Fluffy and beautiful Ragdoll cats are one of the most affectionate breeds of all. These large and friendly felines get their name from the way they typically relax and go limp in their owners' arms when picked up. Most love to be carried around and they make ideal family pets, enjoying the company of children and other cats. Ragdolls, also nicknamed Raggies, are very playful throughout their lives, so a large cat tower or just a cat scratch post is an ideal way for them to have fun and work out.
History of Ragdoll Cats
The Ragdoll is one of the newer cat breeds, dating back to the early 1960s, when the first kittens were bred in Riverdale, California. Cat breeder Ann Baker was impressed by the gentle personality of a long-haired white cat named Josephine, owned by a neighbor, which had several litters sired by Birman or Burmese cats, including some with Siamese-type coloring. Ms. Baker bought some of Josephine's kittens and set about creating a new breed. Present-day Ragdolls trace their ancestry back to Josephine and other cats, including a seal point called Daddy Warbucks and a black male called Blackie.
Originally, Ms. Baker controlled all the breeding of Ragdolls, but in the 1970s a group of breeders broke away, led by Laura and Denny Dayton, who concentrated on developing the cats into a recognized breed. The cats were later accepted as a legitimate breed and recognized by all the major organizations, such as the Cat Fanciers' Association.
Ragdolls are one of the largest breeds of cats and can take up to four years to grow to their full size. An adult male cat typically weighs between 12 and 20lb but can be even larger, while a female is usually slightly smaller at 8 to 15lb. These felines have a sturdy build and long, fluffy coats. Their main colors are seal, blue, flame, cream, chocolate, and lilac, as well as lynx or tabby. Their coats' patterns include colorpoint, similar markings to those on a Siamese cat, and mitted, with white paws, chin, and chest. There are also other variants such as bicolor, with two colors on the face. One of the most striking characteristics of Ragdolls is their brilliant blue eyes.
Ragdoll' Character and Temperament
If you are looking for a gentle and loving cat that will enjoy a lot of attention, a Ragdoll could well be the answer. Each cat has its own personality, but typically they love having their tummies tickled and are happy to sleep curled up next to you. They might also sit on your lap, but remember that these are big cats, so they will take up a lot of space! Because of Ragdolls' friendly and trusting nature, they are usually kept as indoor cats and only allowed outside with an owner in tow to watch out that they don't get into any danger. Ragdolls get on well with children, but it is important to remember that, despite their name, they are not toys and need to be given their own space, as with any cat.
Traveling with a Ragdoll
Because of their adaptability and affection for their owners, Ragdolls are among the easiest breeds of cats to travel with, as long as you train them from an early age. This breed can be trained to walk with a harness and leash, like dogs, making it easier for you to keep them close and watch out for them if you do take them outside. It is also important to get a comfortable pet carrier so that you can carry your cats around with you more easily when out in your car and avoid putting them under unnecessary stress. Many owners successfully take their Raggies around on cars, trains, and even planes (Read how to prepare before flying with your cat). It is even possible to travel by your cat on a cruise ship. This might sound like a strange idea, but one cruise line has introduced a “pets on deck” scheme for both cats and dogs, and, as the easiest-going breed of cats around, a Ragdoll is a perfect pet to take on a trip.
Caring for a Ragdoll Cat
As with all long-haired cats, Ragdolls need regular grooming. Their fur does not mat as easily as some other breeds, such as Persians, but the undercoat, in particular, can get tangled, so it is important to brush your pet's coat daily. Doing this from kitten-hood will get your Raggie used to the routine and make it something they enjoy. It will also guard against hairballs, which can be a problem for this type of cat. Remember that Ragdoll kittens are very playful, so you need to guard against dangers around the home, just as you would with an inquisitive toddler!
Most health advice for Ragdolls is the same for all other breeds, including vaccinations and ensuring a good diet. However, as a new owner, you need to be aware that Ragdolls can have various health issues, including an inherited susceptibility to heart problems. One way to guard against this is to get kittens from a reputable breeder and check that they have been screened for genetic mutations.
A Ragdoll cat will need a lot of attention, and isn't a pet you can leave alone for a long time – so, if you are going to be out at work, it is a good idea to have two! You need to think twice before taking on one of these pets, but if you decide a Ragdoll is for you, it will mean a lot of fun in store for all the family.