eyes. The Ragdoll has an extremely soft coat which lies flat against their bodies except for long fluffy fur on the backs of their legs. Ragdolls are known to come in many colours including seal, blue, lynx point (with inverted “M” marking above each eye), chocolate point (with inverted “V” marking above each eye) and various bicolor combinations of the three. Ragdolls are known for their blue eyes, but can also have green or aqua eyes.
The Ragdoll is known to be gentle and affectionate, making it an excellent pet for families with kids and other pets as well as experienced cat owners. Ragdolls enjoy being held and cuddled; they will often go completely limp when handled rather than trying to get away as some breeds do. Ragdolls will follow you from room to room like a puppy dog and greet you at the door when you come home – ready for lots of love! Ragdolls will happily play fetch just like a dog too.
Ragdolls easily learn tricks such as shaking hands and fetching, will learn their names in just a few days and are very quick to learn where their food is kept in the kitchen. Ragdolls are so intelligent that they can actually open doors if they want to leave or get inside something! Ragdolls are often easily toilet-trained too. Ragdolls generally have no trouble adapting to new surroundings—they are known for being “easy keepers”. Ragdoll cats should not be hyperactive though because it upsets their nature of being placid.
Overall, Ragdolls are known for getting along well with other pets; cats who do not like dogs may take longer to warm up depending on the cat’s personality. Ragdolls attract attention wherever they go; its easygoing temperament is extremely friendly, and Ragdolls are known to be very people-oriented. Ragdolls are not only amazing companions but also great therapy cats for animal shelters or nursing homes, where they can cheer up the residents with their gentle natures.